Fuller Theological Seminary is pleased to announce it has received a $50,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to assist evangelical communities in fostering peaceful and respectful engagement with their Muslim neighbors.
In a recent statement, Mark Labberton and Richard Mouw (President and President Emeritus of Fuller Theological Seminary, respectively) noted an increase in racist and Islamophobic rhetoric by some evangelicals in recent months. Dedicated work is needed to bring together American evangelicals to address these issues directly and find ways to counter Islamophobia and hostility towards Muslims.
Within the American context, both Islam as a religion and its Muslim adherents continue to garner a lion’s share of the public’s attention. Given this religious backdrop, American evangelicals have tended to respond to Islam in a myriad of ways. On the one hand, some evangelicals have responded through expressions of fear and condemnation, a response that views Islam as terroristic, violent, and a threat to “Western values.” This type of response tends to demonize Islam as a religion and Muslims as a people. Yet another reaction is confusion and paralysis; this is more difficult to categorize but its manifestations are easily recognizable. Subsequently, many evangelicals have opted for a posture of silence. As such, the most urgent and pressing questions among evangelicals remain dormant—relegated to conversations over dinner with friends or following a board meeting with particular constituencies.
Due to the import and emphasis from Drs. Labberton and Mouw and its faculty, Fuller Theological Seminary has been actively engaged in Christian-Muslim dialogue for years, seeking to demonstrate openness, understanding, and, above all, love. Since 2010, the Evangelical Interfaith Dialogue journal has played a key role in connecting Fuller Seminary to interfaith work of evangelicals around the world. With funding from the Henry Luce Foundation, Fuller Seminary is working with Calvin Theological Seminary and the Lausanne Movement to bring together American evangelical leaders across a broad spectrum of perspectives, values, and commitments to foster unity and solidarity in Christian approaches to engaging Muslims.
The consultation of evangelical leaders will be held at Calvin Theological Seminary in August 2017. This “intra-evangelical” conversation will ask how our respective hopes, fears, and questions can be addressed as we strive to move beyond paralysis and demonization in our engagement with Muslims. Emphasis will be placed on identifying actionable, theological resources to root interfaith engagement deeply within approaches to Christian discipleship across denominational lines. The resources from the consultation at Calvin Seminary will be published in a special edition of the Evangelical Interfaith Dialogue journal, which will focus on Islamophobia in America and will include contributing authors from Christian and Muslim communities.
For more resources on interfaith dialogue, visit Evangelical Interfaith Dialogue.