ADVERTISING
 
Monday, March 25   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 

POLL
Bible literacy
How often do you read the Bible?







SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Bert de Ruiter
 

Engaging with Muslims (IV): The role of the Church

If we would talk as much with Muslims as we do about them, Europe would be a different place.

ENGAGING MUSLIMS AUTHOR Bert de Ruiter 03 APRIL 2017 16:07 h GMT+1
muslim, islam A Muslim in London. / Jarek Jarosz (Flickr, CC)

Read part I and part II  and part III of this in-depth analysis article by Bert de Ruiter.




“You never come into contact with a religion but an adherent's religion. You never come into contact with Muhammadanism, but you do come into contact with a Muslim and his Muhammadanism."



(J.H. Bavinck, Dutch missiologist, who lived from 1895-1964)




The presence of Islam in Europe is not only something that concerns the European politicians or the community in Europe at-large. It is something that should also be high on the agenda of the Church and Mission councils.



What happens to Europe and Islam is not something that the Church can ignore. Muslims have come to live in our countries, cities, neighborhoods and streets. When we send our workers and money to Muslim countries overseas, we should also invest time and energy in Muslim on our doorstep.



But the fact is, that at present a small minority of Churches and Christians across Europe have a meaningful relationship with the mosques and Muslims in their cities and neighborhood.



Yes, we have books on Islam, we have debates and conferences about the future of Islam in Europe, but that doesn’t mean that we have ongoing deep and meaningful dialogues with Muslims across Europe. I believe that if we would talk as much with Muslims as we do about them, Europe would be different.



We cannot afford to be a bystander when Europe and Islam sort out their future together.



Nor, should we be following the mindset of Europeans at large. I notice that many Christians are infected by the widespread Islamophobia that is present in many European countries of today. Christian voters have participated in the growth of extreme right wing political parties, that make Islam their number one issue. Instead of agents of change and transformation in a society estranged from God, we mimic its sentiments, such as xenophobia, islamophobia, alarmism, nationalism.



I believe we should repent of such attitudes and instead seek to be part of society and speak of and with Muslims with attitudes that are influenced by the way God deals with us. Our thinking, attitude, behavior with regard to Islam in Europe should be guided by God’s self-giving love manifested at the cross of Golgotha.



I suggest that Churches and Christians across Europe respond to the presence of Muslims in our continent in a fourfold manner:



a) With a compassionate heart



As followers of the One of Whom the Bible says was ‘full of grace and truth’, we should deal with Muslims in a gracious and loving way. This means that we might to have the Holy Spirit work in us to change our attitude from fear to grace. 



In 1 Thessalonians 2:8 Paul writes:



“We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.”



A tool that could help our churches change their attitude is the course “Sharing Lives”, that I developed.



b) With an informed mind



It is important that we refrain from making caricatures of the Muslims in our midst. We need to know who they are, where they come from, what their religious commitment is, who are the key people, what are their dreams, aspirations, fears, concerns? How do they feel about us?



c) With an involved hand



When our heart is right and we are well informed, we will see all kinds of practical ways that can bring us alongside Muslims. We might find them to be allies in dealing with problems in our city or neighborhood. We might be able to together make a stand for social issues (abortion, drug abuse). We might find other areas of common concern that will put us together on a human level.



d) With a witnessing tongue



Of course, being a witness of the Good News of Jesus Christ is important and necessary. I have discovered that when we have come through the steps a to c, there a plenty of opportunities to do so. When we do we are been taking serious, we testify not about an abstract faith but a faith in Christ that is seen and given hand and feet in daily life.



 



CONCLUSION



Muslims are here to stay. Instead of seeing it as a threat, I suggest the Church looks upon it as:



1-  An opportunity to learn how to be loving and gracious to people that do not deserve it (neither do we);



2-  An opportunity to help Muslims understand what Christianity is all about and breakdown some of the stereotypes and prejudices that they have towards us;



3-  An opportunity to break downs the walls of hostility that have been built for centuries between Christianity and Islam



4-  An opportunity to show the Muslim world that there is a better and more scriptural way to relate to Muslims than crusading and colonializing, namely the way of the Cross, the way of grace and unconditional love.



5-  An opportunity to welcome those within Islam that are seeking for the truth that they didn’t find in Islam.



6- An opportunity to be a friend of Muslims and share your life and in this context also the Gospel with them.



The Church can shape the future of Islam in Europe when we are willing to reflect the truth, the glory and attitude of God in the way we relate to Muslims in our midst.



This is the last part (IV) of a four-part in-depth article. Read part Ipart II and part III.



 



Bert de Ruiter, Consultant of Christian-Muslim Relations OM Europe and European Evangelical Alliance.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Engaging with Muslims (IV): The role of the Church
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels

An interview with the socio-political representative of the European Evangelical Alliance about how evangelical Christians work at the heart of the European Union.

 
Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Testimony: Wildfires near Athens Testimony: Wildfires near Athens

Nico Spies, a Christian worker in Athens, gives details about the wildfires in Greece.

 
Arie de Pater: Refugees deserve a fair and efficient process Arie de Pater: Refugees deserve a fair and efficient process

The Brussels representative of the European Evangelical Alliance offers a Christian perspective on the crisis: “We can’t reduce people to just a number that needs to be controlled”.

 
Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies

RZIM International Director Michael Ramsden responds to questions about the secularisation of Europe, the role of Christians in public leadership and the new ‘culture of victimism’.

 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’ ‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’

Photos of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance’s annual gathering “Idea 2019”, in Murcia. Politicians and church leaders discussed about the role of minorities in society.

 
Bulgaria: Evangelicals ask government to protect religious minorities Bulgaria: Evangelicals ask government to protect religious minorities

Christians rallied in Sofia on November 18 to defend their rights. It is the second Sunday of peaceful demonstrations against a new religion draft law that could severely restrict religious freedom and rights of minority faith confessions.

 
Rallies in Bulgaria: “New bill on religion brings us back to Communism!” Rallies in Bulgaria: “New bill on religion brings us back to Communism!”

Bulgarian evangelicals protested peacefully on November 11 against a draft law which could severely restrict religious freedom of faith minorities. Churches rallied in Sofia and other cities after the Sunday worship services.

 
Photos: #WalkForFreedom Photos: #WalkForFreedom

Abolitionists marched through 400 cities in 51 countries. Pictures from Valencia (Spain), October 20.

 
Photos: Reaching people with disabilities Photos: Reaching people with disabilities

Seminars, an arts exhibition, discussion and testimonies. The European Disability Network met in Tallinn.

 
Photos: Hope for Europe Photos: Hope for Europe

Unity in Diversity is the theme of the conference. Representatives of Evangelical Alliances and many other church leaders gathered in Tallinn (Estonia).

 
VIDEO Video
 
Romania: God’s Word among Roma people Romania: God’s Word among Roma people

Gypsies are one of the largest ethnic minority groups in Romania. According to 2013 estimates, the Roma groups make up 10% of the country's population, accounting for about 1.5 million people.

 
Latin American leaders unite to fight against imposition of gender ideology Latin American leaders unite to fight against imposition of gender ideology

Christian leaders from all over Latin America are concerned about the progress of gender ideology agendas in the region. Many are joining together in public demonstrations and training events.

 
How do fake news spread? How do fake news spread?

Tony Watkins, Coordinator of the Lausanne Media Engagement Network.

 
Lindsay Brown: The encouraging advance of the gospel in Spain Lindsay Brown: The encouraging advance of the gospel in Spain

Church planting, the amount of books authored by Spanish evangelicals and the growth of the Christian student movement in the last decades, are some of the marks underlined by Lindsay Brown.

 
What do Christian communication and science communication have in common? What do Christian communication and science communication have in common?

“As Christians, we also try to communicate a detailed and often slightly technical message”, says Kay Carter, Director of Communications of Tyndale House (UK).

 
Church planting in Strasbourg Church planting in Strasbourg

A video on how evangelicals are planting churches in Strasbourg (France).

 
Christians, resilience and a post-Christian culture Christians, resilience and a post-Christian culture

Lindsay Brown: “The biblical pattern is not one of speed, but of steady sowing and gradual reaping in due course”.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.