Thanks for Ed Stetzer's thoughtful cover story dealing with a pressing theme ["Proselytizing in a Multi-Faith World," April]. We need more of this kind of discussion. In my own multi-faith encounters and dialogue, I have discovered that both my respect for others and my relationship with Christ deepen. Imagine that.
Ed Stetzer wisely admonishes readers to let every religion speak for itself. But he proceeds to speak on behalf of Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims. This irony reaches a crescendo when he states, "Al Qaeda does not represent mainstream Islam any more than one Qur'an-burning pastor or the Ku Klux Klan represents Jesus' followers." This is a common sentiment among Christians trying to make sense of Islamic violence, but one I rarely hear from Muslims.
I continue to wait for mainstream Islamic leaders to unite in passionately and forcefully condemning Muslims' acts of terrorism.
To see why we should talk about individuals' beliefs rather than entire religions, we need look no farther than our own churches. How frequently in talking with members of the same church or denomination does it become clear they don't really understand the doctrinal views of their own tradition? I've had Catholics tell me that the Catholic Church does not teach transubstantiation. Meanwhile, how many Baptists, Methodists, and Lutherans believe that they are going to heaven because they've tried to be good people and do the right thing?
Who is Islam's God?
Theologian Miroslav Volf's argument ["Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?," April] is this, in a nutshell: Yes, there are differences between the Islamic and Christian understandings of God, but there are also similarities. Are we therefore to see these differences ...1