Monday, September 26, 2005

African Anglicans May Lead Anglicans Worldwide

By Alexander Samuels

The see of Canterbury may lose the majority of its 80 million members throughout the world. The Episcopal Church in the United States (ECUSA) and the Anglican Church of Canada also may lose many of their churches. At issue is the continuing movement of the Anglican Church away from the authority of the Scriptures, with the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back" being the tolerance of gay sex by the current church leadership.

Archbishop Peter Akinola of the Anglican Church of Nigeria and chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), which represents 37 million Anglicans, may become the leader if a "new" Anglican Communion emerges. An article by Edward E. Plowman in the October 1 edition of World Magazine reports: . . .

At this month's triennial General Synod of the Nigerian church, [Akinola] led the delegates to approve startling changes to the church's constitution. Stricken were all references to the church's communion with the see of Canterbury. Instead, communion will be with all Anglican churches, dioceses, and provinces that hold and maintain traditional Anglican faith and discipline. The revisions spell out biblical boundaries that define Anglicanism.

Another change allows the church to create "convocations and chaplaincies" for like-minded faithful outside of Nigeria. This flies in the face of ECUSA demands that foreign bishops not trespass on ECUSA soil. The Africans already have taken some U.S. churches under their wing. [Emphasis added.]

Despite the booming growth, the Nigerian and other CAPA churches are mostly dirt poor. Anticipating a complete shutoff of funds from ECUSA and other affluent Western churches, Archbishop Akinola called for a meeting of CAPA's top bishops in Dar es Salaam "to empower each province to be self-reliant." The African churches may be poor, "but God has given us all we need to live on," the archbishop said.

At a September ceremony in New York, Archbishop Akinola was one of four Anglican prelates feted by the conservative Kairos Journal for "exemplary fidelity to the authority of Scripture and exceptional pastoral courage in their efforts to restore the prophetic voice of the church." The others: Henry Orombi of the 8-million-member Anglican province of Uganda, Datuk Young Ping Chung of South East Asia, and Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone of South America. All four have actively sided for several years with conservatives under pressure and censure in ECUSA.

They and their provinces also have declared broken or impaired communion with ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada. And they uniformly contend that it is the liberal-led Western churches that are "walking apart from the Communion" and leading the schism.

This writer can only praise Archbishop Akinola for his efforts to maintain the true faith in the Anglican Church. The current liberal religious leadership of the see of Canterbury has failed on at least two counts of maintaining the marks of a true church of Christ. They have failed to preach the Word of God faithfully concerning the consequences of sin and they have failed to discipline open or known sin within the church. Archbishop Akinola is now being faithful by following the obligation to separate from false or apostate communions.

Alexander Samuels is a regular contributor to Carolina Christian Conservative.

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