Doctrinal fisure opens over African aid

 

Doctrinal fisure opens over African aid

Author: 

George Conger

The Archbishop of Kenya has criticized idolatry of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) saying faith in Christ, not works performed in his name, is the path of salvation.
The 22 February 2012 letter written by Archbishop Eliud Wabukala on behalf of the Gafcon primates chastised Christians who in the pursuit of social and economic change, lost sight of the centrality of the cross and the primacy of repentance and amendment of life.  “While it is obvious that such good things as feeding the hungry, fighting disease, improving education and national prosperity are to be desired by all, by themselves any human dream can become a substitute gospel which renders repentance and the cross of Christ irrelevant,” he said.
While the archbishop’s letter stands in contrast to recent Western church endorsements of the MDGs – a series of 8 initiatives adopted by the U.N. member states that seek to address education, healthcare, and poverty issues – the African church, not America is the focus of concern Anglican Ink has learned.
An Anglican African theological divide has arisen whose point of conflict is the agenda of the Western-financed staff of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) and the archbishops of the Gafcon movement.  At issue are disputes over ecclesiology — understanding of the purpose of the church — and the doctrine of justification, sources tell AI.
In a summary of the international scene given to the Church of Uganda’s standing committee last month, Archbishop Henry Orombi warned the diverging viewpoints on human sexuality coupled with a different ordering of priorities was leading to a “massive clash of worldviews” amongst Anglicans, “and if we as leaders are not aware of what’s going on at this international level, then our sheep may be eaten by wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
In his Lenten letter, Archbishop Wabukala wrote in Kenya the church seeks to “equip God’s people to transform society with the gospel.”  Such a transformation is far “more lasting” than the work of governments or NGOs because the Gospel “addresses our deepest need, that of a restored relationship with the God.”
When believers stop placing their full trust in God, they become “vulnerable to taking short cuts that lead us away from the truth of the gospel. Some church leaders seem to think that the transformation of society will simply come through commitment” to the MDGs.
“While it is obvious that such good things as feeding the hungry, fighting disease, improving education and national prosperity are to be desired by all, by themselves any human dream can become a substitute gospel which renders repentance and the cross of Christ irrelevant,” Archbishop Wabukla said.
Archbishop Wabukala also questioned the philosophical rationale for the Western aid industry.  The MDGs “have grown out of a secularised Western culture which is pushing Christianity to the margins and uses the language of human rights and equality to promote irresponsibility in social life and diminish personal responsibility.”
At its 11th council meeting held 4 – 8 Feb 2012 in Bujumbura, Burundi the CAPA staff presented a strategic plan for the future of the African church. “Embodied in this strategy document are CAPA’s intentions, dreams and aspirations with regard to improving the quality of life of the people and all creation on the African continent (John 10.10),” the document stated.
However, critics from the Church of Uganda told CEN Jesus’ words “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” were now being construed to mean “quality of life” rather than “eternal life.”
The new agenda for CAPA is based in part on a paper prepared by a Belgian scholar, Marguerite Peeters entitled “The new global ethic: challenges for the Church” that gives a theological justification for the globalist world view adopted by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the coalition government of Prime Minister David Cameron.
Critics of the “new global ethic” paper note the words “sin, repent, repentance, cross” were absent from the paper.  By taking on board the new globalist mindset “CAPA unfortunately has retreated from the distinctiveness of its Biblical heritage and a Biblical worldview,” East African Anglicans tell CEN and has “chosen the path of the ‘new global ethic’ to reach the noble destination of addressing poverty and oppression.”
The transformation of the world will not come from governments or aid agencies, he said, but from the “good news of the gospel” that transforms “ordinary men,” Archbishop Wabukala said.