The head of the European Evangelical Alliance has assured Christians that they have nothing to fear from Europe's growing Muslim population.
by Maria Mackay
Posted: Friday, October 19, 2007, 11:33 (BST)
The General Secretary of the European Evangelical Alliance, Gordon Showell-Rogers, has reassured delegates at the EEA’s annual Assembly in Greece this week that Christians have nothing to fear from Islam in Europe.
In a powerful address on day two of the assembly, Showell-Rogers reminded Christians that Muslims in Europe still make up only a very small percentage of Europe’s population – around 4.5 per cent – and that while migration has brought in Muslims, it has also brought in large numbers of Christians to the continent.
Rather than being intimidated by Islam’s growth in Europe, Showell-Rogers encouraged delegates to see the evangelistic potential.
“Evangelicals have nothing at all to fear from any form of Islam. Christ is greater than even the greatest of world religions,” he stated. “Instead of being afraid and ‘demonising’ people, we should see the presence of Muslim communities in Europe as a great evangelistic opportunity.”
He went on to reaffirm the power of Jesus Christ to change Europe as well as the mandate of the European Evangelical Alliance to bring the Good News to those who still live without Christ.
“We need to help one another to rediscover our confidence in the radical and transforming power of the Good News of Jesus. God’s eternal plans for the universe revolve around Jesus. He is not always popular, but He is the only hope for individuals and for society and for the planet.”
He concluded his address a reminder of the absolute victory of Christ: “He is alive! The fact, is he has conquered sin and death. The fact is, He is one day returning: and in the meantime He is building His Church, and His Kingdom is near, and even among us…….as we proclaim and live out the Good News of God (Mark 1 vv 1, 14) in Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia, in the early 21st century.”
His address followed the call to evangelicals earlier on in the Assembly from the EEA’s Dr Derek Copley to keep their passion for the gospel.
“We have to get churches back into the habit of witnessing Jesus Christ,” he stressed.
“Some Evangelical Alliances have lost their passion for reaching people without Christ. Others have simply been diverted.
“I want to see us be not simply an influence in Europe. I want to see the gospel re-gain ground in Europe.”
The assembly opened on the Greek island of Evia on Tuesday night with an emotional appeal from the Evangelical Alliance in Turkey for prayers after the horrific murder of three Bible publishing workers in April.
Conference delegates were left visibly moved as the EA Turkey’s Dr Zekai Tanyar, who knew the three men personally, appealed to delegates to pray for believers in Malatya, where the killings took place and for the church in Turkey in general, which he said was suffering from a “sense of tiredness”.
He stressed forgiveness for the perpetrators of the crime, however. “We’re sad but we don’t hate,” he said.
On Thursday, the assembly will discuss the EEA’s Strategic Plan for 2008, which sets out a strategy for strengthening the church in Europe’s effectiveness as salt and light in society in the coming years.
The European Evangelical Alliance Assembly Closing Celebration will take place on the evening of Friday 19 October 2007.