15. The evolution of the religious discourse from goodwill and salvation to antagonism and dispute [2]

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Al-Bannā resumes part two of his article in which he sheds more light on the genuine mission meant to be fulfilled by the church and how it should not deviate from its spiritual religious role by interfering in earthly issues.

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In an important interview between Makram Muhammad Ahmad and Father Mattá al-Miskīn which was published on April 17, 1980, Father Mattá highlighted that the Christian church has a particular clear mission which it should never trespass; curing souls through the words of God.
Mattá believes that the church’s interference even in social services hinders it from its original mission and gets it embroiled in situations which contradict its role. When asked about the church’s relationship with society, he replied that that the church’s mission is not to serve society, but rather to serve faith and the Christ in the character of the sinners and homeless individuals. He added that if the church deviates away from the domain of the Christ, seeks the money of the rich and authority, Christianity will definitely fail to fulfill its mission, and dispute and conflict will arise. Moreover, he stresses that the social services offered by the church are a deviation away from its genuine role. He justifies this by saying that the range of social services offered are nothing but an interference in the domain of the ruling system and, as a result, makes it a must for the church to be fully aware of the ruling system so that the social plan of the church can coincide with that of the government or otherwise, a clash between the church and the state is inevitable.
In addition, when asked about the limits between the authority of the church and that of the state, Mattá clarified that there is no relationship between the two simply because the kingdom of the church is God’s kingdom while the sovereignty of the mandate is earthly life, and the social system. The ruler away from the church is responsible for earthly life issues on its different levels while the church is only responsible for the belief and the spiritual behavior of Christians but not for their patriotism.
Finally, the author explains that St. Mark’s officials lost their way toward man’s heart being occupied with side issues that are totally removed from the genuine mission of the church. They lost the key given by God to the church to open the kingdom of heaven for sinners.
[To read the first part of this series see AWR 2009, week 19, article 16]

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