All too often, a Christian response to Islam is rooted in antagonism and steeped in defensiveness and fear. Yet the church is not called to engage in a battle with Islam in order to conquer Muslims, and when we, as Christians, wield apologetics like a weapon and shroud the message of Christ’s sacrifice in the armour of polemics, we destroy the credibility of our witness even as we seek to save the lost.
Bernhard Reitsma invites the church to rediscover a Christ-like approach to Islam – an approach that roots itself in love, vulnerability, and fearless embrace. Far from ignoring the complex challenges faced by Christians living in Muslim-majority nations – or in Western countries where Islam is on the rise – Reitsma addresses practical concerns such as persecution, political power, the nation of Israel, and contextualization, all within a thoroughly biblical and Christ-centered framework. Reitsma reminds us that the church’s calling is not to defend Christendom but to reveal the glory of Christ. To that end, let us lay down our weapons, take off our armour, and introduce our Muslim brothers and sisters to the vulnerable, unconditional love of Christ.
This volume nurtures tolerance and dialogue between religions in the Middle East. Bernhard Reitsma offers us a contextualized and enlightening reading of burning issues as they are understood in ancient and contemporary Christianity and Islam.
Daniel Alberto Ayuch, PhD
Professor of New Testament,
University of Balamand, Tripoli, Lebanon
Springing from his own experience of living for a number of years in the highly volatile situation of the Middle East, Bernhard Reitsma engages courageously with the always problematic challenge of relating his Christian convictions to the many questions raised by the history and present realities of Islam.
Rev J. Andrew Kirk, PhD
Former Director, Centre for Missiology and World Christianity,
University of Birmingham, UK
Bernhard Reitsma’s decidedly and comprehensively biblical approach gives a powerful thrust to his argument that Christians and Muslims share more commonalities than differences, and that this shared space, if approached by the church with humility, can be the foundation of constructive relations that will allow them to live and partner together in mutual witness for the common good of their shared societies everywhere.
Martin Accad, PhD
Associate Professor of Islamic Studies,
Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, Beirut, Lebanon
Bernhard Reitsma reminds us that far more than one billion Muslims cannot be put in one box. His approach combines biblical insights with practical experience. I hope Reitsma finds many followers!
Bishop Thomas Schirrmacher, PhD
Associate Secretary General, Theological Concerns,
World Evangelical Alliance
Amid the so-called clash of civilizations that all too often pits Christianity against Islam, Bernhard Reitsma writes as one rooted in historical orthodoxy but open to reimagining contemporary Christian approaches to Muslims. His posture of vulnerable love is not borne out of a politically correct toleration but flows forth from a biblically grounded understanding of the church as part of the wider people of God that points beyond the present status quo to the divine salvation that is coming.
Amos Yong, PhD
Dean, School of Theology and School of Intercultural Studies,
Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, USA
Table of Contents
- Part I: Framework for Thinking Biblically about the Church and Islam
- The Triune God and the Secret of Creation
- The Triune God and the Secret of the New Creation
- Part II: Islam
- God or Allah?
- God, the Holy Spirit, and Experiences of God/god in Islam
- Part III: The Church
- The Church and the Kingdom of Christ
- The Church and the People of Israel
- The Church and the Context of Islam
- The Church and Persecution in the Context of Islam
- Part IV: The Church and Islam
- Vulnerable Love