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Hold On To Sound Teaching

This past weekend, I received an article from a church member that is a picture of how far our world has moved from a devout faith where Christianity is stated to be the predominant faith. The email was taken from the “London Telegraph”, Camilla Turner, education editor, JANUARY, 22, 2017, 11:45 AM.

A chaplain to the Queen has resigned after publicly criticizing a church that allowed a Koran reading during its service as part of an interfaith project.  The Rev Gavin Ashenden, who until this week was one of the 33 special chaplains to the Queen, said the reading was “a fairly serious error” and one which he had a duty to speak out about.

During a service at St Mary’s Episcopal in Glasgow earlier this month to mark the feast of the Epiphany, there was a reading of a passage from the Koran which said that Jesus was not the son of God.  The cathedral in Kelvinbridge had invited local Muslim worshippers to contribute to the service, which was aimed at improving relations between Christians and Muslims in Glasgow. But police were called after members of the church received “hate-filled messages” from far-right extremists after the service.

The Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, the Most Rev David Chillingworth, said that the Scottish Episcopal Church would review the work of St Mary’s. He said the church was “deeply distressed at the offence which has been caused”.   Dr Ashenden wrote a letter to The Times newspaper earlier this week, where he called on the church to apologise to Christians “suffering dreadful persecution at the hands of Muslims” and added that the denigration of Jesus in Christian worship would be called “blasphemy” by some.  He also stated, “To have a reading from the Koran at that point was a fairly serious error for the Christian worshipping community.”

He told BBC Radio 4 on Sunday: “The problem with what happened in Glasgow was that although it was presented as a way of building bridges and a way of educating people it was done badly in the wrong way in the wrong place in the wrong context.”  “It should not happen in the holy Eucharist and particularly a Eucharist whose main intention is to celebrate Christ the word made flesh come into the world.

“To have a reading from the Koran at that point was a fairly serious error for the Christian worshipping community, but to choose the reading they chose doubled the error. Of all passages you might have read likely to cause offence that was one of the most problematic.”  He said that he had to make a choice between the “important honor” of continuing in the role of royal chaplain, and having the ability to speak out on matters he felt strongly about.  “I think it’s clear to me that accepting the role of chaplain to the Queen does not give one a platform where one can speak controversially in the public space,” he said.

“So in those circumstances I think one has to choose between whether one wants to accept an important honor or whether one chooses to continue a debate in the public space.  “I am fairly clear in my own mind that my duty to my conscience, to my order, to my understanding of Christianity and my vocation is that I am supposed to be speaking out in the public space on behalf of the Christ I serve.”

Paul battled the same kind of attempt in Galatia to dilute the Gospel.   I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-8).