An Episcopal Bishop Apologizes for Evangelism
In the continuing saga of the Unitarian-ization of the Episcopal Church, a Diocese has apologized for "proselytizing" Hindus. Bishop Bruno, who has appeared on this blog before, repented for the way in which Hindu people have been oppressed by Christian missionaries, and also made a pledge to stand against "proselytizing" of Hindus by Christians today.
Yes, we would do well to apologize for some of the tactics missionaries have taken over the centuries. Yes, we would do well to apologize for discrimination against Hindu people. But to apologize for proselytizing (what we call "evangelism") is antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus himself commanded us to take the Good News into all the world, making disciples of all ethnic groups (Matthew 28)
Further, the Christian Church has not looked kindly on inter-religous worship like this:
"The rare joint service included chants from the Temple Bhajan Band of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, and a moving rendition of Bless the Lord, O My Soul sung by the St John's choir, the LA Times reported."
When the story was first reported by the L.A. Times, the reporter in attendance said that both Hindu and Episcopal people were invited to receive communion. This was recanted quickly, as the Episcopal Church said this did not happen. I have personally been in many Episcopal services, including those led by bishops, in which this was common practice. For what that's worth.
This sort of event in which Christianity and Hinduism are both practiced fails to recognize the deep and complex differences between the two religions. It erodes the integrity of both faiths, and is unfaithful to the Christian faith. (I frankly don't know if Hindu persons would feel that it was unfaithful to their faith.)
To read more, check out this from an on-line Indian news service: http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/feb/25apology.htm
For a perspective from a Christian writer, check this one out: http://www.getreligion.org/?p=3101