Editorial: Proclaiming The Gospel To Islam -- By: Stephen J. Wellum

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 20:2 (Summer 2016)
Article: Editorial: Proclaiming The Gospel To Islam
Author: Stephen J. Wellum

Editorial: Proclaiming The Gospel To Islam

Stephen J. Wellum

Stephen J. Wellum is Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and editor of Southern Baptist Journal of Theology. He received his Ph.D. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and he is the author of numerous essays and articles and the co-author with Peter Gentry of Kingdom through Covenant (Crossway, 2012) and God’s Kingdom through God’s Covenants: A Concise Biblical Theology (Crossway, 2015), and the co-editor of Building on the Foundations of Evangelical Theology (Crossway, 2015 with Gregg Allison), and Progressive Covenantalism (B&H, 2016 with Brent Parker), and author of God the Son Incarnate: The Doctrine of the Person of Christ (Crossway, 2016).

In the context of North American Christianity, most churches have not thought deeply about Islam, its overall worldview, and how best to take the Gospel to the Islamic world. In fact, before September 11, 2001, unless one was training to go the Middle East as a missionary, Islam as an entire theology and worldview did not receive much attention in our churches and in our theological reflection. If polls were taken in our churches about the basic theology of Islam, most Christians would not know much about Islamic belief, the content of the Qur’an, and the challenge Islam poses to the Gospel. Instead, much of our attention in our churches and in our theological training has focused on how to address the growing secularism of Western societies, the influence of postmodern and pluralistic thought, and other challenges which have sought to undermine the Christian faith.

However, for a variety of reasons, probably driven by the larger geo-political developments with the rise of ISIS and other terrorist groups associated with Islam, rising immigration patterns in Europe and now in North America, and thus growing Muslim populations in the West, it is no longer an option to be

ignorant about Islam. As Christians we must know Islam’s overall theological viewpoint and the challenge it poses to the Gospel. As the second largest religion in the world (and growing), the Church must address Islam not only in terms of growing in our understanding of it, but more importantly, in our evangelistic witness and gospel proclamation to Islam. Unfortunately, in addition to our poverty of knowing Islam’s basic history, theology, and practices, it seems that much of our discussion about Islam is polarized in two main directions.

First, Islam is viewed solely through a geo-political lens and thus (with some merit), viewed as a threat to the West and its democratic forms of gove...

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