Christians, Jews and Muslims an Ecumenical-Theological Conversation (I)

By Mulder, D. C. | International Review of Mission, January 2000 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Christians, Jews and Muslims an Ecumenical-Theological Conversation (I)


Mulder, D. C., International Review of Mission


D.C. MULDER [*]

Introduction

Nobody will deny that in the Middle East the relation between Christians and Muslims has been a most important issue for a long time. In the second part of the last century the relation between Christians and Jews became a hot issue because of the establishment of the state of Israel and the severe tensions between the Israeli Jews and the Palestinians, and the Arab world in general. In Western Europe it is the other way round. There, relations between Christians and Jews have a long history full of tension, whereas the relations between Christians and Muslims are a new phenomenon ever since the 1860s, when hundreds of thousands of Muslims, mainly from Middle Eastern countries, migrated as so-called guest-workers to countries like Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. After some time it became clear that most of them had come to stay. These developments make it worthwhile to exchange experiences and insights in an ecumenical-theological conversation between Christians from the Middle East and from Western Eur ope about their relations with Jews and Muslims.

It so happened that in 1990 an official delegation of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) visited the Netherlands at the invitation of the Council of Churches in the Netherlands (CCN). During that visit some theological discussions took place between the guests and the hosts, more especially about their respective views on the relation of the church and the Jewish people. Time was too short on that occasion for serious deliberations and that is why both the MECC and CCN thought it valuable to create an opportunity for a more thorough consultation about this issue of the relation between Christians and Jews, a subject of vital importance for the churches, in both the Middle East and the Netherlands, and in Western Europe in general.

In May 1993 this idea was implemented for the first time by way of a consultation held at Limassol, Cyprus. That consultation was followed by a second conference which took place at Oegstgeest, the Netherlands, August 31-September 2, 1995. Both conferences concentrated on the relation of Christians and Jews. The third encounter was held recently, at Amman, Jordan, September 2-5, 1999. This time it was decided not only to deal with relations between Christians and Jews, but also between Christians and Muslims. In this article I will try to describe the process of the three conferences. I begin with a short exposition of the difference of contexts in the Netherlands and in the Middle East. It is obvious that this difference had a thorough impact on all our deliberations during the three encounters.

Different contexts

Everybody will agree that the context of the Middle East is totally different from the context of the Netherlands (and Western Europe in general). To start with the Dutch context, I limit myself to the relation between Christians and Jews and between Christians and Muslims. A lecture was given in Amman about the context of Dutch society in general. In Cyprus we had started with an exposition of the special features of the relation of Christians and Jews in the Netherlands. Especially in Calvinist circles (the majority of Dutch Protestants are of Calvinistic background) there has always been a keen interest in the Old Testament and the Jewish people. In earlier times this led to a "mission amongst the Jews," an effort to convince Jews that they should accept Jesus as Messiah and Saviour. It also led to a situation where Jews found a safe haven in Dutch society. There have been no pogroms in Dutch society for a long time and since the early nineteenth century -- since Napoleon! -- Jews have been fully accepted.

Then came the Nazi occupation and the Shoah (the holocaust). In 1940 there were about 140,000 Jews in the Netherlands, by the end of Nazi occupation only 30,000 had survived. As a result there is a strong sense of guilt among Dutch Christians.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Christians, Jews and Muslims an Ecumenical-Theological Conversation (I)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?