Tuesday, June 07, 2016
Church: "Pray in Silence, Don't Disturb Migrants"
Hoping to practice their Christian faith in their church, members were surprised when they were told they will now have to pray in silence out of respect to migrants who are living in the church building.
When the church members asked if the migrants could be taken to another place so the members could recite their prayers, the members, not the migrants were taken to another place.
A German evangelical leader has also offered his church for migrant housing and is stripping out, not only the pews, but the altar and the pulpit and any other "Christian" symbols, so as not to offend the migrants.
Is this biblical compassion or biblical confusion?
Parishioners were shocked when they were told they could not say their prayers at their church home, St. Anthony Church in Ventimiglia, Italy, because it would disturb the migrants.
The Northern Italy town of 55,000 has been recently overwhelmed with hundreds of migrants.
The town's mayor has said the situation is "an untenable situation" due to the European Union "asylum" policies.
It's likely the church is trying to do the right thing in reaching out to the needy. Jesus Himself told the church to minister to the needy and downtrodden.
However, should it be at the expense of prayers or corporate worship?
A German evangelical pastor has offered up his church as housing for migrants as well, however, in his case, they will be stripping out most of the fittings, including all symbols of Christianity, to accommodate the migrants---and to ensure they are not offended by the Christian symbols.
It is the first time in Germany a consecrated still serving church has been turned over to migrant accommodation, but the pastor says what they are doing is completely within their mission, even though the church is gutting out pews, the altar, the pulpit and the cross.
The church is also removing all Christian symbols in the hope that the migrants will feel more welcomed.
Many churches across Europe are doing the same, in fact, some bishops are ordering churches outside their jurisdictions to de-Christianize their churches in an effort to be sensitive to Muslims, who are the vast majority of the migrants.
Last October, Eva Brunne of Stockholm, the first openly lesbian bishop, ordered her church in the dockyards of her city to remove all crosses, make space for prayer mats and mark the direction to Mecca.
Europe is collapsing by most all accounts, under the weight of, in the case of Germany, more than 1 million migrants, with many more on the way. Churches across Europe are being "repurposed" for accommodation. In fact in one Christian retirement home in Sweden, the elderly residents were shocked to find out they were being replaced with migrants and were expected to be out of their apartment within 30 days.
Bishop Brunne wrote an article last fall calling Muslims "angels," arguing that removing Christian symbols from the church made you no less a Christian, and much more inclusive.
She's right. Christianity is a relationship, not a ritual. And if the goal is simply to "include," then that, too, would be correct.
What is happening in Europe is coming to America if we continue on our current path.
And this raises important questions in the minds of good, decent Christians who want to do the right thing.
What is the true mission of the Christian Church?
Is social justice the true mission of the church?
Or is evangelism the true mission?
I'm talking about this today on our radio program. Please join me live on the radio, on your computer or on your phone from anywhere in the world. Here's how.
Be Informed. Be Faithful. Be Vigilant. Be Prayerful.