Saturday, 6 March 2021

The agreed teaching of the Anglican Communion on sexual orientation

He leads the Anglican Communion

The Archbishop of Canterbury fills four main roles in the Anglican Communion, as diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury, as the metropolitan archbishop of the Province of Canterbury, as the senior primate and chief religious figure of the Church of England, and as the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, though without legal authority outside England, by convention is recognised as the first amongst equals of all Anglican primates worldwide.

In that capacity, he can speak for all Anglicans in England and worldwide. The position whilst ecumenical with interfaith ramifications and political as it might appear is significant and the utterances of the Archbishop whilst well-considered are of great import to all Anglicans.

Words that dehumanise

I return to the Statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury regarding comments by the Primate of Nigeria published yesterday, to highlight a particularly forceful comment made by the Archbishop of Canterbury that I hope the Primate of Nigeria will take into consideration and reflect on deeply, if he decides to provide a public response in due course. [Archbishop of Canterbury: Statement]

I completely disagree with and condemn this language. It is unacceptable. It dehumanises those human beings of whom the statement speaks.

The Archbishop was unequivocal in that he disagreed, condemned, and found unacceptable what the Primate of Nigeria says clearly indicating that there can be no tolerance of the dehumanisation of other human beings, no matter what a religious leader believes or what they might think motivates them.

Baptised, believing and faithful members

Whilst the Anglican Communion may agree on matters of doctrine, the liturgy and sacraments amongst the many aspects of doctrine that governs the expression of faith, the service of the church is to humanity, to reach and to heal, to bless and to lift out of distress, to give life and humanise, to succour, and to care.

It would appear that even amongst leaders of the Anglican Communion, some might need to be reminded of that and how their use of language lacks the mind of Christ or the Christian spirit. At once, the Archbishop of Canterbury points the Primate of Nigeria to the fact that he has deviated from the agreed teaching of the Anglican Communion, that “all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.

Reflect on your words

Consequently, if the Primate of Nigeria has a problem with the agreed teaching of the Anglican Communion, he might want to reflect on his position, his ministry, and what purpose he serves in the church.

For all the hurt many of us have suffered as the hands of the church and many who profess to be men of God, we are grateful to those in the church who have welcomed us to fellowship with them out of love and their humanity rather than in judgement and vitriolic un-Christlike dehumanising condemnation.

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