The worldwide Anglican Communion has a problem.

The challenge for our fractured community is clearly demonstrated by The Rt. Rev. Innocent Ordu, Bishop of the Diocese of Evo in Nigeria who yesterday,

restated that the Church of Nigeria condemns same sex marriage, homosexuality and lesbianism.

He also said the Church of Nigeria has an “impaired relationship” with churches in Western countries that have lent their support to same sex marriage and other vices condemned by the bible.

Ordu spoke in Port Harcourt yesterday at a press briefing to herald the third session of the third synod of the diocese scheduled for July 29 to August 2 at the Chapel of Grace and Knowledge, Archdeacon Crowther Memorial Girls’ School (ACMGS), Elelenwo.

He noted that while the Church of Nigeria was part of the global Anglican community, it would not have communion with other churches in the community that take steps that were contrary to the provisions of the Bible.

His words: “We truly are still part of the Anglican world. There is something about the Anglican Church; we are a biblically-based church; matters of the scriptures, matters of the faith, no true Anglican compromises with them.

“So, a few years ago, we discovered that some sections of the church, particularly, in the Western world began to toy with some sensitive aspects as regard the spirituality and doctrine of the church; and the Church of Nigeria, you know, took their position on those issues, particularly the issue of human sexuality.

“Even apart from the stand-point of the scripture, on the strength of culture, we are first and foremost Africans, Nigerians and we come from different cultures, traditions. There are certain things that even our cultures abhor. Our firm position on those things is strengthened much more by the position of the scripture that they are evil. So, we cannot on one hand be preaching against other evils of society, of the average community and we are upholding another evil because of a distorted position or understanding of some persons.

“So, the position of the Anglican Church, for instance, on this matter of homosexuality, lesbianism and the rest of them is that it is against scripture and any arm or part of the church worldwide that advocates it, is breaching the provisions and tenets of the scripture and we cannot be in any form of relationship with such an arm of the body of Christ until proper positions are taken or reversed by those who advocate such.

“The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has what we locally here, back home in Nigeria, define as ‘an impaired relationship’ with any other province, that is a National Church or part of the Anglican world that supports or advocates or champions this evil that the scriptures condemn, which now they said men are free to marry fellow men; women are free to marry fellow women and all that. We are saying God abhors it; please, change your posture on this and come back to the original biblical position of God on these issues; and if you are not ready to do that, we too cannot be in communion with you. That is the position of the church.”

So, disagreement is not possible. There is no room for discussion. The only way forward together is for those who are wrong to repent of their ways, change their mind, and return to the truth that is self-evident to any reasonable person.

Bishop Ordu makes an important admission in his comments when he states that,

Even apart from the stand-point of the scripture, on the strength of culture, we are first and foremost Africans, Nigerians and we come from different cultures, traditions. There are certain things that even our cultures abhor.

The reality for the worldwide Anglican Communion is that this global expression of Christian faith is attempting to hold together people whose culture “abhors” certain things with people whose “culture” views these same things as a gift and a blessing.

How much of the disagreement in the worldwide Anglican Communion is culture and how much is Bible? How do cultures communicate when they view the same issue in starkly opposed ways? Whose culture gets to prevail?

What does it mean to say we share in an Anglican Communion in which some members look at us in the West and declare we are “no true Anglican”?

How is it possible to move forward from here?


Although he may not be an Anglican/Episcopalian, Rob Bell clearly articulated the culture distance that separates Western and Nigerian culture in the following exchange in a recent interview with Sojourners:

CW: You’ve been openly affirming of same-sex marriage for years, and are so in your most recent book, The ZimZum of Love. I’m curious about the impact of the SCOTUS ruling on your own faith communities — how has that played out?

RB: Well, apparently, love wins. [Laughs.] So my friends tell me.

Consciousness has risen on this and more and more people are like, “Of course, that’s just how it is.” What is going on that this would not just be how it is? So I think everybody sees it as an incredibly encouraging sign, that everything’s moving forward as it should be.

CW: Where do you see the next step for conversation in the church on this?

RB: Well, it depends on what you mean by ‘the church.’ The fact that this is still an issue … I just don’t understand why people would purposefully cut themselves off from the world around us. Why do that? I guess I’m just not in the world where this is even an issue. It’s like, what are you doing? Come on.

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