Conference: Evangelical responses to Islamic Revival

This 3-day conference will look at various issues surrounding the term “Islamic Revival” and what the various Christian responses are, and perhaps should be.

New to this field, or just want to know more about the speakers and topics covered? Why not listen to the final “summary” session first?

 

Conference Format

 

You can download the latest version of the schedule here: Daily schedule (web) – correct as of 11 December

While all effort will be made to avoid it, the organisers reserve the right to amend session timing, content and speakers if required.

Day 1 – Thursday 7th January

Photo of Dr Phil Lewis

Dr Phil Lewis

Morning

The conference will start on the morning of Thursday 7th January. After registration at 10am, there was a short period of worship followed by our first keynote speech by Dr Phil Lewis.

Phil Lewis

Phil Lewis is a sociologist of religion, recently retired from the University of Bradford, and perhaps the foremost Christian scholar on Muslims in the UK. His analysis was specific to the UK, but exemplified an approach to understanding the particulars of Muslims in any part of the West. Wherever we are it is important to understand what ‘kind’ of Muslims live among us, and what the specific issues are that they face in our societies: cultural and historical, and not simply religious. Lewis identified the socio-economic situation of Muslims in Britain, focussing on the increasingly significant role of Muslim women’s groups in trying to find ways for Muslims to navigate the changes in society at large. He recommends that Christians support the initiatives such people are taking with regard to issues such as poverty, unemployment, prisons, and single families—as well as radicalisation of youth.

Read more about Dr Lewis and his speech, "Made in Britain – the birth of the adjectival Muslim"

After that first speech, we break for lunch.

Afternoon

Thursday afternoon was occupied with two sessions of seminar-style discussion groups. Delegates were able to choose two issues to be part of discussions on (with some offered in both sessions). Discussion topics are planned as follows:

  • What is happening to Islam in the UK? (with Phil Lewis)
  • European Christian Response to Islam (with Gordon Hickson)
  • Making sense of Muslim groups (with Richard McCallum)
  • Christian use of the Qur’an (with Michael Lodahl)
  • Evangelism and the Muslim (with Dan Miller)
  • Believers of a Muslim Background (BMBs) and the Church (with Roxy Foulkes)
  • Churches’ response to Islam in Britain (with Richard McCallum)
  • What is happening to Islam Worldwide – trends and movements? (with Martin Accad)
  • Israel/Palestine today (with Salim Munayer)

The conference will then break for delegates to get an evening meal, visit exhibition stands and take part in networking, before reconvening for the evening speech.

Evening

Martin Accad

Dr Martin Accad

The evening will conclude with our second keynote speech, by Dr Martin Accad (Director, Institute of Middle East Studies at Arab Baptist Theological Seminary)

Martin Accad

Martin Accad, Lecturer at Arab Baptist Theological Seminary and Director of the Institute for Middle East Studies in Beirut, offered the perspective of an Arab Christian on the conflicts in the Middle East. He asked us in the West to be aware of the history and geopolitical situation in our attitudes and actions, because these actions do have an effect on the Church in the Middle East, often detrimental. He presented three practical implications for the Church to keep in sight in light of the current crisis:

Read more about Dr Accad and his speech “Islamic Revival Worldwide”.

The day is due to end at around 9pm.

Day 2 – Friday 8th January

Morning

Dr Salim Munayer

Dr Salim Munayer

Day two begins as on day one – with a time for worship together – but slightly earlier at 9am.

Immediately after this was the third keynote speech of the conference, by Dr Salim Munayer.

Salim Munayer

Salim Munayer, director of Musalaha (Arabic for ‘Reconciliation’), working for reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, spoke of a ‘clash of domination’ to which the Christian response reflects our beliefs for all creation—that is, a call to a redeemed creation, and positive transformation in Christ. He challenged the Western Church’s tendency to take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a ‘failure to be witness to the glory of God’, and to seek reconciliation. In agreement with Accad regarding the effect Western actions have on the Church in the Middle East, Munayer added that the way to reconciliation is inherently a political undertaking, and this cannot be escaped. He offered four challenges to the Church (not just the West)

Read more about Dr Munayer and his speech, “Israel-Palestine and the Clash of Domination”.

Following a short coffee break, there was another session of seminar-style discussion groups. Delegates were able to choose one issue to be part of discussions on, with discussion topics planned as follows:

  • Dialogue as an evangelical response to Islam (with Martin Accad)
  • The work of reconciliation – is there any hope? (with Salim Munayer)
  • Crises in the Muslim communities? (with Roxy Foulkes)
  • Christian response to the Refugee crisis locally (with Dave Smith)
  • Contextualised communities of Believers from a Muslim Background (with Greg Livingstone)

Once these discussions are complete, we will break for lunch.

Afternoon

Dr Michael Lodahl

Dr Michael Lodahl

Immediately after lunch was the fourth keynote speech of the conference, by Dr Michael Lodahl.

Michael Lodahl

Michael Lodahl, Professor of Theology and World Religions at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, addressed the theological implications of Christian responses to Muslims. As a theologian in the Wesleyan tradition (and the conference was held in a Nazarene college), Lodahl chose to look at the question through the lens of John Wesley’s interaction with ‘Mohametans’ and other religions. This lens presented three areas for the Church to bear in mind.

Read more about Dr Lodahl and his speech, “‘That They May See Your Good Works and Glorify Your Father in Heaven’: A Wesleyan Theology of Evangelistic Engagement with Muslim People”.

Following a short coffee break, there was a final session of seminar-style discussion groups. Delegates were be able to choose one issue to be part of discussions on, with discussion topics planned as follows:

  • What is happening to Islam Worldwide – trends and movements? (with Martin Accad)
  • Abrahamic Faith in dialogue (with Michael Lodahl)
  • European Christian Response to Islam (with Gordon Hickson)
  • Christian response to the Refugee crisis locally (with Dave Smith)
  • Contextualised communities of Believers from a Muslim Background (with Greg Livingstone)

The conference will then break for delegates to get an evening meal, visit exhibition stands and take part in networking, before reconvening for the evening speech.

Evening

The evening will conclude with the fifth keynote speech of the conference, by Dr Greg Livingstone.

Greg Livingstone

Greg Livingstone, founder of Frontiers, as well as Operation Mobilization, now living and serving in High Wycombe, spoke from his experience of fifty years of living and working among Muslims. He gave a global picture of the Church in the Muslim world (with reference to David Garrisons’ A Wind in the House of Islam) from a personal perspective. He encouraged us that ‘God is doing more than we think’, and lest we be triumphalist, ‘but also less than we hear’.

Read more about Dr Livingstone and his speech, “A Worldwide picture of Believers from a Muslim Background”.

Day 3 – Saturday 9th January

Day three is a half-day, designed to aid those who have to be home in their own church setting on Sunday morning.

Morning

Gordon Hickson

Gordon Hickson

After morning worship at 9am, the final keynote speech of the conference will take place, by Gordon Hickson.

Gordon Hickson

Fittingly, in the closing session Gordon Hickson, director of Mahabba in the UK, spoke to the centrality of prayer as the Christian response to Islam. Hickson described the origins of Mahabba, which is ‘love’ in Arabic, in prayer. This prayer is not simply that Muslims become believers, but it is prayer for a tenderness of heart towards Muslims, and prayer for the Church to live out the witness to Christ.


Read more about Gordon and his speech, “Christian Responses to Islam in Europe”.

Following a short coffee break, a final session to reviewed the content of the conference, anchored by Dr Dwight Swanson and Rev Canon Phil Rawlings, who are co-Directors of MCSCI.

Summary

The final part of the conference was a summary of all the main sessions, presented by Dr Dwight Swanson, Co-director of MCSCI. The main presentation was fairly short, and this 20-minute recording may be a good starter for anyone who was not able to be at the conference.

Afternoon

Lunch was provided at 1pm.

There are no further sessions planned; we hope this should allow those who need to travel some distance to get away without missing anything. However, delegates are welcome to stay and network over an extended lunch period.

View full schedule

Cost

Conference tickets are less than £100, with an early booking discount also available. Tickets include entry to all sessions across the three days and an on-site lunch.


Full terms & conditions of booking

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