This session concluded last night, the first day of this genesis conference hosted in Salt Lake City for college students. Please see Standing Together Minstries for full recordings of all these sessions. These are only paraphrased cliffnotes through my lens.
Session two: Missional Principles and Guidelines for Interfaith Dialogue
Dr. Doug McConnell (Dean of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Seminary)
Here are quickly some selected highlights:
“I am an evangelist through and through.”
Kraft’s Encounter Model Applied to Levels of Worldview
*Truth encounter (focus on understanding) – cognitive, explicit behavior (surface structure)
*Power encounter (focus on freedom) – affective/emotive feelings (middle zone)
*Allegiance encounter (focus on relationship) – evaluative/value-based implicit expectations – paradigms (deep structures)
Don’t kid yourself. I am an evangelist. Disagreement must be accepted. One of the things that we owe each other is a differentiation. If you are not honest in the engagement, get out. Do we know the same Jesus?
I offer this interfaith dialogue as one way to engage missionally.
Dr. Robet Millet (Brigham Young University)
Concerning the dialogue, we have met 14-15 times. I have had feelings of tremendous inadequacies. But this I do have, not having all the understanding, but I do have a heart for this. I have done this enough to know as evangelicals would say, “This is a God thing.”
Here are some my presuppositions for interfaith dialogue
1. We are fretting lest we somehow compromise. I assure you this is the last thing that my collegues wish, nor the hard-headed evangelicals that I deal with.
2. To hold back the truth is not fair.
3. I do not know all the answers.
4. God knows all the answers.
5. You do not know all the answers.
6. Just because I am right does not necessary mean you are wrong.
7. No matter how much I study, I will never fully understand someone’s beliefs.
8. To say “Let me tell you what you believe.” This is a violation. (I am known as the local liar.)
9. It is not only about conversion; it is about conversation, enrichment,
10. That I would never say anything in private that I would not say in public with my evangelical friends.
11. God is infinitely more broad-minded than we are.
Just a few points to ponder . . .
1. Building relationships takes time. Some things cannot be rushed. So much easier to go into fight or flight.
2. Man’s timetable is not God’s timetable
3. God is in the business of people. People’s feelings are sacred. When we gain entrance into someone’s heart, we are stepping on to holy ground.
4. Labels can be helpful but also destructive. To label someone is to have the reason to not take things any farther. That is the thinking of a small mind.
5. When relationships begins to grow, there begins to be feelings of responsibility. We stand up for each other.
6. While theological differences exist, it is critical to understand what they are. Let’s deal with the differences. And let’s get the right differences. Richard Mouw says interfaith dialogue is helped along by a healthful dose of curiosity. Why do evangelicals raise their hands when they sing? (laughter from the audience)
The greatest regret that I have in my life is that Greg Johnson and I did not meet 10 years earlier. Or that Stephen Robinson and Craig Blomberg didn’t write that book, How Wide the Divide, earlier.
I turn 60. There is so much that I would like to do. I would like to be doing this 30 years from now. (An amen from the audience).
If you don’t like what we are doing, go do it better.