Not All Christians Agree on Interfaith Dialogue

January 11, 2004

Source: Los Angeles Times,1,2426229.story?coll=la-editions-orange

On January 11, 2004 the Los Angeles Times reported, "Non-Christians might be confused by the mixed signals coming from different sectors of the Christian world about the value of interfaith dialogue and cooperation. President Bush's comment during his recent visit to England that Christians and Muslims worship the same God irked many evangelicals who thought the president should leave theological matters to them. However, officials at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, perhaps the largest evangelical seminary in the world, have begun a federally funded project of outreach to Muslims that includes affirming a belief in the same God.... Though Roman Catholic clergy and theologians (and liberal Protestant leaders) have consistently participated in interfaith work since the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s — especially with the Jewish community — the same is not true of most evangelical Christians. They have in most cases ignored interfaith councils throughout the nation. Thanks to the National Conference for Community and Justice, these councils are widespread in Orange County. One conservative Christian leader who opted to join the Interfaith Council of Garden Grove, Westminster and Stanton is Missouri Synod pastor Doug Johnstone, advisor and assistant to his district's bishop. Johnstone contends that religious leaders concerned with peace and justice need to know and work with their fellow spiritual leaders — regardless of their faith."