Jesus said the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself.
With that in mind, a team of Christian Reformed leaders is helping fellow church members reach their Muslim neighbors.
“Those still angry about [the September 11, 2001 attacks] have demonized Muslims,” said Rev. Paul Kortenhoven. “That isn’t going to help a lot. But there’s a growing interest by serious Christians to learn more about Islam. We want to share our faith in a legitimate way. We would hope that in the long run Muslims would understand who Jesus really is.”
Kortenhoven, a retired missionary to Sierra Leone, is part of the Advancing Ministries Among Muslims (AMAM) team that launched in early April. The team includes professors from Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary and staff from denominational agencies who are involved in missions and relief work, as well as other members of the Christian Reformed Church. Team members have worked, taught, and evangelized in Muslim countries and with Muslims in North America.
Several training sessions for laypeople have already taken place in Grand Rapids, Mich., and the team plans to hire a part-time coordinator to facilitate more training.
“We feel called by God through our knowledge of Islam to witness to Jesus Christ,” said a team member who asked not to be identified because of possible conflicts with her work overseas. “We don’t stop with religious dialogue— we go further to offer Christ.”
Large urban areas in the U.S. and Canada have seen a huge influx of refugees from Muslim countries. Muslims are increasingly becoming our neighbors all over North America, said Kortenhoven.