By Roy Oksnevad
As church leaders, we must pay attention to our world’s changing religious landscape. Without a doubt, we are witnessing an unprecedented shift in populations due to war, natural disasters, economic disasters, and political upheavals.1
Therefore, mission-minded believers who are looking for Somalis can go to Somalia, but also now to Minnesota or Maine. Communities of Pakistanis can be found in both London and Chicago, while Iranians are highly visible all across Southern California (Tehrangles).2
The two great evangelistic religions in the world are Christianity and Islam. What sets Islam apart from other world religions is its direct and pointed teaching about Christianity and Judaism. Islamic theology claims to be the original monotheistic religion of Abraham. Thus, it contains shadows of the Creator God and biblical characters, but denies core Christian truths.
I fear, though, that western Christians are unable to discern the differences and adequately respond to Muslim rhetoric. That’s due to several reasons. For too long, the Christian academy has expounded its disciplines in isolation, not interacting with the broader community and the diverse marketplace of ideas. This isolation, coupled with the current atmosphere of political correctness and an increasing biblical illiteracy, leads to believers unfamiliar with the evangelistic nature of Islam.
In the United States, Muslims currently make up 1 percent of the population (roughly 2.74 million)—a percentage that is expected to increase to 2.1% by 2050. Worldwide, Islam is already the second-largest religion, with 1.6 billion adherents. It is projected to be the fastest-growing religious block by 2050, overtaking Christianity by the end of this century.
What I am proposing is that the church and the Christian academy address Islam in their teaching and writing, in order to effectively counter Islam’s claims.
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