Common Words for Common Ground: A Case Study in Muslim-Evangelical Dialogue
Interfaith dialogue is widely celebrated as the proper mode for Muslim-Christian interaction, but there is no consensus on what constitutes dialogue. Historically, fearing that ‘dialogue’ is code for theological compromise, evangelical Christians have shown particular reluctance to engage in it. This thesis documents renewed evangelical interest in Muslim-Christian dialogue, as demonstrated by their engagement with the highly celebrated 2007 Muslim open letter, A Common Word Between Us and You. In this initiative, 138 representative Muslim scholars proposed that the “golden” commandments, loving God and loving neighbor, form essential common ground for Muslims and Christians to engage in dialogue. As a case study in evangelical approaches to dialogue, I consider two evangelical responses to the Muslim letter, one by the Yale Center for Faith and Culture and the other by the World Evangelical Alliance, as representative of two polarized evangelical models for dialogue. This study fits into a larger conversation on what is the proper Christian approach to dialogue and attempts to provide evangelicals with tools to form a model of dialogue in which they can engage with integrity.