A Holy Conversation: Should Christians Seek to Bless Their Muslim Neighbors?
Describing evangelicals' witness among Muslims, Rick Love, president of Peace Catalyst International, urges that "love for God and love for neighbor shape the expression of our witness to the nations." So, for instance, in our series on personhood and marriage, Ephesians—containing the central Christian inspiration for self-giving marital love: the cross of Jesus—could not be avoided. The text itself placed the gospel conversation on the table. But respect and freedom also demanded that we navigate the conversation in a manner consistent with the very subject at hand.
Back in the sheikh's house in that far-away city, it was not lost on me: I had encountered this Muslim and his faith in a fruitful, engaging way because a space for such encounters had been created. On that Arabian night, the sheikh generously blessed me.
With VCU so integral to the life of Richmond, we believe our Holy Books Conversation serves as one reply to a pressing question with an emphatic twist: Does our Christian vision for flourishing cities include the well-being of all the families of the earth, and, in this case, a family so dear to Abraham's heart?
Nathan F. Elmore is working toward a M.A. in Islamic Studies & Christian-Muslim Relations through Hartford Seminary. He serves the Virginia Baptists as collegiate minister at Virginia Commonwealth University and recently joined Peace Catalyst International as a program coordinator and consultant. He writes at nathanfelmore.com.