The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has slammed conservative archbishops, led by the Archbishop of Nigeria, Nicholas Okoh who are planting a ‘missionary’ bishop in the UK. This is coming after last week’s historic vote by Scottish Anglicans to approve gay marriage. Welby’s letter is his latest attempt to avert a damaging permanent split in the worldwide Anglican Communion over homosexuality.
Recall a few weeks ago, these conservative archbishops led by Okoh agreed to consecrate Canon Andy Lines at a meeting in America this month after warning that Western churches are abandoning biblical teaching on the issue. These archbishops say the new missionary bishop would support disaffected Anglicans who quit in protest at the Scottish Episcopal Church’s decision on Thursday to become the first Anglican body in the UK to allow same-sex marriage in its churches.
Canon Lines, a former British Army tank commander and father-of-three from Surrey, is expected to minister to traditionalist parishes that break away from the Church of England. In Archbishop Welby’s confidential letter to fellow Anglican leaders, seen by The Mail on Sunday, he has warned the African archbishops against creating ‘disturbance and discords’ by intervening in Britain. He accused them bluntly of a ‘cross-border’ intervention’ that would ‘carry no weight in the Church of England’.
The letter further stated that with the 80 million-strong worldwide Communion, there was no need for a missionary bishop in the Church of England because worshippers could already express a range of views. He said there had been strong opposition to ‘cross-border interventions’ for centuries, and quoted the ‘uncompromising’ verdict of the early Church’s First Council of Nicea in 325 AD, which condemned the ‘great disturbances and discords that occur’ when bishops ministered in this way.