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2020 Lambeth Conference is Obstacle to the Gospel - Nigerian Primate

2020 Lambeth Conference is Obstacle to the Gospel - Nigerian Primate
Okoh warns against attending the 2020 Lambeth Conference as currently constituted

By David W. Virtue, DD
www.virtueonline.org
February 11, 2019

The Lambeth Conference of 2020 is an obstacle to the gospel because it embraces teaching and a pattern of life which are profoundly at odds with the biblical witness and apostolic Christianity through the ages, says Nigerian Primate Nicholas Okoh.

Writing in his February letter to GAFCON followers who make up more than 80% of the Anglican Communion, the chairman said the Church is prey to "fierce wolves". St. Paul warns the Ephesian elders to beware of, even those who arise from within the Church and speak "twisted things".

Okoh, who heads the largest province in the Anglican Communion, cited the Archbishop of Canterbury's newly appointed envoy to the Vatican, who had a history of disputing core Christian doctrine, including a widely circulated video in which he calls for people to be 'set free' from belief in a physical resurrection.

"Dr. John Shepherd has responded by issuing a statement which apparently affirms belief that Jesus was raised bodily, but has not repudiated his previous statements to the contrary. Such confusion is itself an obstacle to the gospel," said Okoh.

"We have also learned with deep concern that the Assistant Bishop of Toronto, Kevin Robertson, entered into a same sex union using the marriage service in St James' Cathedral, Toronto. This step by the Anglican Church of Canada underlines the urgency of our advice in the Jerusalem 2018 'Letter to the Churches' warning against attending the 2020 Lambeth Conference as currently constituted. For the first time assistant bishops and their spouses will be invited, so we can expect that Bishop Robertson and his partner will be attending and received in good standing."

Over two hundred bishops did not come to Lambeth 2008 as a matter of conscience because Archbishop Rowan Williams invited the TEC bishops who had approved the consecration in 2003 of Gene Robinson, a man in a same sex partnership, against the clearly stated mind of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, said Okoh. Even Archbishop Williams did not invite Gene Robinson himself on the grounds that he reserved the right not to invite bishops who had caused very serious division or scandal.

"But now it seems to be considered that a bishop can be married to a same-sex partner in a cathedral, by another bishop, and yet remain in good standing. I strongly commend Professor Stephen Noll's article 'Taking Sweet Council Together' in which he shows how true Christian fellowship is not only a joy, but also a responsibility and must be based on true doctrine. Without that discipline, the Church is prey to the 'fierce wolves' St Paul warns the Ephesian elders to beware of, even those who arise from within the Church and speak 'twisted things' (Acts 20:29,30)."

"We will not take part in anything that makes our Anglican Communion an obstacle to the gospel. Instead, let us press forward to fulfil the great aim we affirmed at the first GAFCON in 2008, to give clear and certain witness to Jesus Christ."

As things now stand, most of the African provinces will not be attending Lambeth 2020, including bishops from South America and many from Southeast Asia.

END

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