More than 100 prominent Christian leaders responded to an open letter signed by 138 Muslim scholars and leaders calling for peace and cooperation between Christians and Muslims. The response letter was issued by the Yale Center for Faith and Culture.

Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners; Rick Warren, founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church; John Stott, of All Souls Church in London; Bill Hybels, of Willow Creek Community Church; and Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, were among the leaders who signed the response.

The Christian document included the following:

“Peaceful relations between Muslims and Christians stand as one of the central challenges of this century, and perhaps of the whole present epoch.”

“If we can achieve religious peace between these two religious communities, peace in the world will clearly be easier to attain.”

“Given the deep fissures in the relations between Christians and Muslims today, the task before us is daunting. And the stakes are great. The future of the world depends on our ability as Christians and Muslims to live together in peace.”

The Christian leaders also asked Muslims to forgive Christians for their past sins, including the Crusades and the present excesses in the “war on terror”, then they quoted the teaching of Jesus: “First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out your neighbor’s eye” (Matthew 7:5).

The Christian leaders concluded by saying that they hope that the dialogue would continue and go beyond just words.

Comment: This is a good development. The Muslim scholars were looking for some kind of feedback and were somewhat disappointed by the response in Rome.

Hopefully this will take it to a new level where leaders and scholars of both religions will get together for further dialogue and eventually some kind of joint action.             

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