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Saturday, June 02, 2012

Koran to be read during televised church service in Germany

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KATH.NET - Katholischer Nachrichtendienst: "

Free Church rejects accusations of religious confusion.

There is controversy in advance of a televised church service on 17 June on ZDF (Cathcon- German equivalent of BBC). The reason: during the service of the Evangelical Free Church congregation (Baptist) in Kamp-Lintfort work where Christians and Muslim work alongside eachother in the mines,  there will be a reading from the Koran. As the Baptist pastor, André Carouge explained, Christians and Muslims have maintained close relationships in  Kamp-Lintfort since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 in the United States. Friendships between miners in the Ruhr area were independent of their origin and religion and they always had to rely on each other. After the attacks, they had received each other over many days.

CEP Conference of Protestant Publicists

Christians are confused
Sharp criticism of the project came from Christian media association CEP (Conference of Protestant Publicists). Its managing director Wolfgang Baake (Wetzlar) accused the church leadership in a letter of "a lack of accountability". A joint reading of the Bible and the Koran confuses Christians in their faith and tells them, falsely, that there was no  or only minor inter-religious differences. The big questions of reconciliation, sin, faith, and the image of God in Islam and Christianity would be answered but fundamentally differently. The letter from whichthe CEP quoted in a press release, led to many critical questions at the national office of the Free Church in Elstal near Berlin.

Baptists: Helping indeed more important than real commitment

A Member of the management board of the church at national level, Pastor Friedrich Schneider (Oldenburg), rejected the accusation of mixing religions.

It is in the context of the worship of the city which is dominated by the mining community and relates to the  theme of "Compassion - mineral resources of the faith." The focus of preaching is based on the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Schneider: "Jesus provoked here the faithful of his own time that he 'is a model that, true believers' just one false believers are criticized for refusing an obvious love of neighbor." The helping hand will be valued higher than  right belief.

The service will document  the neighbourly friendship between Christians and Muslims, said Schneider. The passage from the Koran, which will quoted in the church could be accepted by any of Christian faith:

"Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but righteousness is (in) one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it a , to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives regular charity; those who fulfill their promise when they promise; and those who are patient in misfortune and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who are truthful, and it is those who [are careful of their duty to Allah and] guard [themselves against evil]."(Surah 2.177).

(Cathcon- I have highlighted in bold the actual text of the whole Surah which appears in the kath.net article.  One suspects that the partial quoting comes from Pastor Schneider

The service will also make it clear that non-Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

Schneider: "The fact that this verse is quoted from the Koran leads to some Christians, unfortunately, to undifferentiated protest in a reflexive." But for Baptists, respect for people of different faiths is important. Schneider also reminds that Baptists have always been committed to  religious freedom.

Baake: "Koran does not belong to church,"

CEP Director Baake still maintains his position.  "The Koran does not belong in a Christian church". Members of other religions are welcome to attend Christian worship: "But that does not mean sthat Muslim elements are a part of it."
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