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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ndungane: Covenant = "mechanism for exclusion"

Episcopal Life Online

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Archbishop Ndungane condemns Anglican covenant as 'a mechanism for exclusion'
October 22, 2007

Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa has described a draft covenant designed to deal with disagreements within the Anglican Communion as "a mechanism for exclusion."

Speaking to the Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of California October 19 during a sermon at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral, the Archbishop of Cape Town said the covenant was "wholly contrary" to the nature of God. "I remain to be convinced that a relationship founded on grace can be regulated this way," he said, adding that unity was a gift, given by Jesus Christ.

The Archbishop condemned the "polarization" that has characterized disagreements over human sexuality, and called for all Anglicans to "grapple together" with diversity, upholding church tradition and virtues of trust, tolerance and charity. He added that it is his "fervent prayer and hope that the Church will find an amicable solution regarding the pastoral needs of our lesbian and gay sisters and brothers."

Ndungane said that the advice of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa -- which he describes as one of the most diverse churches in the world -- that had faced theological turmoil in the 19th century and the divisiveness of the apartheid era, was that splits "solve very little." Rather, he and his bishops remained unanimously convinced that what united the Anglican Communion far outweighed what divided it, and so urged the Church "to choose to remain united."

The full text of Ndungane's sermon


Jim said...

An amazing sermon from an amazing man and church. South Africa, after going through all the pain of its history stands as a beacon.


Hiram said...

Are there limits to what may be taught as Christian theology? If so, what are they? Who decides what the limits are, and on what basis?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Of course, Hiram. Of course there are limits to any religious, Christian thought. That's the very definition of religion. By its definition, it is limiting.

There has always been a spirit of 'gracious Anglican accommodation' which has become quite ungracious in the past decade as the Evangelical fervor has infected our church and thrown it off balance.

We are working out the answer to your question even now. This is what the schism is all about. This is what "Akinola and his Alphabet Soup" gang are saying.

Except, of course, they are making the preposterous claim that Canterbury no longer defines Anglican religious thought.

I think what they mean to say is that Canterbury no longer defines THEM as Christians.

Which is fine. Big Difference.

Jim said...


If our hostess permit it -- a question: what limits do you have in mind?

I would propose that teaching hatred of people because of their person-hood is outside the limits. Teaching that St. Peter was wrong when he said, "God shows no partiality" is outside the limits. Teaching that a particular theological theory (badly re-hashed Calvinism in the case of Nigeria/CANA) is divinely inspired is outside the limits. The usurpation of freedom, even if we call it a covenant is outside the limits.

What did you have in mind?