Monday, August 27, 2007

To Nigerian Synods on the Journey towards Lambeth 2008

It's worth taking a step back and remembering that the Akinola/Minns letter is addressed "to Nigerian Synods on the Journey towards Lambeth 2008." Many of us taken the letter to be intended for a wider audience. But what if we take it at face value that the letter is intended for the Nigerian Synods? The polemic -- for that is what it is, not a balanced litany of events leading up to Lambeth 2008 -- then is a piece of proganda aimed at stirring up sentiment against The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. At the same time access to information in Nigeria is limited relative to our experience. In short, Akinola seeks to pull the wool other the eyes of the Nigerians synods. He needs to in order to strengthen his base of support in Nigeria.

Yet who is actually writing this polemic to Africans? Martyn Minns.

When Akinola speaks for himself he sounds like this:
Let me also say this: that in our human existence in this world, there was a time Africans were slaves; but we came out of it. But what again followed? Political slavery, under colonial administration. Somehow, we came out of it. Then economic slavery: World Bank, IMF would tell you what to do with your money and your own resources. Now, it is spiritual slavery and we have to resist this. They had us as human slaves, political slaves and economic slaves. They want to come for spiritual slaves. Now we won’t accept it.
Why then does he need Martyn Minns to speak to Church of Nigeria? It smacks of reliance on western advisors, doesn't it?

Also look at what The Rev. Samson N. Gitau has to say in the Living Church. I am most interested in these excerpts:
The colonization of Africa also featured the entry of missionaries evangelizing the new-found world.
Even though the missionaries preached love for one another, they did not practice what they preached. As the saying goes, the missionaries “preached water, but drank wine.” This was figuratively as well as literally true. The missionaries also were reluctant to include the indigenous converts in the church leadership. In Kenya, for instance, the first Anglican assistant bishops were consecrated in 1955, more than half a century after Christianity had reached inland.
The missionaries’ reluctance to obey the word of God they preached, and their reluctance to include indigenous converts in church leadership led to the formation and proliferation of the so-called independent African churches. These churches broke away from the mainline churches. The locally founded churches coined new names that gave them their African identity such as “the African Brotherhood Church.”

So for the Global South, the saying is true, “once bitten, twice shy.” It must therefore not be a surprise to see the strong reactions from Global South Christians to Western revisionism.
Yet the actions of Akinola are to put more faith in foreign advisors than indigenous bishops, to turn away from the gospel of love, and to threaten to break away from the Anglican Communion.

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