Nigerian primate accused of being a puppet of Western conservatives
The war of words over sexuality and authority within world Anglicanism stepped up a notch today, with controversial Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola - who many believe wishes to take over from the Archbishop of Canterbury as the focal figure in the 77-million strong church - standing accused of having a major document written for him by Western conservatives.
The charge will hit hard, because Archbishop Akinola and his allies frequently accuse those who believe in a church inclusive of lesbian and gay people of "compromising the Gospel to corrupt Western culture".
Their opponents say that the voices of African, Asian and other two-thirds world Christians are being suppressed by organised conservatives and fundamentalists funded from the West, and that attempts to use ant-colonial rhetoric to support equality within the Christian churches is "bogus".
On Sunday 19 August 2007 the Church of Nigeria published a letter from Archbishop Akinola to the Nigerian Synods entitled “A Most Agonizing Journey towards Lambeth 2008“ - referring to next year's gathering of worldwide Anglican bishops.
Colin Coward, Director of the inclusive church pressure group Changing Attitude England, commented at the time: “Analysis of the text and comparison with Archbishop Akinola’s interview in The Guardian, Lagos, published 30 July 2007 suggests that, like most of the publications from Abuja, this was written for the Archbishop by his conservative American secessionist friends. It is dishonest. It misrepresents church history and the recent history of the Anglican Communion.”
This analysis has now been confirmed, says CA, by an article in today’s Church Times, 24 August 2007.
It confirms the suspicion, Changing Attitude suggests, that many of the documents and press releases issued by the Church of Nigeria and Archbishop Peter Akinola have their origin in or are heavily edited by Bishop Martyn Minns, Canon Chris Sugden, Canon David Anderson and other Western conservatives.
The Ekklesia coverage builds on coverage offered by The Daily Episcopalian, Fr. Jake Stops the World, and Thinking Anglicans.