Guest / Limited Access /

The late Walter Martin was a Christian apologist who specialized in ministry to people involved in alternative religions. I once heard him recount a conversation he'd had with a woman who assured him she had found the secret to dealing effectively with Jehovah's Witnesses. Martin asked her to explain.

"Well," she enthused, "when I see them coming, I shut the blinds and lock my door, and when they knock, I pretend I'm not home!"

Unfortunately, when it comes to relationships with Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and Buddhists, the church's instinct has often mirrored hers: If we pretend they don't exist, they'll just go away!

This massive planet has become a global village, and we keep bumping into adherents of other faiths—not just when we travel overseas but at the grocery store, the library, and the gym. We can no longer live as though other religions don't exist.

Many Christians hesitate to initiate conversations with Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus because they secretly fear they will become one of the loosey-goosey Christians who, after interfaith encounters, starts waxing eloquent about how all religions are one.

My experience has had the opposite effect. After speaking with Muslims, I come away with a deeper appreciation for how good the Good News of Jesus Christ is. In one recent interfaith meeting, for example, we discussed forgiveness. My Muslim friend said that forgiving from a position of weakness—a woman forgiving an abusing husband, a person of color forgiving a racist official—is cowardice. Only when you have won your freedom or are in a position of strength can you forgive, he argued.

Naturally, with our model being Jesus—who forgave when he was the most vulnerable and weak, while he hung on the ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedThe Dangers of Door-to-Door Evangelism
The Dangers of Door-to-Door Evangelism
Why winning people for Christ needs something better than a polished sales pitch.
TrendingChristianity Today's 2015 Book Awards
Christianity Today's 2015 Book Awards
Our picks for the books most likely to shape evangelical life, thought, and culture.
Editor's PickWhat Forgotten Christmas Tradition Should Churches Revive?
What Forgotten Christmas Tradition Should Churches Revive?
Rooting our celebration of Christ’s birth more deeply in our lives.
Comments
Christianity Today
Multi-Faith Matters
hide thisApril April

In the Magazine

April 2011

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.