Monday, September 21, 2009

Breaking News: New Anglican Primate of Nigeria Also Believes in Evangelism!

Archbishop Peter Akinola, primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria for the past 10 years, is retiring and his successor, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, was recently elected. The Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria is the head of the largest province in the Anglican Communion and thus a key figure in the on-going reform of the Communion. Akinola was reviled by Western liberals because he was a truely post-colonial figure, that is, a man who refused to be cowed by Westerners whose faith had faded into cultural accomodation. He saw the role of the largest province in the Communion as being a leadership role, rather than being content to take orders from New York and Canterbury.

So the world has been waiting to see what kind of leader would follow Akinola. Would he be one who would be more "reasonable," that is, one who would be less willing to challenge the entrenched and wealthy power structures of the Communion? Would he be more "politically correct" and less oriented to evangelism? Would he be more open to Westerners re-defining the Gospel for Africans?

The answer to all these questions is clearly "No." So the predictable attacks have begun. Ruth Gledhill leads off in the Times of London with a story on a sermon preached by Okah when he was in England for the launch of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in July. [My comments in red in square brackets.]

Muslims mass-producing children to take over Africa, says Archbishop
Ruth Gledhill

One of the most powerful figures in the Anglican Church believes that Africa is under attack from Islam and that Muslims are “mass-producing” children to take over communities on the continent. [The fact that Gledhill sees this as the most controversial and newsworthy statement in the sermon already betrays her nervousness about potential infractions of political correctness.]

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, 56, was elected Primate of Nigeria last week and his elevation could exacerbate tensions at a time when Anglicans are working to build bridges with Muslims. Dr Michael Nazir-Ali resigned as Bishop of Rochester earlier this year to work in countries where Islam is the majority religion. [Nazir-Ali isn't going on an Obama-like world apology tour. He is going there to strengthen the persecuted church.]

Nigeria is split almost half and half between Christianity and Islam. There are about 17 million practising Anglicans in the country, but they face persecution in the north, while the two faiths vie with local religions for supremacy in the rest of the country.

Archbishop Okoh made his controversial comments [Just think about this: to say that Islam is pushing for dominance in Africa is a controversial statement. It seems to me to be as straightforward a fact as "Africa is hot." What Muslim would deny it or want to deny it? This could only be controversial to the decadent, politically correct, liberal, Western mind. For everyone else it is a fact of life.] about Islam in a sermon in Beckenham, Kent, in July. He said that there was a determined Islamic attack in African countries such as Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda.

They spend a lot of money, even in places where they don’t have congregations, they build mosques, they build hospitals, they build anything.

“They come to Africans and say, ‘Christianity is asking you to marry only one wife. We will give you four!’ ” Archbishop Okoh described this as “evangelism by mass-production”. [This is the statement referred to in the headline. Archbishop Okah sounds like he is against polygamy. Muslims in Africa are for it. Why does Gledhill label this "controversial"? What is "controversial" anyway? Factually innacurate? Impolite? True, but we must not say it out loud lest we offend someone? It is a weasel word.]

He said: “That is the type of evangelism they are doing: mass-production, so if you have four wives, four children, sixteen children, very soon you will be a village.”

Africa was “surrounded by Islamic domination,” he said, and he urged Christians to speak out now or lose the authority to speak. “I am telling you, Islam is spending in Uganda and in other places, it is money from the Arab World,” he claimed, accusing Christians of abdicating their responsibilities. “Who is the leader in the Christian world? There is no leader.” [I'm not sure but is he here reprimanding the West, or at least the liberal Protestants, for letting the worldwide missionary movement of the 19th century slip into oblivion due to a growing lack of conviction in the truth of the Gospel? If so, he is right.]

One senior member of Britain’s Muslim community said: “The views presented by the Archbishop are extremist and overwhelmed by Islamophobia and his elevation will certainly foster misunderstanding and extremism. Knowing the communal geography of Nigeria, he will be a massive danger to community relations and cohesion in his country, besides places like London.” [Translation: This guy is a threat to our hegemony.]

Islamophobia: isn't it interesting how they have learned how to utilize the Western lingo of political correctness to beat on Christians with? Note too that Christians who believe in evangelism are "extremists." Now where do you suppose a Muslim would get that idea? Hmm. I wonder - couldn't be liberal Anglican theologians and bishops, could it? I can just hear the Nigerians saying "Thanks guys - big help." I wonder if he thinks that Muslims who proselytize in Africa are "extremists"?

No doubt Christians preaching the Gospel does lead to a lack of "cohesion" in Islamic dominated societies. There is no help for that. Religious freedom is inherent in the image of God: no human has the right to forbid another to worship the Triune God.

It must be pretty discouraging for Christians on the front lines of Islam-Christian rivalry to know that the liberal Christians in the West are more interested in appeasing Muslims than supporting their fellow Christians.

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