The Primates of the Church of Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda have rejected the Archbishop of Canterbury’s latest invitation to attend the upcoming Lambeth Conference.
In a letter, the three church leaders said they will not “join the multitudes to do evil” as they stress their position regarding sexual identity issues.
They had previously stated that “the recognition of homosexual relations” and “the underlying question…Biblical revisionism, arising from the adoption of secular culture within the Church” were among the reasons for the absence.
Archbishop Henry Ndukuba of Nigeria, Archbishop Laurent Mbanda and Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba were responding to a letter sent by Most Rev Justin Welby and Most Reverend Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon calling “to unity not to conflict”.
They said “boycotts do not proclaim Christ” and encouraged them to attend the conference to listen and debate their views.
Their letter also stated that “the Church of England has not in any way changed its teaching on marriage or the place of sexual relations”.
But in a later letter, the leading figures in the conservative Global Anglican Futures Network (GAFCON) disputed that, saying: “We doubt if this claim can be justified by trends and moves by the Church of England in regard to blessing of same-sex marriages.”
They also stressed that right from the earliest Churh Council in Acts 15, when there were reports of lifestyle in opposition to Scripture, there was no place where Christians were ordered to continue to fellowship with the disobedient members of the Church saying that instead of “boycotting” the Conference they are reminded that ‘two cannot walk together unless they are agreed”.
Another contention issue surrounding the Lambeth Conference, also mentioned in the primates’ latest letter, is the presence of homosexual bishops and their spouses.
Although Archbishop Justin clarified he “had not invited any same-sex spouses of bishops to the Lambeth Conference” he explained this had caused protests, including one from the University of Kent, which then offered accommodation to the spouses independently of the Lambeth Conference.
But for the three bishops the fact that they are invited and allowed to participate in the conference is “dishonoring to the Lord and undermines the integrity and mission of the church in the world”.
“Our desire is that the Archbishop of Canterbury leads the Anglican Communion back to scripture in matters of human sexuality and marriage based on the glorious gospel of Christ,” their letter continued.
The Lambeth Conference will be held between 26th July and 8th August this year.