Two different pictures of the same Church

Two different pictures of the same Church

Two different pictures of the same Church

While American culture continues to embrace more deviant and disordered sexuality, even within the Church, that is not the case in Africa.

When the Episcopal Church split in 2007 over the issue of homosexuality, many conservative congregations, which rebranded themselves as Anglican, found conservative bishops in Africa to oversee them.

Tooley, Mark (IRD) Tooley

Mark Tooley of The Institute for Religion & Democracy (IRD) says that while almost every denomination has compromised on the biblical definition of sexuality, the Church in Africa has stood strong.

"It's very traditional, and it's very young and relatively new, and it's fast-growing," he reports. "So in that sense it is very different from much of at least white Christianity in North America, which is aging and older and in decline."

And Tooley asserts that the Bible is not the source of some African nations' new criminal laws punishing homosexuals with imprisonment or worse. Even if some churches pushed for those measures, he says it was done out of fear of and/or competition with Islam, "which does advocate these extreme punishments."

"Christians are often afraid that if they're portrayed by Islam as squishy or ambivalent on sexual standards, they will be discredited or even physically in danger," he says.

Nonetheless, Tooley says the fast-growing Christian Church in Africa is a good reminder that American Christianity is just a small sliver of the greater, global Church.

"Christianity is growing in Africa, and it tends to be more charismatic and Pentecostal," the IRD president notes. "The awareness of the supernatural -- there's a much greater appreciation for that in Africa than there is in much of America, where we're much more shaped by a rationalist perspective."

In all of Africa, only one nation — South Africa — has legalized same-sex marriage, where Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, world-renowned for his opposition to apartheid, has been an outspoken supporter of LGBTQ rights.