Global discipleship is one of our core values at Harmony. In addition tp our missionaries serving around the world as our global field staff, we also have strategic partnerships with a few key organizations. One such organization is Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Lebanon, Jordan. The following is a post by the Institute of Middle East Studies, a research and resource institute founded by ABTS. The Institute's mandate is to bring about positive transformation in thinking and practice between Christians and Muslims in the Middle East and beyond.
Judging from the opening seventeen years of this new millennium, I expect the twenty-first century to be one of major social and political transition. We have entered an age where world religions are having a key role in the rise of global conflicts, and in which therefore people of all faiths will have to play a key role as peacemakers. If we do not rise to this unprecedented challenge in the most robust ways, we will have failed in our most fundamental divine calling to be agents of God’s reconciliation and transformation in the world.
In the years 2015 and 2016, we witnessed a degradation of fundamental values of human decency at a global scale, which many would say they have never seen before. The rise of ISIS in the summer of 2014 triggered a global reaction that must have stunned most people, except perhaps the leadership of ISIS itself. In the Muslim world, there has been an outcry against the horrors committed by the group. Numerous conferences have been organized by Muslim organizations and nations to condemn their behavior as un-Islamic.
The reaction to ISIS in the western world, on the other hand, has been dramatically different. Popular fear has given way to an astonishing rise of paranoia across Europe, North America, and Australia. These societies, which seemed to be moving towards greater maturity and unity in diversity throughout most of the twentieth century, have been regressing over the past decade and a half since September 11, 2001, and considerably more rapidly over the past two years. Today the loudest voices are not for unity and the embrace of diversity, but for self-protection and self-preservation.
In the present post, I would like to reflect on a key piece of scripture and consider its implications for disciples of Jesus who are called to a new revolutionary lifestyle that will challenge the current status quo.