Attitudes towards Islam and Muslims

It is alarming the polarisation of attitudes towards Islam, and possibly more alarming towards Muslims that we are seeing in the media: both mainstream and social.Donald Trump’s statement and his support from Franklin Graham is appalling. We seem to be forgetting our basic Christian values. In stead of preaching I want to quote from an old Lausanne Document on Evangelism of Muslims.

The important thing is realise that this was planning the evangelisation of the Muslim world, but catch the ethos of the statements here.

During mid-October 1978, a week-long consultation was convened at Glen Eyrie, Colorado, to explore the responsibilities of North American Christians toward the Muslim World.

We Christians have loved so little, and have put forth such little effort to regard Muslims as people like ourselves. They too bear the image and likeness of God. They, too, deserve the love and respect God would have his people accord all men. Although we know their inmost needs—like ours—can only be satisfied by Christ, we somehow draw back from sharing him with them.

And we North American Christians also tend to be critical of Islamic culture. In our pride and ethnocentrism we have forgotten that our own culture is terribly flawed. True, it reflects the creativity of a pluralistic society, but it also expresses our fallenness. Since Christ judges all cultures and is seeking through the Gospel to infuse and transform them with his Presence, he would have us discern and appreciate the redeemable in Islamic culture.

It was inevitable that whenever the subject of conflict and suffering was broached, there were those who quickly reminded us—and did so correctly—that for much of this Christians had only themselves to blame. Not all missionaries have been wise and holy, noble and loving. Some have tended to misrepresent and belittle the moral and religious stature of Muhammad and the Quran. All too many have been uncritically defensive of Christian missions in the Muslim world during the long years of Western political dominance. As a result, they have been largely indifferent to the task of reducing the mistrust and misunderstanding that accentuated past tensions and rivalries. And they have given the impression that they lack concern for the deterioration of Christian values in the Christian world while openly encouraging the process of secularization in the Muslim world.

It was humbling for us to be confronted by this evidence of cultural imperialism coupled with aggressive and insensitive proselytism. We were agreed that much within the modern missionary movement needs rectification. And yet, we were also reminded that this was not the whole story.

What is notable here, is what I see to be absent today in Western dealing with Muslims: humility and repentance. May God forgive us.