By the Rt. Rev. Dr. Bill Musk and the Rev. Dr. Duane Alexander Miller
A funny thing happened on the way to the 21st Century: after over a millennium of almost no conversions from Islam to Christianity a small trickle started to appear in the 1960s and it grew. It grew, not into a great river but a reliable and steady brook. Whether it was Blessed Ramon Llull (died c. 1315, the father of Christian mission to Muslims) or the Presbyterians and Congregationalists of the American Board (est. 1810) in the Ottoman Empire, the main nut to crack was how do we get Muslims to really consider our claims about Jesus Christ? That is still a valid question, but the drip that turned into a brook confronts us with another question: we have these believers from a Muslim background, and now what?
In this article, we would like to draw on our combined years of ministry experience to and among Muslims and Muslim-background believers (MBBs) to share some ideas about what the Anglican way has to contribute to that great mission. We feel that Anglicans are at our best when speaking broadly to the Church universal—think of TS Eliot, JI Packer, NT Wright, Madeleine L’Engle and of course CS Lewis—while remaining aware of our own…peculiarities. All of this to say, some of these observations really are born from an Anglican missiology, while others are more personal observations that come from two Anglicans.
I love Augustine’s incisive summary of the state of his heart as he reflected on his ordination as a bishop:
Where I’m terrified by what I am for you, I am given comfort by what I am with you. For you I am a bishop, with you, after all, I am a Christian. The first is the name of an office undertaken, the second a name of grace; that one means danger, this one salvation… So I hope the fact that I have been brought together with you gives me more pleasure than my having been placed at your head; then as the Lord has commanded, I will be more effectively your servant, and be preserved from ingratitude for the price by which I was bought to be, not too unworthily, your fellow servant.
—St Augustine of Hippo Regius (AD 354–430), Sermon 340 ‘On the Anniversary of his Ordination’
Anglican ecclesiology follows Augustine in emphasising that bishops, priests/presbyters, deacons are first of all “lay” people – they are part of the laos, the people of God. They are no different in being or status to their brothers and sisters in every church congregation. Salvation for every person is by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord. It is from this conviction of our common standing as “lay people” in front of a holy God, a blessed Saviour, that Anglicanism inherits its fundamental perspective on church. Arising out of this basic conviction, I would like to offer some considered thoughts about what the Anglican strain of ecclesiology might have to offer which is of considerable benefit to the church’s mission to and among Muslims.
My starting point is that of Anglican convictions about governance.
God calls his people to follow Christ, and forms us into a royal priesthood, a holy nation, to declare the wonderful deeds of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvellous light (cf 1 John 1:7). The Church is the Body of Christ, the people of God and the dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit (cf 1 Corinthians 12:27). In baptism the whole Church is summoned to witness to God’s love and to work for the coming of his kingdom. To serve this royal priesthood, God has given particular ministries. Bishops are ordained to be shepherds of Christ’s flock (cf Acts 20:28) and guardians of the faith of the apostles (cf 1 Timothy 6:20), proclaiming the gospel of God’s kingdom and leading his people in mission. Obedient to the call of Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, they are to gather God’s people and celebrate with them the sacraments of the new covenant. Thus formed into a single communion of faith and love, the Church in each place and time is united with the Church in every place and time.
—extract from the Anglican ordination of bishops
The Anglican missional imperative sees a consecrated diocesan bishop as responsible under God for the sharing of the gospel and the formation of the Church in a particular region (a diocese). He shares that responsibility with ordained priests or presbyters, and deacons, and with lay people. Often, such sharing of responsibility for “mission” and “church” is explicitly expressed in the institution of an ordained priest to a particular benefice or parish office, as here:
The most solemn moment of an institution service is, for me, when I commit the licence to the candidate and say these words:
Receive this cure of souls which is both yours and mine.
We will need to exercise this cure of souls as never before over the coming weeks as clergy, lay ministers and disciples together.
The cure of souls we are given is, of course, of the whole parish and benefice. The term cure means more than care (although all cure of souls is built on love). At its centre is the ministry of reconciliation between individuals and God and between people and communities through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
An Anglican diocesan bishop shares the “cure of souls” with colleagues whom he institutes or licenses or appoints to various ministries or positions of responsibility. Sharing of such spiritual responsibility for mission and church development, for prophetic ministry and building of the common good with fellow citizens of other faiths or none, is indicated in a variety of ways (e.g. through licensing or the giving of “permission to officiate” or via contractual agreements).
All this is to say that there is a clear hierarchical element to Anglican governance. That hierarchy of authority is not absolute, for a diocesan bishop is supported and held to account through diocesan synods which are composed of three “houses”: the house of bishops, the house of clergy, the house of laity. (That is the case at least in the Churches I know best—England and Alexandria. Other Anglican provinces may have slightly different arrangements.) A particular church with a particular burden (e.g. for what it sees as inadequate representation of certain members of the church in the structures of that diocese) can through representation at parish, deanery, or diocesan level bring its burden to the attention of those in diocesan authority. A deanery is an administrative grouping of congregations in a region. A diocese might have several deaneries.
The bishop in synod is required to face up to such burdens expressed from the ground up, as it were. But authority, spiritual and contractual, is expressed hierarchically and “in all things lawful and honest” clergy are required to give obedience to their “father in God” as they are included in sharing the bishop’s cure of souls in a particular part of his diocese.
Most Muslim societies in the world tend to be hierarchical. Most Muslim cultures in the world tend to be patriarchal, often patrilineal and patrilocal. It is not strange to believers in Christ from a Muslim background that Anglican governance preserves a certain hierarchical character: it is familiar, and they understand where they stand, where leaders within the church community stand. To know that a lay assistant of the church who may deal with them in certain ways (e.g. in providing financial or accommodation or employment support) is accountable to a priest and church council is reassuring. To know that their priest is accountable to a bishop is reassuring. That someone holding some kind of local, spiritual authority over them has a licence “from above” that specifies what (s)he is permitted to offer in the church’s name is to be welcomed.
There are other advantages to this form of church governance. For governments and businesses in the Muslim world, it is possible that they have had interactions with the existing, ancient church (usually Orthodox of some type). That Anglicans maintain the principal of having an acknowledged and visible ‘head’ for the local Church who uses the same title (bishop) can be reassuring. This can communicate that there is continuity and a respect for tradition. It can also be helpful to be able to point to an Anglican Communion that extends throughout the world and includes some 70 to 80 million members. This communicates to suspicious family or a worried member of the secret police that they are not dealing with a strange cult or radical religious movement.
Of course, smooth growth and functioning of a church that is subject to such vertical governance depends very much for its character and feel on the quality of life of those entrusted with authority. Are they servant leaders? Are they humble? Are they encouragers of the gifts and the development of those entrusted to their spiritual oversight? So much hangs on this. But the Anglican safety-net is that, should leaders prove to be less than faithful in their functioning, there are clear channels of appeal and, if need be, redress.
Balancing Pioneer Mission with Pastoral Care and Counselling
It is a truism that much of the current evangelising of Muslims is being carried out by people whose primary gifting is in the sphere of mission/evangelism. The communicating of the gospel, especially across cultures, and the leading of people to Christ, especially across cultures, is delicate and in most cases fulfilled by men and women specifically gifted by God for doing that. The gifting is beyond that of the call for all followers of Christ to be “witnessers”.
In my observation and experience, it tends to be precisely those specifically gifted evangelists or mission experts who end up leading the small communities of believers that begin to form the local church. Mission groups themselves deliberately seek to recruit pioneers, people with the gifting and stamina to “reach the unreached”. Often, there is not the same effort to recruit pastors and teachers as part of their frontline teams. Because of this, from the very beginning of the formation of communities of believers from a Muslim background, their spiritual direction and guidance ends up in the hands of people (most often) with relatively little pastoral gifting or experience.
I (Bill) remember being part of a mission team in Turkey in 1970. We were bringing together a few believers in the southeast of the country who had all come—individually—to faith via a Bible reading program organised through the cooperation of radio and literature ministries. Teams like ours then visited individual Turks in-country to follow up those who had reached a certain stage in their study of, for example, Luke’s Gospel. Some of them professed faith in Jesus Christ.
Those Turks living reasonably near each other were gradually introduced as new brothers or sisters in Christ. I recall one small meeting of a few Turks who had become used to gathering with a few of us foreigners. In the meeting one of the Turks accused another of the Turks of adultery. These older men were looking to us foreign Christians to adjudicate this argument. I was 21 years old, as was my friend, whilst the older member of our team was maybe 30; we were all single people. And we were supposed to handle that kind of scenario?! We had been trained to do exciting pioneer work, which we were indeed doing. It would have been very helpful in that case to have access to a mature pastor with experience in mediation. The tradition of Anglican mission, at its best, tries to balance the ministries of evangelism with those of pastoral care and guidance.
In hierarchical societies, there is risk of those with authority taking advantage of those without authority. Normally, children can be encouraged and disciplined by adults of an extended family beyond her or his parents only. Older brothers hold a lot of responsibility for siblings, especially where a father is temporarily absent from the family home or dead. Certain male family members, in many Muslim societies, have access to young male and female family members because they are seen as having a mahram relationship with the family members concerned—that is, they are forbidden to marry them. Their presence in the family home is not seen as threatening, or indeed forbidden, as the presence of non-family members might be.
As a result, the abuse of minors—especially but not exclusively females—by mahram males is rife. My wife and I grew sadly aware of this reality as we counselled (female) believers who had been abused in childhood by uncles and elder brothers. The pastoral care of such abused sisters and brothers is central to their finding security and healing in Christ and requires expert—or at least experienced and responsible—help. I mention this as another example of a situation where sensitive, well-trained pastoral counselling is needed to go hand in hand with the pioneer worker planting churches and evangelizing Muslims.
My wife and I (Bill) lived in Tunisia through the period leading up to, and following, the Jasmine Revolution which occurred during the period of December 2010 to January 2011. I had been serving as Rector of St George’s, Tunis and Assistant Bishop for North Africa since 2008 and we left for retirement at the end of 2015. Most believers whom we got to know in the period after the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia—when many Muslims were coming to churches to ask about dreams of angels they had experienced earlier in their lives, or to seek answers about aspects of Christianity, or to express anger and frustration over the state around the world of their own faith—were aged between 18 and 36 years.
In their discovering political freedom, in their discovering the permissibility of expressing their own opinions out loud and in their discovering a new existence as they got to know Jesus Christ, many of these youngsters came up against trouble. Fathers beat sons and daughters. Parents expelled teenagers from homes. Peers ostracised or mocked new believers. Some brothers and sisters lost jobs, were reported to the authorities or were hunted and humiliated by local religious leaders or newly-appeared Islamist societies. In other words, “persecution” was their very real experience. Except that, for some of them, some of the time, was it really “persecution” for the sake of Christ? Or was it a somewhat deserved, if inappropriately expressed, response to a teenager-like capacity for winding-up, testing the boundaries, being ungrateful and rude, expressing too strongly disapproval of their background and family circumstances? I often remarked that, apart from pastors or counsellors, mature youth workers/leaders would be a high priority on my list for churches and mission groups to provide for emerging Christian congregations of youngish people from a Muslim background.
Within Anglicanism there exists a strong tension, or mutual acceptance, of sodalities and modalities. By this I mean that Anglicans are supportive of mission—local, regional, national, global. It is part of the DNA of being Anglican. Mission groups, evangelists connected in sodalities, can be fast-moving, responding to changing circumstances, without the encumbrance of heavy structures. But another part of Anglicanism’s DNA, just as significant, is the emphasis on pastoring and teaching. Churches, congregations earthed in local communities and having a “history”, can provide stability and a forum for consistent care and character development.
Another couple of contrasting metaphors might be “army” and “hospital”. Anglicans embrace the value of both and in healthy situations seek to express both aspects of discipleship, even if in tension. Anglicans have the heritage and space to develop hospitals for the souls of humanity. They have the nerve and resources to stay the difficult course in pioneer situations of taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to the uttermost parts of the earth. Sodalities and modalities are both valued and can be expected to give mutual support to one another – if their proponents and directors are willing to honour the different giftings and emphases involved!
I (Duane) teach Old Testament at one of the four accredited residential Protestant seminaries in Spain. (There is one more that only offers online courses, and a slew of non-accredited institutions.) I take my students through Old Testament I (Torah), Old Testament II (Prophetic Literature) and Old Testament III (Historical Books and Wisdom). I sometimes assign them an obscure passage to preach on, like when YHWH comes to kill Moses (or maybe his son—the text isn’t clear), or when fire comes out from the altar to consume the sons of Aaron, or the instructions for the high priest’s ephod. I don’t do this to torture the students, but to challenge the evangelical practice of only using, say, 5% of the Old Testament for preaching and teaching. My students come from churches without any lectionary, and the pastor preaches on whatever they feel like.
But consider another (Anglican) option: the use of a lectionary to guide Bible reading throughout the year. This ensures that Anglican ministers and preachers must address subjects brought up in different parts of the Bible, rather than be satisfied with speaking only to their adherents on favourite verses or incidents from scripture. Cycles of readings normally align with the season of the Christian calendar (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany-tide, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and so on). The cycle of readings normally repeats itself every two to three years.
The consequence of this is that you must deal with hard passages sometimes. It’s also a safeguard against Christians hearing the same sermon repeatedly. Advent has themes: prophets foretelling the birth of Christ, the ministry of John the Baptist, and that time when Christ will return to “judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end”. And so on, each season with its themes and corresponding passages. (In my [Duane’s] book I will give them an everlasting name: pastoral care for Christ’s converts from Islam [Regnum], I have entire chapters on the liturgical calendar and its relevance for pastoral formation for MBBs.)
The global reach of the Anglican church means that the insights of folk from multiple cultures can easily enrich all. Theological education can draw on such insights and make available a variety of ways of understanding texts that—for the most part—found expression within societies that were strongly hierarchical and significantly involved in hosting/guesting.
In Tunisia, “retreats” formed a major contributor to helping people—especially young people—from a Muslim background either become sure of their commitment to Christ or to grow in their commitment to Christ. They would regularly take place in a Roman Catholic monastery on the outskirts of the city. There were separate dormitories for men and women. There was a dedicated chapel for use of guests at the monastery. Worship and prayer were major components of each day—and often these times were punctuated by the dealing with demons or oppressions or strong bonds of evil that dominated different people’s lives.
My major role was to offer teaching from the Bible. Sometimes that meant introductions to different books or going through portions or whole books. It was important to help these young people not only to memorise texts, but also to come to some understanding of them in terms of their original contexts (something not really emphasised within Qur’anic appreciation) so that they might have the tools to apply the texts to themselves. I (Bill) gained more than I gave! The epistles of the New Testament came alive to me as Paul and Peter and James and John and others sought to address the ups and downs of life and faith in communities of new followers of Christ from pagan and Jewish backgrounds.
However! The retreats, as run and experienced in Tunisia, emphasised to me the strong need of a mature team to lead or facilitate them. For some believers, a retreat was the first time they had stayed away from under the eye of family members in their own homes. Young men and women found themselves together and having to learn to limit themselves to appropriate inter-relating. Monks at the monastery complained about the noise at night (as demons and screaming adolescents were dealt with) and eventually banned the group from using their premises! The potential for the developing of inappropriate attachments and dependencies is strong unless those leading young believers through their early, delicate days in a new life of faith are rigorous in their safeguarding attitudes and responsibilities.
This takes us back to the importance of balanced and mature instruction in Scripture. The Anglican Communion is a broad body. You will find in it progressives and conservatives, Anglo-Catholics who love their chasubles and incense, and drums and guitars evangelicals. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But one of the strengths that flows from this is that Anglicans tend to be good at studying, interpreting and applying Scripture in a manner that is not sectarian and that has been informed by these different streams of Anglicanism (and global Christianity, in general). Add in the use of a lectionary for personal devotions and/or the preaching schedule, and you have a balanced and fruitful foundation for preaching and teaching, whether that be at a retreat, a home church, or a cathedral.
Money and Stewardship
It is our view that a necessary part of the nurture of new believers in Christ from a Muslim background must be the willingness to offer protection and support to new members of the church family—for “family” is how most new believers from this background see “church”. Family is about being together, not simply “meeting”. Family is about “my home is your home”. Family is about shared resources and mutual support—including financial. Anglican monastic communities have long injected a stream of life into the larger denomination that holds these kinds of convictions so they are not strange to us. In fact, they are strongly admired by us.
The practice of accountability for financial integrity and spending records is a norm learned by priests and deacons in their ordination training. Anglicans are well placed to provide an ethos of embracing the newest family members and providing for their needs as necessary and wise, with generosity and transparency. Hopefully that good practice will become the norm of those who, in their turn, will help other, newer disciples in their times of need.
This is helpful on an administrative level, to be sure. But it also provides a sort of witness of integrity and transparency in Islamic cultures where these are not the norm. I (Duane) minister at Kanisa, an Arabic-language Christian fellowship in Madrid. We received a grant from a church in the USA for start-up expenses. I have been careful to keep receipts of some form—physical or digital—to account for the expenses we have had, whether a coffee and a sandwich over a pastoral visit or hundreds of euros to repair the security gate at the church. All of this has meant spending additional time and energy, but I have noted that the practice itself can lead people to ask why we do this. And what is the answer? Faithfulness? Responsible stewardship? Honesty? All of these flow from our commitment to being disciples of Jesus Christ.
Another brief example: Years ago, we (the Millers) lived in Nazareth. We had some funds to use to help pay for Christian education. A promising young lady from a Greek Catholic (or Melkite) family applied and was awarded the scholarship. We verified that she was a student in good standing at the prestigious Hebrew University. The easiest thing would have been to give her cash to pay for the tuition. But there was a concern: would having over $1,000 in cash not be a temptation to use it otherwise? I don’t mean to waste it, but to help her uncle with the medical bills, to help her father with an emergency business expense…something like that? We did the extra work, and so did she: she got us the bill from the university, I went to the bank to buy a cashier’s check, I mailed it directly to the university. A lot more time-consuming for everyone involved, yes. But the message is financial integrity. That’s not unique to Anglicanism, but it is important within the tradition. (There is an entire chapter on money matters in Duane’s book, I Will Give Them an Everlasting Name: pastoral care for Christ’s converts from Islam.)
Many are the times when I have been passing through an airport in Lebanon, Egypt, Tunis during the season of hajj. It is remarkable to observe the joy on the faces of pilgrims returning from visiting the epicentre of their faith. In their hands are special containers holding Zamzam water for sick relatives and friends. Those gathered in the terminal to welcome their loved ones home stroke the returnees’ cheeks and clothes, thankful to transfer to themselves the baraka adhering to the pilgrims.
There is an understanding that Allah’s powerful acts in the past continue to be present in some way today. Muslims would not use the word ‘sacramentality’, but we will. A sacrament is an outward sign of an inward grace. A sacrament is a memorial, but more than that—it is also a recognition that what God did in the past is something that we participate in through that sacrament. I (Duane) think of a passage I discuss with my students at the seminary. Deuteronomy 5:1–5 (NAS):
Then Moses summoned all Israel and said to them:
“Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the ordinances which I am speaking today in your hearing, that you may learn them and observe them carefully. The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, with all those of us alive here today. The Lord spoke to you face to face at the mountain from the midst of the fire, while I was standing between the Lord and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the Lord; for you were afraid because of the fire and did not go up the mountain…”
In this passage Moses is near the end of his life. He has led Israel through the wilderness so the previous, rebellious generation could die and be replaced by a new, faithful generation. Moses will not enter the Land himself. So, you need to ask, why does Moses go out of his way to say that YHWH did not make the pact with their fathers, but with them? Their fathers were actually there at Horeb (aka, Sinai).
Translate this to Holy Communion and it is Jesus saying to you, “This is my body…” It may not make much sense to us, but this is a facet of who God is, of how God is, of how God chooses to interact with Creation and with us. Maybe he could be otherwise, but he is not. He is the God who chooses to knit together the past and the present and the future in holy rituals where he is present to us and we are present to him.
For Anglicans the sacraments of baptism and holy communion constitute such profound, holy moments. Baptism marks a spiritual rite of passage, a point of no return—like when Israel passed through the Sea of Reeds—, a confession of trust in Jesus Christ as Saviour and King. In Tunis, we baptised new believers in a large, mosaic-lined baptistry (built into the grounds of the church site). It was a copy of one of the best preserved baptistries from the early period of Christian heritage in the country. For new believers from a Muslim background, the experience of being baptised was often strongly transformative as it allied them to brothers and sisters supporting them in their present act—but also making them feel part of a family that had long ago (long before Islam) found expression in their homeland: “The Lord spoke to you face to face at the mountain…”
The sharing of holy communion conveys a similar sense of “householdness” – of being connected to saints down through history and around the globe today. It also has the potential to bring with it the sense of the numinous. For most of us Anglicans, the special thanksgiving meal (Eucharist) means much more than a mere “remembering”, and probably less than bread physically turning into flesh and wine into blood. But in the Lord’s Supper, the sense of the holy, of the numinous, of divine presence, is sought for with joy.
The meal can be both contemplation and communion. The symbolism of the elements (one bread and one cup) is swallowed up in the experience of Christ being present, of Christ renewing the communicant, of Christ feeding us with his own life. A clean, holy baraka transferral, if you like, in which the Blessed One blesses with his Spirit. What is not to like? Who is this God who feeds his humble people, putting bread and wine in their mouths? It is the Lord and commander of the heavenly armies, who presides over the divine tribunal of the sons of God, the angels and archangels, the seraphim and the cherubim. It is the Creator of the heavens and the earth who puts this bread and wine into our mouths and so doing nourishes his people.
A year or so after departing from Tunisia, I (Bill) was invited to give a series of talks on “church” at a long weekend series of seminars organised by one of the lay, Tunisian believers who was a member of our church. The majority of persons who attended these seminars were not from St George’s, but from a couple of the other larger church fellowships in the city. In one of the seminars I focused on what we might call “ecumenical relationships”. I gradually discovered during our years in Tunis that there was an attitude of suspicion and jealousy between various Protestant church groups, promoted by their leaders—who had evidently learned this attitude originally from foreign missionaries.
I recall my shock on hearing the priest in charge of our own Tunisian congregation forbidding his flock from attending a teaching/training session being organised by one of the other churches in town. His attitude was more than reciprocated in other Tunisian believers’ view of the Anglicans, or “Episcopalians”—a kind of dirty word conjuring up all that was seen as unbiblical or immoral or “liberal” and currently being demonstrated within the Episcopal Church in America. St George’s was suspect or guilty through association in the eyes of the evangelical congregations in Tunis.
In passing, in one of my seminars, I mentioned the origins of the Church of England—and how from one perspective the denomination might be seen as originating in the unsated quest of an English monarch for a male heir to follow him to the throne! There was a titter in the room and a relaxing, because many of my hearers had been fed this line as the only or real reason for the emergence of the Anglican denomination. They had never heard an Anglican being anything but defensive in describing his denomination’s beginnings—and I mean as an institution independent from the See of Rome. (Historically, Anglican Christianity goes back to the 3rd Century, maybe earlier.) But what if that scenario was the actual case (however untrue or inadequate an explanation I or others might feel that to be), and what if God was an expert at bringing something wonderful out of things done for lousy motives? Isn’t that how he works in our lives, so often? Out of polygamy emerged the people of Israel; out of adultery and murder and lifelong sadness (for mother Bathsheba) came a Solomon; out of a violent zealot came a self-sacrificing Paul. Similarly, Anglican Christianity spread around the world on the skirts of the British Empire.
Cannot God bring something good out of something a lot less than “good”, if that is how British imperialism is viewed? Actually, Tunisians have more of a love-hate relationship with the French than the British, so this “problem” with Anglicanism didn’t really feature very much! The ability for us Anglicans to admit something of the mixed motives in our Church’s origins in becoming the national Christian expression in England sets a good example and wins more trust than the constant claim of most missionaries in Tunisia, and their Tunisian surrogates, for their church or denomination being the only, real, New Testament church around.
While this example is from Tunisia, it applies in other places too. Anglicans are at once part of an ancient and fruitful branch of the ancient Church. On the other hand, unlike our Roman and Orthodox brethren, we make no claim to be “the True Church”, much less “the one” founded by Christ and birthed on Pentecost. We are glad to be part of a broad family, which yes, means you have the crazy uncle or the wayward cousin. But in that breadth and width, in that historical depth—warts and all—we find a freedom and a power that enables us, by the grace of God, to carry forth the word of Christ to all the nations of the world, working with brothers and sisters from other churches and traditions.
In this article Bishop Bill and I have tried to highlight some aspects and facets of Anglican Christianity that we feel mark a substantial contribution to the global Church’s mission to and among Muslims. We are aware that the majority of people working to take the gospel to the roughly one-quarter of the world population that is Muslim are not Anglicans; for them, we wanted to share these insights. For our readers who are not Anglicans, but are engaging in such mission, it is our hope that you will thoughtfully contemplate what you might be able to put into practice in your own ministry from what we have mentioned here. Indeed, we’re glad to be in touch and answer any questions you may have.
For our readers who are Anglicans but have no background in mission to and among Muslims, we’d ask you to pray and ask the Lord if (and how) he would have you engage in the mission to Islam—one of the greatest challenges the Church catholic has ever faced, no doubt.
And finally, for our readers who are Anglicans and who are engaged in this mission in some way, we wish encouragement. As Anglicans it is easy to become discouraged with global, ecclesiastical politics—no doubt our brethren from other global Christian denominations can sympathize—but we have much to commend the Anglican way in relation to our mission to Muslims.
About the Authors
Bill served as Anglican regional bishop in North Africa and is the author of numerous books, including Kissing Cousins? Christians and Muslims Face to Face (2006) and The Certainty Trap (2013).
Duane serves as priest at the Anglican Cathedral of the Redeemer in Madrid and associate professor at the Protestant Faculty of Theology at Madrid. He is the author of Two Stories of Everything: The Competing Metanarratives of Islam and Christianity (2018) and I Will Give Them an Everlasting Name: Pastoral Care for Christ’s Converts from Islam (2020). Duane can be contacted through his blog.