The Listening Process

Reports from the Provinces - The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) is a bible-based and spiritually dynamic Church that seeks to epitomise the genuine love of Christ. The Church’s attitude to homosexuality is rooted in biblical values and pre-supposed by a high view of Scripture.

The Primate of all Nigeria has said “Our argument is that, if homosexuals see themselves as deviants who have gone astray, the Christian spirit would plead for patience and prayers to make room for their repentance. When scripture says something is wrong and some people say that it is right, such people make God a liar. We argue that it is a blatant lie against Almighty God that homosexuality is their God-given urge and inclination. For us, it is better seen as an acquired aberration.”

The Church of Nigeria sees its view as based upon the witness of Scripture. The House of Bishops issued a detailed and clearly argued statement. In it there are discussed four texts from the Old Testament which speak specifically of homosexual acts. These are Genesis 19:5, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 18:27 and Judges 19:22. All these texts show how homosexuality is regarded as an abominable deed. The statement concludes: “Thus it is clear from the passages considered that the Old Testament regards homosexuality as an atrocious and unnatural act. The Mosaic Law is against it and stipulates capital punishment for the offender. It is classified among the most offensive crimes like idolatry involving the sacrifice of children, having intercourse with animals, or marrying a woman and her mother.”

The report continues by considering the New Testament. From Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9,10, and 1 Timothy 1:9,10 and concludes:

  • First, we find a strong denunciation of homosexual acts as being contrary to nature and against God’s revealed will for mankind.
  • Next, homosexuality is found in the catalogue of practices regarded as unrighteous and therefore a disqualification for inheritance of the kingdom of God. Although the practice was known in the Semitic world and acknowledged as wide spread in the Hellenistic world, it is portrayed as a classical indication of the final stage of perversion or depravity on which divine wrath rests, with little or no hope of repentance.
  • Thirdly, although homosexuality is not singled out as the only grievous sin that attracts God’s judgment, whether in the Old or New Testament, homosexual acts are seen appropriately as pagan acts unworthy of a person who has a true knowledge of God, and both fears and worships Him.
  • Finally, neither in the Old Testament nor in the New do we have any record, or even mention, trace or hint concerning marriage bond between same sex partners. There were cases of attempted acts of homosexuality and reference to homosexual customs, seen as aberrations and perversions. Though such acts or customs were known among nations outside Israel and were reported as common among former inhabitants of the land of Canaan, there is no hint that those engaged in the acts ever finally settled down to a lasting union with their same sex partners.

In Nigerian traditional culture homosexuality is seen as taboo. Homosexuals are thought of as threatening the divinely ordained order of the community. The Western idea of human rights is subservient to the service of the common good. The so called  ‘right’ to homosexual orientation threatens the order of society because the continuation of the race is threatened by gay practice. Children are treasured as fruits of marriage and any union, as a gay union, that prevents the propagation of the community's growth is a personal shame to be openly censured.

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has therefore strongly opposed the developments in the Episcopal Church (USA), the Church of Canada and the Church of England. The Primate has called for the Church of England to be disciplined within the Anglican Communion for its response to the Civil Partnership Act.

In Nigeria the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2006 is passing through the legislature. The House of Bishops has supported it because we understand that it is designed to strengthen traditional marriage and family life and to prevent wholesale importation of currently damaging Western values. It bans same sex unions, all homosexual acts and the formation of any gay groups. The Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria has twice commended the act in their Message to the Nation.

A statement of the House of Bishops makes it clear that The Church of Nigeria is committed to the pastoral care of homosexual people. It says: “While recognising the sinfulness, from the biblical perspective, of homosexuality, we must continue to keep open the door of restoration for homosexuals through repentance on the one hand, and sensitive pastoral care, on the other.” The Church is clear that all people are sinners and need to repent. What it will not do is bless sinful lifestyles.