Africa's Anglican Bishops began a five-day conference Tuesday with a declaration that the "African Church has come of age." The church must now become self-sufficient to withstand unbiblical Western spirituality and the advances of militant Islam, said Peter Akinola, the Chairman of the Conference of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) and the head of the Anglican Church of Nigeria.

The church in Africa had for a long time remained dependent on the Western church, Akinola said. As a result, the church adopted Western spiritual values that have not addressed the physical and spiritual problems of the African church.

The conference, held in Lagos, Nigeria, is the first meeting of the African bishops. CAPA was founded 25 years ago, but until this week, the African Anglican Bishops never met except every ten years at the Lambeth Conference in England.

With more than 5 percent annual growth, the Anglican Church is Africa's fastest-growing denomination. According to Operation World, 4 percent of Africans are Anglican, while 48 percent of the continent is Christian.

It is time for the Anglican Church to focus on addressing the physical and spiritual needs of the African church, Akinola said. The conference would be the beginning of an independent African church committed to tackling disease, hunger, poverty, and war.

Shedding Western vices

Akinola charged the 282 African bishops to shed the social vices that are killing the church in the West, and Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, backed the bishops' stand.

Same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay bishops in the Anglican Communion are against Scripture and un-African, Obasanjo said.

The practice "is clearly unbiblical, unnatural, and definitely un-African," said the president. ...

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