The Call to Retrieval: Kenneth Cragg's Christian Vocation to Islam

Article excerpt

The Call to Retrieval: Kenneth Cragg's Christian Vocation to Islam.

By Christopher Lamb. London: Grey Seal, 1997. Pp. viii, 199. 25.

No Christian scholar in the past forty years has had a greater impact on Christian understanding of Islam than Kenneth Cragg. Therefore the present volume is a welcome analysis and assessment of Bishops Cragg's voluminous contribution to the field.

Christopher Lamb, secretary for interfaith relations for the General Synod of the Church of England and the Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland, starts by showing the formative influences on Cragg in his evangelical Anglican roots, study of theology, and missionary service and teaching in the Arab world.

The author then moves on to the theological themes Cragg has emphasized, such as the need for communication and relationship between God and humans and between humans. These themes led him to focus on aspects of Islam, such as God's knowability, which were not central in mainline, historic Islam, and to interact with Muslim thinkers of similar mind whom some considered marginal.

Next, Cragg's mission to Islam is reviewed. Lamb shows Cragg's eclectic approach that combines loyalty to Christ and belief that conversion is inherent in the Gospel with a "hospitality" to others and their beliefs and practices. …