As part of their task in the field of dialogue with Muslim leaders, Christine and Thomas Schirrmacher gave a double guest lecture on “Christian-Muslim Relations in an Age of Political Conflict and Migration” at St Paul’s Theological College in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).

(from right to left): Dr Prince Guneratnam, Bishop Dr Daniel Ho, Thomas and Christine Schirrmacher © BQ/Thomas Schirrmacher

(from right to left): Dr Prince Guneratnam, Bishop Dr Daniel Ho, Thomas and Christine Schirrmacher © BQ/Thomas Schirrmacher

St Paul’s Theological College is deliberately located on the top floor of a high-rise building in the centre of Kuala Lumpur. Its director is Rev Dr James Harding. The College belongs to the Asia Theological Association, the Asian branch of the WEA Theological Commission.

Previously, 20 leading evangelical experts on dialogue with Muslims had met with the two religious scholars to discuss the dialogue programme of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA). The venue was the Damara Utrama Methodist Church (DUMC), with whose main pastor, Bishop Dr Daniel Ho, the two WEA representatives had previously spoken in detail.

The DUMC is the largest Methodist congregation in Malaysia. Ho had started the congregation in 1980 as a congregation made up from house cell churches. Today, many congregations worldwide follow this model, which combines the advantages of house cell churches with those of a megachurch.

Dr Caseley Essamuah, Secretary of the Global Christian Forum, and Dr Prince Guneratnam © BQ/Thomas Schirrmacher

Dr Caseley Essamuah, Secretary of the Global Christian Forum, and Dr Prince Guneratnam © BQ/Thomas Schirrmacher

The meeting on the WEA dialogue programme was organised by Dr Henry Teh and Dr Ng Kam Weng.

Dr Ng Kam Weng is Research Director of the Kairos Research Centre in Petaling Jaya (Malaysia) and is the author of the blogs Krisis & Praxis and Religious Liberty Watch. Weng is also a member of the Ethos Institute for Public Christianity. He previously taught at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies and at the Center for Theological Inquiry at Princeton University. From 1989 to 1992 he taught at the Malaysia Bible Seminary Graduate School. He received his doctorate from the University of Cambridge.

Dr Henry Teh teaches at the Centre for American Education of the International College Subang in Subang Jaya (Malaysia). He published his dissertation “Principles of the Law of Evidence and Rationality Applied in the Johannine Christology: An Argument for the Legal Evidential Apologetics” on John Warwick Montgomery in Bonn with Culture and Science Publ. (Verlag für Kultur und Wissenschaft, VKW).

Most Christians and most Evangelicals in Malaysia live in the northern half of the island of Borneo with the federal seeds Sabah and Sarawak. Missionary work there began in 1882, when that part of the island became a British colony. The largest church, the Sidang Injil Borneo (Borneo Evangelical Church), was created through the missionary work of the Australian Borneo Mission from 1928 onwards.

The two German religious scholars also visited mosques, churches, and temples in Kuala Lumpur and in Malacca City (Malaysia), including the oldest church in Malaysia, St. Peter’s Church, which was completed in 1710. Malacca became Portuguese in 1511, Dutch in 1641, and British in 1795, and therefore has an enormous range of denominations.

St. Peter’s Church, the oldest church in Malacca, built in 1710 © BQ/ Thomas Schirrmacher

St. Peter’s Church, the oldest church in Malacca, built in 1710 © BQ/ Thomas Schirrmacher

The reason for their stay in Kuala Lumpur and Malacca was a leadership meeting of the Global Christian Forum. It was hosted by Dr Prince Guneratnam, then Chairman of the Pentecostal World Fellowship and Senior Pastor of the Calvary Church and its convention centre, the Calvary Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).

The National Evangelical Christian Fellowship Malaysia (NECF), being the national alliance of Malaysia and member of the World Evangelical Alliance, was founded in 1982 and comprises 60% of the country’s churches. In 1986, the National Alliance, together with the Roman Catholic Church and the Council of Churches of Malaysia, established the Christian Federation of Malaysia to ensure that all churches in the country speak with one voice to the government.

(Here you can find informations on Freedom of Religion in Malaysia.)

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