Church of England affirms mission to convert Jews and Muslims
The Pope has resisted all moves to reconsider the re-introduction of this old prayer, and rightly so. He has not been afraid to ostracise Jewry, and neither has he been overly bothered about telling a few home truths to the Muslims.
Now it appears that the Church of England has rediscovered the courage of its convictions, or perhaps conviction (singular) would be more appropriate, for it still has quite a few of its foundational convictions to re-discover. However, the uniqueness of Christ as the means of salvation is pre-eminent, and there could not be a finer place to start.
Notwithstanding that in the present climate it may find itself being prosecuted for inciting hatred.
A vote in the General Synod yesterday has made explicit that the Church of England has a mandate to proselytise; to convert all non-believers. Eschewing all the multicultural and multi-faith political correctness of pluralism, they reiterated the uniqueness of Christ and the imperative of preaching the gospel to all – even Jews and Muslims, whatever the offence. And this offence will be great, for conversion for many Muslims amounts to apostasy, which some consider punishable by death.
It is profoundly encouraging that orthodoxy has been affirmed, for what is the Church without Christ? What is to love without communicating the unique salvation wrought by Jesus?
The theology of mission is a complex and labyrinthine, but the difficulties and challenges posed by the contemporary context should not overwhelm its pursuit. As the Bishop of Rochester observes: “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." The zeal which took the gospel to Britain’s overseas colonies throughout the 19th century now needs to be expressed at home, for she who once was found has been lost.
The marginalisation of Christianity and the persecution of believers are proceeding at a rapid and most alarming rate. A decade of Labour has done more to offend Christians than the BNP has ever done to offend ethnic minorities.
We know about nurses who endure suspension and face dismissal merely for offering to pray; we know of the closure of Catholic adoption agencies; the threats to Christian schools; the ascendancy of gay rights over religious conviction...
But news has reached Cranmer this morning of Jennie Cain, a school receptionist, who asked her friends to pray for her daughter and Landscore Primary School in Devon, after an incident in which the five-year-old had been reprimanded by a teacher for talking to a friend about heaven and Jesus.
It seems that five-year olds may celebrate Diwali or Eid in their schools, but God forbid that they might talk about Jesus.
The prayer request was sent to close friends in a private email from a home computer, yet she has been told by Gary Read, the head teacher, that she has brought the school into disrepute and is facing dismissal for professional misconduct.
Cranmer is appalled to hear of this latest persecution.
He is even more disturbed that one of Mrs Cain’s ‘close friends’ has manifestly leaked the private email.
Satan still appears as an angel of light.