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Christian Concern PR Man Calls for Evangelization of Muslims

Various news-sites have reported on this; here’s the Church Times:

A private members motion about evangelism amongst those of other faiths is set to be debated at the Church of England General Synod. The motion, from Paul Eddy, has the support of the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali. Many bishops are strongly opposed and have apparently urged Mr Eddy to desist. The text of the motion is as follows

‘That this Synod request the House of Bishops to report to the Synod on their understanding of the uniqueness of Christ in Britain’s multi-faith society, and offer examples and commendations of good practice in sharing the gospel of salvation through Christ alone with people of other faiths and of none.’

Apparently, however, Eddy and Nazir-Ali both have Islam in particular in mind, and this has given Eddy some extra media publicity. The Christian Post notes that:

The Church of England is divided over a proposed motion for it to proclaim Christianity as the only way to salvation and offer strategies on how to evangelize Muslims.

Senior church leaders as well as some Muslim figures have voiced anger at the motion proposed by Paul Eddy – a lay member of the church’s General Synod, according to BBC.

“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,'” Eddy said on BBC Radio Four on Sunday. “Until we start really saying what we really believe in our faith, there will be no respect.”

This is actually quite clever: on one level Eddy is calling for Muslim evangelization, while on another he is calling for the church to be more like Muslims, defining non-evangelical forms of Christian faith as “watering down”. Eddy doesn’t appear to have any “examples and commendations of good practice” of his own (door-to-door, perhaps, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses? Or what?), and one suspects that this is merely a bit of PR to put non-evangelical Anglicans on the spot.

Indeed, Eddy’s background is in PR, and he works closely with Andrea Minichiello Williams of Christian Concern for our Nation on a number of issues (I blogged Williams a week ago here) – Unity at Ministry of Truth has dubbed him as “God’s own Max Clifford”. Williams, it should be recalled, promotes the views of a man named Sam Solomon, who warns that Muslims are motivated by hatred and that even moderate Muslim neighbours will turn into killers in the right circumstances.

Eddy’s motion has in fact been kicking around for a while; as the Church Times notes, the Telegraph reported on it in 2006:

Mr Eddy, from the Winchester diocese, has now tabled a private member’s motion aimed at forcing the Church to clarify its position on what is potentially a highly sensitive issue.

The motion, which requires a minimum of 100 signatures to secure a Synod debate, has already garnered the general approval of more than 80 members even though it has not yet been posted on the Church’s website.

“My Muslim friends say they can’t understand why we Christians don’t evangelise more, especially as they have a strategy to convert Britain,” said Mr Eddy.

…The last time the Synod debated a similar motion four years ago, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, was forced to assuage fears among Muslims and others that the Church had decided to launch a heavy-handed campaign to convert them.

The motion, which was overwhelmingly carried, demanded that the “good news of salvation in Jesus Christ must be shared with all, including people of other faiths or of no faith.”

The support of the Bishop of Rochester has now brought extra notice:

Pakistan-born Dr Nazir-Ali told the Mail on Sunday that, while Church leaders had rightly shown sensitivity to British Muslims, “I think it may have gone too far.”

He added: “Our nation is rooted in the Christian faith and that is the basis of welcoming people of other faiths. You cannot have an honest conversation on the basis of fudge.”

Since he was passed over [for Archbishop], he has felt able to speak more freely about his inter-faith views and has become a talisman for hard-line evangelicals who see Islam as a threat to culture and religion.

In fact, a desire not to be seen to be aggressively targeting other faith groups does not just apply to Islam, and in the 1990s Archbishop George Carey declined to become patron of the Church’s Ministry Among the Jews. CMJ was founded to evangelize Jews, and Archbishops of Canterbury were traditionally its patron. For some reason neither Eddy nor Nazir-Ali have spoken out about this particular bit of “watering down”.

Nazir-Ali caused controversy some months ago when he raised the spectre of “no-go” areas for non-Muslims in British cities, without providing any specific examples.

Incidentally, among his various roles, Nazir-Ali is “spiritual protector” of the UK Grand Priory of “The International Knightly Order Valiant of St George”, a charitable organization founded by a Hungarian dissident from 1956 now based in the UK. From the names given on its website, the “Deputy Grand Master” and the “The Grand Chancellor” are both individuals who were part of the 1980s “libertarian” Young Conservative scene.

One Response

  1. […] last blogged on Nazir Ali a few days ago here. The Social Affairs Unit also promotes […]

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