A little over a week after the death of Pope Shenouda III, the Coptic Orthodox church of Egypt is facing a crucial dilemma in the face of the rise of Islamism. Should the next leader speak for the rights of Christians, like his predecessor did, or should he be a peace-maker?
Names of three possible candidates are being discussed, 69-year-old Bishop Bishoy, an engineer graduate and senior member in the Church's governing Holy Council; 51-year-old Bishop Yoanas, who has a degree in medicine and who was Shenouda's personal secretary; and 73-year-old Bishop Moussa, known for his youth work and for Muslim-Christian relations.
The 88-year-old Pope Shenouda, who was both the spiritual and political leader of Egypt's Christian minority for four decades, died of longtime illnesses on March 17. After his death, President Barack Obama said Pope Shenouda would be remembered "as a man of deep faith, a leader of a great faith, and an advocate for unity and reconciliation." His commitment to Egypt's national unity is also a testament to what can be accomplished when people of all religions and creeds work together, Obama added. more >>
Evangelical leaders on the forefront of establishing relationships with Muslims in the United States admit they face unprecedented challenges. For Christians, the question remains – how do fruitful relationships between people from the two dramatically different faiths begin?
While some Christians embrace efforts to reach out to their Muslim neighbors, others are leery and point to a religion they believe is not about peace, but aggressive domination over others, including over Christians and Jews. For the latter, any association with members of the Islamic faith is seen as a "selling out" of Christianity.
Most recently, an effort by Rick Warren's Saddleback Church to reach out to neighboring Muslim communities in Southern California produced a firestorm of controversy over whether Warren would be compromising the Gospel in his efforts. Warren sharply denied he was downplaying the Gospel. more >>
If there is any common thread to be found among evangelical churches in America when it comes to relationships with their Muslim neighbors it may simply be fear.
Geo-political battles around the world between Islamic and Christian influences translate to strained relationships between evangelical Christians and Muslims in the United States, according to several Christian leaders interviewed by The Christian Post for this series.
It may still be premature to spot out any trends in bridge building efforts by churches in the U.S., but that doesn't mean Christian leaders are not taking a closer look and developing strategies on how to navigate the mission field within their own borders. more >>
NEW YORK - A New York imam has declared that he will start a campaign on April 22 to make the April 26 birthday of the Muslim prophet Muhammad a national holiday celebrated by Muslims and people of other faiths.
Mohammad Abdul Qayyoom, head of the Muhammadi Community Center in Jackson Heights in the NYC borough of Queens, published a copy of the petition via the center's Facebook page to be signed by other religious leaders. The interfaith initiative asks for an establishment of April 26 as a federal holiday, "so that we can enjoy this day like the joy of Christmas."
"One good thing [about] this country are celebrations," Qayyoom told The Christian Post Wednesday. "We have many celebrations -- we have Christmas, we have the Valentine's Day, we have Halloween, we have many many traditions." more >>
LAKE FOREST, Calif. – Influential evangelist Pastor Rick Warren has labeled as "flat out wrong" a local newspaper's assertion that he believes Muslims and Christians worship the same God, has partnered with Southern California mosques and has agreed not to evangelize Muslims.
The debate over Warren's alleged beliefs as reported in the Orange County Register has created a firestorm of online discussion, including more than 300 comments underneath the article, and Christians, both leaders and lay people, asking Saddleback Church members and associates a steady stream of questions about the validity of the statements made.
In response to questions raised by The Christian Post, Warren has issued a three-page white paper titled "Muslims, Evangelism and Mission," which asserts that Saddleback Church is preaching Jesus Christ as Savior and a Triune God to the Muslim community. This is not how Muslims view God. The Register, a daily newspaper publication in the area with more than a half-million readers, published an article last week (online and print) stating that Warren agreed not "to try to evangelize" Muslims in a document "outlining points of agreement between Islam and Christianity." more >>
In stark contrast to most mainstream Christian leaders, especially those of the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S., a coalition of 22 Christian, Jewish and Muslim institutions has emerged expressing support for President Barack Obama's controversial contraception mandate that affects many faith-based institutions.
Catholics for Choice, Episcopal Divinity School, Jewish Women International, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Muslims for Progressive Values, the Planned Parenthood Clergy Advisory Board, and several others said in a Wednesday statement that the Obama administration was correct in requiring institutions that do not have purely sectarian goals to offer comprehensive preventive health care.
National leaders have the responsibility to "help improve the health of women, their children, and families," the groups wrote in the joint statement. "Hospitals and universities across the religious spectrum have an obligation to assure that individuals' conscience and decisions are respected and that their students and employees have access to this basic health care service. more >>