Bishop John Akao of Nigeria spoke to the press at the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) on June 26 on the authority of the Bible for Anglican Christians.
Again and again, said Bishop Okao, it is the acceptance of the Bible as God’s authoritative Word that has guided the church to renewal. He noted that scripture has played this important role in the time of the church fathers, at the time of the Protestant Reformation and now in the present divisions in the Anglican Communion.
Over the last few days, GAFCON pilgrims have looked at how Christians interpret the Bible, what role the Bible plays in church music and liturgy, and how Christians can read scripture responsible. There is of course little disagreement about these issues at GAFCON and much that cannot be covered in a week of workshops. However, Bishop Akao said the workshops were important.
“It is essential for us to know where we stand before we move forward,” he explained.
Bishop Akao also took a moment to clarify the true Anglican position on how Christians know what to believe. The triad of scripture, tradition, and reason, popularly attributed to Anglican theologian and pastor Richard Hooker, is helpful, he said, only if understood in the way that Hooker and Anglicans have traditionally understood it.
“It is scripture first, tradition second and reason third. They have to feed each other, but nothing should be put over scripture,” said Bishop Akao.