Tuesday 28 November 2017

‘Fairly Serious Error’ Reading of Quran in Church Service

Queen’s Chaplain Steps Down, Calls Reading of Quran in Church Service a ‘Fairly Serious Error’

Rev. Gavin Ashenden

One particular chaplain to the queen resigned right after his criticism with the reading of the Quran within the church service held at St Mary's Episcopal in Glasgow recently.

The Rev. Gavin Ashenden, in a blog published on his website, explained he necessary to resign from his post, that he held for nine years, in order to avoid any confusion that his statements against what occurred in the service were released on behalf of the Queen.

As among the 33 chaplains for the Queen, his behavior could possibly be misinterpreted as representing the monarchy. When deciding on to vacate his post, although being able to freely “speak on behalf of the faith,” he said.

“If I did decide to speak out, really should be integrity and responsibility, I should not do it while I was in possession of the office of ‘Chaplain to the Queen,’” Ashenden wrote. “Because I think it a higher and more compelling duty to convey out on behalf of the faith, than to retain an open honor which precludes me performing this at the moment, I resigned my post,” he continued.

Ashenden got involved with a controversy when he openly criticized the reading of the Quran during a church service at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in celebration of the Feast of Epiphany. As reported by the church, Muslim worshipers were invited and permitted to participate in the service as part of the church's efforts to bolster interfaith relationships.

Having said that, while in the service, passages from the Quran saying Jesus was not the Son of God were read in Arabic, causing many Christians to feel offended that this was allowed at a church service, particularly one which was intended to celebrate the wise men’s visit to Jesus when He was a child as an acknowledgment of Him being God in human form.

 Muslims believe Jesus is a prophet but does not believe He is God.
Ashenden felt compelled to share out up against the Quran reading, that he thought to be “a fairly serious error.”
“To have a reading from the Koran at that point was a fairly serious error for the Christian worshipping community, but to decide on the reading they chose doubled the error,” he told BBC Radio 4 in an interview. "Of all passages you could have read likely to cause offense, that was one of the most problematic.”

In a letter he wrote for The Times, he also demanded that the church apologizes to Christians who are enduring intense persecution from Muslims.

"The challenge with what actually happened in Glasgow was that even though 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.,” he said. “It must not occur in the Holy Eucharist specifically a Eucharist whose principal purpose is to celebrate Christ the word made flesh come into the world.”
Ashenden said he made a decision to resign after meeting with officials from Buckingham Palace.

The Scottish Episcopal Church released an announcement stating that while developing strong interfaith relationships is one of the commitments of the church to cultivate the work of reconciliation, efforts to do so “must be founded on truth.”

“We approach others with open hearts but we stand in the truth of the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,” the Scottish Episcopal Church said. “Those who are looking for to operate in the area of interfaith relationships must consider thoroughly perhaps the choices which they make are suitable or otherwise.”


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