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12 Must-Reads on Mission and Islam by Fuller Professors

A compilation of books on engaging Muslims missiologically by Fuller faculty, affiliates, and adjuncts

Global Islam is a complex and heterogeneous phenomenon rather than a monolithic one. Unfortunately, what makes the headlines often dominates people’s perceptions, and this in turn shapes Christian mission strategies as they are overshadowed, if not controlled, by such reports. The books below represent the work of Fuller professors who have seen God at work amongst Muslims and have shared their knowledge, stories, and research. Our hope is that these resources would bring you to greater understanding, fuller passion, and more fruitful witness among Muslims.

1. Toward Respectful Understanding and Witness among Muslims: Essays in Honor of J.Dudley Woodberry

edited by Evelyne Reisacher, 2015

Toward Respectful Understanding and Witness among MuslimsFifteen preeminent Christian scholars of Islam present their latest research and reflections. The book is organized around three themes: encouraging friendly conversation, Christian scholarship, and Christian witness. Published in honor of J. Dudley Woodberry, it is more than a collection of essays by friends and colleagues. It offers a seldom-available synopsis of the theories of contemporary leading Christian academicians whose work is currently influencing a wide range of Christian institutions, agencies, churches, and individuals. The authors provide cutting-edge and greatly needed resources for developing a better understanding of Muslims. This book is essential reading for people with research interests in Islam, for Bible school and seminary students, for church leaders, and for all those who want to be informed of the empirical research and theoretical perspectives affecting Muslim-Christian relations.

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2. Joyful Witness in the Muslim World: Sharing the Gospel in Everyday Encounters

by Evelyne Reisacher, 2016 (forthcoming)

Joyful Witness in the Muslim World features global perspectives on current Christian engagement with Islam. It equips readers for mission among Muslims, exploring how to move from fear to joy in sharing the gospel. After emphasizing the importance of joy in the biblical narrative on mission and in human relationship building, Evelyne Reisacher surveys areas where Muslims and Christians encounter one another in the twenty-first century, highlighting innovative models of Christian witness in everyday life. Drawing on insights from global Christianity, this survey takes account of diverse conceptions of Muslim-Christian relations. It may surprise those who believe mission among Muslims is nearly impossible.

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3. From Seed to Fruit: Global Trends, Fruitful Practices, and Emerging Issues among Muslims (2nd ed.)

by J. Dudley Woodberry, 2015

What practices is God blessing in raising up groups of Jesus-followers among Muslims? And how shall we understand Muslim peoples and their access to biblical witness? In recent years, workers from a growing number of organizations have begun to discuss such questions. Their initial insights were refined by a broad group of workers in a consultation in the spring of 2007, further analyzed in subsequent months, and compiled in this volume. From Seed to Fruit uses biblical images from nature to show the interaction between God's activity and human responsibility in blessing these peoples.

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4. Resources for Peacemaking in Muslim-Christian Relations: Contributions from the Conflict Transformation Project

by J. Dudley Woodberry and Robin Basselin, 2006

“Religion is an important ingredient in many of the areas of conflict in the world today, the full power of which we in the United States do not feel with our separation of church and state,” writes Woodberry. “Yet, religion and people of faith can also have a major role in helping to ease these conflicts.” The articles in this book are written primarily by emerging Christian scholars who explore the causes of such conflicts and possible means of reducing them, with particular attention paid to resources for peacebuilding within Islam and Christianity. Part I focuses on religious resources in their respective scriptures and history for interpreting and transforming such conflicts, like that in Palestine/Israel. Part II in turn demonstrates how conflicts such as those in Sudan have interrelated causes and implications including ethnic, cultural, economic, political, psychological, and religious elements.

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5. (un)Common Sounds: Songs of Peace and Reconciliation among Muslims and Christians

by Roberta King and Sooi Ling Tan, 2014

This resource explores the contribution of music and the performing arts to peacebuilding and interfaith dialogue in interreligious settings. It asks the simple but endlessly complex question: How is music and song used in our faiths and daily lives to foster peace and reconciliation? Focusing on the two largest world religions that together comprise more than 55 percent of the world's population, the essays address the complexities of embodied, lived religious traditions by moving across and linking a range of disciplines: ethnomusicology (the intersection of music and culture), peacemaking, Islamic studies, and Christian theology. Based on research in the Middle East, North Africa, and Indonesia, context-specific case studies serve to identify and reflect on the significant roles of music and the performing arts in fostering sustainable peace. Classroom tested, (un)Common Sounds also provides discussion questions and projects for each chapter, a companion Web site ( www.songsforpeaceproject.org), and an available documentary film to enhance learning in the academy, nongovernmental organizations, and religious groups.

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6. Senses of Devotion: Interfaith Aesthetics in Buddhist and Muslim Communities

by William A. Dyrness, 2013

This ethnographic study focuses on the religious imagery and practices of a sample of Buddhist temples and Muslim mosques in the greater Los Angeles area. As a way of expanding interfaith dialogue, it is framed as a conversation between the largely Christian researchers and the 75 respondents, who were asked about the images, space, and practices of their religious experience. From the respondents in their various religious settings, it seeks to distill the specific religious imaginations and aesthetic profiles that might be said to characterize their experience—to discover what might be considered the living images of these faiths.

Set in the context of contemporary discussions of the nature of religion and visual culture, this richly textured study of visual and sensory practices in religion raises fundamental questions about the place of belief and ritual practice and the role these play in our increasingly pluralistic religious culture.

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7. Understanding Insider Movements

by Harley Talman and John Jay travis, 2015

For the first time in history, large numbers of people from the world’s major non-Christian religions are following Jesus as Lord. Surprisingly for many Western Christians, they are choosing to do so within the religious communities of their birth and outside of institutional Christianity. How does this work, and how should we respond to these movements? This long-awaited anthology brings together some of the best writings on the topic of insider movements. Diverse voices explore this phenomenon from the perspectives of Scripture, history, theology, missiology, and the experience and identity of insider believers. Those who are unfamiliar with the subject will find this book a crucial guide to a complex conversation. Students and instructors of mission will find it useful as a reader and reference volume. Field workers and agencies will discover in these chapters welcome starting points for dialogue and clearer communication.

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8. Earth, Empire and Sacred Text: Muslims and Christians as Trustees of Creation

by David Johnston, 2013

Earth, Empire and Sacred Text examines the Muslim-Christian theology of creation and humanity, aiming to construct a dialogue to enable both faiths to work together to preserve our planet, to bring justice to its most needy inhabitants, and to contribute to peacebuilding. Earth, Empire and Sacred Text opens with an analysis of the influential shift from the Cartesian view of the autonomous, disembodied self to a self defined in discourse, community, and culture. The “career” of Q. 2:30 (Adam’s God-mandated trusteeship) is then traced, from Islamic commentaries of the classical period to writings of Muslim scholars in the modern and postmodern periods. This is examined alongside the concept of human trusteeship under God in Christian and Jewish writers. The book concludes by highlighting the essential elements for a Muslim-Christian theology of human trusteeship.

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9. The Crescent Through the Eyes of the Cross: Insights from an Arab Christian

by Nabeel Jabbour, 2008

“A war is raging for the minds and souls of Muslims today,” writes Nabeel Jabbour. “The eternal welfare of 1.4 billion people is at stake. They are being pulled in two directions—fanaticism on the one hand and moderation and open-mindedness on the other. How we deal with this window of opportunity will determine our relations with Muslims for generations to come.” Go beyond mere tolerance to a passion for Muslims. This book explains how that can be done in ways that are sensitive to Islamic culture and provides suggestions on how to build vital relationships with Muslims. Dr. Jabbour was born in Syria and grew up in Lebanon. He lived with his family in Egypt for 15 years before moving to Colorado Springs.

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10. A Textual History of Christian-Muslim Relations: Seventh–Fifteenth Centuries

by Charles Tieszen, 2015

The question of Christian-Muslim relations is one of enduring importance in the 21st century. While there exists a broad range of helpful overviews on the question, these introductory texts often fail to provide readers with the depth that a thorough treatment of the primary sources and their authors would provide. In this important new project, Charles Tieszen provides a collection of primary theological sources devoted to the formational period of Christian-Muslim relations. It provides brief introductions to authors and their texts along with representative selections in English translation. The collection is arranged according to the key theological themes that emerge as Christians and Muslims encounter one another in the seventh to fifteenth centuries. The result is a resource that offers students a far better grasp of the texts early Christians and Muslims wrote about each other and a better understanding of the important theological themes that are pertinent to Christian-Muslim dialogue today.

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11. Peace-Building by, between, and beyond Muslims and Evangelical Christians

by Mohammed Abu-Nimer and David Augsburger, 2010

This timely work addresses sensitive issues and relations between Muslims and Christians around the world. The book uniquely captures the opportunity for Christians and Muslims to come together and discuss pertinent issues such as pluralism, governance, preaching, Christian missionary efforts, and general misperceptions of Muslim and Christian communities. Joint authorship and discussion within the book is used to offer dialogue and responses between different contributors. This dialogue reveals that Christians and Muslims hold many things in common while having meaningful differences. It also shows the value of honestly sharing convictions while respecting and hearing the beliefs of another.

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12. My Neighbour's Faith: Islam Explained for African Christians

by John Azumah, 2008

Nowhere else in the world have both Islam and Christianity been more instrumental in shaping the history of a people and their way of life than in Africa. African Muslims and Christians have a lot in common, including kinship ties, shared languages and citizenship. Yet, despite the centuries of deep historical links and harmonious existence between the two religions, new challenges threaten this harmony. Conflicts involving Christians and Muslims in places like Sudan, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast are common. These conflicts are fueled primarily by ignorance, stereotyping, and prejudice, which in turn breed fear, suspicion, and even hatred, in some cases leading to violence. My Neighbour’s Faith sheds light on the beliefs and teaching of Islam by addressing matters of contemporary importance to Christians and the wider non-Muslim audience. It presents the human face of Islam―the face of a close relative, a neighbor, a teacher, and even a head of state―in a balanced and critical way that gives a credible view of Islam.

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To learn more about engaging Muslims missiologically, join us for the Fuller School of Intercultural Studies’ 2016 Missiology Lectures: “Dynamics of Contemporary Muslim Societies: Christian Theological and Missiological Implications.” November 3-4, 2016. See the list of speakers here.

Also join us for three special Islamic Studies intensives offered this summer: Shariah and Human Rights, Current Trends in Islam, and The Qur’an and Theological Themes. More information about these courses here.
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