Christianity and Other Faiths

July 29, 2008 at 2:50 pm Leave a comment

Yesterday’s theme for the Conference turned our sights outwards to the very different contexts in which Anglicans relate to other faiths. In Burma some of the bishops are forbidden to mention the name of Jesus for fear for their safety. In parts of Africa the interface with Islam means that Christians are confronted with aggressive forms of proselytisation. In India and Bangladesh, Christians have learned to live in a culture shaped by faiths which are non-Christian and not always sympathetic to the Christian Faith. In Western countries and in cities such as Leicester the story is very different but here we have the challenge of trying to communicate the faith into a culture which is ignorant or indifferent.

And the challenge for the worldwide Communion is to discover how best we can understand and support each other in our very different contexts:how dialogue in one culture can be seen as compromise in another one:how we can be in solidarity with Christians under persecution in some parts of the world without undermining trust and friendship between faiths in another part.

These conversations climaxed last evening at a very remarkable event addressed by the Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks. He spoke with great passion about the concept of Covenant – how God Covenants with his people and how this leads human beings to covenant with each other. He spoke of his deep affection for the Anglican Church and for the Archbishop of Canterbury and pleaded with us not to break up the precious gift of our worldwide communion. He even spoke to us about Jesus and called on us to do the work which God has given us to do which is different for the Jews but not in competition with Judaism.

He recieved a standing ovation for a speech which was moving, passionate, scholarly and amusing. Here was evidence beyond any doubt that God’s voice can be heard from beyond the community of the Christian Faith if we have the wisdom and the grace to hear it.


Entry filed under: Faith, Islam.

Time off at the Conference Speaking Life to each other

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