Having recently offered my own response to A Common Word's "Open Letter" (a letter which encourages ecumenism between Muslims and Christians) I decided that it would be interesting to follow the responses of the main addressees. As these responses come in, I will update this post with their content. Up to this point, there have been really no surprises. To the 138 Muslim scholars who clearly deny the Trinity, Christ's deity and crucifixion - the responses from "Christian" leaders couldn't be more positive and upbeat:
Archbishop of Canterbury (Rowan Williams): "The Archbishop said that the letter’s emphasis on the fundamental importance of belief in the unity of God and love of neighbour is welcome. He said ”the letter rightly makes it clear that these are scriptural foundations equally for Jews, Christians, and for Muslims, and are the basis for justice and peace in the world. There is much here to study and to build on. The letter’s understanding of the unity of God provides an opportunity for Christians and Muslims to explore together their distinctive understandings and the ways in which these mould and shape our lives. The call to respect, peace and goodwill should now be taken up by Christians and Muslims at all levels and in all countries and I shall endeavour in this country and internationally, to do my part in working for the righteousness which this letter proclaims as our common goal." [more]
President, the World Lutheran Federation (Mark S. Hanson): "The letter attests to both the love of God and our shared heritage of true hospitality to one’s neighbor. These commandments convey prophetic witness for mutual and vital co-existence that Christians and Muslims must embrace in one another. The letter further references how the commands to love God and neighbor are linked “between the Qur’an, the Torah and the New Testament.” I encourage everyone everywhere to read the beauty of these passages found in the sacred texts of the Abrahamic faiths, which signify God’s vision for how and whom we love in a broken world. This common vision for Jews, Muslims, and Christians signifies fidelity and fellowship in a world where conflict offends our common heritage as children of God." [more]
President, Baptist World Alliance (David Coffey): I am not surprised by the tone of the letter calling for respect, peace and goodwill, as during my recent visit to the King Abdullah II of Jordan (September 23, 2007) we discussed The Amman Message (2004) and the King informed me that the letter from the Muslim scholars would be issued in early October. The Amman Message is a significant document and emphasises [sic] that the true message of Islam is built on the principles of tolerance, moderation, coexistence, openness, dialogue. It renounces violence and terrorism and stands up to the extremists’ false allegations and precepts. The letter from the Muslim scholars builds on The Amman Message and it is impossible not to respond positively to its key message that differences should not cause hatred and strife between Christians and Muslims.
World Alliance of Reformed Churches (Pres. Clifton Kirkpatrick & Gen. Sec. Setri Nyomi): Response to “A Common Word between us and you”. It is with a sense of appreciation that we received the invitation from you with this title. Your call is very timely and we agree that people of faith have the capacity, and indeed have a responsibility to draw from the resources of our different faith traditions to work together for peace – in a world in which religious sentiments have been wrongly used to foment conflict and war. We appreciate the passages you referred to in both the Holy Bible and the Holy Qur’an. The World Alliance of Reformed Churches welcomes this initiative. We do have an interest in furthering a dialogue based on our common commitments to love God and neighbour. [more]
President, Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue (Jean-Louis Tauran): "It is a very interesting letter," said the cardinal, indicating that it is "a new document because it comes from both Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims." It is also "a non-polemical document with numerous quotes from both the Old Testament and the New Testament," he added. Cardinal Tauran then considered what religious leaders must do to prevent the fusion of violence and religion underlining the need "to invite the followers [of religions] to share the three convictions contained in the letter: that God is One; that God loves us and we must love Him; that God calls us to love our neighbor. I would say that this represents a very encouraging sign because it shows that good will and dialogue are capable of overcoming prejudices, This is a spiritual approach to inter-religious dialogue which I would call dialogue of spirituality. Muslims and Christians must respond to one question: in your life, is God truly One?" [ref]
Now - compare the words of these men to the precious words of our Lord and Savior:
Matthew 10:32-33: 32 “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 “But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.