Reflecting on Christian Muslim Relations: Dr. Kenneth Cragg

In the years 1957 to 1962, the Near East Christian Council published a sequence of Study Papers under the title OPERATION REACH, of which there were five series, covering some fifty different, and basic, topics in Islam. The whole was intended as a venture in Christian understanding of Islamic belief and practice and as an aid to intelligent, expressive Christian ministry among Muslim neighbors.

This is the second in a series of reflections Dr. Cragg prepared on Islamic themes.  More will be added in weeks to come.

John Hubers, PhD

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kenneth-craggINTRODUCTION

The purpose of these studies, which it is hoped to continue from September, 1957 to June, 1958, is to provide material for intellectual and spiritual activity in the Churches and to serve them in their attitudes and duties towards Islam today. There is a very real relationship between a growing mind in Christ and a growing expressiveness towards Muslims.

A STUDY IN THE FATIHAH

How right it is to begin here in. any series of Islamic studies. The first Surah of the Qur~an is truly “The Opener.” It leads at once into the Bismillah, the most characteristic of all Muslim invocations with its reliance upon the most frequent and tremendous of the Ninety nine Names of God — “Al-Rahman al-Rahim.”

It is always a problem where and how to begin in any great matter. You remember how majestically Shakespeare solved it in Hamlet, with the challenge of a disturbed sentry: “Who goes there?” and immediate intimations of things untoward impending, and the central question as to who in truth it is who goes distractedly across the stage of life.  What is this prince of Denmark and what are we  “sprawling between earth and heaven.”

But when you open the Qur’an you are no less impressively and surely introduced by the Fatihah into the intent and content of the whole book. It is right to see in this the first Surah an inclusive introduction to all that is characteristically Islamic. Here is what most appropriately belongs in and with Islam.

Kenneth Cragg the Fatiha

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2 thoughts on “Reflecting on Christian Muslim Relations: Dr. Kenneth Cragg

    • Hi, Julie,

      Glad you found that. Craig was a mentor to me during the time I spent in ministry in the Middle East. I was privileged, in fact, to sit at his feet at at least three different Gulf Churches conferences. There is none better to help Christians understand what it means to be the very presence of Christ among our Muslim neighbors.

      Would you mind if I posted a link to your blog on the website?

      John Hubers, PhD

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