I love the idea of a Christian, Jew and Muslim “Trialogue”. It was put together by Bob Roberts, pastor of Northwood Church in Keller, Texas. It worked like this: Members of the church and the mosque went to the Jewish worship service Friday night at Temple Shalom. Then they all went to the Muslim worship service on Saturday at the mosque. Then they all went to the Christian worship service on Sunday at the church. Afterward each service the three leaders fielded questions.
Ed Stetzer interviewed Roberts on his blog (you can also read the Dallas Morning News report). Here are a couple of key quotes:
I work with people of different religions all over the world– I don’t think we in the West know how to speak of faith and treat people with respect at the same time.
How can we build relationships if we don’t speak honestly to each other. I’m tired of having to be religiously politically correct. I’m also tired of the arrogance of some evangelicals who don’t know how to disagree and treat others with respect.
When asked about worshiping at the mosque he said:
It was an educational event. I don’t view it as “satanic” or “demonic” these are people that are sincere and seeking God. Going into bars, movie theatres, and banks are probably a lot more “satanic” than anything else! I want to know how they think, etc., Paul did it in the synagogue and at Mars Hill. Those people who are seeking God the most, are the ones I want to relate to. I want to be like Paul in this regard.
Worshipping with Muslims? At first I would have said no – but worship isn’t about the space it is “the hearts affection and the mind’s attention” as Jordan Fowler says – so I can worship anywhere, anytime, anyplace – as long as I am right with God and my focus is directed toward God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In my car, in my study, in a mosque, in a catholic church, in a synagogue, on the side of a mountain, in an airplane – the Holy Spirit doesn’t leave me when I walk in places he goes before me and guides me into those places as long as the primary focus is to glorify God.
When describing how he is received by Muslims, he answers:
I’m being introduced as “This is my evangelical friend,” and after a moment of someone looking at me in horror the following, “but he is a good guy – he isn’t mean to us.” I was in Gaza last week – and I was taken around like a “trophy” by some, everytime being introduced, “he is an evangelical pastor – but he is ok.” It has always left me with this question, “what have we done that they don’t mind our view of Jesus – but they do mind us?”
In the comments section he responds to a Muslim friend (who had also left a comment) by saying, in part:
Multi-faith says the basis of our relationship is respect – not agreement. In the service you heard me say I want the whole world to be Christian – the Imam said he wants the whole world to Muslim. It is because we both believe we believe the truth. The question is not do I want someone to be a Christian, in my religion with the Great Commision and yours with the Dauwa that is part of our Holy Books. The question is can I love you without an agenda. Jesus healed, related, and went places to people he considered sick, evil, demonic, etc., and he loved them all – Paul did the same.
Many in the comments section of Stetzer’s blog disagree strongly, but I like this comment from a woman who attended the events:
I attended all three events this past weekend and I was excited, nervous and deeply moved. The Jewish and Muslim people were more kind and generous than some of the people in my own congregation. I wept openly as I watched fathers worshiping alongside of their young sons in the Mosque on Saturday. I kept thinking of my own son and how I want those Muslim boys to know my son now and in heaven. I saw more dedication and focus during 7 minutes of prayer from these young boys than I would even expect from my own children. It was moving and eye opening that these people love their family and their god just like I love mine. I pray we raise our children to know and love people from all walks of life so that just maybe, one day, I can sing and dance with those people before the throne of the one true God. It can only happen relationally and with the love of Jesus Christ.
HT: Vitamin Z
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