Book reviews

In OMF we love all peoples of East Asia, including Muslim peoples. We seek to live among and serve them in the hope that they would learn about the love of Jesus. We asked a Christian professional, who lived in a Muslim city in Asia for several years, to recommend two books to help you love your Muslim neighbours.

Cross and Crescent: Responding to the challenges of Islam

Colin Chapman (2007, revised edition)
£14.24 from 10ofthose.

This revised edition of a popular book on engaging with Muslims from an evangelical Christian perspective remains my ‘go-to’ book in the genre.
Rev. Colin Chapman has spent his life teaching religious studies and Islamic studies in the UK and the Middle East. Here he uses his expertise to develop readers’ attitudes to Muslims and their understanding of Muslim beliefs and practices.
The book starts by addressing personal relationships between Christians and Muslims, understanding their culture and examining
our attitudes.
In part two Colin explains Islam’s diversity, beliefs and practices, and explores contemporary issues such as women in Islam and terrorism.
Part three explores some controversial issues in a helpful way, seeking to learn from past mistakes while equipping Christians to be more aware of key issues when engaging with Muslims.
Part four addresses theological questions, particularly looking at Qur’anic teaching on Jesus and Christians and the challenge of political Islam.
In part five, Colin encourages the reader to use what they have read and engage with their Muslim neighbours.
Cross and Crescent is one of the best books you can buy on the topic for its breadth of study, and could only be improved with a detailed bibliography for further reading.

Between Naivety and Hostility: Uncovering the best Christian Responses to Islam in Britain

Editors: Steve Bell and Colin Chapman (2011)
£7.00 from Kitab books

This book brings together 20 Christian writers all of whom are actively engaging with Muslims. The range of perspectives and breadth of approaches present the reader not only with valuable perspectives on aspects of Islam in Britain, but also a range of appropriate responses. As the title suggests, the book avoids over-simplifying what are complex issues but also addresses some of the divisive topics that can polarise Christians.
It begins with five informative chapters covering historical and theological questions, although perhaps unhelpfully avoids the most commonly discussed question – ‘do Muslims and Christians approach the same God?’
Part two examines Islam and issues in Britain today and discusses such hot topics as the role of women in Islam, Shari’a law and Shari’a courts, Muslim faith schools and human rights. This is helpful and challenging, and will doubtless provoke strong opinions!
The final section was my favourite. It looks at models of positive relationships between Christians and Muslims, each chapter making the case for a different approach.
This book is a great help for Christians in befriending Muslims. It should also encourage churches to consider how they can love the growing number of Muslims in the UK.