The consecration of openly gay Gene Robinson sparked Anglican divisions
Over three hundred traditionalist Anglican bishops have committed themselves to the principle that marriage can only be between a woman and a man.
Almost half the world’s 700 or so Anglican bishops met in Nairobi, Kenya last week for the second Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON).
GAFCON first took place in 2008 in response to what conservative Anglicans called the “false gospel” advocating “a variety of sexual preferences and immoral behaviour as a universal human right”.
In his opening address at the conference, the Most Rev Dr Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya and GAFCON Chairman, warned that “there are powerful and well funded organisations working to see Kenya and other African nations adopt the same values which are causing so much havoc to faith and family and society in the West…”
Painting the divisions between Anglicans as being between the West and “Africa and the Global South,” he added that, “We cannot stand by passively as the cause of Christ is attacked and undermined. We are in a spiritual battle…”
African churches have been among the most vocal of the Anglican churches in opposing the acceptance of same-sex marriage and gay and female clergy.
The conference concluded with a statement in which the bishops re-committed themselves to the principle that “marriage is a life-long exclusive union between a man and a woman”.
They went on to “exhort all people to work and pray for the building and strengthening of healthy marriages and families. For this reason, we oppose the secular tide running in favour of cohabitation and same-sex marriage”.
Despite their hardline stance, the bishops said that they were not planning to break away and would “continue to work within the Anglican Communion for its renewal and reform”.
However, Anglican Bishop of Enugu Diocese and chairman of the South-east chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Bishop Emmanuel Chukwuma, told Nigeria’s This Day that an official split was in fact possible.
“Yes we will secede because if you look at Ephesians chapter 5 verse 5, we don’t have anything to do with those who are already becoming disobedient. So why should we joke with unbelievers. We love them but we hate their sins, if they don’t repent, they go their way, we go our way,” he said.
The divisions within the Anglican Communion first emerged following the controversial consecration of openly gay Gene Robinson as the Bishop of New Hampshire in the United States in 2003.