Sunday, July 6, 2008

Church continues to lose ground to Islam in Britain

Church attendance in Britain is declining so fast that the number of regular churchgoers will be fewer than those attending mosques within a generation, according to a research reported by the Times of London on May 8. Yet, a traditionalist Anglican who advocates that the Church of England work explicitly to convert Muslims to Christianity is under intense fire, especially from “senior figures in the Church”. Paul Eddy, a lay member of the General Synod, is unwavering though. Speaking to the Sunday programme on BBC Radio Four, he said that in an effort to be inclusive and inoffensive, the church had "lost its nerve" and was "not doing what the Bible says". "Both Christianity and Islam are missionary faiths," he observed. "For years, we have sent missionaries throughout the whole world, but when we have the privilege of people of all nations on our doorstep, we have a responsibility as the state church to share the gospel of Jesus Christ."

Paul faulted the argument that preaching the undiluted Christian message would be offensive to Islam: "Most Muslims that I've talked to say, 'I really wish that Christians would stop watering down their faith and expecting us to do the same.. Until we start really saying what we really believe in our faith, there will be no respect.” Speaking further, he said: "Actually, to present to a Muslim that we believe Jesus is the only way to God, they'll say, 'We know that'. "They will expect us - if we're true Christians - to try to evangelise them, in the same way they will expect us, if they're true Muslims, to adopt their faith."

Meanwhile, two pastors, Arthur Cunningham, 48, and Joseph Abraham, 65, handing out gospel leaflets in a predominantly Muslim area of Birmingham, England, were threatened with arrest and warned of being beaten for committing what an officer called a "hate crime."

They were accosted by police community support officer, or PCSO who told them that they “were in a Muslim area and were not allowed to spread [the] Christian message." In April, Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, bishop of Rochester and the Church of England's only Pakistan-born bishop, had written in the Telegraph that certain pockets of England were becoming "no-go" zones, places too dangerous for non-Muslims to enter.

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