Coptic Mission Churches: What Actual Converts Say

Oftentimes, proponents of introducing Evangelical and Charismatic praxis into the life of the Coptic Orthodox Church claim that they do so out of a desire to make the Church more palatable to “potential converts”. Sometimes, this is merely a smokescreen for their own identity issues as they seek to “fit in” and acculturate in the “Lands of Immigration”. Other times it is born of a genuine if misguided desire for evangelism to those outside or service to second-generation immigrant youth with a foot in both worlds. Still other times, it is born of a flawed ecclesiology which holds the Protestant denominations to be a part of the Church coupled with a misunderstanding of the basic fact that one cannot divorce one’s form of worship from one’s theology. Whatever the case may be, rarely does anyone stop to ask converts to Coptic Orthodoxy whether they want CCM “praise bands” in the prayer meetings or Rick Warren books in the Bible study groups or not. In this video, Thilo – a convert to Coptic Orthodoxy praying at St John Coptic Orthodox Church in Covina, a parish under the omophorion of H.E. Metropolitan Serapion of Los Angeles but that used to engage in heteropraxis before being corrected by their bishop – explains what so many other converts to Coptic Orthodoxy have also declared: Not only is the adoption of an Evangelical ethos unnecessary to minister to Western converts to Coptic Orthodoxy, it is also utterly undesirable and off-putting.

Editor’s Note: It is worth mentioning that the success of Holy Transfiguration American Orthodox Church – where Thilo is speaking in this video – is also the fruit of the guiding hand of H.E. Metropolitan Serapion, while those churches which have adopted Protestant praxis can exist only in those unicorporated territories of the Coptic Church abroad which do not benefit from the direct guidance of an enthroned bishop.