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Consultation on American Evangelicals and Islam

Finally, an example of a private conversation is telling. Sitting around a table in the beautiful garden courtyard of CTS with our box lunches, a few of us were processing the presentations and discussions thus far. One brother mentioned that a subject we hadn’t addressed directly is reverse evangelism. What about the fear many Christians have that friends and family will convert to Islam? Another brother promptly replied: “If Christ can’t ‘compete’ in the public marketplace, then I’m ‘betting’ on the wrong horse!” Both of us immediately agreed. I added that with everywhere I’ve been, and everyone I’ve met, and every religion that I’ve encountered, I am more convinced than ever that “the gospel of Jesus Christ is still the best thing around!” Amen?

In my opinion, all in all the consultation “American Evangelicals and Islam” was an excellent experience. Two ideas are particularly encouraging and inspiring for me. First, that evangelicals are working together on this much-needed topic at such an intense level is amazing. I do hope there will be much more work of this kind to follow soon. Second, the tone of the meeting was amazingly constructive and positive. I am persuaded that these women and men are committed to living out their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in a multi-faith world with true Christian integrity. I believe the Lord will bless that commitment.

Postscript: One of my many special pleasures in the consultation was working together with my friend John W. Morehead, of Multi-Faith Matters. Pneuma Review readers can check out John’s summary meeting reflections at http://www.evangelicalfrd.org/single-post/2017/08/28/Summary-reflections-on-Calvin-consultation

 

[Editor’s note: Read Antipas Harris’ report: “How Can Christians and Muslims Relate?“]

Notes

[1] This article is adapted and condensed from a combination of consultation papers and personal observations.

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Category: Ministry, Summer 2017

About the Author: Tony Richie, D.Min, Ph.D., is missionary teacher at SEMISUD (Quito, Ecuador) and adjunct professor at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary (Cleveland, TN). Dr. Richie is an Ordained Bishop in the Church of God, and Senior Pastor at New Harvest in Knoxville, TN. He has served the Society for Pentecostal Studies as Ecumenical Studies Interest Group Leader and is currently Liaison to the Interfaith Relations Commission of the National Council of Churches (USA), and represents Pentecostals with Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation of the World Council of Churches and the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs. He is the author of Speaking by the Spirit: A Pentecostal Model for Interreligious Dialogue (Emeth Press, 2011) and Toward a Pentecostal Theology of Religions: Encountering Cornelius Today (CPT Press, 2013) as well as several journal articles and books chapters on Pentecostal theology and experience.

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