Archbishop of Canterbury: "The divinity of Christ seems so constituent of what the church is..."

Make no mistake about it, if any Nigerian priests are in ECUSA and do not remove themselves, they will face ecclesiastical charges, because we are no longer in communion with ECUSA.

-Peter Akinola, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Nigeria

By no means everything is negotiable for me. I would not be happy if someone said: Let us discuss the divinity of Christ. That to me seems so constituent of what the Church is.

-Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury in his August 19, 2006 interview with Wim Houtman, Religion Editor of the Nederlands Dagblad

Above we see two who aren't agreed, and therefore cannot walk together. Both are confronting heresy and apostasy, but one aims to win while the other aims only to avoid losing.

A few months back, there were rumblings of the real possibility of the ECUSA being cut off from the worldwide Anglican communion, with UK Anglicans coming down on the other side. It was notable that this warning originated in Canterbury--the home of worldwide Anglicanism, historically. The warning came just prior to the 2006 75th General Convention of the ECUSA, held this past June.

Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, sent a representative to meet with ECUSA leaders and to warn them that, unless they turned back from their present course, they would be responsible for schism in the worldwide Anglican communion, and that this would be a situation up with which the Archbishop of Canterbury would not put. Williams' message boiled down to this: Unless the ECUSA switched directions, Canterbury would be forced to choose sides, and their choice would be the Southern hemisphere--not the ECUSA, her sister communion across the pond.

This is the context within which to understand the present brouhaha over the Archbishop of Canterbury's purported change of mind concerning sodomy. Up until now, he's been known to be soft on sodomy...

having authored a paper some twenty years ago that defended sodomites. And in 1989 while serving as a professor of divinity at Oxford, Williams helped found the Institute for the Study of Christianity and Sexuality whose purpose was to oppose prejudice against homosexuality and other "sexual identities. At the time Williams commented, "The pressure that some church figures put upon people of differing sexual identities is a greater disgrace than anything else seen in the church."

His position on the issue since then has been anything but clear as the whole rest of the Anglican church was at blows around him. Finally, though, with his fellowship in shambles, Williams has begun to make noises about there being some limits on the church's inclusivity, one being that those practicing sodomy must repent.

True enough, but this call to repentance must primarily be motivated by a desire to defend the Name of Jesus Christ against blasphemy, combined with a love for the souls of those in bondage to this sin. If instead, Williams' primary motivation is a desire to avoid schism, that will become clear as time goes on, and it will be a terrible tragedy for all concerned.

Anyhow, the raw data to judge Archbishop Williams' recent change of mind can be found in the original interview granted Wim Houtman, Religion Editor of the Nederlands Dagblad, as well as analysis of the interview found here, here, and here.


Dear Tim:

Thanks for doing the research on this.

I'm afraid the archbishop's change of heart on sodomy is political in nature. The timing seems too coincidental to be genuine.

It seems like a matter of time before orthodox Anglicans let the ECUSA boat (now called TEC) out to sea and form a new American communion. Then they have to put up with those (including seeming the ABC himself) who think of anyone to the theological right of Tony Campolo as firebrands.

In this whole debate over homosexuality, it makes me wonder if the other big debate is being obscured: will orthodox Anglicans be protestant/evangelical (confessional to the Articles), will they be Tractarian, or will they go for the big tent, two Gospel approach? Looks like they are moving toward the latter (cf. Murray's Evangelicalism Divided). The ACN site had some strange sounding comments on the 7th Ecumenical Council. Peter Toon, who seems mainly evangelical but is hard to quantify, has written about this in the past at
Sadly, evangelical witness has been hurt in the church because of their general acceptance of women in the pulpit. Even those who should know better don't seem to be coming down on the right side.

Gerald Bray from Chuch Society has also written of the strategic implications of a potential realignment, although it may be out of date by now given the fluidity of the situation...

Church Society really could use a U.S. presence.

Dear Jack:

What is the big tent, two Gospel approach?


What Murray talked about extensively in Evangelicalism Divided. The RC Gospel and views on justification or the protestant Gospel.

Do you think this is like ETS, which handily affirmed that open theism is incompatible doctrine, then refused to expel two members who peddle it?

Add new comment