We have been overwhelmed with messages of support and encouragement in the last few days from around the world. Thank you so much for your concern and also for your prayers. In the midst of the difficulties we have been facing, it has really strengthened and comforted us to discover that so many friends – known and unknown - are praying for us. We have not been able to answer everyone individually, but each message has been read and appreciated and has helped to lighten our burden.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Martin Lee, the Executive Director of Global Connections, Jay Smith and Keith Small for their support for us at this time. Below is a statement which has been issued jointly by our international director Patrick Sookhdeo, Sam Soloman and Dennis Wrigley, and endorsed by Keith Small and Jay Smith.
We would like to make it clear that Tearfund has not been involved in any way in the current difficulties which we have been facing. Barnabas Fund fully supports the ministry of Tearfund.
We are also encouraged to see the good that has already come out of this painful and potentially dangerous situation. For example, many people are discussing the issues raised, such as the place of jihad in Islam and the Islamic doctrine of taqiyya (dissimulation). It is so important that non-Muslims should be aware of these aspects of Islamic teaching. We thank the Lord that what was apparently intended to harm has worked out for good (Genesis 50:20).
Please continue to pray. Pray especially for the protection of Barnabas Fund’s ministry to the persecuted Church that it may continue unhindered. We are also concerned at attempts to censor and stifle Barnabas Fund on the issues we feel called to address:
- To be a voice for the persecuted Church, particularly in the Muslim world, and to address issues such as the Islamic apostasy law.
- To raise awareness of the challenge of Islam to society and Church in the West.
- To maintain a Biblical stance on issues relating to Islam, particularly the position of Muhammad and the Quran.
Please remember these things in your prayers.
Sam Soloman, Patrick Sookhdeo and Dennis Wrigley
3 March 2009
A number of accusations have been circulating in the media about Sam Soloman, Patrick Sookhdeo and the Maranatha Community, the movement which Dennis Wrigley heads.
Some of the accusations apparently have arisen in regard to discussions held at a closed meeting convened last July, which, among other issues, discussed a perceived growth of fear of Islam and Muslims felt among Christians in the UK. Some attributed this fear to aggressive teaching by Christians concerning negative aspects of Islam and advocated promoting an alternative approach. The majority of those who attended the meeting advocated maintaining a variety of approaches, which included ones that are openly critical of Islam. We would like to state clearly that we recognize that any individuals that were advocating limiting criticism of Islam were speaking their own opinions and were not following any official policy of CRIB (Christian Responses to Islam in Britain) or of Global Connections.
We are living in a context of growing polarization of the Christian community in the UK. Even figures such as Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali and Baroness Caroline Cox are now considered by some Christians to be extremists because of their frank statements on Islam. We are living in a context of increasing hostility towards Christians both from secular society and from Islam. A key evangelist was threatened in public by a Muslim with a gun a week ago. A Christian leader who speaks out on Islam in Britain has received death threats. Another who writes widely on Islam had his offices burgled, apparently by Muslim extremists. In the light of this we would like to state the following:
- All Christians are called to love Muslim people and to relate to them in a gracious and loving manner.
- Yet Christians should still address the issue of Islam as a faith and ideology.
- While most Muslims in the UK are decent individuals, the issue of political Islam nevertheless poses serious and urgent challenges to British society as well as the Church in the UK and her mission.
- We want to alert non-Muslims to the aspects of Islam which pose such a challenge to our Judaeo-Christian heritage and to the Church today, both in the UK and around the world.
- We recognize that there are a variety of methodologies amongst Christians for responding to Islam.
- All of us making this statement have been involved in peace-making efforts with Muslims.
- We believe it is essential that Muslims hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and come to a saving knowledge of Him.
We pray for peace and unity within the Body of Christ in these difficult days, with the Church facing so many challenges and potential dangers that could damage vital and important Christian work at home and overseas.
This statement is also endorsed by Keith Small who attended the closed meeting, and Jay Smith a member of the National and London CRIB committees.