A group of conservative Anglicans that broke away from The Episcopal Church recently announced a new project to educate American members about Islam and the challenges it poses to the Church and its mission.
Called the Church and Islam Project, the new initiative includes educational seminars, reading materials, and information made available at a new Web site, www.ChurchandIslam.com.
“As Christians, we are called to reach out to the world around us to spread the love of Christ and that includes learning how to respond to other religions,” said the Rev. Canon Julian Dobbs, Canon Missioner of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA).
He said the group will provide its members with “honest” and “respectful” information, while “exposing the truth about so-called moderate Islam and encouraging evangelism to Muslims.”
Dobbs, who will head the Church and Islam Project, was most recently the U.S. executive director for the Barnabas Fund, a U.K.-based ministry that supports the persecuted church.
He explained that through CANA’s association with the Church of Nigeria – CANA is the offshoot of the latter – the conservative Anglican body has heard about the “horror” of anti-Christian violence in the country, especially in Nigerian states that are ruled by Sharia (Islamic) law.
“Churches have been burnt and destroyed, Christians have been intimidated and some have been killed, all in the name of Islam,” he said.
And in the United States, Islam is entering churches where Episcopal bishops and other leaders have invited mullah’s to teach from lecterns and “confuse parishioners.”
“Countless pastors and churches are being drawn into discussions on Islam and Christ, but we cannot let polite multi-faith dialogue substitute for the truth of the Gospel message,” the conservative Anglican leader maintained. “CANA is committed to providing resources to help Christians deepen their understanding of Islam and to develop the appropriate Biblical response.”
CANA’s leader, the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, agreed adding that the Gospel message does not exclude the one-fifth of the world’s population who are Muslims.
“We are called to love our neighbor – no matter what religion they practice – because the Christian faith has a distinctive message which brings the salvation and love of God to a needy and broken world through the life-transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Minns said.
In 2005, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America was formed after a conservative group of Anglicans broke away from The Episcopal Church over the ordination of a gay bishop and what they viewed as the abandonment of the Scripture’s teachings. The province now includes 85 congregations, 179 clergy in 25 states, and some 100,000 conservative Anglicans.