I just ran across the following blog post from an Episcopal Missionary in Tanzania regarding the recently concluded Lambeth Conference.Â In this section we see just one of the many possible ways the debates in the West regarding human sexuality are already affecting life throughout the Communion.Â Is there any doubt that, should division continue, such situations with increase and worsen?
As many of you know I am serving as a missionary in the Diocese of Central Tanganyika, which is a very large diocese in the Anglican Church of Tanzania. Now as a missionary I am here at the invitation and under the authority of the diocesan bishop here. This bishop is moderate and believes in dialogue and communicating with the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) and so he is willing to invite missionaries from there. The former Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Tanzania was strongly opposed to the actions of the Episcopal Church USA and he refused to accept money or aide from that Church.
This clear difference between the views of the former Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Tanzania (ACT) and the bishop of the Diocese of Central Tanganyika (DCT) has played out in a very ugly way. A few years ago, very conservative Anglican Americans (formerly Episcopalian) decided to establish an Anglican university in Dodoma. They put together a great deal of money and sent it over here to create and fund a university who would be headed by the former archbishop of ACT who condemned ECUSA as ignoring scripture and being sodomites. One of the main functions of this university was to train leaders for the Anglican Church, but ignores one major fact. In the 1960s DCT established Msalato Bible College (now Msalato Theological College) to train leaders for the Church. Msalato has been raising up and educating leaders for decades in the same place that American Anglicans established this new university, which is called St. Johnâ€™s. The people who established St. Johnâ€™s hoped to supplant Msalato forbade cooperation between the two institutions. The backers of St. Johnâ€™s established huge scholarship funds and were able to successfully lure away all but one of Msalatoâ€™s first class of degree students with promises of free education. At the same time many churches and some diocese in the Episcopal Church have increased their support for Msalato and DCT.
Historians would call this a proxy war. One in which two larger powers use local leaders to wage a war against each other without risking any of their own people. Proxy wars were very common during the Cold War and were fought throughout the developing war. This is a sad and tragic development. A perversion of the Church and a bastardization of mission theology. The Church should not look to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the conflict between the Contras and Sandinistas, or the Bay of Pigs invasion to find tactics or ethical support.