FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
German Churches Struggle With the Concept Of Christianity
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
This is the Great Commission. It is the foundation of Christianity. As Christians it is not enough that we, ourselves, believe it is our obligation to teach other to believe as well.
One of Germany’s largest Protestant regional churches has come under fire from other Christians for speaking out against efforts to convert Muslims just as tens of thousands of refugees from the Islamic world are streaming into the country.
In a new position paper, the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland says the passage in the Gospel of Matthew known as the Great Commission — “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” — does not mean Christians must try to convert others to their faith.
“A strategic mission to Islam or meeting Muslims to convert them threatens social peace and contradicts the spirit and mandate of Jesus Christ and is therefore to be firmly rejected,” the paper entitled “Pilgrim Fellowship and Witness in Dialogue with Muslims” argues.
This view is logical result of the destruction of orthodox Christianity that began in Europe in the aftermath of the First World War and reached the United States in the cultural rot of the 1960s, permissive parenting, and the sexual revolution. It has become fashionable among a lot of parents to boast that they do not catechize their children, they say they want to leave that decision to the children, themselves, once they reach adulthood. Small wonder, then, that un-church kids grow into neo-pagan adults and children of parents who don’t share their faith grow up with a contempt of faith in general.
The near contempt for evangelization is not strictly secular. About fifteen years ago I attended Mass an one of the historic missions in Southern California and was appalled to listen to a homily in which the priest warned it was inappropriate to attempt to convert non-Christians because of the rift it could cause with their family, as though one’s Salvation and mortal soul were no different that being blackballed from fraternity.
In the United States, this has resulted in the US Supreme Court declaring that adherence to Christianity as it has been practiced for two thousand years is indistinguishable from rank bigotry. While this strikes a blow at civil society in United States, the attitude is also dominant in Germany which is undergoing what can only be described as a Muslim invasion.
Not everyone agrees with this view and it is causing discomfort:
By contrast, the Consortium of Evangelical Missions — an association linking mission activities of evangelical groups around the country — told its members in late September: “We have today the unique opportunity to introduce Jesus to countless people right here who have not yet heard the Good News.”
The consortium statement stressed that most refugees were Muslims who “have escaped Islamist terror (and) are deeply shocked at the inhuman barbarity committed in the name of their religion.” Many had never met a Christian and would ask why Europeans were so friendly to them “while their cousins in Arabia turn them away so heartlessly.”
Practically, we know that there is a substantial underground Christian movement in the Middle East that has disturbed authorities in Iran and other countries. Many of those involved in evangelizing Muslims believe that there is legitimate thirst for the Truth that needs to be fulfilled:
In one baptism, refugee Mohammed Ali Zonoobi – an Iranian carpenter who arrived in Germany five months ago – denounced Islam to become a Christian.
Pastor Gottfried Martens asked Zonoobi: “Will you break away from Satan and his evil deeds? Will you break away from Islam?”
Zonoobi eagerly replied “yes” before being baptised.
Pastor Martens said that he is unfazed by those who convert in order to improve their chances of staying in Germany – claiming that the Christian message is changing enough lives.
He said that only around 10 per cent of converts do not return to church after their Christening.
Martens said: “I know there are – again and again – people coming here because they have some kind of hope regarding their asylum.
“I am inviting them to join us because I know that whoever comes here will not be left unchanged.”
Pastor Martens has this exactly right. We are not called to be gatekeepers for the Gospel. We are called to teach the Gospel to all comers. If someone converts in bad faith, that decision is on them. In the Parable of the Sower, Christ tells us that not all will receive the Gospel but that must not deter us from spreading the seed to see what grows.
A common language and common religion are critical to any stable society. You can talk multi-culturalism all you want but for every Switzerland you show me I can show you several Rwandas and Yugoslavias. If Europe hopes to assimilate this massive wave of immigrants it must aggressively seek to convert Muslims because wherever Muslims exist you find intolerance, police no-go zones, sharia law, and a general assault upon freedom of religion and speech.