The Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the West and Coordinating Bishop of the North American Mission of the Church of Nigeria, Bishop Felix Orji, has disagreed with the position of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Justin Welby, on allowing same-sex marriages in the church, stating that the Archbishop’s “statement is unnecessary for use by conservatives in the Anglican Communion “.
Orji argued that the Bible clearly teaches that marriage is for one man and one woman, and stated that the confusion Welby’s position is bringing to the Church is the result of a “refusal to follow the clear teaching of Scripture on this issue of human sexuality and marriage.” .”
Orji stated: “This statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury in Lambeth 1:10 is a classic example of a non-binding affirmation of validity (read EXISTENCE). It is deliberately ambiguous, making its statement useless for use by conservatives in the Anglican Communion.
“So based on what he has written, Archbishop Welby is not really committed to Lambeth 1:10 and believes that the orthodox position of Lambeth 1:10 on sex and marriage is damaging to the unity of the Anglican Communion. Therefore, his letter is vague and aims to please everyone, but ended up obfuscating the truth.
“The Bible is much clearer on this issue – marriage is for one man and one woman and that is the only context for sexual activity. It’s so simple. The confusion and pain in the Anglican Communion are the results of a refusal to follow the clear teaching of Scripture on this issue of human sexuality and marriage.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, wrote to all the bishops of the Anglican Communion on Tuesday ahead of the Lambeth Conference.
In his letter, Welby emphasized that “all baptized, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ” and should be welcomed, nurtured and treated with respect, quoting Lambeth 1:10.
The letter read: “Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
“Lambeth Conference 2022: God’s Church for God’s World – Listening, Walking and Witnessing Together
“As the Lambeth Conference continues, I thank God for our time together, online and in person, and again express my sadness that not all Anglican bishops and spouses are participating. Above all, I feel that this meeting confirms that we belong together in Jesus Christ and that as Anglicans we are called to share his good news with a world in need – across a great diversity of cultures and contexts. May God’s Holy Spirit inspire and empower us to share the love of Christ with all whom we are called to serve in the challenging years ahead.
“I wanted to write you this letter now to make two things clear to all of us. Given the profound differences that exist within the church regarding same-sex marriage and human sexuality, I thought it important to state what the issues are. I am writing to confirm that the validity of the resolution adopted at the Lambeth 1998 conference, 1:10, is not in doubt and that the entire resolution still exists.
“The Call for Human Dignity has made it clear that this is the case, as the resolution is cited three times in paragraph 2.3 of the Call for Human Dignity.
“The challenge states that many provinces – and I think we have to recognize that it is the majority – continue to say that same-sex marriage is not permissible. The call also states that after careful theological reflection and acceptance process, other provinces have blessed and welcomed same-sex unions/marriages.
“In this way, the challenge presents the reality of today’s life in communion. As of 10/1/1998, there is no mention of sanctions or expulsion. There is a lot of talk about pastoral care. We have a plurality of opinions. As Lambeth 1.10 also says: “all baptized, religious and believing people regardless of sexual orientation are full members of the Body of Christ” and should be welcomed, nurtured and treated with respect (I.10, 1998).
“It is also clear that Lambeth 1.10 continues to be a source of pain, anguish and contention between us. This was very clear during this Lambeth conference. This is also part of the present reality of our communion. Being reconciled to one another despite such differences is not something we can achieve alone. Therefore, as we continue to meditate on 1 Peter, I pray that we will turn our gaze to Christ, who alone has the power to reconcile us to God and to one another.
“Of course, there is much more to think about after the conference and I will write to you all again after I have had a chance to think further.
“For now, on this issue on which we are so divided, I want to repeat a sentence from the Challenge: “As bishops, we remain committed to listening and walking together as much as possible, despite our deep disagreement on these issues. ‘
“Let us abound in love for all, for our brothers and sisters are never our enemies. Let us focus above all on the great themes – which we discussed with great energy – to be God’s church for God’s world, to serve with humility and grace and to bring glory to him who died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5: 8).”
The Lambeth Conference is a meeting of bishops from across the Anglican Communion for prayer and reflection, fellowship and dialogue on ecclesiastical and world affairs. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the convenor of the Lambeth 2022 conference.