Ecumenical News International

Lutheran Bishop Wants More Positive View of Mission Maria Jepsen: Dark Sides of History Highlighted All Too Often

July 27, 2009

Hamburg, July 27 (idea) ­ The Lutheran Bishop of Hamburg, Maria Jepsen, would welcome a more positive view of world mission within the churches.
All too often only the dark sides of missionary history are highlighted, said Jepsen in a sermon in Hamburg¹s St. Michael¹s Church, July 19.  She chairs the Protestant Mission Society in Germany and sees mission as an essential element of the church.
The Bishop conceded that in former centuries some missionaries had moved in the slipstream of colonialists.  But many men and women had also proclaimed the Gospel with utmost sensibility in word and deed.  They had testified to their faith, worshipped and built schools and hospitals.
Christians today must not keep quiet about their faith in encounters with adherents of other religions or atheists. ³They are expecting us to stand up for our faith and talk about it,² said Jepsen.
Such encounters should, however, always take place with humility and sensibility.  No Jew or Muslim must be discriminated for his or her faith or culture. 
In the same way that it is right for Christians to demand religious freedom for Christians in Muslim countries, they should also stand up for the respect for other religions and worldviews in their own environment, said Jepsen. 
The 64-year-old theologian came to office in 1992 as the first female Lutheran bishop.



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