The Church is the embodiment of the message of Christ to humanity. This message has continued to help to transform the human society in addressing our human frailties and shortcomings. The Church must, therefore, be seen as the light of Christ to illuminate the human society, rather than the society overshadowing and re-directing the Church.The Church of England, the mother Church of the Anglican Communion, at its General Synod on Thursday February 9, 2023, voted to allow priests bless same-sex couples and civil partnerships, while continuing to ban church weddings for same-sex couples. I do not wish to delve into the semantics of “blessings and weddings,” or the spiritual implications of both, but is the Church portraying the light of Christ by this approval? We know that same-sex marriage has been legal in England and Wales since 2013, but the Church did not alter its teachings on marriage when the law changed.
In 2023, what can now be said to have influenced the Church, also prompting the Church to render an apology to the LGBTQ community for its failure to welcome them in the past?This morning I sat back and recalled a sermon delivered at the University of Ibadan in 1967, by the erudite late Prelate of the Methodist Church, His Eminence Prof Bolaji Idowu, as he cautioned that the Church was permitting all sorts of evil acts, so as not to lose membership and revenue. How very true today.
Today also, my high school European history, has reminded me that the Church of England broke away from the then mother Church and was only set up, so that King Henry VIII could remarry, as the Church refused his divorce of his faithful wife. That was the Church playing the role of cleansing and transforming society.
The Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, has done well to dis-associate with the Church of England, over this same-sex marriage issue and we must all be reminded that salvation is an individual affair. The one question the Church must ask itself is this: WOULD CHRIST BLESS A SAME-SEX MARRIAGE?
The society must not be seen to transform the Church, irrespective of the sentiments attached to human rights and respect for choices.SODOM and GOMORRAH and God’s destruction on my mind. God bless.
•Jonas Odocha writes from Abuja, Nigeria.