ADVERTISING
 
Monday, December 18   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
'... Christian'
I would define myself as...





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
 
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

 
Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation

Pastor Gary Wilkerson talks about what all evangelical Christians can learn from the Protestant Reformation and underlines the need for more churches with both a sound doctrine and obedience to the Holy Spirit.

 
Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe

Is the arrival of thousands of Muslims to Europe a threat to Christianity? What is the growth of evangelical churches in Eastern and Southern Europe? An interview with theologian and Lausanne Movement representative Lindsay Brown.

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission

“We want to see the youth not just being equipped, but also being multipliers”, Evi Rodemann director of Mission-Net. The European Congress took place in Germany from December 28 to January 2.

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch

Author and international speaker Dr Pablo Martínez discusses the main challenges in Europe nowadays and hopes Evangelical Focus will be a useful tool to help build bridges between churches and society.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Lausanne younger leaders gathering in Budapest Lausanne younger leaders gathering in Budapest

About 70 people from European countries met at the Younger Leaders Gen gathering in Hungary (19-22 October) to discuss the challenges of the church in the continent and build partnerships. Photos: Evi Rodemann and Jari Sippola.

 
I am not on sale I am not on sale

Young Christians gathered at Madrid’s central square Sol to denounce human trafficking. A flashmob highlighted the work of three evangelical NGOs which support women who escape sexual slavery in Spain.

 
Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

 
‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country ‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country

Bilbao hosted the Spanish Evangelical Alliance's annual meeting (assembly). Politicians, professors and evangelical representatives shared views on social reconciliation. The theme was also analysed from a theological perspective and in workshops. 

 
The Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible The Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible

Indian author Vishal Mangalwadi spoke about how the biblical worldview shaped the West. 300 professionals attended annual GBG meeting on faith and work in Cullera (Spain). Photos: J.P. Serrano, S. Vera.

 
Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016 Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016

Around 1,000 young Christian leaders from 150 countries are participating in the 2016 Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering, to reflect on global mission.

 
VIDEO Video
 
How does an effective leader decide when to say “no” to something? How does an effective leader decide when to say “no” to something?

Ramez Attallah of the Bible Society Egypt answers the question. 

 
Creation Care and the Gospel, in France Creation Care and the Gospel, in France

The conference drew about 90 delegates from across Europe. Scientists, theologians, activists reflected together on the theme “God’s Word and God’s World”.

 
“It is inconsistent to say we love the Creator while we destroy His creation” “It is inconsistent to say we love the Creator while we destroy His creation”

In creation care, “we need more people who lead by example”, says well-known Brazilian politician and activist Marina Silva. 

 
Human traffickers recruit girls and boys online Human traffickers recruit girls and boys online

The new video of the European Freedom Network addresses the dangers of social media. 

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
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.