Monday, September 07, 2009

The Islamization of Christianity

The author of the substantial and timely analysis (linked below) is a friend of mine. In fact, back in my student days, I lived and boarded with him and his family in Switzerland for nearly an entire year in their commodious chalet, a converted bed and breakfast, in Chesières, Switzerland, along with some ten-to-fourteen other house guests and students. Udo Middelmann (pictured left) was a German lawyer before becoming a Christian convert and assuming a leadership role in the L'Abri Foundation, based in Switzerland. Much as I remember his discussions, his essay here is unhurried, deep, and incisive. His is a voice well worth listening to on the subject at issue. (Incidentally, the picture at the head of the linked article is not of Udo Middelmann, but of Francis A. Schaeffer, the founder of the L'Abri Foundation.)

The Islamization of Christianity [link]


Udo W. Middelmann

Chalet Les Montaux, CH 1882 Gryon, Switzerland #41 24 498 1656
The recent increase in wealth of most Islamic countries due to the oil trade has made the expression of Islamic thought and culture a world wide phenomenon. Mosques or Islamic cultural centers are now found in the major cities of the world. Islam presents itself to many as an alternative to Christianity. For some it is a more hopeful and coherent religion after the perceived failure of Christianity to provide a stable cultural and moral framework. The growth of Islam among non-white people in traditionally European contexts is partially related to Islam declaring to be, with some violence to geography, an African religion.

Sharing the same world, large trade of a commodity needed in the industrialized world and the search for a solution to the Arab/Israeli stand-off have awakened us to an old discussion of the significance and cultural energy of Islam.

These factors contribute in some way to the manner in which we view Islam. Today we respond more favorably to the Islamic world pressing on the belly of the European/American world view. No longer are the gates of Vienna challenged by Islamic hordes. Many invite Islam to challenge our traditional view of the world from a Biblical and rational perspective.

There are two areas in which there is a process of the Islamization of Christianity under way. The first is the attempt to harmonize two different religions, two different ways of explaining the world, the place of the human beings and the purpose of life. The second is a more subtle move of some Christian circles to embrace what is fundamentally an Islamic view of God and man, of life in history. It may turn out to be an insidious merger on the level of theology, coming to a common view of God. I would suggest that while the former is pathetic and culturally superficial, the latter is a destruction of the uniqueness of Christianity and the Bible. In both cases, the result is an embrace of a view point antithetical to our view of God and man in the name of religion. This can not but effect dramatically the way we live, think and morally order our lives.
[Hat tip to J.M.]

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