A conservative group has urged the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, to implement disciplinary measures after a Scottish Episcopal cathedral included in its service a reading of a Koran passage which denies the divinity of Jesus Christ.
Last week, St. Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow held a church service which featured a girl named Madinah Javed reading verses from the Koran which denied that Jesus was God's son, a belief that contradicts Christian teachings. Rev. Kevin Holdsworth, the cathedral's Provost, has refused to talk with Christian Today regarding the issue, so it has not yet been determined if he authorized the controversial reading.
However, Rev. Holdsworth defended the Koran reading, saying the activity was part of their efforts to bridge gaps between Glasgow's Christian and Muslim communities. He also revealed that this is not the first time they have included the Islamic reading in their services, the BBC reports.
Aside from having Javed read the Islamic version of Jesus and Mary's story in Arabic, St. Mary's also invited local Muslims to attend the service. The move drew flak from the Christian community due to the message of the Koran verse, and because the service was held during the feast of Epiphany, an event commemorating the wise men's visit to the baby Jesus.
In addition, the Provost said similar readings in other churches have strengthened ties among Christians and Muslims. However, when asked if he knew what the Koran verse says about Jesus, Holdsworth refused to release further comment
Reacting to the Koran reading in church, conservative group Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) UK asked Archbishop Welby to intervene on Thursday. An open letter from the organization's Taskforce member Rev. James Paice and other Anglicans expressed shock at the "lack of discipline by the Scottish Episcopal Church at this continued syncretism and confusion over mission."
Michael Nazir-Ali, former Bishop of Rochester, had released a statement calling on the Scottish Episcopal Church to punish the people responsible for the "ill-advised invitation." Rev. Dr. Gavin Ashenden, the chaplain to the Queen, advised Holdsworth to issue an apology over the incident and even suggested that he step down from his position.
It is worth noting that Archbishop Welby does not have strict authority over the Scottish Episcopal Church, but he can reportedly exert "moral pressure" over the church during the next meeting of Anglican leaders.