Last Sunday, Rama explored the week’s lectionary texts to try and answer the question, “How should Christians respond to the Allah controversy?” (If you are unfamiliar with the ‘Allah controversy’, there are some helpful media stories here, here and here; and we have also reproduced the statement provided by the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) on 16 May 2013 – view here or download PDF here)
In Part 1, Rama approached the Allah Controversy via Paul’s introduction to his first letter to the Corinthians. His key text was 1 Corinthians 1:22-23: “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.” Rama spoke of how we revere our scriptures, how we must beware of idolatrous compromises and how we must remember our mission in the world.
In Part 2 he approached the Allah Controversy via the Beatitudes, Jesus introduction to His Sermon on the Mount. He said the people whom Jesus said are “Blessed” are the bullied, not the bullies. He outlined the 500 year history of translation into Malay by our spiritual ancestors; the reason why Arabic words were chosen; the political motive behind the curbs introduced in the 1980’s; the impact on Christians; the united response of the Malaysian Church 28 years ago; the Allah Judgment.
We must obey the call to be model communities, servants and messengers of God. We must trust God for power and wisdom, not men; we should not cave in to fear, neither should we seek favours from men. We follow the way of the Cross. Therefore we cannot turn to violence even when oppressors train their violence against us.We must use every opportunity to show who the bullies are, just as our Lord taught us. Our goal is justice. And reconciliation.