chapter  4
12 Pages

Life at the Mission House

In the course of the twentieth century many new factors affected the way Christians perceived and engaged with people of other faiths. Converts to Christianity could be shunned by their family and community, physically maltreated, sometimes killed. Paving the way was the 1893 'Parliament of Religions', when 'the Christian organizers magnanimously invited to Chicago representatives from all the great religions'. One of the eight Commissions that prepared for the World Missionary Conference in 1910 studied 'The Missionary Message in relation to non-Christian Religions'. As a result evangelization continued to be handicapped by the perception of Christianity as a western, ethnocentric religion. The uniqueness of Christ was not in dispute, but while some talked of a radical discontinuity implicit in conversion, others spoke of Christianity as fulfilment, not just of the Hebrew prophecies but of the aspirations of other religious teachers. We need to remember that the attitude of Christians towards Islam largely determines the attitude of Muslims towards Christians.