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
RecommendedJohn Perkins: The Sin of Racism Made Ferguson Escalate So Quickly
John Perkins: The Sin of Racism Made Ferguson Escalate So Quickly
The Christian civil rights leader responds to the shooting death of Michael Brown.
TrendingMark Driscoll Steps Down While Mars Hill Investigates Charges
Mark Driscoll Steps Down While Mars Hill Investigates Charges
(UPDATED) Driscoll offers 8-step solution to followers: 'Current climate is not healthy for me or for this church.'
Editor's PickDesire and Deliverance
Desire and Deliverance
Three new documentaries examine Christian faith, homosexuality, and the question of change.
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.