Orthodox Priest: Better to Abandon Christianity

If this quote is accurate, it is a terrible indication of the divide between the Coptic Orthodox Church and members who wish a divorce for other than adultery:

Orthodox priest Abd al-Masih Basit told Al-Monitor that the church would not interfere in politics and would not take any actions against Christian parliamentary candidates on the Nour list, as some newspapers had reported it would. Yet, he added, “The Nour Party considers the Christians infidels, and therefore, any Christian who participates in the party is giving up his dignity. It is better for those who have a problem with the church regarding the personal status laws — and who view support for Nour as a solution to amending those laws through parliament — to abandon Christianity.”

The context for the article is that election law requires all political parties to field a limited number of Christian candidates. The Nour Party is Salafi, an ultraconservative form of Islam that is described in quote. The article surmises the only way for Nour to attract any Christians is to appeal to a very specific segment — if sharia law is applied to all, Islamic divorce is far easier than Christian.

Abd al-Masih Basit is a very influential theologian and apologist in the Coptic Orthodox Church. It will be necessary to confirm this quote with him before assuming it is true, but if so, it appears he has his priorities in the wrong order. The church desires to control legislation on personal and family affairs, and the constitution gives it the right to do so.

But it would be a shame if the church is willing to sacrifice the faith of its members to preserve its power.

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2 thoughts on “Orthodox Priest: Better to Abandon Christianity

  1. maybe you can explain it to me, but i don’t see the problem with the quote.
    How can any christian who is called in all his actions to glorify God run on such a list??? Really, the salafis are those who would have converts like Mohammed Hegazi or Maher al-Gohary killed. To support them is like doing no good to the least of Jesus’ brothers.
    Is that not already something like leaving the faith by action?

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    • That is certainly how many in the church see it. The life of discipleship calls for the church to help guide the outward behavior of Christians, while nurturing also the inward life of faith. But the two are different. While all manner of sins can be forgiven, abandoning faith removes the means of forgiveness. And the church must also protect its children, even its wayward ones. Let it be free to rebuke, even excommunicate. But it must send none of the family away permanently. Whether or not this applies to cooperating with the Salafis is a fine point of discussion, but it is not necessarily of the nature of unbelief. It may be faithless – an action motivated by everything but the desire to glorify God. But it does not deny him.

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