Pastors' Roundtable Focuses on Muslim/Christian Relations

By Laura A. Thiessen

The Pastors' Roundtable, Authentic Engagement: The Challenge of Muslim/Christian Relations, was a well-attended event held at MB Biblical Seminary’s Fresno campus on Monday, December 3rd. More than twenty participants gathered to consider how Christians might engage in respectful dialogue with Muslims in ways that develop relationships, rather than settle into disagreements on division. The goal was to help Christians engage in witness to Muslims.

Dr. Gordon Nickel served as a missionary among Muslims in Pakistan and India between 1988 and 2003, and his academic research is in the earliest commentaries on the Qur’an. He is currently Assistant Professor of Intercultural Studies, Director of Master of Arts in Cross-Cultural Ministries Program at Canadian Theological Seminary and authored the book Peaceable Witness Among Muslims (Herald Press, 1999).

The Pastors' Roundtable was attended by students and pastors, men and women, Christian and Muslim. The diversity in the room opened the floor up to dynamic conversation, and at Dr. Nickel’s encouragement, discussion continued during breaks.

Dr. Nickel described three points of tension between Christians and Muslims and offered advice out of his own experience in dialogue with Muslims. The three questions that often become a hindrance to relational conversation between Muslims and Christians are:

Is Jesus the Son of God?
Did Jesus really die on the cross?
Is the Bible reliable?

The best way to go about discussing these differences in respectful conversation, Dr. Nickel says, is to read the Muslim’s sacred texts, understand how Muslims interpret these texts, and know how to engage these texts in conversation without becoming defensive or compromising your own beliefs.

For information on future Roundtable topics and dates, visit this link.

Posted: December 07, 2007