MEC 2019 – Thinking Biblically about Muslims, Muhammad, and the Qur’an: Practical Implications for the Church Today

IMES Regional Brief – November 2018
November 1, 2018
Rights over Might: The United Nations, Religious Freedom and our Role and Responsibility
November 15, 2018

The purpose of the Middle East Consultation is to equip participants to respond in prophetic and Christ-like ways to the many challenges facing Christians and Muslims in and beyond the Middle East.

The “elephant in the room” in the church’s engagement with Muslims is a particular understanding of Islam that carries with it a number of unconscious assumptions that significantly impact our ministry. Such assumptions influence the outcome of fruitful and biblically faithful Christian ministry in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) context. Consider, for example, the practical implications of the following questions:

  • What is Islam and who are Muslims? Varyingly, the Islamic faith has been described by Christians as a socio-political movement for the pursuit of justice and peace, a religion akin to Old Testament faith and practice, a sectarian but spiritually hollow identity marker, a realm of demonic spiritual bondage, and a belligerent civilization.
  • Who was Muhammad? Some might say that he walked the path of Old Testament prophets like David or Moses or that he was a charismatic political reformer; others might consider him a deceptive heretic or warlord; while revisionist scholarship casts serious doubt on the fundamental reliability of Muhammad’s traditional biography.
  • How are we to make sense of the Quran? Is it possible to see in it a compass pointing Muslims toward the Jesus of the Gospels? Or does it lead astray and work against the purposes of the gospel?

The manner in which we answer such questions inevitably impacts our perception of Islam and therefore approach to ministry practice. This has implications for both the efficacy and the fidelity of our Christ-centered witness. Ultimately, we want to explore how our perceptions of Muslims, Muhammad, and the Quran practically impact the Church’s witness to Christ in and beyond the MENA.

It is in light of such questions that IMES is pleased to announce Middle East Consultation 2019 – Thinking Biblically about Muslims, Muhammad, and the Qur’an: Practical Implications for the Church Today. Through the course of MEC 2019 (17-21 June), participants will collectively work toward discerning a practically-grounded yet biblically-faithful understanding of Muslims, Muhammad, and the Quran, which constructively informs the Church in its practice of ministry. Participants at MEC 2019 come from across the region and the world, providing the unique opportunity for a global reflection upon the central building blocks of Islam and the church’s theology and ministry. Our joint exploration will make use of:

  • exciting case studies exploring the everyday challenges of ministry in the region,
  • recent developments in historical-critical scholarship with respect to Islamic origins, the life of Muhammad, and the Quran,
  • biblical teaching related to the topics of revelation, prophethood, and salvation, and
  • practical applications for discipleship in the MENA context and beyond.

MEC 2019 features high-quality presentations by reflective practitioners, respected scholars of Islam, and mission thinkers. In addition, MEC 2019 features personal testimonies, interfaith and ecumenical forums, practical workshops, and intimate roundtable conversations allowing ample opportunity for participants to engage in robust discussion and contextual reflection.

Be prepared to grow in your own discipleship journey as well as in your skills of making disciples in any context, including your own!

Middle East Consultation 2019 will be held 17-21 June at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, Beirut, Lebanon. Save the date!

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