Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Evangelical Protestant Missionaries in Islamic nation converting... Coptic Orthodox Christians

CAIRO // As the largest religious minority in a nation of Muslims, Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Christians have long felt a sense of battered yet unimpeachable pride: their faith is strong, their institutions sound and, perhaps most importantly, their presence on the banks of the Nile predates Islam’s by several centuries.

But over the past few months, the Orthodox church’s traditionally defensive stance has turned to face a new opponent. Prominent Orthodox leaders have publicly accused Protestant Evangelicals – a Christian sect with strong roots in the United States – of recruiting Orthodox youth as part of a broader plot to evangelise Egypt’s estimated eight million Christians.

The growing row among Christian denominations has challenged old assumptions about the pre-eminence of the Orthodox faith in Egypt’s vibrant Christian life.

“There are many rules among [Christians]. One of the most important of these rules is not to recruit people from one church to another,” said Father Abdel Masiih Basiit, the pastor of St Mary’s Orthodox Church of Mostarid in Qalubiya, about an hour north of Cairo. “[The Evangelicals] did not respect this rule.”

While Evangelical leaders acknowledge that they receive financial backing from the United States – just as the Coptic church takes support from the Orthodox diaspora – they have fervently denied that there is any such recruitment scheme. Like any religious institution, community leaders say, Evangelicals welcome all those who want to learn more about their faith. To the extent that Evangelicals do proselytise, it is to those Christians whose faith has lapsed and who may lack allegiance to a specific Christian sect, say Protestant leaders.
Read the rest here.


Samn! said...

Virtually all protestants in the Middle East are descendents of Orthodox converted in the 19th century, just as all Catholics were Orthodox converted in the 18th century... not a new story. Whenever foreign missionaries have come to the Middle East, they almost immediately lose any idea of preaching to Muslims and instead start preaching to local Christians. This is inevitably tied to the prestige of a western culture. Conversion to Catholicism in the 18th century was tied closely with conversion to French culture, and the Protestant missionaries practically preach America more than Christ, if they get to the latter at all...

JLB said...

I suppose the Orthodox can now start converting them right back? ;)

JLB said...

Sorry, I didn't notice it was the Copts.

Anonymous said...

i think in the prodomite orthodox countries like russia, ukraine, bylorussia ,moldovia , bulgaria greece, serbia , montenegro ,romania ,ethiopia the goverment should pass anti prosylteling laws and fine and kick out any foreign organizations that break the law