Skip to comments.Conscience and logic: ‘I can do no other’ (Anglican- Lambeth)
Posted on 07/23/2008 7:48:28 PM PDT by hiho hiho
The Bishop of Rochester Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, one of just two bishops in the Church of England to boycott the Lambeth Conference entirely, insisted today that he is being true to biblical authority.
Explaining a decision that he admits has been painful for a man who sought refuge in Britain from persecution, and who has been at the heart of the two previous convocations at Canterbury first as Coordinator in 1988 and then as a Member of the Steering Committee in 1998 - he said it was a matter of conscience and logic.
He said that persistent false teaching and persistent sexual immorality without repentance had both led to his decision
I have before me a pastoral letter from the bishops of California instructing their clergy on how to take gay weddings in their churches. These people are here. How can I have fellowship with them and still teach my people what the church has always taught?
He said the Windsor Report, set up by the Archbishop of Canterbury which reported in 2004 recommended that those who were involved in the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson who divorced his wife and two children in order to marry a man with whom he had lived for 20 years should not attend Anglican gatherings until the matter had been resolved.
And yet I find that all fifty of the people who laid hands on him are at Lambeth. They have invited their teams to take a leading part in it. Thats fine, but dont ask me to be co-opted on to that kind of thing.
He added that his office prevented him from taking any other decision. As a private individual I could do anything I pleased, but in my present position I could not mislead people.
Bishop Nazir-Alis website carries a brief statement about his decision, citing the Windsor Reports recommendation that Eucharistic fellowship be temporarily withdrawn from dissenters to the Windsor process. (See the section On public Rites of Blessing of same sex unions and paragraph 157.)
Two separate altars have been set up at the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, in a bid to get round the proviso. But the bishop told Lapido Media: Lambeth itself is a Eucharistic gathering, for the bishops gathered around the Lords table teaching the common faith. I dont think its right to set up separate altars.
The Conference itself was one of the instruments of unity in the Anglican Communion.
Dr Nazir-Ali added he was absolutely willing to talk to anyone about the issues at stake, and the Archbishop of Canterbury had thought seriously about having informal discussions before the Conference. He attended and addressed many gatherings of groups allied to the ECUSA position but that was not the same as gathering to teach the faith.
There are some things that must take priority over fellow feeling, he added.
Bishop Michael gave a keynote address to the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in June which he described as the emergence of a new global fellowship. Attended by 300 Anglican bishops in Jerusalem, it also welcomed leading Anglican theologians, pastors and wives of bishops in tough locations, including Phoebe Orumbi, wife of the Archbishop of Uganda Henry Orumbi, and Gloria Kwashi, wife of the Archbishop of Jos in Nigeria. She was assaulted and temporarily blinded by intruders at her home in July 2007 yet continued to pray for her assailants.
Said Dr Nazir-Ali: These are very considerable people. Such fellowship is greatly needed because there are some parts of the world where orthodox Anglicans are in the majority, but there are others where they feel very isolated.
The Americans too were saying at least we feel again we belong because they have been completely ostracised by the direction their church has taken.
GAFCON is only one among several such fellowships whose future significance as representative of the Anglican Communion as a whole depends, they say, on the adherence by the Communion to its own resolutions, namely the 1987 Synod resolution on active homosexual relationships of clergy, and the Lambeth 1998 resolution 1:10 on human sexuality.
Said Dr Nazir-Ali: As long as that continues to hold, thats good. But as [Archbishop] Robert Runcie used to say, the word Anglican stands ready to disappear in the cause of greater truth and unity.
I am not in any way wedded to any denominational expression of the faith. The reason many people are Anglican is it has been the vehicle for them for apostolic truth. If it continues to be so, wonderful, praise the Lord, but you cannot compromise apostolic truth for the sake of allegiance.
I sympathize with Dr. Nazir-Ali. He’s in a difficult situation, and the way out is very painful.
There is nothing quite like a convert from Islam!
Very true. They have some amazing stories. The Anglican churches of Africa and the Middle East are martyr churches. It must be a terrible shock to them to learn what passes for Christianity in the Church of England and the Episcopal Church USA.
What is Bishop Nazir-Ali to do? Stay where he is, and implicitly support apostasy? Recuse himself, as it were, from his Church of England position and affiliate with an African diocese? Become a Roman Catholic? He’s a spotlighted cases, so to speak, and he need all believing Christians’ prayers.
Yes, he could go with the African Anglicans or choose Catholicism. Either way, he will model courage and moral clarity to his followers. As he is doing now.
He’s a very impressive figure, who seems to be moving toward a sharper understanding of the pivotal issues of Christianity. God help him!
“Very true. They have some amazing stories. The Anglican churches of Africa and the Middle East are martyr churches. It must be a terrible shock to them to learn what passes for Christianity in the Church of England and the Episcopal Church USA.”
The truth is that to be a CHRISTIAN in those two parts of the world, regardless of Church community,(Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, or even Evangelical Protestant ) is to become a faithful witness that could lead to MARTYRDOM. They can be good teachers to us when our time comes as Christians in the west when hardship comes our way.
A true person of holiness.
I agree. We know persecution is coming, because the Lord promised it would. The experiences of our brethren in Africa and Asia can help us to be prepared to live up to their example.
He gets it. God bless him. It's a hard decision to face.