Thursday, June 26, 2008

Failure To Condemn Violence "Disgraceful"

From Ekklesia:

The head of the Church Army, a leading Anglican mission agency with a significant evangelical constituency, has expressed his distress at the failure of two Anglican archbishops [Archbishops Peter Akinola of Nigeria and Henry Orombi of Uganda] to clearly condemn violence against gay people.

The remarks come in the personal blog of Mark Russell, the youngest ever Chief Executive of Church Army, which deploys over 350 evangelists working across Britain and Ireland.

Mark Russell says:

Growing up in Northern Ireland you see how leaders not talking divides communities. Yet now when leaders do talk and work together, despite their differences, communities have more opportunity to come together. I believe passionately our bishops should ALL be at Lambeth working out how to move our Communion forward, to further the Gospel and show Christ to the world.

I know many bishops in England who do not agree with everything other bishops say, or do not agree with some of the things they have done, but are committed to being together, to pray together, and to seek to demonstrate Christian love to their flocks. I commend them for their leadership and Godly example. It is in marked contrast to some bishops at GAFCON who refused to condemn violence against gay people in their home countries. Quite honestly that is disgraceful, it sullies their cause, and is totally un-Christian. You cannot justify violence in God's name. Period.
(My emphasis)

Amen to that!

Link to the Ekklesia article from The Lead at the Episcopal Café.


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...


Rmj said...

I've written about this before (somewhere in the archives), but given conditions in Nigeria (dreadful, in a word) I've always wondered why Akinola was so worked up about gay bishops, or gays in general.

Obviously, to distract attention, I figured. Why the rest of the church isn't telling him to tend his own garden, which is in such disarray, is beyond me.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Why didn't the Archbishop of Canterbury tell Akinola this a long time ago? Now the ABC is having to tend to his own garden, with rebellion in the ranks and hierarchy on both sides. Perhaps, he'll stop pointing his finger at the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada for a spell.

Lapinbizarre said...

The Church Army had a strongly Evangelical bent in the past. Apparently it still does. Strikes me as significant that a head of the organization from an age group not brought up to demonize homosexuality would react in this manner. Among other things he will have seen the havoc wrought in the lives of teenagers thrown on the streets by parents who rejected them.

Damian Thompson, the "Telegraph's" conservative gadfly RC columnist (conservative, informative and often very funny) is predicting that at least one C of E bishop will head for Rome in the near future.

From earlier Thompson posts I believe he may be referring to Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet, one of the two C of E "flying bishops" ministering to opponents of female ordination. Burnham, you may recall, is a bête noir of MP's.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Bishop Nazir-Ali, of Rochester in the UK, will not attend Lambeth. And then, of course, there was the uproar over the blessing of a same-sex couple's civil ceremony at St. Bartholomew the Great in London by the Rev. Martin Dudley. Troubles here, troubles there, troubles everywhere for the ABC.

Lapin, you're right. The younger generations coming up are not nearly as focused on sexual orientation as their elders.

I can't possibly keep track of all of MadPriest's bêtes noirs.

Jan said...

Thank you for posting this. Good for Mark Russell. I'll follow that link now. Thanks.

johnieb said...

I may disagree with Mark Russell about nearly everything--I think it likely--but I have no problem with him or his witness to the Gospel.

Tim Chesterton said...

I've been a member of the Church Army in Canada since 1978 - I served as a lay minister with them for 12 years before my ordination - and I was surprised, and pleased, to see Mark Russell speaking out like this. Lapin is right - CA has a strong Evangelical bent. But I know Mark isn't alone in his views. Frankly, as an evangelical myself, I'm disgusted - and embarrassed - that people who call themselves evangelicals would refuse to condemn violence against gays and lesbians. Perhaps if more people like Mark would speak out, others might begin to see that all evangelicals aren't evil.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Hear! Hear!

Tim, I never thought all evangelicals were evil. I've found it easy to talk to you even about the issues we may disagree on, but take a look at this discussion at Doorman-Priest's blog, and you can see why I get exasperated with evangelicals at times. It's hard to have a civil discussion with someone tells you that you are damned to hell. I dropped out of the discussion, because I was getting too angry.

Tim Chesterton said...

I see what you mean. A bit trying, I agree.

Mind you, I've been called a Nazi a few times, too (at least by association)...

Doorman-Priest said...

You don't have to listen to others when you are right.

Paul Martin said...

Mimi, your title says it all. This should be the key issue at Lambeth. It is Akinola who belongs in the dock.

Father David Heron said...

Fr Ken Leech has a letter in today's Church Times (LONDON) in which he asserts that hundreds of same-sex blessing have taken place in the Church of England for years.
Rowan Williams has had a three-fold approach to gay clergy :
1 to encourage concealment
2 to reward successful concealment with promotion
3 to abandon to the "gutter press" those who did not manage such concealment.
As Fr Leech says: So much for "The Truth will set you free"

Tobias Haller said...

Real evangelicals rejoice in the abundant grace of Christ, and don't worry about who's in and who's out. I've known a few CA folks in my day, and all of them were real evangelicals. Any evangelical who says someone else is damned is preaching a false gospel and will be judged by exactly the same standard he or she applies. The good news is that we are saved by Christ, not our own works -- and that includes works of repentance (about which the entire Gospel of John is silent -- in case you wonder why it forms the substance of the Lambeth bible study...)

Grandmère Mimi said...

Paul, the "sins" of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada seem small in comparison.

Fr Heron, I tried to read the letter, but - alas! - it's available to subscribers only. Thanks for your précis. I knew that, but it's interesting to see it laid out. Don't ask, don't tell - like the stupid US military policy

Tobias, thanks. I had not worked out the reason for the use of John for the Lambeth Bible study.