Recently, I was invited into a relationship with a Pakistani Muslim man who asked me to discuss Christianity with him. After our initial conversation an invitation was extended to me to continue this journey of discovery with him in his home, where we were joined by one of his Muslim friends. Together, Tahir, Mubashar and I discussed the commonalities between our faith perspectives and they inquired about what is attractive to me about my faith experience through The Salvation Army. As I described to them what it means to belong to The Salvation Army, including a summary of our articles of faith and our covenant relationship with God, Mubashar enthusiastically grabbed my hand and exclaimed, "You are a Muslim!"
Before anybody thinks I have run off and converted, what transpired in this conversation between three men of faith was an acknowledgment of what we share in common, rather than an argument about what divides us. Too often when we discuss Christianity with people with different faith perspectives, we use our differences as a platform for our proclamation and call it evangelism. The irony of this approach is that our evangelism devalues relationship, contradicting the foundation of the message we are trying to share.
While there are indeed many differences in our faith perspectives and world views, when we choose a foundation of relationship that celebrates what we do share in common, we create an environment of trust that allows us to explore our differences, without giving false testimony to a relational God.
My conviction that Jesus Christ is "the way and the truth and the life" and that "no-one comes to the Father except through" Him is solid. However, my commitment to genuine relationship is strong enough to allow me to explore a partial revelation of God with people on a faith journey so that I may have the opportunity to share a complete revelation of God through Jesus Christ!
It is my earnest prayer and passion that all Christ followers will be mature enough in their faith to engage in a conversation that has already begun by Holy Spirit in the lives of those who are on a faith journey and seek common ground to develop a relationship where Jesus can be revealed.