Jesus and the Cross: Reflections of Christians from Islamic Contexts

by David Emmanuel Singh, ed.

David Emmanuel Singh brings together eighteen scholars from Afghanistan, East Africa, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Palestine, and more to explore Muslim objections and barriers to understanding the cross of Jesus.

Regnum, P.O. Box 70, Oxford, OX26HB, 2008, 226 pages, £19.99.

Reviewed by Paul W. Shea, Intercultural Studies Department, Houghton College, Houghton, NY.

Two things make Jesus and the Cross valuable. First, it deals with an issue of critical importance in a day of confrontation between Islam and Christianity. Second, it provides much needed voices from around the world. The Western Church must listen to its global colleagues, especially when their history and experience shape their theological insights. In my earliest personal encounter with a Muslim, the cross was the major obstacle. I eagerly engaged in a conversation with an international graduate student in my dormitory lounge during a student conference hosted at my college. All was well until I somewhat naively explained that the death of Christ was necessary for our salvation from sin. No way, according to my new friend! With great agitation, he first denied the crucifixion based on the clear statement in the Qur’an that it never happened (Qur’an 4:157-158). Then, he denied the need for personal redemption, in agreement with so many other Muslims (c.f. Kateregga 1999, 125).

David Emmanuel Singh brings together eighteen scholars from Afghanistan, East Africa, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Palestine, and more to explore Muslim objections and barriers to understanding the cross of Jesus. With rich experience and credibility these new (Baba Immanuel and more) and familiar (Kenneth Cragg) voices reveal how Christians in the context of the Islamic world explain the cross of Christ among those whose traditions and beliefs deny the cross and its implications.

Singh organizes the selections under: The Cross in Scriptures; Reflections from Contexts; and Theological Reflections. Themes from the Old and New Testaments, such as the “lamb of God,” “the suffering prophet-servant,” and fulfillment of prophecy, are introduced in Part One. Part Two is perhaps the most profound contribution, offering regional slants on issues of the cross. Part Three skillfully demonstrates theology from within context with a variety of sometimes complex and challenging reflections on the atonement and incarnation. These essays not only help in the proclamation of the gospel, but expand good theological debate and understanding of the great doctrine of the work of Christ. Here are exemplary case studies for wrestling with other theological issues in global contexts.

The timeless power of the cross of Christ should propel us into gracious conversation with even our most hostile adversaries. Singh provides a wonderful resource for personal growth and corporate Christian response. This recent entry in the Global Theological Voices series (Oxford Centre for Mission Studies) is an excellent tool for individual and classroom exploration of the gospel in context.

Check these titles:

Craig, Kenneth. 1999. Jesus and the Muslim: An Exploration. Oxford: One World.

Kateregga, Badru D. and David W. Shenk. 1999. A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue. Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press.

Tennent, Timothy C. 2007. Theology in the Context of World Christianity. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan.

Copyright © 2009 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS.


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