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Friday, July 20, 2007

Witness


Next time you hear or read snide comments from certain western quarters about "polygamists" and "primitive animists" among orthodox African Primates, you will want to keep in mind an essay by the Archbishop of Uganda, Henry Luke Orombi in First Things. Some excerpts:


At the recent consecration of the fourth bishop of the Karamoja diocese, the preacher was the bishop of a neighboring diocese whose people have historically been at odds with the Karimajong (principally because of cattle rustling). At the end of his sermon, the preacher appealed for peace between the two tribes and began singing a song of peace. One by one, members of the congregation began singing. By the end of the song, the attending bishops, members of Parliament, and Karimajong warriors were all in the aisles dancing . . .

[T]he African tradition of polygamy and divorce at will left many women neglected and often destitute. The biblical teaching of marriage between one man and one woman in a loving, lifelong relationship liberated not only women but also the institution of marriage and family . . .

And finally:

Martyrdom, however, is not a thing of the past. As recently as 1977, the archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Janani Luwum, was martyred at the hands of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. Archbishop Luwum spoke out boldly against the injustices and atrocities of Amin. This, however, ushered in a swift and merciless reaction from Amin. The archbishop’s home was plundered during a 1:30 a.m. raid on February 5, 1977. This brought a piercing censure of Amin from the Ugandan House of Bishops. Church leaders were summoned to Kampala and then ordered to leave, one by one. Luwum turned to Bishop Festo Kivengere and said: “They are going to kill me. I am not afraid.”

On February 16, 1977, Amin had Archbishop Luwum arrested on trumped-up charges of treason. Thrown into a cell with several other political prisoners, the archbishop said, “Let us pray.” Then they were taken to Amin himself, brutally beaten, and shot to death. “While the opportunity is there, I preach the Gospel with all my might, and my conscience is clear before God that I have not sided with the present government which is utterly self-seeking,” Janani Luwum wrote. “I have been threatened many times. Whenever I have the opportunity I have told the president the things the churches disapprove of. God is my witness.”

Orthodox Anglican Churches in much of Africa are quite reformist-Protestant and I cannot always agree with their expression of the Faith. That said, can anyone doubt +Orombi and his brothers and sisters in Christ are genuine, heartfelt and inspiring witnesses for Him? Read it all.

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