Photo Credit: The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has criticised the “unacceptable” language used to describe homosexual people by the Primate of Nigeria. In addition, Archbishop Justin has written to Archbishop Henry Ndukuba to remind him of the full Lambeth Conference 1998 Resolution I.10, which, while restating a traditional view of Christian marriage, also condemned homophobic actions or words.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement was issued in response to an open letter published last Friday (26 February) by Archbishop Henry Ndukuba, which referred to “the deadly ‘virus’ of homosexuality”. Archbishop Henry’s letter said that “[homosexuality] is likened to a yeast that should be urgently and radically expunged and excised lest it affects the whole dough”; and stated that “secular governments are adopting [an] aggressive campaign for global homosexual culture.”
In his statement today, Archbishop Justin said: “I completely disagree with and condemn this language. It is unacceptable. It dehumanises those human beings of whom the statement speaks.
“I have written privately to His Grace The Archbishop to make clear that this language is incompatible with the agreed teaching of the Anglican Communion (expressed most clearly, albeit in unsuitable language for today, in paragraphs c and d of resolution I.10 of the Lambeth Conference 1998). This resolution both restated a traditional view of Christian marriage and was clear in its condemnation of homophobic actions or words. It affirmed that ‘all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.’”
Archbishop Justin continued: “The Anglican Communion continues to seek to walk together amidst much difference and through many struggles. I urge all Christians to join me in continuing prayer for the people and churches of Nigeria as they face economic hardship, terrorist attacks, religious-based violence and insecurity.
“The mission of the church is the same in every culture and country: to demonstrate, through its actions and words, that God’s offer of unconditional love to every human being through Jesus Christ calls us to holiness and hope.”
- The full text of the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution I.10 states:
- commends to the Church the subsection report on human sexuality;
- in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage;
- recognises that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God's transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships. We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ;
- while rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture, calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals, violence within marriage and any trivialisation and commercialisation of sex;
- cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions;
- requests the Primates and the ACC to establish a means of monitoring the work done on the subject of human sexuality in the Communion and to share statements and resources among us;
- notes the significance of the Kuala Lumpur Statement on Human Sexuality and the concerns expressed in resolutions IV.26, V.1, V.10, V.23 and V.35 on the authority of Scripture in matters of marriage and sexuality and asks the Primates and the ACC to include them in their monitoring process.