Coptic and Evangelical Churches trade barbs

The Evangelical Church of Egypt is denouncing what it perceives as attacks against it by Anba Bashoy, bishop of Damietta and the secretary of the Holy Synod, the Coptic Church’s highest authority. Bashoy has recently made claims that the Evangelical church is planning an "intellectual invasion" of the Coptic Church. Evangelicals described these allegations as "idle talk."

Bashoy recently claimed at a press conference in Faiyoum that a CD distributed by Evangelical Church of Egypt lays out plans for a takeover of the Coptic Church of Egypt. Safwat el-Bayadi, president of the Evangelical organization, said the disk "is but a CD with some athletic and ethical games and has nothing to do with doctrines or creeds."

El-Bayadi said the Evangelical Church, which was founded by American Presbyterian missionaries in the nineteenth century, is secure and does not need to engage in attacks against Egypt’s older Christian community.

"As President of the Evangelical congregation in Egypt I don’t want to immerse myself in such trivial talk, but I’d like to tell Anba Bishoy that when your faith is strong enough, you don’t fear anyone," said el-Bayadi. "Anba Bishoy has proved that the unity of churches that he speaks about everywhere is nothing but empty words to gain popularity."

Ekram Lamy, a priest in the Evangelical Church, agreed that Bashoy’s accusations are unfounded. Bashoy "talks about [Evangelical plans] incessantly to win popularity among the public and to help him with his conflicts at the Coptic Church," Lamy said.

Lamy continued: "What Bishoy said affirms that there’s a problem with the teachings of the Orthodox Church because the church has isolated itself for around 1000 years. The church hasn’t kept up with the new requirements of the era, and as a result its followers are adopting the Evangelical creed instead. He had better work at convincing his followers of the Orthodox creed than attacking us on every occasion."

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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