The call to the Nigerian church to repent
July 3, 2006, New York City) The Nigerian Anglican church has criticised a proposal from the archbishop of Canterbury for two-tier membership in the global Anglican fellowship, a plan aimed at keeping the group together despite differences over homosexuality and the Bible. The bishops who lead the 17.5 million-member Church of Nigeria announced their stand in their Web sites. The Nigerians insisted for total exclusion of the Episcopal Church calling it "A cancerous lump in the body should be excised if it has defied every known cure. To attempt to condition the whole body to accommodate it will lead to the avoidable death of the patient." In a provocative response, Nigeria's church plans to consecrate Canon Martyn Minns, rector of a prominent conservative parish in Fairfax, Va., as its bishop to lead a United States mission that serves Nigerians in America and others dissatisfied with the New York-based Episcopal Church.
Despite the "strong" Christian faith of the Nigerian Anglican Church, it has not influenced the national status and wealth remains poor with a GDP per head of only $692. Rich in natural resources being a leading petroleum producer and exporter, oil production is not to 100% capacity being mired by infrastructure and problems of corruption. The very strong moral face of the church may only be a mirage of a church that its no different from the society that in its in, full of outward morality but inward corruption. Nigeria is known for the 419 scams or advance fee fraud, a fraudulent scheme to extract money from victims after making them believe they will gain an immense fortune. The term "419" is based on the section it is written under in Nigerian law(section 419). The corruption in Nigeria even extended to cheating the American evangelist, Benny Hinn who left Nigeria in annoyance, saying $4million went down the drain in 3-day crusade. When the charismatic American evangelist, Dr. Benny Hinn arrived in Nigeria on April 28, he was looking forward to a crusade that would be attended by about six million people. He had already sunk $4million dollars into the 3-day crusade. Hypes and great expectations had heralded the coming of the world renowned healing evangelist to Africa’s most populous nation, but the organisers were reportedly scored very low by Hinn, who insinuated money business and told organisers that they got many things wrong. More was his anger when he learnt that the organisers collected N1,000 each from pastors who turned out to attend the Ministers Conference, which was part of the three-day programme.
The Global South led by the Nigerain and Singapore Anglican Churches appears to be privately delighted at the possibility that the Episcopal church might be kicked out and that Archbishop Rowan would do their bidding at last, not realizing that at the end, although the Nigerian Church has a superiority in numbers, they are many times poorer than the Episcopal church. With the slow process of consensus, by the time any decisions are made in the year 2008 or 2009, the ever increasing public support for Gays in Britain will mean than they would also have to come against the Aglican Communion in Britain as well. It is far more likely that the Global South will be forced to make a decision to stay or move out of the communion. We are reminded from the bible:
The Nigerian Church has no right to talk about morality and righteousness whilst the country is sending millions of emails everyday trying to "con" people out of their money. They have the audacity to talk about Gays as being sin despite no biblical foundation, yet fail to see and correct the obvious sins in the lives of the Nigerians cheating millions around the world and this has been on-going for 20 years much of it in persuasive religious language and an appeal to God.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams should be seriously dissassociating himself from the Nigerian Church as not to be implicated in its sinful actions. The churches of Nigeria’s support of the State’s proposed repression of homosexual freedoms of assembly and speech goes totally in opposition to the statement of the Lambeth Resolution 1.10 which read in part, “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...” On the contrary, on 26 Jan 2006, “The Anglican Church in Nigeria said it welcomes government decision to push for legislation to outlaw homosexuality. The government said it will introduce legislation to punish homosexuality by up to five years in jail and ban same-sex marriages.".
The first general meeting of a new network of lesbian and gay Christians took place in Nigeria in Nov 2005, defying harassment from the authorities and condemnation from church leaders. Around a thousand delegates were due to attend the gathering at the National Art Council in Abuja including 100 lesbian and 900 gay members of Anglican churches from every part of Nigeria. The meeting from 25-27 November 2005 constituted the largest gathering of lesbian and gay people ever held in Nigeria and the first gathering of gay Anglicans. Presentations were made by Davis Mac-Iyalla, convenor of the national network, and the Rev Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England.There were also calls for deepening the process of listening to lesbian and gay people.
In response, on 01 Jan 2006, the Anglican Church of Nigeria, announced that Davis Mac-Iyalla, convenor of the national gay network is no longer a member of the Communion. Mac-Iyalla is the Director of Changing Attitude of Nigeria (CAN), a group that is made up of gays and lesbians in the Anglican Communion in Nigeria. He was a former staffer of the Diocese of Otukpo. The Church has responded to the media portrayal of Mac-Iyalla as a being pushed out of the Anglican Church by alleging that he fled with large sums of money by defrauding a dying bishop. Obviously, this is a madeup allegation only coming after 3 years he left the diocese when he became a gay activist and totally unsubstantiated. For his activism, Mac-Iyalla has been beaten up and briefly imprisoned by Nigerian police, and viciously slandered by Akinola and his spokesman, Rev. Canon Akin Tunde Popoola. The church appears to be carnal after all.
The first love represents the love for people, the love for God and to preach the gospel. They have become religious, law minded, instead of remebering the grace and mercy of God that resulted in their first love. The lampstand represents the tangible presence and annointing of God, open heavens for the work of God and manifestation of the work of the Holy Spirit. Without the lampstand, the Holy Spirit would leave and the church becomes one of the letter of the law instead of the power of the resurrected Christ. The Nigerian Chruch have stood up for righteousness and was very firm against the liberal movement of the church. They have labored tirelessly for the gospel and have fought for the name of Christ with many being martyed. Yet at the end, they have fallen when they persecuted those who are hapless and in the minority, those that they have wrongly condemned and rejected hence closing the gates of heaven for gays not only in Nigeria but around the world. The window of heaven that was once open for revival is now slowly closing after each cry of self righteous insult against the gay community. The window of heaven cannot remained open to support such injustice and persecution. The call to the church of Nigeria is to repent, and to return to the calling to preach the gospel instead of being entangled in a self rigteous web of persecuting Gays. Once the lampstand is taken away, it seldom returns. The Church of Nigeria and the Global South is making the grace of God cheap by continuing to sin against gays but the God's grace and mercy is available for those who reprent from their sins before it is too late and the battle with the Islamic North is lost. The real battle has always been against the Islamic North and the fear by the church that if it relents on the gay issue, it will loose support. The church must learnt to fight not by fear but with wisdom and by the spirit of God. For the sake of the millions in the North of Nigeria, the church must stay on course and not be deceived by satan to fight another war at the wrong place and at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons that may see it loosing its mandate altogether.