As Canterbury Turns: The center cannot hold

AkinolaAs Terry has noted, the Archibishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, recently proposed a two-tier system of church membership in the Anglican Communion -- the idea being that full and partial membership could save the Communion from schism. Anglican bishops in Nigeria responded this week. The Church of Nigeria is Africa's largest Anglican church, with an estimated 17.5 million members, according to the BBC:

In their statement, posted on two websites, the Nigerian bishops commend Dr Williams' idea as "brilliant as the heartbeat of a leader who wants to preserve the unity of the Church by accommodating every shred of opinion no matter how unbiblical".

But they dispute whether the challenge is really to "fashion out a novel establishment that is elastic enough to accommodate all the extremes of the referred modes of expression of the same faith".

"A cancerous lump in the body should be excised if it has defied every known cure," they say.

"To attempt to condition the whole body to accommodate it will lead to the avoidable death of the patient."

Instead Dr Williams should persuade churches that chose to "walk apart" to "return to the path", say the bishops.

Here's the entire response of the Nigerian bishops. It's actually humorous to compare the words of the Episcopal Church's leadership with those of the Nigerians. When you listen to Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's "mother Jesus" sermon and compare it to the Nigerian defense of orthodox doctrine, you find significantly different religious views.

But to the point of this blog, here's what I'm wondering: The BBC did a great job of writing up this story about the Nigerian response. It provided background and a bit of forecasting, as British papers tend to do.

The Nigerians go for the postmodern jugular of the Episcopal Church (the Anglican Communion's American branch). And yet that BBC story is the only one I found. The Nigerians call the Episcopal Church a cancer. That's juicy enough for coverage, isn't it? Seriously, what better hook are you going to get?

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