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Kirk hosting Christian/Muslim Conference

The Church of Scotland is hosting a conference in December to bring together young Christians and Muslims for a 'dynamic weekend' to find common ground between the two faiths.
 

 
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Mission and Discipleship Council, 16/10/2011

Feedback:
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Seumas (Guest) 18/10/2011 13:29
TP: And very often that "conversion" takes place staring down the barrel of an AK-47....

Speaking of which, ever seen this article:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2002/feb/17/terrorism.religion

I wonder if the police ever properly investigated that?
Brian Ross 18/10/2011 21:35
I have held back from commenting on this article because I knew that there was some relevant material on my blog - but couldn't recall when, or under what heading! Then I discovered that there is a "search" facility on my blog! Isn't technology wonderful (if used for the right ends!!).

Anyway, I don't wish to copy and paste two posts here, so would encourage readers to access my blog (www.crazyrev.blogspot.com) and go back to Sun. Oct 17th, 2010 - and then to the response from Scripture Union on Wed. 20th Oct.2010.

Always food for thought!

Blessings.
Editor 18/10/2011 21:54
The link to the page that Brian refers to is -
http://crazyrev.blogspot.com/2010_10_01_archive.html

However (Brian), you may wish to post it here so as to maintain the continuity of this thread. (I am concerned that people won't go to the trouble of searching it out on your site and accordingly later visitors will miss your contribution.
lewis lass (Guest) 18/10/2011 22:13
The Bible is very clear about how to deal with other religions.This being in the context of religions as opposed to evangelism.Exodus chapter 23 versus 32 and 33 gives the advice to avoid infiltration,dilution of christian values and ideas.It tells us clearly not to make an agreement with these people but to get them out of our land !It may not be politically correct these days but its biblically correct!
Brian Ross 19/10/2011 12:10
No problem, Colin. As you have obviously checked, you are aware of the length involved!!!

What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?

I don't normally listen to BBC Radio 2! However, I awoke very early this morning and, for some reason, my MP3/Radio, that had been left on Radio 4, was on 2. I hadn't even realised that from 0600 to 0800 there is a 'Sunday programme' but, there it was - the 'God-spot'!

It was the end of a report on a training day on Discipleship and Diversity to be held, next month, under the auspices of Scripture Union - a well-known Christian (and evangelical) organisation. What surprised me was learning that it was part of Youth Encounter - designed to help Christians and Muslims learn about and reflect on youth work in a multi-faith context.

Now it must be admitted that Christianity and Islam do have certain things in common. Both believe in the existence of a Creator God; both hold the written Word of God in high regard; both give a special prominence to Jesus of Nazareth; both anticipate a 'heaven' and a 'hell'.

However, the differences are very important. The Allah (not, by the way, a name; but simply the Arabic word that I would translate into the English language as 'god') is not the God of the Bible. The Islamic conception of Allah is of a distant deity who has arranged the fate of every human being - a fate that cannot be avoided. In Islam, it is the Qur'an that is claimed to be the final written revelation of God. In Islam, Jesus is an honoured prophet - but no more than that (and, of course, second in importance to Mohammad). In Islam, it is my actions in life that determine whether I spend the after-life in heaven or hell.

The Gospel provides a totally different picture. Almighty God is not a distant deity. He is One Who is intimately involved in His creation. For the Christian, it is the Bible - both the Old Testament and the New Testament - that contains His written Word. Jesus, of course, is God incarnate - God 'clothing' Himself in human flesh. He is the pre-eminent One; "... the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through Him [Father] God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can't see - such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through Him and for Him. He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together. Christ is also the Head of the church, which is His body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So He is first in everything. For [Father] God in all His fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through Jesus, [Father] God reconciled
everything to Himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ's blood on the cross." (Col 1:15-20).

The Gospel also makes clear that I can never earn my salvation by my own good works. "God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago." (Eph 2:8-10).

So, while I am all for dialogue with anyone, I am concerned that someone in S.U. may have forgotten that clear injunction given to the early church in Corinth: "Don't team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God's temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: 'I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says YHWH. Don't touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says YHWH Shaddai.'" (II Cor 6:14-18).

If S.U. is encouraging an involvement with Muslims, then surely it should be, not to work together, but to work (and pray) for their salvation! It should be to introduce them to Jesus, not merely as a prophet, but as Saviour, and Lord, and God. It should be to lead them to the One Who said, "I am the way , the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." (John 14:6).

I plan to send this post to S.U. headquarters for comment. I will report, at a later date, on any response that I may receive!

The response is in the next post on this thread!

Brian Ross 19/10/2011 12:13
The following is the response from S.U. - in the person of Dr Andrew Smith. I am grateful to Andrew for his prompt reply that came as a comment on the original post. However, I am never sure how many people (apart from the authors!!) look at the comments that are made so, in fairness, I am 'posting' it as well. My only continuing concern is that the Muslim young people might end up having a greater influence on their Christian counterparts - even if they are already youth workers! To that end, I would encourage all of my Christian readers to uphold these young disciples of Jesus in prayer - and to visit the website for additional information! http://www.scriptureunion.org.uk/YouthEncounter/41589.id

Dear Brian

I'm writing to you in response to your post about the Discipleship and Diversity training day. My name is Andrew Smith, I am the director for Youth Encounter and am running the training day. Firstly can I thank you for alerting me to the fact that it was mentioned on Radio 2 - I missed that programme. Also for raising these important questions which many people have, and with which I am always happy to engage.

Youth Encounter is a Scripture [Union?] project which has the clear aim of 'Helping Christian young people live out their faith amongst their Muslim friends', an issue which is important for many young people across the country. The Discipleship and Diversity training day is part of this project and is designed to help Christian youthworkers in their discipleship of young people. At the day we will be looking at:
• What issues does living amongst Muslims raise for young people and how can we speak into this?
• How can we help them build friendships with Muslims?
• Can they share their faith with Muslim friends? If so how?
• How do we help them deal with conflict?
• What kind of events could they invite Muslim friends to?

As you can see this is not about assuming that we all believe the same, but aims to help young people love their Muslim neighbour with a genuine love whilst also loving the Lord their God. It also equips the young people to 'give the reason for the hope they have within them. With gentleness and respect'.

The other main work of Youth Encounter is the bringing together of Christian and Muslim young people to build friendships and to understand and explain what they believe. Once again this is not about claiming that our faiths are the same. At every event we run (and you can see many examples on the Youth Encounter website)we look at an issue of interest to young people and look at how Christianity and Islam speak into the issue. We then clearly identify the similarities and differences between the teachings of the two faiths. In doing this we challenge the young people to discuss difference peacefully.

I hope you can see that this work strives to be faithful to Scripture and relevant to the lives of young people.

Finally you raise the challenging passage in 2 Corinthians, with Paul's injunction that we must not be yoked to unbelievers. I believe this passage is a real challenge to the whole church. I'm not sure that in our work we are 'yoked' with Muslims. In fact in many ways I am yoked to other non-believers not least through the fact that I have a mortgage with a bank with no Christian basis. I'm also aware that there are churches up and down the country doing very good work in conjunction with local authorities, the police and others. These partnerships could be considered ‘yoked’ as they carry contractual obligations. In the light of this I think it is important that people like yourself keep asking these questions so that the church more widely can wrestle with these important issues.

Thank you, once again, for asking these questions and for taking an interest in the work of Youth Encounter.

Yours,

Dr Andrew Smith
Director of Youth Encounter

Some of the above I found to be questionable (not least the reference to his mortgage!). However, I will leave others to arrive at their own conclusions!
John Parker (Guest) 19/10/2011 18:55
"I'm also aware that there are churches up and down the country doing very good work in conjunction with local authorities, the police and others. These partnerships could be considered ‘yoked’ as they carry contractual obligations."

This is a very important subject. There are many organisations which started off life as Christian ventures and which (through obligations to secular influences on whom they came to depend) are now far away from Christ; and even hostile to His teachings.
Editor 19/10/2011 19:04
What you have said is indeed the case John. If you wish to contribute to that discussion type 'piper' into the search box for an article 'He who pays the piper'.

Meanwhile if we keep to 'inter-faith relationships' on this thread. Thanks.
Nicolas (Guest) 10/11/2011 21:45
What a gracious letter from Dr Andrew Smith. If you don't agree, Brian, don't just leave it to unsubstantiated innuendo.
Brian Ross 12/11/2011 19:37
Hello Nicolas. I am unsure as to what you consider to be "unsubstantiated innuendo", but I merely stated that I had a few concerns, and specified the 'mortgage analogy'. My difficulty there is that a mortgage is a financial contract with, certainly for the vast majority of us, no spiritual context. Meeting with Muslims, on the other hand, has the potential for very clear spiritual aspects to be considered. I have met with a number of Muslims, myself, but I am not a young person (!!) and have a background that enables me to handle any adverse comments about the Christian faith more than adequately. Some of the young people at these gatherings may not be so equipped! On the other hand, I have met many young Muslims who are more than ready to state the claims of islam in a way that could be very persuasive to a 'nominal' Christian.
My only other comment - leavig others to their own conclusions - also seems to be anything but innuendo. If you return to the site, I would appreciate some clarification. By the way, I did reply - I trust, just as graciously - to Dr Smith, but did so by e-mail.
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