‘That They May See Your Good Works and Glorify Your Father in Heaven’: A Wesleyan Theology of Evangelistic Engagement with Muslim People

Dr Michael Lodahl

Dr Michael Lodahl

The speech “‘That They May See Your Good Works and Glorify Your Father in Heaven’: A Wesleyan Theology of Evangelistic Engagement with Muslim People” was given by Dr Michael Lodahl. Dr Lodahl is Professor of Theology and World Religions at Point Loma Nazarene University, California.

This was the fourth speech at the MCSCI Conference in January 2016.

Listen to this speech

This is a recording of the speech, which has been edited for clarity and to remove questions (which could not be heard over the microphone).

Abstract: ‘That They May See Your Good Works and Glorify Your Father in Heaven’: A Wesleyan Theology of Evangelistic Engagement with Muslim People

Dr Lodahl writes:

Working from an explicit grounding in the Wesleyan theological tradition, this essay explores three contemporary approaches to Christian evangelism among Muslim people.

The first involves the attempt to share the gospel specifically through the use of the Qur’an. This approach operates as there there is no Muslim “community of interpretation” and so transgresses both contemporary sensibilities regarding texts and their interpretive communities, but also the deeply Wesleyan affirmation of the importance of the religious community for true saintliness.

The second contemporary approach centers in the rather sensationalistic accounts of dreams and visions among Muslims that point such experiencers toward faith in Jesus as God’s Son and Living Lord. Given John Wesley’s clear fascination with remarkable spiritual experiences, the Wesleyan tradition includes a willingness to examine the reports of these contemporary experiences and, if deemed valid, to celebrate the unusual workings of God’s Spirit.

Finally, the third approach involves what seems to have been Wesley’s most fervent hope for evangelism, especially in his classic sermon “The General Spread of the Gospel.” For Wesley, the most powerful tool of witness would be communities of Christian believers who fervently love God with all their strength and love one another in tangible, material ways that bear social witness to the love and grace of God in Jesus Christ — that is, in Jesus’s words in the Sermon on the Mount, “that they may see your [plural, i.e., collective] good works, and glorify your Father in heaven.”

When can I hear him?

Dr Lodahl is expected to bring the conference’s fourth speech, “Israel-Palestine and the Clash of Domination”, on Friday 8th January 2016 at approximately 2pm. Day visitors are asked to arrive no later than 9:15am to allow time for registration.

Please note that all times are given as-planned in good faith, but the schedule may be amended without notice if required.

Who is he?

Dr. Michael Lodahl is Professor of Theology and World Religions at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA. Prior to moving to Point Loma in 1999, Dr. Lodahl taught theology at his alma mater, Northwest Nazarene University, for 11 years. An ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene, Dr. Lodahl has served as a pastor in California, Georgia and Idaho.

He is also privileged to have taught or lectured in Israel, Kenya, Russia, Kazakhstan, Germany, the Netherlands, Cyprus, Mexico, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines.

Dr. Lodahl is married to Janice, who grew up in Ohio. They have been blessed with three wonderful children and two fabulous grandchildren.

Publications

Dr. Lodahl received his PhD in Theological Studies from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and is the author or editor of eight books, the most recent of which, Claiming Abraham: Reading the Bible and the Qur’an Side by Side (2010), was a shortlisted finalist title for the 2013 Michael Ramsey Prize for Theological Writing. He loves to ride his bike, play with his grandkids, walk along the beach with his wife and watch pelicans glide along the Pacific surf.