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We are threatened by external and internal forces, says Okoh

by
16 November 2012

by a staff reporter

THE Primate of Nigeria, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh, has warned Christian leaders across Africa that their faith is "seriously under attack".

Archbishop Okoh said that in northern Nigeria, where the Islamist group Boko Haram is based, "the Christian faith is an endangered species." He also warned church leaders against traditional African religions and their cults.

But speaking at the second Divine Commonwealth Conference (DIVCCON) in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, he said that disunity among Christians - in Africa and across the world - was also another threat to faith "within" the Church.

He also called for prayers for the Archbishop of Canterbury-designate, the Rt Revd Justin Welby.

Canon Patrick Sookhdeo of the Barnabas Fund warned the conference that the Church in Nigeria must co-ordinate civil defence in preparation for further terrorist activity from Boko Haram. He said that the Arab Spring, which began last year in Tunisia, could impact on Nigeria.

In the near future, the United States could deploy troops in Mali and Chad, causing the terrorists there to spread into Nigeria and create chaos, he said. He warned that the Church must be prepared for the coming storm, and create security plans and establish security support.

A delegation from the UK was invited to attend the conference. The Revd Andrew Symes, Priest-in-Charge of St Augustine's, Kings Heath, in Northampton, said that it was a "spiritual celebration, and a time for learning", and that it was a great privilege to attend.

"While there was an allusion to the infiltration of secularism and the heterodoxy of liberal teaching in Western churches, there was mostly humble acknowledgement of problems within the Nigerian Christian and political scene, and a calling of the Church back to the authentic message of the Christian gospel and personal faith in Jesus Christ," he said.

The 5000 delegates to the conference also heard from a former Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, who said that "the Anglican Communion has . . . failed to guard the faith once for all delivered," and he warned against a "monochrome Anglicanism".

 

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