German Protestant church’s scandalous idea rocks evangelical community

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Migrants receive bananas, soup, bread and tea before crossing the Austrian-German border in Achleiten, Austria, across from Passau, Germany, on October 29, 2015. Photo courtesy REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

Migrants receive bananas, soup, bread and tea before crossing the Austrian-German border in Achleiten, Austria, across from Passau, Germany, on October 29, 2015. Photo courtesy REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

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(RNS) An initiative to quit converting Muslim refugees by the mainline Rhineland church prompted a sharp response from Germany’s small evangelical movement.

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  • Sister Geraldine Marie, OP, RN, PHN

    The Great Commission is to be obeyed regardless of circumstances! Only remembering that teaching comes first, then baptism. All potential converts, whether religious or not, are free to accept or reject the truth of Christianity without fear of reprisal from any source.

  • Larry

    Imagine that! A directive not to act obnoxiously in order to bolster numbers in one’s congregation being “scandalous”.

    Christians seldom bother to reflect on how offensive their conduct can be when trying to evangelize. As with many act by Christians, ends justify means. As long as one claims God approves it, any act is excused.

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  • Richard Rush

    “. . . Germany’s small evangelical movement.”

    From this American’s viewpoint, that’s a beautiful thing to behold.

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  • Richard Rush

    (I tried to underline “small” for emphasis, but it didn’t work.)

  • Ian Clark

    Sometimes introducing people to Jesus Christ comes through showing Christian love and compassion, which is what this church appears to be doing. The Great Commission of Christ calls Christians to teach and baptize. But how did Christ teach? In some circumstances, he used words. But in many cases, he taught through deed. When we are confronted with the refugee, the hungry, the homeless, the sick, the afraid I think deed may be the best way to approach the situation, as this church is doing.

  • It is the atonement of Jesus Christ that saves us. The message of the cross is what Christians are to carry to the world. It is our eternal destiny that really matters.Jesus commanded it. That should settle it for any believer. Receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Turn away from sin and rebellion, and abide in Him through His Word and by His Holy Spirit. God Bless

  • RMW

    So is it better that all those huge numbers of Muslim refugees are expected to change German society permanently? Even Angela Merkel admits this will happen:
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34173720
    And a view from the ground:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VJyKRwQHHM&feature=youtu.be

  • RMW

    And who determines what is an offensive conduct?
    Some years ago, the then Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad openly declared before a gathering of Muslim nations that Jews rule the world by inventing socialism, communism, human rights and democracy (see point 39 and 51 here: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/10/20/1066502121884.html).
    Evidently human rights and democracy could be viewed as offensive to some Muslims. Therefore no one is to mention them to Muslims?

  • Joseph Thorne

    This isn’t just the Islamic view of what’s offensive. Imagine for a moment that you just had to abandon your home, and then someone tries to convert you to Islam. Probably thinking it was all part of Allah’s plan.

  • Joseph Thorne

    So do they need to be cleansed of their former religion before they can become German citizens? Not everyone is going to accept Christianity, so it makes more sense to establish a consistent sense of secular morality free of theocratic thinking. That way they aren’t forced to relinquish their culture, yet they won’t have as much of the hamrful baggage.

  • Larry

    The people on the receiving end of it of course determine whether they find conduct towards themselves offensive.

    Citing to bad acts of people of the same faith doesn’t change the nature of one’s own behavior. The obnoxiousness of one group does not absolve the obnoxiousness of another.

    Shall we just declare that all Christians are probably child molesters because of Josh Duggar?

  • Larry

    Of course they will change the society forever. Prejudice and panic figure greatly into the objections to immigrants in general: “Yellow Peril”, “Brown Peril”, “Jewish Question”…

    Countries which set their national identity on race, religion and ethnicity always have trouble accepting the immigrants they invite in. The idea of having to break the assumptions of what a citizen of that country looks like is difficult for some. But it is necessary.

  • observer

    There is nothing wrong with inviting individuals to become Christian, provided it is done without coercion. Islam was spread through conversions from tactics that included invitation, economic/social opportunities and outright force. Many of the refugees are descended from people who were Christians in Syria, Iraq or other places, but through various tactics converted to Islam due to Arab and Turkish conquers. I agree with Mr. Clark’s statement.

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  • Richard Rush

    RMW,

    No, rather than convert the Muslim refugees to Christians, it would be much better to convert them to agnostics, or better yet, atheists.

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  • RMW

    Imagine for a moment that you just had to abandon your home, and then someone tries to convert you to “a consistent sense of secular morality free of theocratic thinking” (what you are advocating in your comments below). Obnoxious as well?

  • RMW

    “The obnoxiousness of one group does not absolve the obnoxiousness of another.”
    Then secular obnoxiousness isn’t welcomed either.

  • RMW

    Not everyone will accept your ‘consistent sense of secular morality free of theocratic thinking’. Then what?
    This Australian based Muslim is seemingly opposed to secular values such as singing the Australian national anthem and the Australian citizenship pledge:
    “Liberal values are imposed through systematic attempts to “reform” Islam. The most intimate beliefs and values of Muslims are determined, approved and disapproved by the state. In return, they are not only to be grateful for the freedom of religion they are afforded but also to celebrate it. This imposition of values is manifest in things like the insistence by government ministers that Muslim children sing the national anthem. It is manifest, institutionally, in things like the citizenship pledge, which reads, “I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people, whose democratic beliefs I share”.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/the-muslim-bogeyman-is-a-tool-for-the-cheap-politics-of-fear-20151101-gkny43.html

  • RMW

    Somehow I think the reverse is more likely to happen.
    Australia’s most famous Islamic State convert so far is/was an 18 year old youth named Jake Bilardi, who was raised in an atheist family without any religion. He on his own volition became a Muslim convert and all the way into a jihadist.
    The French organisation CPDSI which researches native white French nationals who have become Muslim militants discovered in one survey that 80% of the came from atheist families:
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30119868

  • Larry

    If you abandoned your home because you were fleeing the depredations of well armed religious fanatics enslaving your community and family, it would be a rather easy task.

    “Wouldn’t it have been nice if people weren’t inspired to do such nasty things to your family and people?”

  • Larry

    Secular “obnoxiousness” like defending religious freedom for all people, not just the dominant majority and extolling education and rational thinking. That sort of thing welcomed by most people.

    The only people who don’t like secularism are those who want their religion entangled with government. Those who want to force others to believe or act in accordance with their specific sectarian faith.

  • Larry

    The same thing which happens when everyone doesn’t agree with your religious based arbitrary sense of morality.

    You set ground rules to avoid discrimination and attacks on civil liberties and you try to be civil with one another. Our Constitution has created a great blueprint as to how that sort of thing is best done.

    Real religious freedom and living in a heterogeneous society is something Europeans (and Australians) are very new to, but are old hat in America. They are going through what we did a century or two ago. Virtually no other nation has been as successful in integrating different cultures and faiths as the US has.

    Religious freedom must be not only not entangling religion with the state but also free exercise of religion. Most other countries do not really get that. Most developed nations are just learning this now.

  • Larry

    I believe in religious freedom. A fundamentalist Muslim society is as objectionable to me as a fundamentalist Christian one. You are not offering an alternative.

    As the “horseshoe theory” goes the more extreme views are, the closer they resemble each other. Fundies are fundies no matter what religion they are. None of them are worth a damn.

    “would those Native Americans and Taiwanese aborigines stop lamenting that they’ve long been overtaken by Europeans and Chinese ‘immigrants’? ”

    You saying that current residents of the US and European nations are being subject to genocidal attacks by immigrants. Facts say otherwise.

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  • Hannah Katz

    If the Muslims who truly become Christians quit the bombing, shooting and stabbing of Jews and Christians, and respect women, that seems like a win for civilization, for Europe and for Germany.

  • Phil B

    So, apparently, to summarize: —-> Rhineland Church: “Let the muslims go to hell.”

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  • Ben

    Marie, there is very little truth in Christianity.

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  • Steve

    Let’s consider those who were scandalized when Jesus announced His message. Even family and close disciples were a part of those offended.

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  • Werner

    I am surprised that the author of this article and most commenters seem to confuse evangelisch with evangelical. In Germany Evangelisch is Lutheran; evangelicals are known as “evangelicalisch”.

  • RMW

    @Larry
    Still obnoxious isn’t it to promote unwanted secularism?

  • RMW

    @Larry
    “..defending religious freedom for all people, not just the dominant majority and extolling education and rational thinking. That sort of thing welcomed by most people.”
    DO you defend Kim Davis then?

  • RMW

    “The only people who don’t like secularism are those who want their religion entangled with government.”
    No because you secularist people have consistently demonstrated more intolerance and bloodshed. The French Revolution and Pol Pot (both very secular) comes to mind.

  • RMW

    “..your religious based arbitrary sense of morality.”
    Not everyone agrees with your arbitrary secular morality.

    “Our Constitution..”
    If you mean the American Constitution it’s irrelevant to most non-Americans, including me.

    “something Europeans (and Australians)…”
    So now you presume other nations must adopt your ways? What pathetic arrogance.

    “Virtually no other nation has been as successful in integrating different cultures and faiths as the US has.”
    Like what? The reported ‘ethnic cleansing’ of black neighbourhoods in LA by violent Latino gangs some years ago? The black rioters during the Rodney King riots who for some reason targeted Asian businesses? The suspected widespread clandestine practice of FGM/female circumcision amongst certain immigrant cultures in the US? This documentary excerpt (assuming it’s not a joke or being taken out of context) which shows some groups practicing bridal kidnapping in the US?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5PPJcR0RBs

  • RMW

    “As the “horseshoe theory” goes the more extreme views are, the closer they resemble each other.”
    You could be right on this one. There is no real difference between fundamentalist Muslims and obnoxious secularists such as you.
    Both of you regard Christians as enemies.
    Both of you would like to see Christianity suppressed or eliminated outright.
    Both of you would do anything, from legal processes to outright fighting to achieve your goals.
    Both claim some form of moral high ground. You claim some kind of ‘religious freedom’ whilst the claim is often made that Islam is supposedly tolerant.

  • RMW

    “You saying that current residents of the US and European nations are being subject to genocidal attacks by immigrants. Facts say otherwise.”
    Just wait. Then again it may already started with the Charlie Hebdo attack and the Rotterham child abuse scandal (perpetrated by mostly Muslim Pakistani gangs).
    Alternatively consider the situation in West Papua/Irian Jaya. The native people there have been overwhelmed by the Indonesian government who encouraged the mast migration of enormous numbers of Javanese people (with a completely different culture) to take over the area.

  • Larry

    Who doesn’t want secularism?

    Theocrats. People who want a right to attack others who are not of the same faith as themselves. The type of people who are driving these Syrians to leave their country. The type of people who want to enact sectarian discrimination.

    Are you one of them? 🙂

  • Larry

    “DO you defend Kim Davis then?”

    Why? How is she rational?

    She also has nothing to do with religious freedom. She is exactly the opposite of religious freedom and secular government. Trying to impose her religious views on the operations of government. ISIS-lite.

    “The French Revolution and Pol Pot (both very secular) comes to mind”

    Pol Pot and Jacobins weren’t secularists. They extolled state religion of the personality cult. Try again. You are really getting into Inigo Montoya territory here (“you use that word, but I don’t think it means what you think it means”)

    But James Madison was a secularist. So was Roger Williams, William Penn, Thomas Jefferson and the people who ratified the 1st Amendment, you seem to hate so much. Secularism is the separation of church and state AND free exercise of religion. You can’t have one without the other.

    So why do you hate religious freedom so much RMW?

  • Larry

    “If you mean the American Constitution it’s irrelevant to most non-Americans, including me.”

    Hence you do not understand how secular government really works. The USA was the first secular government. Secular means 2 things:
    1. Freedom to worship AND
    2. Guaranteeing that freedom to worship by ensuring government is not entangled with religion.

    Maybe English is your 2nd language. You do not seem to understand the meaning of the word “secular” despite your constant use of the term. I suggest you do some reading about Roger Williams and William Penn. Then do a little homework on the American Constitution’s 1st Amendment.

    RMW, try comparing the LA riots to the Balkan conflicts, where the term “ethnic cleansing” came from. People living side by side with each other deciding to commit genocide. Death camps and everything. Europeans don’t get heterogeneous societies yet.

  • Larry

    Those obnoxious secularists with their desire TO PROTECT RELIGIOUS FREEDOM OF ALL. Yeah that has a lot to do with fundamentalists. /sarcasm.

    At this point its clear you have no clue what the word secular means. I am not sure if you are just trying to be obnoxiously offensive or are just ignorant.

    When Christians attack the civil liberties of others, they deserve as much scorn and opposition as when any other religious group does it.

    If you think that religious freedom for all is somehow repressing or attacking your Christian faith, it speaks badly for your faith.

    I have moral high ground here because I am extolling civil liberties for all instead of supporting dictatorship of fundamentalist religion. Whereas you want to attack those of other faiths for being different, I support their right to worship as they please.

    As with all religious belief, your right to worship ends where you try to harm others. Contrast that to people who cause mayhem in God’s name.

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  • RMW

    @Larry
    “People who want a right to attack others who are not of the same faith as themselves.”
    An apt description of obnoxious secularists, which leads to..

    “The type of people who are driving these Syrians to leave their country.”
    According to many Syrians themselves, it is the Assad regime they are fleeing from. The Assad regime, commonly described as secular. Well well.
    http://www.dw.com/en/survey-leaves-no-doubt-syrians-are-fleeing-assad/a-18775789

  • RMW

    @Jack
    The same Inquisition which even according to its RationalWiki entry (hardly a pro-religious site) was actually more humane than other court systems of its day? What’s the problem?
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Spanish_Inquisition

  • RMW

    @Larry
    “So why do you hate religious freedom so much RMW?”
    Because it is a nonsense statement made up by obnoxious secularists such as you. The fact that you oppose Kim Davis shows it all.

    “Pol Pot and Jacobins weren’t secularists. They extolled state religion of the personality cult.”
    Not mutually exclusive. When you try to eliminate the natural tendency to worship God, you will end up worshipping humans.

  • RMW

    @Jack
    “..as Sweden and other advanced countries also lead the way in. Belief in deities and religious myths from backward cultures of thousands of years ago is merely for the unenlightened.”
    The same Sweden that seems determined to import huge numbers of Muslims in? Sounds more like an Islamic future. Secularism is a suicidal loser.

  • RMW

    @Larry
    “RMW, try comparing the LA riots to the Balkan conflicts, where the term “ethnic cleansing” came from. People living side by side with each other deciding to commit genocide.”
    Because it was described as such:
    https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2013/01/15/latino-gang-leader-convicted-la-ethnic-cleansing-campaign

    ” Secular means 2 things…”
    No it doesn’t. From your very hatred of Kim Davis, it really means discriminating and attacking Christianity.

  • RMW

    How would you know that an omnipotent being can’t?

  • RMW

    @Larry
    “Those obnoxious secularists with their desire TO PROTECT RELIGIOUS FREEDOM OF ALL.”
    Except for Kim Davis.

    “At this point its clear you have no clue what the word secular means.”
    I know what it means in your hands.

    “When Christians attack the civil liberties of others…”
    Wrong way, it is secularists attacking Christians.

    “I have moral high ground here because I am extolling civil liberties for all..”
    No you don’t you are attacking Christians.

    “your right to worship ends where you try to harm others.”
    Your secularism ends when you try to limit or attack Christians.

    “Contrast that to people who cause mayhem in God’s name.”
    Yet you seem to be very supportive of Islamic immigration. Islam, arguably the one religion that’s the most geared against all other non-believers.
    But I expect no less. As I said earlier, there is no real difference between obnoxious secularists and fundamentalist Muslims. Both see Christianity as an enemy to be…

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