April 9, 2011

A View from Nigeria

Recently, Bishop John Akao, chair of the Church of Nigeria Theological Resource group, published an essay in Church Times under the title “Church of Nigeria and the proposed Anglican Covenant.” It appears that the Akao piece is not yet available on the Church Times Web site to non-subscribers, but it can be read at VirtueOnline.

Akao’s main interest is in explaining why Nigeria cannot sign the Anglican Covenant. His analysis of how the Covenant came to be what it is is instructive, particularly for Episcopalians who have not been paying attention to Communion affairs in recent years and are inclined to evaluate the Covenant apart from its historical context.

Whereas I hardly share Akao’s theological viewpoint, he has the history right, and, for the benefit of those newly attentive Episcopalians, I quote from his essay:
The idea of an Anglican Covenant was suggested by the Global South to check the drift of some members especially in TEC and Canada as well as some other parts of Europe like Germany and Britain in the wake of revisionist agenda manifested radically by the recognition of same -sex relationships by the Church, especially the consecration of two same-sex practitioners as bishops in The Episcopal Church of America.

Unfortunately, the original idea of covenant to bring back erring members who have embarrassed the Communion and torn its fabrics apart, was adopted by the Anglican Establishment, by fashioning a covenant which in motive, content and thrust deviate from the original objective of healing and unifying the communion. The present covenant to the African Anglicans, is crafted to persuade orthodox Anglicans to accept and commit to fellowshipping with revisionist groups who have perpetrated aberrations but who unrepentantly defy various moves and resolutions to bring them back on course.
In other words, a covenant was proposed to control the behavior of (especially) The Episcopal Church. Because the mechanisms to do that have been watered down in order to get agreement, the original intent has not been achieved.

If enough of the churches who wanted to halt the liberal trend in the West eventually do adopt the Covenant, is there any doubt that they will attempt to use it, amended if necessary, to accomplish the original objective?

No Anglican Covenant

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  1. Lionel, Bp. Akao's statement is gold, pure gold. Of course, some of us of the Anglican persuasion know the background, but many do not. Bp. Akao's reminder is a timely blast from the past.

  2. Lionel,
    At this point regardless of the vote, the Global South will flex it muscle either to eradicate the Episcopal Church (and Canada) or will leave the Anglican Communion to form it's own Anglican Communion. I vote for the later.

  3. Fred,

    I am inclined to cast my vote as you would. The Communion can loosen bounds to defuse conflict or it can split. Adopting the Covenant to bring us “closer” will be like bringing fissionable material together in an atomic bomb. When all the material is sufficiently dense, an explosion results.

  4. Da covenant as da bomb. I kind of like it, Loinel.


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