My Neighbor’s Faith
Inter-faith meeting can take many forms, but one of the aspects that evangelical Christians need not fear, is the recognition that we can learn from people of other faiths. This is a theological statement that needs a bit of unpacking. One sentence won’t do this but part of the meaning is that I can learn something about God and how I relate to Him that I did not previously know but that is contained within Christian understanding.
This edited text contains 53 very short chapters where people of various faiths, including a number of evangelical Christians of whom Jim Wallis is perhaps best known to MET readers, talk about how they have been impacted by their experiences with people of other faiths. It provides a wide range of evidence of how inter-faith encounter makes an impact in various directions. Too often Christians are preoccupied with what we can or cannot experience and don’t recognize enough the impact on others.
A downside is that the text is a bit American, and most of the contributors are academics. A useful text to consider alongside this is Frances Ward and Sarah Coakley ‘Fear and Friendship: Anglicans Engaging with Islam’ (London: Continuum, 2012). While it is limited as the title implies, it again provides some helpful evidence of how inter-faith encounter makes an impact. All this is only part of the story, but it is a part of the story that evangelical Christians do well to acknowledge and then consider how this impacts our understanding of how we bring Christ to the world.