Bishop of Ilesha Diocese of the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, Rt Rev Dapo Asaju has said it is time to reset the Anglican Church so it could break free from the whims and caprices of the State of England.
Asaju made the submission in an interview on the ACNN News monitored by Church Times Nigeria.
He spoke just after the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in Kigali, Rwanda on April 21.
GAFCON had released a communique after its conference dismissing the four “Instruments of Unity” of the Anglican Communion, saying they have “failed to maintain true communion based on the Word of God and shared faith in Christ”.
The four instruments of unity are the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council, and the Primates’ Meetings.
The communique reads, “We have no confidence that the Archbishop of Canterbury nor the other Instruments of Communion led by him (the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council, and the Primates’ Meetings) are able to provide a godly way forward that will be acceptable to those who are committed to the truthfulness, clarity, sufficiency, and authority of scripture.”
GAFCON had specifically pointed out that the dividing issue is homosexuality, about which it complains of “repeated departures from the authority of God’s Word”.
The latest of such departures according to the communique is the majority vote by the General Synod of the Church of England in February 2023 to welcome proposals by the bishops to enable same-sex couples to receive God’s blessing.
Read also: Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion not tied to the apron of Canterbury-Ndukuba: https://churchtimesnigeria.net/church-anglican-canterbury-ndukuba/
“It grieves the Holy Spirit and us that the leadership of the Church of England is determined to bless sin. Since the Lord does not bless same-sex unions, it is pastorally deceptive and blasphemous to craft prayers that invoke blessing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” GAFCON said in the communique.
In his interview with two journalists at the conference, Asaju said the time had come for the Anglican Church to undergo a restructuring.
“We have to rest the Anglican Communion. We must come together to reset it. We must question the colonial structures that empower the state of England to choose for us a spiritual leader in the Archbishop of Canterbury. And when he, as an instrument of unity begins to compromise, then we have to reset the communion in a manner to rescue our theology.”
Asaju who is a Bishop theologian, a professor, and a former lecturer at the Lagos State University said it was time to allow those who have abandoned the faith to go insisting that the communion must be reset in such a way that the Archbishop of Canterbury will no longer determine who is an Anglican
While noting that the Anglican Church has a tradition of courage, he said, “GAFCON is a global instrument designed to rescue the church. It is a universal movement of people across the continent who are faithful to the gospel and who are called to save souls. There is life after death and there will be judgment, our duty as a church is not to just follow culture but to preach the gospel. GAFCON must stop error and sanitise the church.”
The Anglican Church according to him is just one of the thousands of Christian denominations across the world.
He said, ‘We are at the same time in history when Martin Luther rose against the Roman Catholic Church and kicked against the heresies of those days. Anglican Church is virtually collapsing. We need to depart from those who are not following the scriptures. The reformation is fundamental. We have to reset the Anglican Communion.”
The proceedings and the communique of the GAFCON meeting must have generated to an extent solemn thoughtfulness and sober reflection in those who read it. I’m not too surprised at the pulse of Anglican Communion from the backdrop of her origin and cascades of subsequent intrigues that had taken place through the centuries. The present profile of the Anglican Communion to an extent brings into perspective the spiritual insight of David in Psalm 11:3, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
It is in public domain that the Church of England, whose present imperial head is King Charles lll, with Camilla as the Queen Consort of the United Kingdom was initiated in 1534 during the reign of the polygamous King Henry the Eighth who became a king at age 18. When his first wife, Catherine couldn’t give birth to a male child, he sought for an annulment by the Pope, to enable him divorce her, which was not granted him.
In order to be able to marry Anne Boleyn, Henry the Eighth broke allegiance to the Pope because the Catholic Church wouldn’t allow him achieve his purpose and from thence the birth of the Church of England. Unfortunately, Anne also gave birth to a female child. Shortly after, on some seemingly trumped up charges, the king had Anne executed and he married Jane Seymour. Jane subsequently gave birth to Henry’s successor, Edward the Sixth, who became the king of England and Ireland at age 9 but died at a tender age of 15.
In his Will, as his successor, Edward chose Jane, the great granddaughter of Henry the Seventh because she was a committed Protestant expecting her to build on the foundation he had laid for the Reformed Church of England. In his Will he further specifically removed his half-sister, Mary, who was a Catholic from possible line of future succession to the throne. So after the death of Edward, Anne was proclaimed queen on 10th July 1553.
Meanwhile, underground support for Mary was growing sporadically while most of the supporters of Jane were turning their backs on her stealthily. The powers that be, the Privy Council dramatically changed posture, installed Mary as queen nine days later. Jane was deposed, imprisoned and later convicted of treason four months later, a charge liable to death sentence. The first casualty thereafter was Jane’s staunch supporter, her father-in-law and a Duke, who was dramatically accused of treason and summarily executed within a month.
At first, Mary spared Jane’s life but later considered her a threat to the throne when it was found out that Jane’s father, Henry Grey, the Duke of Suffolk was in league with a party rebelling against her intended marriage to one Philip, a Spanish. So, Jane and her husband were executed on 12th February 1554, when she was about 16.
For about two decades, the Church had already been out of the jurisdiction of the Pope after Henry the Eighth had passed the Act of Succession and the Act of Supremacy, by which instruments he had declared himself the supreme head of the Church of England. During his lifetime, after Jane Seymour, Henry married three more wives, i.e. another Anne and two other Catherines. In course of time, he had the fifth wife, Catherine Howard executed on allegation of infidelity.
As a matter of fact, a similitude of what GAFCON is striving to accomplish was intiated after Henry’s death as Protestant reforms filtered back into the church during the reign of Edward VI. But unfortunately after the demise of King Edward the Eighth, Edward’s half-sister, Mary Tudor, who succeeded the throne by default in 1553, persecuted Protestants and embraced traditional Roman Catholic ideals once again, even when no longer under the oversight of the Pope.
I can appreciate the concern of GAPCON and I heartily resonate with them, and with no iota of reservation hope they will fulIy accomplish their aims and objectives. Come to think of it, has Romans 1:26-28 been expunged from the Bibles of those promoters of what GAFCON rightly and rightfully, stand against? It seems the solution to David’s question in Psalm 11:3 had already been offered in verse 1: “Flee like a bird to your mountain [ for safety].
So, with God’s abounding grace GAFCON should set out to actualize the resetting, stop the error in its track, utilize the resourcefulness of the apologists within the Communion, return fully back to the Bible and salvage the Body from possible disintegration or collapse.