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Same-sex marriage: US-based Nigerian Anglican Bishop faults Canterbury

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The Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the West and Coordinating Bishop of the Church of Nigeria North American Mission, Bishop Felix Orji, has disagreed with the position of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Justin Welby, on permitting same-sex marriage in the Church, stating that the Archbishop’s “statement is useless for use by conservatives in the Anglican Communion.”

Maintaining that the Bible clearly teaches that marriage is for one man and one woman, Orji stated that the confusion that Welby’s position brings to the Church is as a result of “refusing to follow the clear teaching of Scripture on this issue of human sexuality and marriage.”

Orji stated, “This statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury on Lambeth 1:10 is a classic example of a non-committal affirmation of the validity (read EXISTENCE) thereof. It is intentionally ambiguous so that his statement is useless for use by conservatives in the Anglican Communion.

“So, based on what he has written, Archbishop Welby is not really committed to Lambeth 1:10 and he believes that the orthodox stance of Lambeth 1:10 on sex and marriage is injurious to the unity of the Anglican Communion. Hence his letter is vague and intended to accommodate everyone but ended up obfuscating the truth.

“The Bible is much clearer on the issue — marriage is for one man and one woman and that is the only context for sexual activity. It’s that simple. The confusion and hurt in the Anglican Communion are the results of refusing to follow the clear teaching of Scripture on this issue of human sexuality and marriage.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, had, on Tuesday, written to all of the bishops of the Anglican Communion ahead of the Lambeth Conference.

In his letter, Welby had stressed that “‘all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation are full members of the Body of Christ’ and to be welcomed, cared for, and treated with respect,” quoting Lambeth 1:10.

The letter read: “Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

“Lambeth Conference 2022: God’s Church for God’s World – Listening, walking, and witnessing together

“As the Lambeth Conference continues, I give thanks to God for our time together, online and in person, and I express again my sadness that not all Anglican Bishops and spouses are participating. Above all, I feel this gathering is affirming that we belong to one another in Jesus Christ and that as Anglicans we are called to share his Good News with a world in need — across a great diversity of cultures and contexts.

May God’s Holy Spirit inspire and empower us to share Christ’s love with all those we are called to serve in the challenging years ahead.

“I wanted to write this letter to you now so that I can clarify two matters for all of us. Given the deep differences that exist within the Communion over same-sex marriage and human sexuality, I thought it important to set down what is the case. I write, therefore, to affirm that the validity of the resolution passed at the Lambeth Conference 1998, 1:10 is not in doubt and that the whole resolution is still in existence.

“Indeed, the Call on Human Dignity made clear this is the case, as the resolution is quoted three times in paragraph 2.3 of the Call on Human Dignity.

“The Call states that many Provinces – and I think we need to acknowledge it’s the majority – continue to affirm that same-gender marriage is not permissible. The Call also states that other provinces have blessed and welcomed same-sex union/marriage, after careful theological reflection and a process of reception.

“In that way, the Call states the reality of life in Communion today. There is no mention of sanctions, or exclusion, in 1.10 1998. There is much mention of pastoral care. We have a plurality of views. As Lambeth 1.10 also states: ‘all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation are full members of the Body of Christ’ and to be welcomed, cared for, and treated with respect (I.10, 1998).

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