How biblical are Iftar meals with Muslims?

Since the world has been struck by Covid-19, participating in any form of social gathering has proved challenging or impossible, but this crisis has not completely disrupted everything. Muslims all over the world are still in the midst of Ramadan, which this year fell between 24th April and 23rd May, and while this year (in many places) it may not be feasible for Christians to join Muslims as they break fast, now is the perfect time to consider whether doing so is biblical. Mission leader and author Steve Bell explores…

During Ramadan it is not unusual for some Christians to break fast in Iftar meals with Muslims they know – some in a Muslim home; some in their own home; some on mosque turf and others on church turf. Some Christians ask how appropriate all this is. 

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Churches receive believers of Muslim heritage

In turbulent times, God is working out his agenda to add to his church, people from every nation, tribe, ethnicity and language on earth (Rev.7:9). Iranians of a Muslim family background are finding their way to Christ in unprecedented numbers. What’s more, they are also attaching to local churches. It’s vital that existing congregations respond well – here’s why.

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Mission begins with “ask”

At a day event for the Interserve supporter-network, Paul Hardingham the minister at St. Peter’s church in Halliwell, Bolton, gave a terrific Bible focus from Matthew 9:35-38. Here’s a shortened rendering of that text:

35 Jesus went through towns and villages teaching, proclaiming the good news and healing. 36 …the crowds [provoked] compassion on him, because they were harassed and helpless. 37…he said “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest…to send workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9)

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A good investment in life?

It may seem obvious to say it – but – we only have one life to live and one chance to invest it.

I have been spectacularly bad at discerning how to do this wisely. For instance, as a son of an economic migrant, my first attempt was to invest myself in my identity as a member of an ethnic minority; my second attempt was into becoming a Counter-tenor in an Oxbridge college choir followed by a choral career; when that idea flopped my third attempt was into education and to become one of Britain’s earliest black head teachers; my fourth and final attempt was in the direction of Anglican ordination as one of the earlier non-Caucasian intake.

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Chaos, fear, pain, anger – then Jesus came!

Britain sustained three home-grown terrorist attacks in 3 months. While the nation reeled the inferno at Grenfell Tower happened; the majority of victims were Muslim. Yet the Bible insists that even in despair God gives ‘treasure in darkness’ as a sign of the Kingdom breaking in. The media marvelled but couldn’t quite explain the impromptu solidarity – here’s some evidence of it.

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Identity Politics

Heads are turned by Islamic violence while behind our backs the Judeo-Christian heritage is being subtly eroded – the latest casualty is the concept of “gender”. The Bible says: ‘In the beginning God created humankind male and female’ (Gen.1:27-28) that can ‘increase and multiply’ but the secularist ‘liberal-left’ now says gender has little to do with our birth anatomy. What’s going on?                                                                                                                                                       Read more

‘Integration’ or ‘Social Cohesion’ – which will it be?

Analysts have concluded that the notion of ‘multi-culturalism’ led to Britain looking more like a ‘community of communities’. Since then the government was still getting to grips with the routine levels of immigration when emergency migration to Europe began. It seemed to destroy any hope of healthy inclusion. Since then the debate is over what we should be aiming for – “integration” or “social cohesion”? What is the difference and is either actually achievable? Read more

‘Guidance’ – action or reaction?

‘By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. (Hebs.11:8-9

Any missional activity brings us into a collision course with “guidance”. We read around the subject, theologise about it and discuss issues ad infinitum; but how can we get it and then act on it?Read more

Flex or break – you choose!

When my wife was a babe in arms, the family was involved in a head-on car crash, which propelled her through the windscreen and over the bonnet. The little bundle bounced down the road and into the bushes. She was eventually found but what saved her life was a thing called ‘torsion’.

When I flew into Heathrow from Islamabad in winter, the runway was frosted over, so the pilot used auto-pilot. The plane landed with a hard thump and the fuselage contorted; lockers flew open; bags fell out and people screamed! Apparently it’s ‘torsion’ that stops aircrafts breaking up.

The dictionary says: ‘Torsion is an engineering term for the action of twisting or being twisted’. So “pressure” bears down on us but ‘torsion’ twists us. Here are a few missional applications:Read more