Sunday, November 20, 2005

How About an Evangelical - Ecumenical Dialogue?

Interfaith Relations stands squarely on the fault line of polarization between Evangelical and Ecumenical Christian communities. Ecumenical Christians have had almost a century of experience thinking through the theological issues of interfaith relations, an exercise Evangelical Christians have come to only rather recently. At our last meeting, the Interfaith Relations Commission suggested that we invite Evangelical Christians to a dialogue table where we can begin to think together on this critical question. Perhaps our Evangelical sisters and brothers can give us a passion for Evangelism that Ecumenical Christians seem to have lost somewhere along the way.

Conversations about holding the Interfaith Relations Commission meeting at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA, and beginning such a dialogue table got underway as Barbara Brown Zikmund (Co-chair of the Commission) and Ann Riggs (Associate General Secretary for Faith and Order) and I met with Howard Loewen (Dean, Fuller Theological Seminary) and his wife Irene at the American Academy of Religion (AAR) meeting in Philadelphia.

Among other questions on the table for such a dialogue include:

1. How to influence independent Evangelical churches about the difficulties they create in Asia and Africa when they send missionaries without any cultural or religious sensitivity training and mess up the delicate interfaith relations that have been nuurtured for years. This has been going on since the early 1980s but is exacerbated since the South Asian tsunami.

2. How can we work together to reclaim the proper prophetic message of the book of Revelation when it seems to have been hijacked by a particular brand of apocalyptic theology (popularized by the "Left Behind" series) that perpetuates Christian Zionism, which is seriously detrimental to our work on peace in Israel/Palestine.

The Interfaith Relations Commissions will meet from February 2-4, 2006 at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA.


At 4:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Donn Mitchell

At 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicole Sotelo
Add my signature.

At 7:29 PM, Anonymous Felix A Lorenz Jr said...

Count on my prayers and add my signature


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