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Sultan returns confiscated Bibles to Archbishop Lapok: Church of England Newspaper, November 21, 2014 November 21, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of South East Asia.
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Bolly LapokThe Sultan of Selangor has returned Bibles and religious literature confiscated by the State Islamic Affairs Department on 2 Jan 2014 for using the world “Allah” in Malay and Iban language versions of Scripture to the Archbishop of South East Asia, the Most Rev. Bolly Lapok, Bishop of Kuching. On 14 Nov 2014, on behalf of the government the Sultan returned the Bibles to Archbishop Lapok, who is also chairman of the Christian Association of Sarawak, on the condition that they be distributed in Borneo, not in Malaya. A statement released by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council said the Sultan had ordered the Bibles be returned after state prosecutors declined to Bible Society officials arrested in the January raid on charges of proselytizing Muslims. Archbishop Lapok thanked the Sultan for his intervention in the dispute. “It would not have been proper to allow these Bibles to be stored indefinitely or destroyed. In this manner, the Bibles are being delivered to the ACS for distribution in Sarawak,” he said.

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Malaysia on the edge warns archbishop: The Church of England Newspaper, June 27, 2014 July 22, 2014

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The Primate of the Church of the Province of Southeast Asia, the Most Rev. Bolly Lapok, has criticized the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, for his silence over the government’s seizure of Malay language Bibles for using the word “Allah” for God. “I am inclined to think that he is conveying that the whole charade is not worthy of his comment. To do otherwise is to dignify what is plainly wicked,” Archbishop Lapok told reporters in Kuching on 20 June 2014. The prime minister’s refusal to speak out in support of the rights of Christians to practice their faith and condemn militant Islam was “poisoning inter-religious tolerance.” Last week Malaysia’s Attorney General ordered Bibles seized by the government’s Islamic Religious Department in Selangor (JAIS) to be returned to the Bible Society of Malaysia. However, JAIS has refused to comply with the Attorney-General’s order saying the use of the word “Allah” in Malay language Bibles violates the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation among Muslims) Act 1988. “Unless nipped in the bud, we have a perfect recipe that can cause Malaysia to descend into anarchy,” the archbishop said, bemoaning the spirit of tolerance that had “traditionally characterized Malay society.” Archbisohop Lapok warned:  “When unscrupulous individuals are allowed to behave and make reckless utterances with impunity for the sake of political exigency, I dread to think of the consequences on the minds of Malaysia’s plural society.”

Allah ban upheld: The Church of England Newspaper, June 27, 2014 July 22, 2014

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The Federal Court of Malaysia has upheld a ban on the use of the word “Allah” by a Catholic newspaper, the Herald. The Christian Federation of Malaysia voiced disappointment at the ruling, but noted the decision “relates solely to the use of the word ‘Allah’ in the Herald newspaper. Therefore we ask the government and the judiciary to publicly remember that the decision of the Federal Court is limited to the specific circumstances of the case and for Malaysian Christians to continue to have the right to use the word ‘Allah’ in the Bible, in religious functions and gatherings.” In 2009 the Ministry of the Interior banned the Catholic newspaper from using “Allah” stating the word could only be used in connection to Islam. The Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur filed a lawsuit challenging the ruling, and prevailed at trial. However the Court of Appeal reversed the decision in October 2013, and by a vote of 4 to 3 the Federal Court last week upheld the Appeal Court decision.”We continue to support that the decision of the Court of Appeal, upheld by the Federal Court, is seriously flawed in many respects. According to Justice, many erroneous and inaccurate observations had to be corrected. Now there will be serious negative consequences for the religious freedom of Christians in Malaysia,” the statement said.

Allah is not a Muslim word, Archbishop says: The Church of England Newspaper, April 11, 2014 May 10, 2014

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The Primate of the Church of the Province of Southeast Asia, the Most Rev. Bolly Lapok, has warned Islamist extremists that Christians would not be silent in the face of demands that they be forbidden to use the word Allah. “Turning the other cheek to the provocateurs and extremists in political Islam that are relentlessly stoking the fire of hatred and bigotry is tantamount to sending a wrong message to them”, he said on 29 March 2014. Christians had lived in peace with Muslims in Southeast Asia, but in recent years Islamist extremists had hijacked the faith to further political ends. “The Bible reminds us that there is a time for war, and a time for peace. It seems like a paradox that we are called to be peacemakers,” he wrote,”yet at the same time we are also to brace ourselves for war.” Under pressure from Islamist extremists, Malaysia’s government has sought to ban the use of the word Allah in Christian newspapers, books and prayers. Last year the Court of Appeals held Christians had no right to use the word – a ruling the Archbishop said was a “travesty of our constitutional right for the church to manage its own affairs, including translation of our Holy Scriptures into Bahasa Malaysia and our native languages. This is the exclusive ecclesiastical authority of the church that neither the state nor the judiciary should trespass in accordance to settled international convention and law.”

Bibles seized by police in Malaysia: The Church of England Newspaper, January 10, 2014 January 16, 2014

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The president of the Bible Society of Malaysia and the organization’s office manager were arrested by police on 2 January 2014, during a raid on their offices in Selangor. Officials of the State Islamic Affairs Department confiscated Bibles and religious literature for using the world “Allah” in Malay and Iban language versions of Scripture.

The Archbishop of South East Asia, the Most Rev. Bolly Lapok, Bishop of Kuching denounced the raid as unlawful. “If an action assumes such arrogance that violates the Federal Constitution and pays total disregard to the Prime Minister’s directive is not treason, I do not know what is,” he said.

A recent court ruling in Malaysia banned a Catholic newspaper from using the word “Allah”, but the government had given permission for the Al-Kitab, the Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia translation of the Old and New Testament to use the world “Allah” for the name of God.

Muslim extremists had “poisoned” interfaith relations Malaysia by demanding exclusive use of the word “Allah”, the archbishop said. He urged all sides to heed the “voice of reason” and for the state to “respect, honour and abide by the guarantee of religious freedom as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.”

New Archbishop installed for SE Asia: The Church of England Newspaper, February 24, 2012 p 6. March 1, 2012

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Outgoing Archbishop John Chew greeting the new Archbishop of South East Asia, Bolly Lapok. Photo: Diocese of Singapore

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Over 2000 worshipers from across East Asia celebrated the installation last week of the new primate of South East Asia, Archbishop Bolly Lapok.

On 12 February 2012 Archbishop Lapok was installed as metropolitan archbishop of the Anglican church in Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal, Laos, Indonesia and Brunei at St John’s Cathedral in Kuching.

The new archbishop was elected at a special meeting of the provincial synod convened in Kota Kinabalu on 22 September 2011 in succession to Archbishop John Chew of Singapore.

The new archbishop will be the first non-Chinese primate for the province.  Archbishop Lapok is an Iban (or Sea Dayak) born in Sri Aman, Sarawak.  He trained for the ministry at the House of Epiphany in Kuching and received a Masters degree from the University of Birmingham.

Ordained deacon on March 2, 1975—a special dispensation had been granted by Archbishop Donald Coggan as Lapok was then below the minimum canonical age for ordination—he was ordained to the priesthood on Dec 7, 1975 and served in Borneo.  In 1991 he was appointed archdeacon and was elected Assistant Bishop of Kuching on Sept 5, 1999 and was enthroned as the Diocesan Bishop on April 15, 2007. He is currently Chairman of the Association of Churches in Sarawak.

Speaking to The Borneo Post after the service, the new archbishop said he was humbled by his election.  “This occasion is not about me but for the church of God,” Archbishop Lapok said. “Given so high a calling and the enormity of the expectation, I feel so small, so unequal. This is definitely one of those mysterious ways of God.”

New Primate for South East Asia: The Church of England Newspaper, Sept 30, 2011 p 7. October 1, 2011

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Archbishop-elect Bolly Lapok

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Province of South East Asia reports the Bishop of Sarawak, the Rt. Rev. Bolly Lapok, has been elected primate and archbishop for the church in Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal, Laos, Indonesia and Brunei.

A special meeting of the provincial synod convened in Kota Kinabalu elected Bishop Lapok as the province’s fourth archbishop in succession to Archbishop John Chew of Singapore on Sept 22.

The new archbishop will be the first non-Chinese primate for the province.  According to a press statement released by the province, Archbishop-elect Lapok is an Iban (or Sea Dayak as they were known in the colonial era) born in Sri Aman, Sarawak.  He trained for the ministry at the House of Epiphany in Kuching and received a Masters degree from the University of Birmingham.

Ordained deacon on March 2, 1975—a special dispensation had been granted by Archbishop Donald Coggan as Lapok was then below the minimum canonical age for ordination—he was ordained to the priesthood on Dec 7, 1975 and served in Borneo.  In 1991 he was appointed archdeacon and was elected Assistant Bishop of Kuching on Sept 5, 1999 and was enthroned as the Diocesan Bishop on April 15, 2007. He is currently Chairman of the Association of Churches in Sarawak.

Archbishop-elect Lapok’s installation is scheduled for Feb 12, 2012 at St. Thomas’ Cathedral, Kuching.

Speaking to The Borneo Post, the archbishop-elect said “given so high a calling and the enormity of the expectation, I feel so small, so unequal. This is definitely one of those mysterious ways of God.”

A strong supporter of the Gafcon and Global South movement, the new archbishop is expected to take a stronger line than his predecessor in dealing with the issues currently dividing the Anglican Communion.