Time's Cover Story on Missions to Muslims Arrives
Missionaries in Islamic countries stand the test of Time
Back in April, when the conservative media got hold of an internal Time magazine assignment memo to reporters outlining a major story on Christian missions work in Islamic countries, they pretty much freaked.
World magazine called it "a sensational cover piece" that could expose missionaries to "imprisonment, torture, or death." Focus on the Family's Family News in Focus similarly reported that "the slow, painful progress of evangelism in these countries could be significantly hindered" by the piece.
WorldNetDaily columnist Craige McMillan seemed ready to storm the gates of AOL Time Warner. "In an era when most mainline media outlets have abandoned reporting the news in favor of channeling public opinion in the hope of directing events, Time's approach stands out as particularly insidious," he wrote. "God is increasingly sifting nations and people—indeed, the whole world. … It is His intent to find where our loyalties lie. With this decision, Time has left no doubt into which camp they fall. Time's battle is now with God."
Now that readers are finally able to judge Time by its fruits, writers like McMillan may be eating some crow. David Van Biema's piece, "Should Christians Convert Muslims?" gives missionaries pseudonyms and doesn't mention the countries where they're working. There's nothing new here that will put missionaries in danger of violence or expulsion. (In fact, much of this ground was covered in Christianity Today's September 2002 cover story, "Doors into Islam.")
But what is new—at least in the mainstream media—is the informed, fair, honest, and accurate reporting of evangelical attitudes and debates on this subject. "Evangelicals assert again and again that ...