By Ed Smither
David W. Shenk. Christian.Muslim.Friend: Twelve Paths to Real Relationship. Harrisonburg, VA: Herald Press, 2014.
Christian.Muslim.Friend is a new work from David Shenk, a Mennonite missionary who has served in Somalia, Kenya, the USA, and continually engages in peaceful dialogue with Muslim leaders around the world. Shenk has authored fifteen books and this new book is the fourth in a series which includes A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue, Journeys of the Muslim Nation and the Christian Church, and Teatime in Mogadishu. In 2016, Christianity Today honored Muslim.Christian.Friend with its book of the year award for missions.
“I write this book with the conviction that every Muslim should have a Christian friend and every Christian should have a Muslim friend” (p19).
In the book, Shenk lays out twelve paths or principles, each presented in a chapter, for engaging Muslims. Reflecting much on his five-decade journey of loving and commending Christ to Muslims, Shenk’s book conveys much of this wisdom to Christ followers desiring to engage Muslims in the 21st century. In this brief review, I would like to highlight four themes that particularly struck me and seem instructive for the church today.
- Drinking lots of tea
- What’s behind the hospitality: love
- Amazing responses from a posture of peace
- Boldness and a clear identity
- A clear identity
- A clear witness to Christ—his death, burial and resurrection
- An insistence upon the cross
- Knowledge of Islam to facilitate dialogue
- Not toward apologetics but toward clarifying the gospel
Summary: the winsome posture needed towards Muslims today
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