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Posted on Mon 9 January 2017

In response to the Qur’an recitation in St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow

Christians should know what their fellow citizens believe and this can include reading the Qur’an for themselves, whether in the original or in translation. This is not, however, the same thing as having it read in Church in the context of public worship.

The passage read at St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow, appears to be from the Sura known as Maryam or Mary and is about the birth of Christ. It affirms the virgin birth and speaks of Jesus as zaki or sinless, as rasul or messenger to whom a book has been entrusted and as nabi or prophet. It speaks of his unique birth, his coming death and his resurrection. Jesus is called the very word of the truth(or of God).

Much of this Christians can agree with but the passage also denies that God can have a son although the verb used, yattakhida, suggests God taking to himself a son. This seems to have the heresy of adoptionism in the background and is not what Christians believe.

They believe he is the eternal Word proceeding from the Father and son in this sense, as well as because of his unique birth and his resurrection from the dead. It is particularly insensitive to have this passage read in Church on the Feast of the Epiphany when we celebrate not only Christ’s manifestation to the gentiles but also his baptism and the divine declaration, “you are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased”.

The authorities of the Scottish Episcopal Church should immediately repudiate this ill-advised invitation and exercise appropriate discipline for those involved. The Archbishop of Canterbury should also distance the Church of England and the world wide Anglican Communion from this event.

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