For many years LSTC has used Chicago’s many cultures and various faiths to teach students how to witness to God’s love in Christ Jesus while understanding and respecting the faiths of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and neighbors from other faith traditions. The seminary has long been teaching courses on Jewish contributions to Christian thought and since 1991 has offered courses on Islam and Christian-Muslim relations. Over the years, LSTC has been privileged to welcome Muslims from around the world who come to study for advanced degrees with concentrations in interfaith studies.
LSTC was chosen for this unique interfaith exchange because of its excellent faculty, its diverse urban setting and the resources available through LSTC’s relationship with the Hyde Park Cluster Seminaries and the University of Chicago. The events of September 11, 2001 have only demonstrated the importance of these endeavors.
Thanks to a generous gift, LSTC is able to enhance these efforts and move into a deeper, more intentional and sustained relationship with the Muslim community. September 2006 marked the establishment of the Harold S. Vogelaar Chair in Christian-Muslim Studies and Interfaith Relations and the inauguration of a Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice.
The primary work of the Chair and Center is to foster and deepen relations between Christians and Muslims, and in doing so to make significant contributions to the larger purpose of promoting peace and building bridges of mutual understanding, cooperation and respect among people of all faiths. A strong core of classes in Islam and Christian-Muslim relations will routinely be offered, with other courses offered to supplement them.
In addition, courses in Islam and Christian-Muslim relations are available at other ACTS schools. These offerings provide many opportunities for students who wish to take a course or two in Christian-Muslim relations or for students seeking a concentration in Christian-Muslim studies.