What is IGE about biblically?

It is trying to promote and protect a freedom that is given by the Author of life. You can think about it as pre-evangelization, but I see us as a non-proselytizing, evangelical organization.

In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul asks us to be ambassadors. An ambassador is someone who has been trained to engage a culture and its politics to advance the interests of his state. Well, our state is the kingdom. And you advance or build that kingdom by loving people in a language and logic they understand.

The local church cannot create discipled ambassadors, cannot serve society as salt across all sectors, unless it is free to do so.

What exactly is relational diplomacy?

Diplomacy is state-to-state relations between ambassadors who advance the interests of their king of president, and it's traditionally seen as a zero-sum game. Relational diplomacy comes from Christ in John 4 [Jesus' encounter with the woman at the well]. If I'm into traditional diplomacy, I'm not talking to a woman in a patriarchal society. I'm not talking to an ethnic group that I despise theologically. But if you are into transforming hearts, you let God be bigger than your imagination, and you go to a double minority and engage. And that double minority, that outsider, can be anybody in any culture, including secular fundamentalists, Communist atheists, and Muslim fundamentalists.

Related Elsewhere:

This sidebar accompanied "A New Day in Vietnam."

The Institute for Global Engagement's has an outline of its principles of engagement, a section on the fall 2006 relational diplomacy in Vietnam.

Christianity Today articles featuring the work of IGE include "Living with Islamists" and "Love Your Muslim as Yourself."

IGE founder Robert Seiple has contributed to Christianity Today on topics including international relations and persecution:

Madam Reverend Secretary | With the publication of The Mighty and the Almighty (Robert Seiple, June 29, 2006)
The Dick Staub Interview: Robert Seiple on the War in Iraq | The founder of The Institute for Global Engagement says America suffers from an inconsistency between national values and national interests. (April 1, 2003)
The USCIRF Is Only Cursing the Darkness | The increasingly irrelevant U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom seems intent on attacking even those countries making improvements. (Robert A. Seiple, October 1, 2002)
Also: USCIRF's Concern Is To Help All Religious Freedom Victims
Religious Liberty: How Are We Doing? | The challenges of being an international cop for human rights—a report by the first U.S. ambassador at large for religious freedom. (Robert Seiple, October 22, 2001)
De-Seiple-ing World Vision | Straight talk from Bob Seiple on myopic Americans and the new realities facing international development. (June 15, 1998)
Clinton Names Seiple to New Post | President Clinton named former World Vision president Robert A. Seiple to the new post of senior adviser for international religious freedom. (July 13, 1998)
De-Demonizing the UN | While bloated and badly in need of reform, the UN fills a necessary role that Christians should support. (Robert A. Seiple, December 11, 1995)

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