Muslims, Christians, and Jesus: Gaining Understanding and Building Relationships
Carl Medearis, Zondervan, 2011

£35.00 (Approx)
4.4
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

What Does Islam Really Teach, and How Are Christians to Engage with Muslims?

According to author Carl Medearis, how Christians respond to Islam and how Christians think of Muslims could be the most significant issues of our time.

In this four-session video study with corresponding participant’s guide, Medearis helps Christians understand the basics of Islam, the difference between ‘moderate’ Muslims and radical terrorists, the Muslim view of Jesus, and how we as Christians should interact with our Muslim neighbors, friends, and coworkers.

From the Ground Zero mosque to whether we believe in the same God, Medearis also addresses key questions and responses to the current Muslim-Christian tensions facing our society.

What do you get?

DVD and Participant’s Guide:

  1. What is Islam? Exploring Our Fears and Stereotypes
  2. Understanding What Muslims Believe
  3. Jesus: The Bridge to Muslims
  4. Building Bridges through Relationship

Bonus sessions: 10 Myths about Muslims; What the Qu’ran says about Jesus

Participant’s guide also available separately (Eden.co.uk; or Amazon.co.uk. £6.99)

Who is it for?

Adult, small groups, Growing.

Review

  • What is the overall quality of the material?

    Challenging, thorough exploration and information about the relationship between Christians and Muslims, from the Christian viewpoint. Great production.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Main aim is to reduce fear and misunderstanding, and clear the way for Christians to approach Muslims with love. Layout of resource is clear, with good headings and some varied font to flag up different types of input.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    As usual, Zondervan gives us a wealth of material to engage with. The session comprises: Introductory paragraph; Let's Think About It (short discussion of the theme); DVD watching (around 20 minutes); DVD Discussion with ten or so questions; Group Bible Exploration (several passages plus plenty of discussion questions); Personal Reflection (Short reflection plus questions); Closing (suggestions for prayer);  Steps to Take on your own (More reflections and questions). The book of the same title is highly recommended as a foundation for leading the course, and there are quotes from it throughout the Guide. In addition, watch the two sections on the DVD: 10 Myths about Muslims, and For Leaders.

    Who could lead it?

    A leader who is confident about leading through some significant material; and someone who is open to the message of the resource.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?

    Great spaces for writing notes throughout – especially useful for listening to the DVD.

    How good is any digital material?

    Carl Medearis is an engaging and honest presenter. Other interview clips included from a variety of people, including Muslims. Input sign-posted by title slides, but these do not link directly to the titles in the book.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    There is a lot of material offered in this resource – it may well be the leader's job to steer through it, perhaps picking and choosing that which is most relevant to the group. Given the importance of the subject, good preparation would be vital; plus working through any personal issues before attempting to lead the group. Reading the book of the same title would be great preparation as well.

    Is there website support? Links?

    Various websites are recommended for further research, including www.carlmedearis.com, where there are audio and video contributions to the subject, plus blogs.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    The subject matter should do this anyway; but the video and discussion and biblical study will encourage really good interaction. Very helpful questions.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    Videos are engaging; questions are provocative; biblical material is extensive.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Medearis is engaging and relaxed in style and his approach is coloured by his love for Muslim people. Some Christians might find this deeply challenging to the way they think about Muslims and Islam. Medearis unpacks information about Islam in order to defuse misunderstandings, and inspire fellow Christians to build relationships with Muslims. He recognises that this may be ‘unsettling' for some Christians, so bear this in mind when considering using this resource, and be prepared to talk things through. probably not suitable for new Christians. Some Christians may want Medearis to highlight the flaws of Islam more; but his focus is finding common ground for Jesus to walk across.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    The material includes suggestions for taking up the themes on your own; the rest encourages very good interaction in applying the challenging themes.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    At least three passages per session, with references to many more. Focused around relevant material, including Old and New Testament material.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    While the blurb tells us the biblical material is printed out in the text, this is not actually always the case, so Bibles are needed. This is in-depth Bible study which digs into the passages and pulls no punches. Each major passage is followed by questions for discussion.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    All focused around how Christians think and feel about Muslims. Encourages us to make the connections between how Jesus taught and how we therefore think and act. Geared to help us bring down our fears and limited understandings, and listen to the imperative to love.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    Evangelical. Pro-Muslim rather than pro-Islam.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    Emphasis on how Jesus, or Isa, is already deeply respected by Muslims as a prophet. Equal emphasis on how Jesus is the answer – rather than ‘Christianity' as an organised religion. In the end, it is all about Jesus, and following him. Lots of opportunities to explore what this really means.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    Looking at some of the tenets of Islam, in comparison to Christianity, could catalyse the group to strengthen their faith. The provided table of the major points here is very helpful. Certainly, this resource underlines the need for us to think through our own faith, and to engage with its foundations. And it provides us with the opportunity to do so.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    The five pillars of Islam are explained by a Muslim; a Muslim tells us that the Muslim god is the Judeo-Christian God. For those who have not engaged with Muslims much before, some of the material will provoke a good deal of wrestling, and Medearis does not let us off the hook. He encourages us to step out of preconceived ideas and search for the truth. He engages with all the difficult questions.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Given that Islam is the second largest religion in the world after Christianity, and the association with conflict, this is a timely resource. The group may not agree with everything in it, but it provides a deeply helpful framework for thinking things through. Always the aim is to help us build friendships with Muslims, rather than ‘demonising'.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Encouragement to reach out in love to Muslims in caring and sensitive ways. ‘To be free to love what God loves.' Medearis' contention is that treating Muslims with genuine love, understanding and respect is the way to open doors for appropriate evangelism. Stick to Jesus as the common denominator. Practical advice on exactly how to relate in evangelistic ways.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    Whole resource is focused on learning how to relate to Muslims, wherever they are, in positive, loving and creative ways.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    The Christian response to Islam and Muslims could well be ‘the most significant issue of our time' as the blurb says.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    The imperative of love is applicable for all mission. Medearis wants us to think about Islam in creative, loving ways, no matter where they are. His motivation is for Muslims to come to experience Jesus as their Saviour, just as Christians do.

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