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CAIRO: Egyptian Anglican Archbishop Says Anglican Communion must stay Faithful despite False Teachings

CAIRO: Egyptian Anglican Archbishop Says Anglican Communion must stay Faithful despite False Teachings
Same-Sex Marriage repudiated as fundamental departure from the faith
We are not homophobic when we reject unbiblical views on human sexuality, says Global South chairman
PHOTO: Michal Adel

By David W. Virtue in Cairo
www.virtueonline.org
October 3, 2016

Among the major challenges we face as a church are the false teachings which some churches are now adopting and propagating. These teachings undermine the authority of the Scripture, the majority interpretation of the texts and the tradition of the church, said Egyptian Archbishop Mouneer Anis in his opening address to more than 150 Anglican leaders at a Global South Conference in All Saint's Cathedral - Cairo, last night.

"An example of this is the redefining of marriage by either permitting same-sex marriage or by indirect approval of it through prayers of blessing," he said.

"The Primates at their meeting in Canterbury last January said this was 'a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces on the doctrine of marriage.' Lambeth Conference resolution 1:10 represents this standard teaching that is held by the majority of the Provinces of the Anglican Church, which recognizes marriage only between man and woman."

The Archbishop said this did not mean we are homophobic when we reject the unbiblical views on human sexuality. Similarly, it does not mean that we are heterophobic when we reject polygamy.

"We should love, embrace, and pastorally care for everyone but without compromising the teaching which is accepted by the majority in the Church. The whole truth is revealed to the whole church. Unfortunately, unilateral decisions taken by a few provinces have torn the fabric of the communion over the last 13 years."

Anis said that every effort was made to save the communion, but sadly some provinces went on their own way without any regard to warnings from the rest of the communion.

WEST USES WEALTH TO PUSH ITS AGENDA

"It is sad indeed that some western churches and organizations use their wealth and influence to push their own agendas in the Global South.

"I see this as a new form of ideological slavery. We need to be aware of this, and resist all kinds of slavery, whether financial or ideological.

"We, too, in the Global South have our own weaknesses and challenges as well. Polygamy, tribalism, corruption, and harsh treatment of women denote the lack of sound Christian teaching and theological formation. This requires from us serious attention and hard work.

FALSE TEACHING AND PERSECUTION

"We need to deal with the false teaching of the prosperity gospel - Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons, which are spreading especially in Africa. Unless we promote theological education, we will not be able to combat these false teachings. Other challenges that the church faces today are persecution, religious restrictions, the use of violence in the name of religion, and terrorism. In response to this, we need to follow the examples of those saints who were ready to sacrifice their lives for the sake of Christ.

The Egyptian Archbishop said Egypt has succeeded to a great deal in fighting terrorism. "We feel much safer now than three years ago. Poverty is also a major challenge in the Global South. 1.2 billion people live on less than 1.9 U.S. dollars per day. In this regard, we need to encourage our people to get rid of the spirit of dependency on Western foreign aid. We also need to encourage NGOs to promote micro and moderate businesses to overcome poverty. It is also important for us to deal with health issues as well as education in order to tackle the problem of poverty in a more comprehensive way.

Let me share with you some alarming statistics:

● 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS.

● Africans account for 90% of victims of malaria worldwide.

● 1.1 billion people in the Global South do not have access to clean water. 2.6 billion lack access to basic sanitation.

● 1.8 million child deaths occur every year due to diarrhea.

● 2.2 million child deaths occur every year due to lack of immunizations.

● 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM.

● 75% of the world's illiterate people are located in South Asia, the Middle East, and sub-Saharan African.

● Women make up 67% of illiterate people around the world. We cannot turn a deaf ear as we hear these figures. Jesus sent us to the world in order to heal the sick, feed the hungry, and bring peace and reconciliation and to proclaim the Kingdom of God. In other words, we need to actively engage with our societies in order to proclaim the "better life" which we find in Jesus Christ. In addition to what I mentioned before, there is another major crisis in regard to refugees.

● The Civil War in Syria has led to over 4.8 million refugees being forced to flee the country.

● Wars in South Sudan and Somalia are forcing similar numbers of refugees out of their countries.

● Many other refugees are economic migrants who risk their lives in order to find a job.

● 80% of human trafficking victims are women. 50% are children.

"We cannot just watch this human misery and do nothing. We have to be involved in peacemaking where there is conflicts, provide health where there is sickness and bring hope where there is despair.

"We spent almost two decades reacting to the unilateral decisions and changes in the theology and practice made by some churches in the West. Now it is time for us to also give needful attention to the challenges that are before us in the Global South. We cannot continue to focus on the faults of others while neglecting the needs of our own people. The mission in front of us is huge as we are to advance the good news and build up new generations, rooted in Christ and established in the faith.

"It is also important to learn a lesson from the crisis which the Anglican Communion went through in order to avoid similar problems in the future. To achieve this, we need to have a theological framework that binds us together. This could be in the form of a Statement of Faith or a Covenant that we all accept and subscribe to.

"We also need to have a strong structure that guarantees the sustainability of our ministries in the Global South. My dear brothers and sisters, our own unity is very important in this stage. Without unity, we cannot face these major challenges. I hope that our conference will be fruitful and brings hope to our people and the whole church of Christ. Finally, let me end with the words of Jesus: "As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work." John 9:4."

The conference included leaders of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Armenian churches, as well as an Islamic scholar from Al Azhar University.

ISLAMIC SCHOLAR SPEAKS OUT

A leading Imam scholar from the University of Al Azhar spoke and said the Torah and the New Testament "is light to people." He said that freedom of religion is allowed by the Koran. "There is no compulsion in religion. History does not record us choosing between death and the Koran. We have lived peacefully with other religions and intermarriage is allowed with other peoples. Islam is built on justice, liberty and freedom for all human beings. Islam through the Koran can make people change. We do not allow people to be living in conflict. We are related as male and female, and tribes and nations can live at peace and know each other. People should build societies together. There are multi relationships (meaning marriage) between communities. We can live in peace and dignity."

The Sunni legal scholar from the university represented the thoughts of the Grand Imam of Egypt.

The following is a pdf file of the archbishop's address:
http://www.virtueonline.org/dropbox/images/2016/10-October/Mouneer%20GS%20Address2.pdf

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