In a double-page article in today's issue of the newspaper Vårt Land, there is an interview with Erik Solheim, the former Minister of International Development and Minister of the Environment, and until 2018 Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme.
The newspaper writes (Google-translated by KKN):
Former Minister of Climate and Environment Erik Solheim thinks Pastor Jan-Aage Torp deserves respect for having acquired a broad, international network.
- I think it is fantastic that a church leader has such a wide network. Of course, Torp deserves great honor and respect for this, says Erik Solheim, former SV leader and former Minister of Climate and Environment.
In recent years, the Norwegian pastor Jan-Aage Torp has built up a seemingly broad network among foreign ambassadors, Vårt Land said this weekend. In social media and on his own media channels, the pastor has told about at least 45 meetings with 15 different ambassadors in the last two years.
Solheim himself has contacts in the embassy community in Oslo, and has noticed Torp's activity.
- Torp has been to Cairo and met key Muslim leaders there. He has a broad network in many countries that other Norwegian church leaders do not contact. It is a bit in the spirit of Aril Edvardsen who did a lot to make contacts between Norwegian church leaders and Muslims, he says.
Furthermore, Vårt Land writes, based on its interview with Solheim:
Erik Solheim will encourage ambassadors to contact other church leaders. At the same time, he believes Torp can have a lot to contribute into their environments.
- I hope he can help them understand and learn more about the Pentecostal movement, which is perhaps the most important and fastest growing Christian church on earth. I also hope that he can bring ideas and impulses from other religions to Norwegian denominations. We need more and not less dialogue between religions in the modern world, says Solheim.
- Who do you think Torp is as a church leader?
- It goes without saying that he and I disagree on several points, so that's not what this is about. Dialogue must necessarily be with people who think differently than oneself. There is no point in having a dialogue with people you completely agree with. By having a dialogue between people who think differently, one can understand each other's views better and learn more about it.
- Do you think Torp's frequent contact with ambassadors can give them and others the impression that he is a more central church leader in Norway than he really is?
- It must be up to the ambassadors to orient themselves in the Christian landscape. Those you actually have contact with, will obviously appear to be important. Other church leaders should therefore know that they have an opportunity to get a network of their own, says Solheim.
In the same post today, Vårt Land has also interviewed the bishop of Borg in the Church of Norway, Atle Sommerfeldt, and the general secretary of the Council for Religious and Life Stance Communities in Norway (STL), Ingrid Rosendorf Joys. They speak very negatively about Pastor Jan-Aage Torp.