Friday, September 07, 2007

Nigeria and "The Listening Process"

From Lambeth 1998, Resolution 1.10:

...recognises that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God's transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships. We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ...
From the Windsor Report:

...Finally, we recommend that the Instruments of Unity, through the Joint Standing Committee, find practical ways in which the ‘listening’ process commended by the Lambeth Conference in 1998 may be taken forward, so that greater common understanding might be obtained on the underlying issue of same gender relationships...
From the 2005 Primates' Meeting:

...In reaffirming the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10 as the present position of the Anglican Communion, we pledge ourselves afresh to that resolution in its entirety, and request the Anglican Consultative Council in June 2005 to take positive steps to initiate the listening and study process which has been the subject of resolutions not only at the Lambeth Conference in 1998, but in earlier Conferences as well.
In response, the Communion began to more intentionally engage in the listening process. Part of monitoring the process as it has unfolded in the different Provinces has included a summary of responses.

The response from Nigeria is quite interesting, especially the following section:

...The Primate of all Nigeria has said “Our argument is that, if homosexuals see themselves as deviants who have gone astray, the Christian spirit would plead for patience and prayers to make room for their repentance. When scripture says something is wrong and some people say that it is right, such people make God a liar. We argue that it is a blatant lie against Almighty God that homosexuality is their God-given urge and inclination. For us, it is better seen as an acquired aberration.”

The Church of Nigeria sees its view as based upon the witness of Scripture. The House of Bishops issued a detailed and clearly argued statement. In it there are discussed four texts from the Old Testament which speak specifically of homosexual acts. These are Genesis 19:5, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 18:27 and Judges 19:22. All these texts show how homosexuality is regarded as an abominable deed. The statement concludes: “Thus it is clear from the passages considered that the Old Testament regards homosexuality as an atrocious and unnatural act. The Mosaic Law is against it and stipulates capital punishment for the offender. It is classified among the most offensive crimes like idolatry involving the sacrifice of children, having intercourse with animals, or marrying a woman and her mother”...
(emphasis added)
As you can see, Bp. Orama did not pull his words out of thin air. Apparently, his view is held by the Nigerian House of Bishops.

There is this bit tacked on to the end of the summary:

...A statement of the House of Bishops makes it clear that The Church of Nigeria is committed to the pastoral care of homosexual people. It says: “While recognising the sinfulness, from the biblical perspective, of homosexuality, we must continue to keep open the door of restoration for homosexuals through repentance on the one hand, and sensitive pastoral care, on the other.” The Church is clear that all people are sinners and need to repent. What it will not do is bless sinful lifestyles...
Thank God for that, although it does seem rather disingenuous to me in light of their earlier statement in the summary.

Tangentially, in regards to the supposed denial of Bp. Orama's statement by Canon Popoola of Nigeria, do keep in mind that the Canon has a track record of being a false witness. Take his words with a grain of salt.


NOTE: Since I need to be away from the keyboard for awhile, and in light of how "lively" our discussions have been lately, I've put comments on "moderation." So, don't get frustrated when your comment does not immediately show up. It did not disappear. It is sitting patiently waiting for my approval. I should get to them later tonight.

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