February 27, 2020
On Wednesday, students in a weeklong intensive World Religions course learned about engaging with Muslims.
In the course, which will conclude on Friday afternoon, Professor Charles McCordic is teaching students about world religions and also training them to have meaningful dialogue with people of other belief systems. With regards to Islam, McCordic gave an overview of the beliefs of the religion as well as contemporary issues that are affecting relations between Muslims and Christians. He also helped the students understand how Muslims from Africa and Asia tend to perceive Westerners and the Christian faith.
Complementing McCordic’s teaching was a visit to a mosque and a presentation from an imam, who offered an insider’s perspective on Islam. Students toured the site but, under the guidance of the imam, were careful not to participate in the devotional practices of the Muslims who worship there.
The introductory information offered in the course provided the basis for instruction on witnessing effectively to Muslims. McCordic offered some helpful principles and noted common themes in conversions from Islam to Christianity. For example, he mentioned the phenomenon of Muslims having dreams about Jesus. Also discussed was the fact that many who choose to become followers of Jesus have a strong relationship with a Christian or Christians that does not depend upon their conversion. In other words, loving Muslims sincerely is an effective way of leading them toward faith in Christ.
McCordic’s teaching draws on many years of lived experience. Much of his childhood was spent on the mission field in Chad, an African country with a large Muslim population. He later followed in his parents’ footsteps, serving as a missionary in Chad with his wife and raising their children there. While now residing in Canada, he still returns to Chad periodically.
For many years he has trained Chadian pastors in conducting outreach to Muslims. He has also been a part of the Bridging the Divide movement, which encourages dialogue about important issues in missions efforts directed toward Muslims.
In recent years there has been a surge of interest among Canadian Christians in understanding Islam and sharing the gospel with Muslims. With migration patterns shifting, many believers in Canada who had little contact with Muslims a few decades ago now interact with them regularly in their home town or city. Events such as the Syrian-refugee crisis have further increased the visibility of Muslims and prompted Christians to learn about their neighbours’ beliefs and cultures.
The students of the World Religions course are now among those who have a foundation for engaging with Muslims and helping them understand the powerful message of Jesus Christ, who truly is God and who truly died on the cross to save sinners.