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Striving Together: A Way Forward in Christian-Muslim Relations.

If you are looking for a single volume that adequately introduces the crucial issue of Christian-Muslim relations, Charles Kimball's Striving Together is for you. A Southern Baptist and professor of religion at Furman University, Kimball earned his doctorate in Islamic Studies at Harvard and served as Middle East director of the National Council of Churches. His knowledgeable book is addressed to Christians who recognize the importance of understanding Muslims and cooperative relations and who "need resources to facilitate constructive engagement with the issues" (p. xiii). To helpo meet that need, he starts by providing a sound though cursory introduction to Islam and the history of Christian-Muslim relations. He then describes Christian theological options related to the heated issue of religious pluralism, utilizing the new-familiar paradigms of exclusivist, inclusivist, and pluralist. kimball is carefully descriptive, but in summarizing Hans Kung's views, he indicates his own desire for "new responses" that are "informed by more accurate and appreciate knowledge of the religios traditions" (p. 84).

Kimball's "way forward" in Christian-Muslim relations emphasizes educating Christians to understand Islam, deliberate dialogic encounter between Christians and Muslims, and engagement in cooperative social action. He makes helpful comments on the possibility of understanding another religious tradition, the importance of recognizing internal varieties among believers, and the risks of change implicit in learning. His major attention is given to dialogue. Although the quality of interfaith dialogue varies greatly, its beginning marks "a new chapter in the history of interfaith relations" (p. 85), and its value for friendship creation cannot be overestimated. Finally he advocates "moving beyond toleration and minimal levels of civility to neighborly relations, even cooperation" (p. 109), and he is right when he suggests that "practical ways to connect ... with Muslim neighbors are all around" (p. 120).

This is balanced and intelligent work that uses simple language and has a practical bent. Because of its broad sweep the study is necessarily introductory, but it well meets the current pressing need for a volume of this type and can be warmly recommended to readers at all levels.
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Author:Miller, Roland E.
Publication:International Bulletin of Missionary Research
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Oct 1, 1993
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