Epiphany is one of the important holy days of the Christian year, as it is the celebration of the revelation of God to the world through the coming of the Wise Men. On this holy day, the Anglican Communion’s Church of St. Mary’s in Glasgow, Scotland invited a Muslim woman to recite part of the Koran for the service. If this was not bad enough, the Muslim woman then added several more verses in Arabic that directly blaspheme the divinity of Christ into her “recitation”:
The passage being recited is from Surah 19, ‘Mary’ and includes some apocryphal material about Jesus speaking as a baby from the cradle. This is pretty docetic stuff and a little infant speaking adult words is a kind of ‘superhuman’ Jesus that is miles away from the Biblical view. The source of this material is from the Syriac Infancy Gospel, an apocryphal document from the fifth or sixth century. Needless to say, it’s not even vaguely ‘Scripture’ and Michael Nazir-Ali is right to condemn the use of it in a church service by Kelvin Holdsworth, the Provost of Glasgow.
There is, however, another dimension to this service that hasn’t yet been picked up in commentary, which should disturb Anglicans everywhere far more than simply telling fairy tales about Jesus in a church. The liturgy for the service includes an English language copy of what is being recited in Arabic. Here it is.
The text in the service sheet stops at Ayah 33 (the equivalent of a Bible verse) but this is not where Miss Javed stops. She continues to recite from the Qu’ran and includes the following verses that follow straight after the text above.
34 That is Jesus, the son of Mary – the word of truth about which they are in dispute.
35 It is not [befitting] for Allah to take a son; exalted is He! When He decrees an affair, He only says to it, “Be,” and it is.
36 [Jesus said], “And indeed, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is a straight path.”
The recitation finishes with the words, ‘Allah, the Almighty, has spoken the truth’. This a standard liturgical suffix to a reading, the equivalent of saying, ‘This is the Word of the Lord’. The reading is being offered as a proclamation of God’s word, his truth.
These extra Ayah teach two clear things. First, Jesus is not the son of God and is not divine. Second, Jesus should not be worshipped. These are the two doctrines that were proclaimed from the pulpit in Glasgow Cathedral on the Feast of the Epiphany, the celebration of Jesus being revealed to the nations. What kind of revelation is that?
There are a few options as to what is going on here. The first is that Kelvin Holdsworth is very naive and didn’t realise the context of Surah 19 when he invited Miss Javed to speak. Do we really expect that kind of ignorance from a Cathedral Provost? What a mistake to make. The second option is that the Provost did know the context of Surah 19, was aware of what Ayah 34 to 36 taught but didn’t bother to highlight to Miss Javed the problems that might be caused by including those verses in her recitation. That seems to me to be incredibly negligent, allowing a potentially blasphemous reading to be used on a major Christian festival.(source)
This story has several layers to it.
First, the fact that the Muslim woman was invited to sing at a Church parts of the Koran is just blasphemous, regardless of the holiday. The Koran is a book “transmitted”- channelled- to Mohammed which blasphemes Christ. We and many people have written about its erroneous doctrines and the license it gives men to sin. It no place in a Church. The fact this woman was allowed to even sing it reflects worse on the state of the Anglican church than it does of the Muslims. We know what the Muslims will do- that is no surprise. The treachery is that the leadership would betray the faithful through such an action.
Second, was the fact this happened during Epiphany. Again, it speaks more to the state of the Anglican Church, but do have her come on such as day is a horrible blasphemy. It leads one to question if the members of the clergy even believe in Jesus’ divinity.
Third, was the fact that nobody in the hierarchy seems to actually care. Again, another statement about the situation of the Church, but still terrible. It is one thing if a cleric does something inappropriate- that is, while sad, not unexpected. However, it is another thing when the people above him refuse to do anything about it that speaks more. It is not merely a “lack of leadership,” but it is an indication of how deep the apostasy has penetrated into the ranks.
While there are some signs of hope, the fact is that apostasy has deeply penetrated into Western society and the rise of Islam in the West today is the fruit of this apostasy. Islam has always been the long-standing enemy of the Faith, and it was the Faith that kept Islam away from Europe’s shores. However, since Europe has abandoned the Faith and continues to persist in rejecting it, they are reaping the fruits of their apostasy. This is just one way it manifests.
Europe has two choices. Either it will return to the Faith which brought it into existence and will being a long fight rooted in the Catholic militancy of its past to purge the Mohammedan heresy from its society, or it will complete its apostasy and commit suicide before the house of Islam. America faces the same choice too- it is just delayed by a few more years, but it is coming too.
Choose wisely– where you spend eternity may depend on it.