I’ve described elsewhere here my first experience at an Anglican church when I attended my boss’s ordination to the deaconate in the Anglican Mission in America (sometimes jokingly referred to as “Anglicans missing in America”). That night opened my eyes to the growing charismatic world within a much older church tradition than my own (the Assemblies of God). Of course, I’ve heard of Episcopalian, Lutheran, Catholic, and other mainline churches going charismatic for years, but I’d never stepped foot inside an old-school church reveling (or at least basking) in the Spirit.
Of course, I didn’t see any of that swinging-from-the-chandelier or slaying-in-the-Spirit business going on, but imagine my provincial Pentecostal surprise to see firsthand that charismatic renewal in a mainline church doesn’t just mean they get to wear those spiffy tab-collar shirts. I encountered an openness to the Spirit as refreshing and comfortable as any good Pentecostal church I’ve ever visited.
Now, on September 14, in a move that even the AMiA has not yet taken (which is under the Rwandan province), the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion distanced itself from Canterbury by redefining the nature of its communion. See this excerpt from the press release:
CHURCH OF NIGERIA REDEFINES ANGLICAN COMMUNION
With a careful rewording of her constitution, the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) redefined her relationship with all other Anglican Churches.
All former references to “communion with the see of Canterbury” were deleted and replaced with another provision of communion with all Anglican Churches, Dioceses and Provinces that hold and maintain the “Historic Faith, Doctrine, Sacrament and Discipline of the one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.”
Emphasis was also placed on the 1662 version of the Book of Common Prayer and the historic Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion.
The Constitutional change also allowed the Church to create Convocations and Chaplaincies of like-minded faithful outside Nigeria. This effectively gives legal teeth to the Convocation of Anglican Nigerians in Americas (CANA) formed to give a worshiping refuge to thousands in the USA who no longer feel welcomed to worship in the Liberal churches especially with the recent theological innovations encouraging practices which the Nigerians recognize as sin.
I’m unsure how similar the Nigerian and Rwandan Anglican churches are, but given that we’re talking about the Global South, and that the church describes itself as “charismatic,” and especially given this quote from a report on a missions outreach to Gosa, Nigeria, I’d say this is definitely another Charisma-costal church:
We left Barwa rejoicing and thanking God that we have not only proclaimed the word of salvation but we have invited others to the continuous work of the Church, evangelism.
Who knows what would become of the souls that ministered the gospel and those that received the message. Will the work of the Holy Spirit end in the dancing, clapping and speaking in tongues experienced during the outreach? What about follow-up? What about a deep longing to visit again and commitment to effective prayers for these distant lands? Say a prayer Now!
Numbering 17 million members, the Nigerian Anglican Church comprises roughly 22–24% of the entire Anglican Communion worldwide. Consider: there are more members in the Nigerian Anglican Church than there are members in the Southern Baptist Convention.
I don’t care what the fans of the emergent church and my postmodern friends say, the Kingdom of God on Earth does not need cultural relevance, tolerance, or a “generous orthodoxy” to grow. The Church grows by the breath of the Spirit of God wooing sinners to his breast. I cannot imagine a less tolerant and less-postmodern expression of church worship than the Anglican liturgy. And yet … it’s spreading faster than warm butter on a hot skillet.
This is a good move for the Anglican church of Nigeria. I applaud it, and hope fellow Anglican provinces do the same.
But, then, I’m at a safe distance from the fireworks that are bound to happen now.
(Thanks to Adrian Warnock for the tip, who, by the way, I’ve just added to PneumaBlogs. Also, be sure to check out Drell’s Descants repost of an AP article on this issue: Robinson Predicts Church Split.)
[tags]BlogRodent, adrian-warnock, anglican, anglican-church, anglican-communion, anglicanism, assemblies-of-god, cana, canterbury, charismatic, charismatic-renewal, church-of-nigeria, convocation-of-anglican-nigerians-in-america, emergent, episcopalian, evangelical, evangelism., generous-orthodoxy, global-south, holy-spirit, pentecost, pentecostal, postmodern, renewal, rwandan-province, southern-baptist-convention, spirit[/tags]