By David W. Virtue
July 16, 2010

The Nigerian Anglican Archbishop of more than 18 million Anglicans, the largest province in the Anglican Communion, blasted what he called an “invading army of homosexuality, lesbianism and bisexual lifestyle under any guise” coming from the West and said same sex marriage, pedophilia and all sexual pervasions should be roundly condemned by all who accept the authority of Scripture over human life.

In his first press conference since assuming the leadership of the Anglican Church of Nigeria following the retirement of Peter Akinola, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh said the issue at stake of human sexuality is not an Anglican prerogative and it is by no means limited to the Anglican circle as it is clearly shown all over the world.

“The Church in the West had vowed to use their money to spread the homosexual lifestyle in African societies and Churches; after all Africa is poor. They are pursuing this agenda vigorously and what is more, they now have the support of the United Nations. We therefore call on parents to ensure that their children obtain their first degree in Nigeria before travelling abroad. Parents and guardians should closely watch and monitor the relationship which their children or wards keep so that deviant behavior could be timely corrected. The sin of homosexuality, it must be reemphasized, destroyed the communities of Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Okoh ripped the comparison of those who ordained gay bishops with those who cross borders for “pastoral work” and had been accused of breaking the call for a moratorium.

“We reject being put in the same category with churches conducting gay ordination and same sex marriage, and the equating of our evangelical initiative (for which we should be commended) with those who are doing things unbiblical. But for the Nigerian initiative and others like her, many of our faithful Anglican American friends who cannot tolerate the unbiblical practices of the Episcopal Church in America could have gone away to other faiths. The great commission to go in to all the world to save souls is our compelling constitution.”

Okoh called the step taken by the [Archbishop of] Canterbury “ill-advised and does not make any contribution towards the healing of the ailment in the Anglican extended family.”

“Our main thrust as a Church remains the evangelization of our people. The Gospel is not only proclaimed as a religious faith but a means of godly civilization. By evangelism we mean the spreading of “the faith once for all delivered to the Saints” (Jude 3). We equally mean effective teaching and discipling to reduce the yearning gap between profession of faith and morality. It also includes getting deeply involved in the work of mission by providing some amenities and support to individuals and rural communities so as to reduce poverty and complement the effort of Government that the people may have life more abundantly.”

The archbishop also attacked Nigeria’s numerous social evils and said he would not draw back from addressing them. “Like Biblical prophets of old who were champions of moral, socio-political and economic destinies of their nations, we do not intend to abandon this divine responsibility.”

“I wonder why we still lack vision and mission such that can explore resources to employ and feed all our people; why do most people hunger when God has so endowed us. There is clearly poverty in the land as evidenced in our housing, food and clothing in most rural communities. In spite of this, corruption is still growing in all segments of society; leaving the most vulnerable in society completely dispossessed. There is warning everywhere that fossil oil will not continue to rule the world. Serious scientific research is going on around the world to find viable alternatives.”

Okoh said he was grateful to God that the nation had survived a 3-year bloody civil war and that a sense of pride at the restoration of democracy after a prolonged military rule.

Before being elected in September 2009 to serve as primate by the church’s bishops, Okoh was archbishop of Bendel province and bishop of the Diocese of Asaba.

Okoh said that he’d spent his first months as primate touring all 14 internal provinces of the Church of Nigeria, and that the conversations and feedback from Anglicans throughout the country had informed his address to the press.

The church’s main priority, he concluded, “remains the evangelization of our people. The Gospel is not only proclaimed as a religious faith but a means of godly civilization.”


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