The Muslim population in the U.S. is steadily rising, and with the rise, more and more questions arise about how evangelicals and Muslims will co-exist in modern America. An imam in New York has already begun to call for Muhammad's birthday to become a national holiday, while legislators in Oklahoma are trying to pre-empt the possibility of Sharia courts in the U.S., as they have been established in England.
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, but a larger question remains:
How should evangelicals view Muslim growth in the U.S.? Is it the harbinger of more conflict in an increasingly polarized American experience or is it the dawn of a new age of evangelism and witnessing for Jesus Christ?
This is the introduction to a multipart series titled "Evangelicals and Muslims: Oil and Water or Fertile Ministry?" The series intends to cover the major aspects of evangelical life with a growing Muslim community, including efforts by some of the larger churches in the U.S. to build bridges to the community, the fears that some Christians have with Muslim law and Islamic radicals, and the theological underpinnings of the biblical tension between the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael.
While it may still be premature to spot out any trends in bridge building efforts, The Christian Post will identify in Part One of the series some of the ways evangelicals are currently reaching out to or collaborating with Muslims in their local communities.Part Two will look more closely at the fears and attitudes among U.S. Christians when it comes to the growing Muslim population and seeing a mosque built in their neighborhoods. Extreme positions held by such pastors as Terry Jones in Florida will also be addressed.Part Three will cover the theology behind Christian-Muslim relations, starting from the biblical account of Isaac and Ishmael to the theological arguments surrounding the debate around cooperation.
Finally, Part Four in the series will answer the question of whether there is an appropriate way for Christians to approach evangelism and collaboration with Muslims and how evangelicals can go about obeying the Great Commission of preaching the Gospel to all nations while serving as loving neighbors.
Stay tuned for Part One this week.