African Anglicans Reject Western Theological Training

The African Anglican bishops meeting in the first continental conference said they may consider building their own theological education to protect their young from the liberal ideas of the ‘North’
( [email protected] ) Oct 27, 2004 02:29 PM EDT

The heads of the African Anglican Church announced on Monday their plans to establish their own seminaries to protect their young priests from the liberal ideas of the North.

"It is important to establish our own training institution in an environment conducive to Africans themselves," Kenyan Bishop Julius Kalu said.

The announcement, which was made at the eve of the first Africa Anglican Bishops Conference in history, was largely a response to the American Anglican church (the Episcopal Church USA)’s liberal stance on the issue of homosexuality.

"I was trained in the United States myself, but now I realise whatever I learnt there is difficult for me to apply here," the bishop continued.

The Chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), bishop Peter Akinola, agreed that the African Anglicans needed to develop their own theology.

"You now have on campus men and men cohabiting, which is against the Africa way of life," Bishop Akinola said. "The Western world is embroiled in a new religion which we cannot associate ourselves with."

The African Anglican church, with the exception of the Anglican archdiocese of South Africa, clashed with the ECUSA since November of 2003, when the ECUSA elected an openly gay bishop. Following the ordination of the gay bishop Gene Robinson, the African bishops cut off all ties with the ECUSA – including financial ties. According to the ECUSA, “western Anglican” donate almost three-quarters of the funds used by CAPA. Africans also rejected missionaries from the West.

Anglican leaders such as Akinola say that homosexuality is an “abomination” that goes against both the culture of Christ and the culture of Africa. They explained that should Anglican leaders in Africa condone homosexuality, many of the church members will leave the church or turn to Islam.

Despite the heavy weight of the homosexuality issue, Akinola stressed that the bishops’ meeting, slated for Oct. 27-Nov. 2 in Lagos, Nigeria, will not be dominated by sexuality. Rather, Akinola explained that the 300 African bishops at the Conference will discuss the more urgent issues at hand, such as war, disease, poverty and the role of women in religion and society.

The gathering, which has been planned since 2001, will follow the theme “Africa Comes of Age.”