Evangelicals Call for Fairness to Islam. (News)

The Christian Century, May 31, 2003 | Go to article overview

Evangelicals Call for Fairness to Islam. (News)


While affirming their right to proselytize, leaders of the evangelical Christian community have issued suggested guidelines to foster better relations between Christians and Muslims. At the same time, they criticized some prominent evangelicals' strongly negative generalizations about Islam.

The National Association of Evangelicals and the Institute on Religion and Democracy cosponsored the half-day forum May 7 in Washington, D.C., where both organizations are based. The IRD, a conservative group that monitors religious-freedom issues and issues sharp critiques of mainline church liberals, released the guidelines. They were written by IRD Vice President Alan Wisdom.

The gathering was attended by more than 40 representatives of evangelical mission, advocacy and educational groups. NAE President Ted Haggard, pastor of a Colorado Springs mega-church, reflected the approach in his talk. "Since we are in a global community, no doubt about it, we must temper our speech and we must communicate primarily through actions," said Haggard, according to the New York Times.

It is dangerous to oversimplify Islam by labeling it, said Clive Calver, president of World Relief, NAE's humanitarian arm. "As evangelical Christians we disagree with Islam and we are allowed to disagree, but how we disagree is important," he said. "The question is, How do you disagree without being disagreeable? …

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