Dr Akinola heads the fastest-growing church in the Anglican Communion, with nearly 20 million practising Anglicans. He claims he has lost faith that the Episcopal Church of the United States will ever listen to the conservative evangelical leaders of the Global South churches of Africa and Asia, ‘All we are saying is, do not celebrate what the Bible says is wrong’, he said.
According to the Archbishop, the American Church had failed to act on repeated pleadings from the Church’s 38 primates to halt their agenda: ‘Has the Episcopal Church ever listened to anyone? They have not listened to the Lambeth Conference, to the Primates’ communiqués’.
The Nigerian bishops have already declared themselves to be in broken communion with the US Episcopalian Church. Dr Akinola explained, ‘The condition for having communion together is for [the US church] to return to where we were by giving up its agenda … Our unity will never be at the expense of truth, of the historic faith. The problem is [the US Church’s] and the Western Church’s way of seeing and handling Scripture. Gene Robinson is just a symptom. I kept on saying, you do not have to go through Canterbury to get to Christ’.
The Rwandan House of Bishops has already issued a statement explaining why they will not be attending the Lambeth Conference in 2008. Their reasons centre on the same issues that concern the Nigerians.