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

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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.

Israel-Palestine and the Clash of Domination

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Dr Salim Munayer

Dr Salim Munayer

The speech “Israel-Palestine and the Clash of Domination” will be given by Dr Salim Munayer, who founded Musalaha, in Jerusalem

This will be the third 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).

Notes

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Abstract: Israel-Palestine and the Clash of Domination

Dr Munayer writes:

In this paper we will look at a Middle Eastern Christian perspective and response to the clash between political Islam and Western political ideology.  We will also reflect on the effects of the nation-state’s breakdown on Middle Eastern Christians, and radical Islam’s marginalization of this group.

 

 

Middle Eastern Christians were leaders in the rise of nationalism in this region as it ensured better rights for minorities and upheld a group identity regardless of religious affiliation.  With the rise of political Islam, Middle Eastern Christians feel marginalized as implementation of sharia contradicts the Western secular values of nationalism.  At the same time, Middle Eastern Christians need to be aware of the non-Christian values that accompany secularism and Westernization and turn a critical eye not just toward political Islam, but also ourselves.  As followers of God, we cannot divorce politics from religion.  Additionally, we cannot only look inward and advocate the interests of our particular religious community.  We must articulate a model that includes a message of hope for us, and also for those around us, Christian, Muslim and Jewish.

When can I hear him?

Dr Munayer is expected to bring the conference’s third speech, “Israel-Palestine and the Clash of Domination”, on Friday 8th January 2016 at approximately 9:30am. 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?

Salim J. Munayer is director and founder of Musalaha Ministry of Reconciliation, which has been bringing Israelis and Palestinian together since 1990 and creating a forum for reconciliation. Salim is a Palestinian-Israeli born in Lod as one of six children and received his BA from Tel Aviv University in History and Geography, his MA from Fuller Theological Seminary, graduate studies in New Testament from Pepperdine University and his PhD from the Oxford Centre of Mission Studies in the UK. Salim served as academic dean of the Bethlehem Bible College from 1989 to 2008, and is a professor at the college. He is also an adjunct professor at Fuller Theological Seminary. Salim is married to Kay and has four sons, Jack, Daniel, John and Sam.

Publications

His doctoral dissertation was written on “The Ethnic Identity of Palestinian Arab Christian Adolescents in Israel.” He has published several books on Reconciliation, the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, and Christians in Israel and the Palestinian Authority, his most recent work was the groundbreaking book Through My Enemy’s Eyes, Envisioning Reconciliation in Israel-Palestine, co-authored with Lisa Loden.

Made in Britain – the birth of the adjectival Muslim

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Photo of Dr Phil Lewis

Dr Phil Lewis

The speech “Made in Britain – the birth of the adjectival Muslim” was given by Dr Phil Lewis, who is a Lecturer in Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, and also involved in Bradford Churches for Dialogue & Diversity.

This was the first 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).

Notes

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Abstract: Made in Britain – the birth of the adjectival Muslim

Dr Lewis writes:

When Jews in the 19th century Europe were allowed to access mainstream culture, the exposure of traditional Judaism with modernity generated what Lord Sacks has dubbed ‘the birth of the adjectival Jew’, a proliferation of Jewish ‘denominations’ which were often unable to maintain a dialogue across their deepening differences. Arguably, something similar is beginning to happen across Muslim communities in the UK.
First there is evidence of increasing experimentation within and across all three generations of Muslims in Britain. Let us take one example from each generation. First, Ziauddin Sardar’s pioneering journal, Critical Muslim evidences a self-criticism hardly imaginable ten years ago. Then, the call for the development of a mosque with all women governance in Bradford, as well as a centre for excellence for Muslim women; and thirdly, the emergence of a new ‘Muslim cool’ in the third generation, for example among Bengali youngsters in Tower Hamlets.
In reaction to such engagement, there is a measure of entrenchment and opposition both within ‘traditional Islam’ – especially the Deobandis and Salafis [the fastest growing movement in the UK] – as well as the growing attraction for a significant minority of extremist movements.
These changes can also be formulated as the shift from Islam being a ‘diaspora’ religion to one which is increasingly engaging wider British society, e.g. what counts as ‘Muslim politics’ can vary from ‘ethnic politics’ with a religious veneer [Bradford and Tower Hamlets] to a new pragmatism where Muslim communities are ethnically diverse as in Newham and Hackney.
In short, there is a new self-criticism emerging among Muslim organizations, activists and academics, informed by the social sciences. Also a readiness to acknowledge major social and religious challenges facing Islam and Muslim communities in the UK.

When can I hear him?

Dr Lewis is expected to bring the conference’s first speech, “Made in Britain – the birth of the adjectival Muslim”, on Thursday 7th January 2016 at approximately 11:15am. Delegates (including day visitors) are asked to arrive no later than 10:30am 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 Philip Lewis’s interest in Islam and Inter-Religious/Inter-Cultural  relations began more than thirty years ago when he spent  six years as a CMS Missionary at the ecumencial Christian Study Centre in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. He has been advising Anglican bishops of Bradford on inter-faith relations for more than a quarter of a century. He has just retired from the Department of Peace Studies at Bradford University where he lectured  on ‘Islam in the West: the challenge to co-existence’ & ‘Religions, conflict and peacemaking in a post-secular world’. He sits on a number of national commissions and is one of the scholar consultants to the national Christian Muslim Forum set up in 2006 by the Archbishop of Canterbury. At present he  is  a Visiting Fellow at York St John University and is a consultant on Islam and Christian-Muslim relations to the Bishop of Leeds.

Publications

 

The following selection of his publications give an idea of the range of his interests:

 

  • 2006, “Imams, ulema and Sufis: providers of bridging social capital for British Pakistanis?”, Contemporary South Asia, Vol. 15:3, pp 273-287.
  • 2007, Young, Muslim and British: for Continuum, London.
  • 2009, “For the Peace of the City: Bradford – a case-study in developing inter-community & inter-religious relations” in Stephen B. Goodwin (ed) World Christianity in Muslim Encounter, Continuum, London.
  • 2011, J.Birt & P.Lewis, “The Pattern of Islamic Reform in Britain: the Deobandis between intra-Muslim sectarianism and engagement with wider society” in S. Allievi and M. van Bruinessen (eds) Producing Islamic Knowledge, Transmission and dissemination in Western Europe, Routledge, London.
  • 2011’The religious formation and social roles of Imams serving the Pakistani diaspora in the UK’ in Marta Bolognani and Stepen M. Lyon (edss) Pakistan and Its Diaspora, Multidisciplinary Approaches, PalgraveMacmillan.
  • 2015 [forthcoming] ‘The Civic, religious and political incorporation of British Muslims and the Role of the Anglican Church: whose incorporation, which Islam?’ The Journal of Anglican Studies.

Conference approaches with a new name!

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Here at the Centre, we are getting pretty excited about our conference, Evangelical Responses to Islamic Revival. There’s a lot of work still to do but we think it will be a great event.

It’s got even more exciting now that we’ve been able to confirm an extra speaker. Dr Greg Livingstone, who was the founder of Frontiers, will be giving a speech outlining the picture of Believers of a Muslim Background (BMBs) – those who have come from a Muslim culture, family or personal religious conviction and who are now followers of Jesus Christ.

Also speaking at the conference will be:

  • Dr Michael Lodahl (Professor of Theology and World Religions, Point Loma Nazarene University, California)
  • Dr Martin Accad (Director, Institute of Middle East Studies at Arab Baptist Theological Seminary)
  • Dr Salim Munayer (Founder, Musalaha, Jerusalem)
  • Dr Phil Lewis (Lecturer in Peace Studies, University of Bradford/Bradford Churches for Dialogue & Diversity)

In addition to formal Keynote Speeches, there will be a series of smaller discussion groups available for delegates to explore certain issues in the area of Christian responses to Islam today. The issues to be covered will range from the Refugee Crisis to different Muslim groups (the peaceful and the militant), plus matters such as the legitimate uses Christians can have for the Qur’an, and the interplay between human rights and texts such as the Bible and Qur’an.

We hope to see as many people as possible take part in what we expect will be a fantastic event – so if you haven’t already, please book a place at our conference!

The conference itself takes place at Didsbury in south Manchester, from Thursday 7th January to Saturday 9th January 2015. Please book by 10th December, as places are limited and we do not want you to be disappointed.

Revisions as of 15 October 2015

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MCSCI is now a Charitable Incorporated Orgainsation, Registered with the Charity Commission with number 1163648.

Because of this, there are some minor changes to the Terms of Booking:

Section A (General) – subsection 1 (Definitions)
A. (addition of CIO number and related amendments). New text reads (changes/additions in italic text):

Terms including us, we etc, “The Centre” or MCSCI refer to Manchester Centre for the Study of Christianity and Islam. The Centre is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (or CIO), registered with the Charity Commission with number 1163648. The Centre is also a partner of the Nazarene Theological College, which is a registered educational charity.

Previous text (changes/deletions in italic text):

Terms including us, we etc, “The Centre” or MCSCI refer to Manchester Centre for the Study of Christianity and Islam. The Centre is a partner of the Nazarene Theological College, which is a registered educational charity. The Centre’s status as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation is currently pending (application #5059545).

Rearranging the chairs (and the bookcases, desks…)

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No, not a defeatist attitude…but something that has actually happened in the Centre this summer. Half the room has been reorganised, we have gained a new bookcase, and Phil Rawlings (who not long ago told us about his trip to Pakistan) has now given up the pretence of having a proper desk to work at.
So why is this important? It recognises that just as with the church and work with Muslims, resources are almost limitless – but sometimes you have to look at how you do things… Continue reading

Christianity: A crash course for Muslims

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This week we have some visitors from Turkey.

A Gothic cathedral with grey and green lead roofing, nestled between Victorian and modernist city centre buildings

Manchester Cathedral (aerial view)

Arranged through the British Muslim Heritage Centre, 10 students are joining us for a week-long introduction to Christianity in the West. The aim is to explain clearly what makes our faith and its expression unique, and also to demonstrate the historical and current influence of Christian belief and practice on British society and culture.

A mug of coffeeAs we are now in the Muslim month of Ramadan, our visitors will be joining other Muslims in fasting from food (and in most cases drink) during daylight. The day’s activity at our base – NTC –  revolves around the morning coffee break. This gives an interesting perspective to their experience: By joining us at coffee time but not drinking anything, the Muslims will be able to witness to us in a very practical way, while we have a unique opportunity to not only give some formal instruction on Christianity but also what living as a Christian looks like in Britain. We hope this will lead to some interesting discussions between our visitors, staff, and NTC’s Postgraduate students who are currently working on their dissertations!

Any Christians who feel called to pray for our Muslim guests, or for Muslims they know, may find the 30 Days resource useful – a website with guidance on prayer for Muslims during Ramadan. There is also a UK-specific version of the site where you can order a physical prayer guide.

Joining the Family: Findings

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Background

Last week, MCSCI hosted one of several seminar days currently planned across the UK titled “Joining the Family“.  The seminar days were prompted by the discussions of a nationwide group of around 40 people.  The initial group, both Christian Believers of a Muslim Background (BMBs) and members of the churches they joined, fleshed out the issues in Birmingham last May (2013).  They covered both concerns around knowing how to help new BMBs, and also how to answer questions from Muslims.

Manchester

A group of people in a discussion panel with audience watching

MCSCI’s Joining the Family seminar in progress

This time, about the same number of people based around Greater Manchester, met to share the knowledge gained – not just in that initial discussion, but also the everyday experience of people from churches across the city.

The aim is that the core “Joining the Family” group will produce resources including a teaching course for churches to both understand the issues and to be equipped to help new disciples of Christ.

Here are some of the findings from the day:

Implications for new BMBs range from a new ‘voice’ – especially for women, to a loss of honour & community persecution.  There may be confusion over what is Christian rather than Western, in areas such as how genders relate to each other.  Despite a passion to learn, there may be issues to deal with including lies or misleading information BMBs have previously heard about Christianity.

The group drew up various ideas of what the Church could and should do to support BMBs, both internal (respecting and knowing our own scriptures) and external (encouraging BMBs to continue their own culture rather than becoming fully Westernised, learning the power of an honour/shame culture).

Interested?

If you want to know more about the Joining the Family programme and the planned teaching course, please contact us and – if you have not already – sign up to receive our newsletters.

Welcome to MCSCI

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Welcome the website of the Manchester Centre for the Study of Christianity and Islam.

The Centre is a project supported by Nazarene Theological College, aiming to create a centre of educational excellence in the area of Christianity and Islam.

If you would like to receive our newsletters, designed for churches and Christians who might be interested in our work, please sign up to our mailing list.

If you would like to talk to someone about the centre and what is likely to be offered contact the Centre Directors.

Directors:

Revd. Canon Phil Rawlings

prawlings@nazarene.ac.uk

Tel: 0161 438 1926 (Ext. 1935)

 

Revd. Dr. Dwight D. Swanson

dswanson@nazarene.ac.uk

Tel: 0161 438 1926 (Ext. 1928)

 

The Vision:

The centre seeks to work through teaching, learning, resourcing, equipping, and facilitating encounter and reflection in multiple ways.

¨      at the grassroots, to engage people and churches and raise awareness of the need for Christians to encounter Muslim people and develop an understanding of the Islamic faith, traditions and practices;

¨      by developing specific classes and programmes that explore ways Christians can encounter and engage with Islam in local and global settings;

¨      partnering with others to train people engaged in mission;

¨      developing research-led practice in relation to Islam and Christianity; with academic excellence, resourcing the global church with specialists.