Evangelical leaders on the forefront of establishing relationships with Muslims in the United States admit they face unprecedented challenges. For Christians, the question remains – how do fruitful relationships between people from the two dramatically different faiths begin?
While some Christians embrace efforts to reach out to their Muslim neighbors, others are leery and point to a religion they believe is not about peace, but aggressive domination over others, including over Christians and Jews. For the latter, any association with members of the Islamic faith is seen as a "selling out" of Christianity.
Most recently, an effort by Rick Warren's Saddleback Church to reach out to neighboring Muslim communities in Southern California produced a firestorm of controversy over whether Warren would be compromising the Gospel in his efforts. Warren sharply denied he was downplaying the Gospel. more >>
If there is any common thread to be found among evangelical churches in America when it comes to relationships with their Muslim neighbors it may simply be fear.
Geo-political battles around the world between Islamic and Christian influences translate to strained relationships between evangelical Christians and Muslims in the United States, according to several Christian leaders interviewed by The Christian Post for this series.
It may still be premature to spot out any trends in bridge building efforts by churches in the U.S., but that doesn't mean Christian leaders are not taking a closer look and developing strategies on how to navigate the mission field within their own borders. more >>
NEW YORK - A New York imam has declared that he will start a campaign on April 22 to make the April 26 birthday of the Muslim prophet Muhammad a national holiday celebrated by Muslims and people of other faiths.
Mohammad Abdul Qayyoom, head of the Muhammadi Community Center in Jackson Heights in the NYC borough of Queens, published a copy of the petition via the center's Facebook page to be signed by other religious leaders. The interfaith initiative asks for an establishment of April 26 as a federal holiday, "so that we can enjoy this day like the joy of Christmas."
"One good thing [about] this country are celebrations," Qayyoom told The Christian Post Wednesday. "We have many celebrations -- we have Christmas, we have the Valentine's Day, we have Halloween, we have many many traditions." more >>
LAKE FOREST, Calif. – Influential evangelist Pastor Rick Warren has labeled as "flat out wrong" a local newspaper's assertion that he believes Muslims and Christians worship the same God, has partnered with Southern California mosques and has agreed not to evangelize Muslims.
The debate over Warren's alleged beliefs as reported in the Orange County Register has created a firestorm of online discussion, including more than 300 comments underneath the article, and Christians, both leaders and lay people, asking Saddleback Church members and associates a steady stream of questions about the validity of the statements made.
In response to questions raised by The Christian Post, Warren has issued a three-page white paper titled "Muslims, Evangelism and Mission," which asserts that Saddleback Church is preaching Jesus Christ as Savior and a Triune God to the Muslim community. This is not how Muslims view God. The Register, a daily newspaper publication in the area with more than a half-million readers, published an article last week (online and print) stating that Warren agreed not "to try to evangelize" Muslims in a document "outlining points of agreement between Islam and Christianity." more >>
In stark contrast to most mainstream Christian leaders, especially those of the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S., a coalition of 22 Christian, Jewish and Muslim institutions has emerged expressing support for President Barack Obama's controversial contraception mandate that affects many faith-based institutions.
Catholics for Choice, Episcopal Divinity School, Jewish Women International, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Muslims for Progressive Values, the Planned Parenthood Clergy Advisory Board, and several others said in a Wednesday statement that the Obama administration was correct in requiring institutions that do not have purely sectarian goals to offer comprehensive preventive health care.
National leaders have the responsibility to "help improve the health of women, their children, and families," the groups wrote in the joint statement. "Hospitals and universities across the religious spectrum have an obligation to assure that individuals' conscience and decisions are respected and that their students and employees have access to this basic health care service. more >>
Pastors seem to spend very little time addressing environmental issues in churches, and some critics suspect that might be due to fears of being labeled "liberal." The church leaders who see the importance of God's creation say it should not be so. Caring for God's creation is an important part of the Scriptures, those unafraid of the label "green" have been telling The Christian Post.
According to The National Religious Partnership for the Environment (NRPE), an interfaith nonprofit, evangelical ethics of caring for creation rests on the foundations of several key biblical teachings, such as: "Honoring God as Creator by respecting His handiwork (Psalm 19, 121, Job 38, Job 39);" "Obeying God's command to humanity's first parents to care for the earth and its creatures (Genesis 2);" "Following God's call to love our neighbors, especially those who are poor and less powerful (Deuteronomy 6, Luke 10, Matthew 22, Mark 12);" and "Furthering Christ's work of reconciling all things to God (Colossians 1, Romans 8)."
These beliefs are often referred to by pastors as the "stewardship of creation," a belief that it is one's Christian duty to take care of the earth, which was created by God – and that the Bible urges one to do so. more >>