FaithWorld

Christian missionaries stir unease in north Africa

December 15, 2008

“A new breed of undercover Christian missionary is turning to Muslim north Africa in the search for new converts, alarming Islamic leaders who say they prey on the weak and threaten public order,” writes our Rabat correspondent Tom Pfeiffer.

(Photo: Foreign Christians worship at Saint Peter’s Cathedral, Rabat, 12 Nov 2008/Rafael Marchante)

His feature (read it here) says missionary groups estimate the number of Moroccan Christians has grown to 1,500 from 100 in a decade and that Algerian Christians number several thousand, although no official figures exist. It quotes Moroccan converts from Islam who fear persecution,  an American missionary who works undercover, Muslim officials who denounce this evangelising and local Roman Catholic bishop who will not baptise Moroccans because it’s against the law.

The growth of evangelical missionary work in Muslim countries in recent years presents a dilemma for Christians.  Jesus told his followers to “go and make disciples of all nations” and these missionaries are doing that. But in the process, at least some are endangering the lives of their converts, breaking local laws and creating tensions that can lead to a backlash against all Christians, including long-established local churches who have come to a modus operandi with Muslim authorities.

Is undercover missionary work a responsible way to spread Christianity?

Comments
7 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

I’m not sure it’s “responsible,” but it worked for the first couple hundred years of Christianity.

And for those of us who are Christians, I’m not sure that “responsible” is the correct criteria. “Commanded” might be better. “Necessary for the salvation of souls” would probably be best.

Posted by Darren | Report as abusive
 

Dude, learn some history. Even being a Christian was a capital crime prior to Constantine; each person baptized for three centuries was breaking the law. If “Christian” churches shrink from preaching the Good News because of fear of injury or death, then they will not see the Realm of God.

 

are you forgetting the new obama dynasty that is expected to descend on the middle east.it projected that he will bring a new age of enlightenment to the region and inspite of the dark age of bush, piece will return,and muslim and christians will dance hand in hand into the promised land.and the prophecy that it will take 7 months to bury the dead of those who attack isreal will no longer be remembered.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive
 

“The growth of evangelical missionary work in Muslim countries in recent years presents a dilemma for Christians. Jesus told his followers to “go and make disciples of all nations” and these missionaries are doing that. But in the process, at least some are endangering the lives of their converts, breaking local laws and creating tensions that can lead to a backlash against all Christians, including long-established local churches who have come to a modus operandi with Muslim authorities.”

“But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.” – St. Luke 21:12 (KJV)

 

“But in the process, at least some are endangering the lives of their converts, breaking local laws and creating tensions that can lead to a backlash against all Christians, including long-established local churches who have come to a modus operandi with Muslim authorities.”

Actually, it is the doctrines of Islam towards apostasy and freedom of conscience which endanger the lives of converts and leading to a backlash. Blaming the victim is not acceptable.

I am not a Christian and do not usually support the idea of Christian missionaries but in regards to a religion like Islam which forbids questioning and openly intimidates apostates, threatening them with violence, I say “go to it, Bible boys”. I would rather deal with a planet full of Pentecostals than a Sharia law world. And the modus operandi of local Christians has been to be subjugated and reduced in numbers for centuries. Maybe that modus is not as operandi as is assumed.

Posted by Saul Wall | Report as abusive
 

What the author of this article means for “responsible”??? According to what I understand, Christian missioners in North Africa are being responsible with whom matters, our Lord Jesuschrist. It is not new to have Christian missioners in this area. Do you remember 12th century Saint Francis of Assisi? His dream was to be a missioner in this region, and since then, hundreds of friars of the “Order of Friars Minor”, more commonly known as the “Franciscans” have died as missioners in this region. During the 16th century, Muslims in Spain went to the North of Africa looking for ‘ulemas’ or ‘sheikhs’ to preach in secret in their peninsular secret communities. It has been a common dinamic between Christians and Muslims. What so new about these news?

Posted by Pablo de Lares | Report as abusive
 

Reading these comments raises the question — why do so many Christians outside the Muslim world say missionaries should go break the law and endanger their converts while so many Christians in the Muslim world (and not only there) say they should not. Don’t they read the same scriptures? If so, why do they interpret them differently? Or do they have other passages that justify their stand, maybe the “render unto Caesar” argument that citizens should respect local laws? Are they less Christian because they see it this way?

Posted by Tom Heneghan | Report as abusive
 

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