Annual gathering of Christian scholars seeks better engagement with Islam.
It is not often that a Muslim appears at an evangelical theological gathering.
Al Mohler invited three.
The trimmed-down 72nd annual conference of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), held virtually this week, usually welcomes up to 2,000 top scholars to present on the most salient issues facing evangelical scholarship.
This year’s theme: Islam and Christianity.
“We are called to truth, and to understanding the world around us more accurately and thoughtfully,” said Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), who also served as ETS program chair.
“That certainly includes our understanding of Islam, which has from the beginning represented an enormous challenge to Christian evangelism, apologetics, theology, and cultural engagement.”
Roughly 15 percent of the 130-plus events addressed these challenges, including the three official plenary sessions—in typical academic parlance:
- “The Authority and Function of the Quran in Islam,” by Ayman Ibrahim of SBTS
- “Through the Prism: The Trinity and the Islamic Metanarrative,” by Timothy Tennet of Asbury Theological Seminary
- “American Christians and Islam: From the Colonial Era to the Post-9/11 World,” by Thomas Kidd of Baylor University
But it was the challenge of “cultural engagement” that led ETS to reach out to the Muslim panelists. Each was invited to share their view of evangelicals, and address the issues that concern them. It could “scarcely be more relevant and urgent,” said Mohler.
Three Christians joined them on the panel, focused on“Understanding Our Neighbor.”
“We don’t resist the idea we must love Muslims,” said John Hartley, a research …