Powerful secularising spirit challenging church, warns Anglican leader
Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya, the chair of the Primates Council of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, addressed the conference of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans on Human Rights, the Bible and AIDS in Durban South Africa on Friday November 4th. He said his role as chairman was to visit and share with faithful Anglicans and his vision was for FCA to create a strong spiritual movement in the entire Anglican Communion.
He spoke of the challenge facing the Christian church of a “powerful secularising spirit in the whole world that says ‘Leave me alone to life my life’ and wants to make God irrelevant”. His vision was for the FCA to be like the East African Revival which did not remain in one denomination. “From communities of faith we can testify to the power of Jesus in our lives”. He continued: “We are not going to create another church. We want to renew this church from within and welcome back those who have fallen without”.
He urged: “We cannot remain orthodox without love and you cannot love if you do not remain rooted in the faith. Otherwise our human sympathies will sweep us away with the waves and the tides. When you talk of orthodoxy you should not be confused with someone who is unloving and unexciting. Who expressed the life of truth and love better than Jesus?”
He said that the Primates of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa would be meeting in February to address the Zimbabwean situation and ensure it should not happen again in any other part of Africa.
Rev Nigel Juckes of the New Wine Leadership team in South Africa said “I cannot say how much it means for us that you have come to acknowledge us”. Rev Gavin Mitchell, the secretary of FCA Southern Africa said: “Everywhere I meet someone who used to be an Anglican. We cannot bleed Anglicans any longer. Many of us feel we are almost lost. So your visit is entirely encouraging.”
Noting that the world was increasingly dominated by the struggle for human rights since the human dignity movement arose after the second world war as a response to the holocaust, Canon Vinay Samuel of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life noted that now subjective rights were demanded which did not derive from natural or divine law.
He said that “People are increasingly taking freedoms and turning them into rights and demanding that governments and other institutions supply them. People think they are free to define themselves, present that self-definition to the world and require the world to affirm that definition even if they morally disapprove. “ If people do not supply those demands as they are defined, then those people are penalised.
“I cannot supply what you demand if it goes against my freedom to believe that you are wrong” is the reply he suggested should be made. “You are demanding more than freedom in demanding that that I supply your rights and so undermine my freedom.”
Dermot O’Callaghan, a member of the Church of Ireland General Synod, surveyed the battle against AIDS in which he demonstrated how an end to multiple sexual partners would bring an end to the epidemic. He also critiqued a report in the Anglican Communion’s book on Sexuality edited by Philip Groves on the Nature/Nurture debate. He argued that same-sex attraction was a choice, not entirely of people’s own making and due to environmental but not biological factors.
Archbishop Wabukala closed the conference by commissioning the leadership of FCA Southern Africa.: “We hold this faith for the sake of our future and our children and the glory of God. Remain faithful to the gospel. Organise your prayer life together. Ask God to renew the lives of your churches, your families and the nation.”
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