The Church of Nigeria was one of the Provinces that protested against the consecration of Gene Robinson (an active homosexual clergyman in New Hampshire), by The Episcopal Church USA, and the promulgation of a liturgy for blessing of same sex union; boycotted the Lambeth Conference 2008, and organized the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON 2008), in Jerusalem. A remarkable legacy of that conference is the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration. Since then, the theological position of the Church of Nigeria on the human sexuality palaver raging in the Anglican Communion is by no means ambiguous. In pursuance of its position, it has had to amend its constitution to emphasize the basis of our relationship with any other Province or church namely:
The Church of Nigeria shall be in full communion with all Anglican Churches, Dioceses and Provinces that hold and maintain the Historic Faith, Doctrine, Sacrament and Discipline of the one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church as the Lord has commanded in His holy word and as the same are received as taught in the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal of 1662 and in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion.
In other words, the amendment places emphasis on the “Historic Faith, Doctrine, Sacrament.. .. The word of God rather than, and instead of, historical institutions. It was intended to save the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) from derailment in the context of challenges engendered by theological ambivalence such as the present human sexuality controversy illustrates.
In further pursuance of that same amendment, the Church of Nigeria resolved to break communion with The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada (not on account of redefinition), but on the practice, promotion and advocacy of homosexuality and its allied practices.
As part of the stance of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON}, it resolved not to attend any future conference or meeting where the above named two Provinces will sit and participate in discussion.
However, the January 2016 Primates meeting in Canterbury was considered an exception. Thus, the GAFCON and Global South resolved to attend.
In spite of the hollow restrictions placed on The Episcopal Church, the Presiding Bishop of TEC and the Chairman, Anglican Consultative Council, have avowed that the Primates had no authority to take that decision. During the Canterbury meeting itself, the way and manner in which those who hold the orthodox view of human sexuality and marriage were spoken of by the authorities, and denounced as “homophobic”, left no one in doubt that we were in the wrong place. In fact, the authorities believe that patience was being exercised to enable the communion to bring up the scripture-believers gradually to embrace the homosexual doctrine. Thus, the Anglican Communion’s journey is very uncertain for the orthodox. They are walking into a well-rehearsed scheme to gradually apply persuasion, subtle blackmail, coercion on any group still standing with the Scriptural Provision as we know it, to join the straight jacket of the revisionists and be politically correct. Somehow, they are succeeding!
At this point we find great wisdom in the attitude of the British Government in relation to the European Union. It has not joined the Euro Zone; it did not join the Schengen conglomerate. Now the British Prime Minister is asking for a “Special Status” in the European Union for the United Kingdom.
The Anglican Communion should begin to think in that direction for those Provinces that may never, for obvious reasons, embrace the sexual culture being promoted by some Provinces of the Church over and against the Bible as we received it. We need a “Special Status”.
In summary, as long as we are now candidates for whom every opportunity in the Anglican Communion should be explored to gradually teach us to embrace the new sex culture, it will be unwise to deliberately walk into a well-prepared camp of recruitment, blackmail, indoctrination and toxic relationship.
Therefore, we regret our inability to attend the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Lusaka, Zambia.
We continue to pray for God’s Church to return to the Holy Bible, for its faith and practice.
The Most Rev’d Nicholas D.Okoh
Archbishop,Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria