Do you know any Muslim people or people from another culture who are your friends?
Jews by the first century had developed an understanding of the world that they should not associate with non-Jews, and this even carried over to the early Christians, as Peter noted when explaining his experience with Cornelius (Acts 10:28). But Peter then realized that God does not show favoritism (Acts 10:34). The disciples were realizing that the gospel was available to all.
Today, with social networks and Christian directories and the Christian sub-culture, and a rising tide of thinking that our nation should be a Christian nation and other voices are not welcome, we are in danger of denying this principle: God does not show favoritism, and our mission is to proclaim boldly the gospel of Christ to all, including Muslims, Buddhists, Secularists, Hindus.
Is it possible to be friends, to engage in open dialogue with people of different faiths and cultures and to proclaim the resurrected Lord Jesus? I believe it is, that we should try, that our gospel should be for all and not constantly preached in such a way that only the insiders, the indoctrinated can understand it.
There are many good resources about different cultures and religions and how to interact and share our faith. Below is link or video to Dr. Ivan Satyavrata’s presentation at an Assembly of God conference about taking the gospel to what he calls the “Bull and the Bear.”
Then below is a link to a review I did for Christianity Today, “The Next Evangelicalism” by Soong-Chan Rah, and finally, I review a book that describes radical Islam for some counterpoint.
Inside the Revolution
Joel C. Rosenberg. Tyndale, $24.99 hardcover (518p) ISBN 978-1-4143-1931-5
Known best for his fiction centered in Middle East and based in Christian dispensational premillenial eschatology, Rosenberg’s non-fiction behemoth will be a best-seller for Evangelicals and is one of the best primers on understanding the backgrounds of radical, reformer, and revivalists Islam for this readership today. Rigorous research, travel, and interviews with hundreds of top level world leaders, Muslim, Jewish, and Christian lends credibility to this survey of the spectrum of beliefs that drive foreign policy in nations such as Iran, on which the book focuses.
Rosenberg’s grave warning is that radical Islamists belief that “Islam is the answer; Jihad is the way” and will stop at nothing short of dominating the world or destroying those who believe otherwise. “They must either be converted or killed,” he says, and “while we fear death, they embrace it.” Reformers, such as the first-ever democratically elected president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, and the late Benazir Bhutto, are reformers who believe radical Muslims have hijacked peaceful Islam for their own fascist, power-hungry and violent ends. Revivalists are those Muslims or those living in predominantly Muslim countries who believe Islam is not the answer and Jihad is not the way but that Jesus is the way.
Rosenberg challenges Islamic eschatology without directly and adequately comparing parallel Christian eschatology, or views of the end times that can be equally offensive and impact foreign policy in unjust ways—such as favoring Israel, even when they seem to others to act violently, because the nation figures into the author’s particular beliefs of end time prophecies. On the other hand, Rosenberg is one of the few who will put quotes from the Qur’an in context, has widely traveled and interviewed global leaders, and this is one of the most fair and even-handed and accessible manuals for understanding twenty-first century world politics and their religious motivations that Christian readers will find this year.