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Nigerian Archbishop Praises Church of England Evangelicals; Condemns Welby

Nigerian Archbishop Praises Church of England Evangelicals; Condemns Welby
Okoh says unbiblical sexual practices in CofE could lead to split in the Communion

By David W. Virtue in Morocco
February 7, 2018

GAFCON chairman and Nigerian Archbishop Nicholas Okoh praised the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) for their recent document 'Gospel, Church & Marriage: Preserving Apostolic Faith and Life,' at the same time condemning the Church of England's senior leadership for being unable to resist the pressure to compromise with a highly secular culture.

He said it is a sign of hope that evangelical leaders are able to come together in this way.

"We cannot truly promote the gospel if we are not also careful to preserve it from distortion or dilution."

Okoh said the CEEC affirmed that biblical and apostolic teaching on marriage and sexuality is not a secondary matter over which we can agree to disagree, but is essential to the integrity of the Church's witness and to Christian discipleship. As the New Testament shows, 'the apostles had to guard the Church's distinctive boundaries on matters of both doctrine and ethics, including sexual morality'.

"The [CEEC] statement insists that this does not in any way narrow the inclusivity of the gospel message, but to retain the integrity of that message. The Church of England 'should not accept teaching or affirm behavior--whether implicitly or explicitly--which contradicts or undermines the boundaries laid down by apostolic teaching and practice'. Where such teaching is accepted there needs to be 'visible differentiation', a distancing so that the Church is 'able to offer a faithful and coherent witness to a confused and needy world'.

The Nigerian Primate urged Church of England leaders to take courage and act on these words and said they had a "great responsibility" as members of the Mother Church of the Communion.

Okoh then warned, "you have a great responsibility. We will pray for you and stand with you, but we cannot stand for you."

"If you do not act, sexual practices and gender identities which represent a radical rejection of God's will and purpose will become entrenched and lead to a tragic separation from the great majority of the Communion."

Okoh said it was paramount that the Bible be restored to the heart of our life together so that our Anglican identity can be shaped and ordered by God's Word.

"There is much in our shared history that we can thank God for, but that alone will not hold us together in the present. In a globalized world, GAFCON's vision is to see the full potential of our Communion realized as faithful Anglicans from every nation, race and culture unite in a clear, confident and joyful witness to Jesus Christ who makes all things new."


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