HOMOPHOBIC is “a term designed to close down any expression of a contrary view”, and Nigerian Church members should not be afraid of being called it, the new Primate of Nigeria, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh, told the congregation at his installation last weekend.
Canon Chris Sugden, who was present, reports that the Archbishop urged them: “Respond by accusing them of gynophobia — an inordinate fear of women and of relationships with women.”
Canon Chris Sugden, Bishop Wallace Benn, Dr Philip Giddings, the Revd Paul Perkin, and Canon David Banting were joint signatories to a letter of welcome from the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (UK and Ireland) and Anglican Mainstream.
They told the Archbishop: “We rejoice in your continuing emphasis on mission and evangelism. We are conscious also of the weight of expectations from your Church and the global Communion on you personally, as you lead this great Church.”
The Archbishop, a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Nigerian Army before becoming Bishop of Asaba in 2001, is chairman of GAFCON’s theological resource group. The Anglican Communion, he said, was spending huge sums of money to undermine marriage — something the Church of Nigeria was not able to accept.
He went on: “The recent presidential address to his diocese by the Bishop of Liverpool is not acceptable to us. He argued that in the past people had to live side by side in the Church who held opposite views on war. In the same way he is saying, if some people say that same-sex relationships are OK, they can carry on, and if some say they are not OK, they can carry on, too.
“The danger is of establishing two authorities in the Church: one of the Bible, and the other the canon of a deviant subculture. We refuse to accept it. For whom does the Bishop of Liverpool speak? For himself and his diocese, but he does not speak for the Church of Nigeria.”
Of the continuing violence in Jos, he said: “I want to plead with the authorities that they should not think that concern about these matters will go away, as they have in the past where an inquiry has been set up to investigate until another atrocity happens.”