Saturday, June 15, 2013

I'm a Christian Who Hates You: The Problem of Evangelical Perception

I came across this image (by Seth Hahne) in connection with some blog posts on Christian "street preachers" who attend the Arab International Festival in Dearborn and who have created a lot of controversy given their very confrontational ways of engaging Muslims. For me this illustration symbolizes far more than the Dearborn clash to encompass the problem from Evangelicals in interreligious engagement in general. Evangelicals, consider this image. This is how many Muslims, Mormons, Pagans, Jehovah's Witnesses and others see us.

No matter how well meaning and how convinced that we have the truth that others need to hear, the perception of those we want to persuade is that we are disrespectful bigots engaging in hateful actions rather diplomats engaging in love of neighbor. In addition, I have also come to the conclusion that this is not merely a debate among Evangelicals about differences in doctrine or methodology (confrontation, proclamation, apologetic, missional or dialogical). Instead, it needs to be discussed as a problem of Christian ethics. 

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