The Center for Islamic Studies, established in 1992 as a research community for Islamic missions, publishes the biannual journal Muslim-Christian Encounter. As the only journal specializing in Islamic missions and Christian-Muslim relations in the religious sphere of South Korea, articles on Islamic theology, politics, history, economy, as well as various issues on Christian-Muslim relations and methodologies for Christian missions to Muslims are published in Muslim-Christian Encounter. The journal publishes articles of depth written by prominent domestic and international Islamic specialists, including Peter Riddle, Colin Chapman, Martin Accad, Ida Glasser, and Katherine E Brown.
Miroslav Volf compares the Muslim faith and that of Christian and argues that both of them share a similar understanding of the fear of God. Volf thus suggests that the idea of having a common God and the common fear of that God can motivate both Muslims and Christians to purse the common good. This paper aims to evaluate Volf's argument by examining the concept of the fear of God in Sufism and Christianity. This paper examines the writings of Al-Ghazali and that of Paul to compare their understandings of the topic, fear of God. This comparative study will enable us to understand the similarities and differences in the understandings of Sufism and of Christianity. In addition, it will provide a common ground on which the two religious groups can continue or start their conversation.
On one hand, there are clear similarities between Al-Ghazali's understanding of the fear of God and Paul's. Both understand the fear of God as the appropriate attitude of believers, and this fear of God derives from the eschatological perspective, that is the understanding of God as the eschatological judge. On the other hand, there are also differences in the understandings of Al-Ghazali and Paul. Al-Ghazali understands and explains fear as a couplet with hope, and argues that the believers are to overcome the former and focus on the latter. However, Paul does not understand the fear of God as something to overcome, rather he argues that all believes should contain the fear of God. In addition, the hope that Al-Ghazali mentions is about the forgiving of sins at the last judgment, while Paul explains understands hope as the hope of resurrection that is given to all believers whose sins are already forgiven. Only when one rightly understands the similarities and differences between the understanding of the fear of God in Sufism and Christianity, there can be a true conversation between the two groups.
Conflict and tolerance coexisted during the Muslim rule of medieval Islamic Spain (711-1492). Islam, which successfully conquered the Iberian Peninsula in 715, destroyed most church buildings in Andalusia, Spain, and converted some into mosques. This study examines the historical process in which the basilica church was converted into mosques, and then re-converted into churches after the Spanish Reconquista. That is to say, this study analyzes the adaptive reuse of Cordoba's Mosque into a Cathedral from historical and architectural perspectives and examines the missiological rationale behind it. The following are the missiological implications and applications for today. First, the conversion of the Cordoba mosque to cathedral demonstrates the adaptive reuse of physical buildings as a place of Christian worship. Second, the Cordoba Mosque-Cathedral can serve as a bridge for dialogue and reconciliation between Christianity and Islam. Third, the Cordoba Mosque-Cathedral represents a historical legacy to foster peaceful coexistence and tolerance rather than conflict and violence.
Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) represents a theological legacy of the Medieval Times with his Scholastic theology that covers most of the matters comprehensively and systematically. Then, do his enormous works contain any portion of writings that address the missional concerns of his time? He lived his life in the midst of the Crusades when the relationship between Christians and non-Christians in general got worsened and the tension between Christians and Muslims in particular got more aggravated. Among his works, this study inquires about three magna opera, i.e, Summa Theologica, Summa Contra Gentiles, and De Unitate Intellectus Contra Averroistas. Each demonstrates the quintessence of his theological and philosophical genius and stance. In what sense do these three works contain Tomas’s missional concerns for so-called the Infidels of his time? Who are they? What are the missional implications of his works? Thomas laid the groundwork of his approach and outreach to the Infidels. For muslims who do not accept the authority of the Christian Scripture, it is not helpful to use the Bible. They don’t have the capacity to understand the divine truth based on the special revelation of God. Rather, he uses the natural reasons to refute the errors of pagan thoughts based on Aristotelian philosophy. Aristotelianism was warmly welcomed in the Islamic world and flourished during the Middle Ages. For Jews, he argues, Christians can use the Old Testament to refute their errors in Judaism. Likewise, the New Testament can be used to correct the heretics and apostates who were once Christians. Overall, Thomas Aquinas played his role as a philosopher rather than a theologian to communicate the Christian message to the unbelievers, especially to the muslims. In this sense, he was a missional apologist of his time.