14 Feb

Islam and Redemptive History

Category: Sound Thinking
By: Ken Myers
Published: 02/14/05

Most discussions about Islam and Christianity since 9/11 have been conducted as exercises in comparative ethics: here's what Christianity teaches (and how Christians have behaved) and here's what Islam teaches (and how Muslims have behaved). But what if the Christian account of history and God's sovereignty is true: What does the magnificent reality of Islam mean?

Ever since the events of September 11, 2001, I have read dozens of articles that examine and compare Christian and Islamic teaching on war, peace, violence, and justice. As helpful as these have been, I have been waiting for a long time to see a Christian theologian reflect on the theological meaning of the phenomenon of Islam. When theologian Peter J. Leithart mentioned on his blog that he had recently completed an article on this subject and was looking for a place to publish it, I wrote and asked if he would let me see it. He graciously obliged, and eventually assented to my suggestion that we make the "Mirror of Christendom" available on our web pages. Readers who find his framework perplexing are encouraged to read his provocative book Against Christianity (Canon, 2003), which argues against Christianity as an abstraction or philosophy or worldview in favor of the Church as a concrete historical reality. It is in light of his assumption that the Church should be richly ramified in the world that Leithart suggests some avenues of understanding the providential purposes of the historical reality of Islam. [Posted February 2005, KAM]