Interfaith Peace – Mennonites and Muslims

Third Way Café is a ministry website that basically presents Anabaptist Christian topics of special interest to Mennonites. Recently the Third Way Café has been promoting a documentary called Waging Peace: Muslim and Christian Alternatives[1], an hour-long documentary about peacemaking in Christian and Muslim traditions. The goal of this documentary and recommended online links is to nurture a better understanding for world peace.

Links that appear in the documentary[2] include several Islamic centres as well as various Islamic and interfaith blogs. One belongs to Lynn Hybels who is listed with several Muslim leaders under Third Way Cafe’s Peace Blend, Meet the People list.[3] What kind of peace blend does Hybels offer? An Israel Today article explains:

Hybels is close friends with Nora Carmi of Sabeel, an organization that pushes vitriolic anti-Israeli propaganda in the name of “peace and justice.”
All of this eclipses Hybels’ attempts to become a neutral peacemaker. While certainly not an anti-Semite, she is guilty by close association with those who accuse Israel of everything from genocide to deicide. Perhaps unwittingly, she is carrying on Christianity’s awful anti-Semitic legacy.[4]

The wife of Bill Hybels, Lynne Hybels is a contributing editor for Jim Wallis and Sojourners magazine, was appointed to President Obama’s faith Council, and has partnered with Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren at “Christ at the Checkpoint”.[5]

Some other links that the Waging Peace website does not necessarily endorse, but have been provided by the Third Way Café website[6], include several Islamic and interfaith websites.

In addition, Third Way Café lists some resources for those who want to explore more about this topic[7]. One of these recommended resources is A Common Word: Muslims and Christians on Love God and Neighbor[8], a book that contains the original letter, “A Common Word between Us and You,” that stressed the common ground of Islam and Christianity in love of God and love of neighbor.[9]

Thirdway Café also provides three video clips from the Waging Peace documentary[10]. The first one is about weekly breakfast meetings of a Mennonite pastor and a Muslim imam in Ontario, Canada, and Muslim and Mennonite students learning from each others’ faith traditions at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate. The second clip shows an interfaith peace camp where children of Islam, Christian and Jewish faiths learn about the others’ traditions. The third is about what Christians and Muslims historically have ‘in common’ regarding peacemaking.

Is partnering with Islamic and supporters of anti-Israel campaigns the way to make biblical peace? While they are blending together, learning to understand eachother, and trying to bring about an alternative world peace, are these Mennonites sharing the biblical gospel of peace with the Muslims[11]? Did Jesus tell his disciples to go make peace with the world and understand the other faiths, or go into all the world and preach the gospel? Without telling Muslims the truth about the Prince of Peace, is such a peace blend even possible[12]?

Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously. Psalm 96:10

[4] The Impossible People: Lynne Hybels:
[5] See: “Christ at the Checkpoint” and Lynne Hybels:
[8] Miroslav Volf, Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal, Melissa Yarrington, Eerdmans, 2009.
[9] See: The Foolishness of the Yale Proposal, I CAN’T SIGN THE LETTER: Peace at the cost of absolute truth is conciliation with a lie by Eric Barger
[12] Danish Psychologist: ‘Integration of Muslims in Western Societies is Not Possible’ by FELIX STREUNING


Spotlight on The March MB Herald – Movie Review

The new CROSS CURRENTS movie review section in the MB Herald, called Great Stories on screen for 2009, says:

As the entertainment world’s attention turns to …outstanding movies for the year, the MB Herald asked some cinephiles among our ranks to offer their suggestions.

Good movies, says the intro, “help us to see our world more clearly,” and “see ourselves as we really are,” while empowering us “to love the world more passionately…and to seek the transformation of the world in the light of the kingdom of God.”

Among the animated features which have been chosen to be in the spotlight by Ken Priebe, an animator and member of Cedar Park MB Church, Delta, B.C., is Avatar:

Directed by James Cameron
Twentieth Century Fox

Avatar explored the way scientific, religious, military, and commercial institutions interact. Despite weaknesses (familiar plot, characters lacking depth), the film moved beyond its breathtaking visual effects to prompt some interesting religious questions. What would be possible if scientists and people of faith united to save the earth from military and commercial conquest? How would the relationship between science and religion be different if faith were measurable? If religious groups are primitive and tiny compared to commercial and military might, would uniting in the face of a colossal task be effective? It’s exciting to see a movie that inspires wonder and hope for the future.

page 36, MB Herald, VOLUME 49, NO. 3, March 2010

How the MB Herald allowed the promotion of this movie as an inspiration of hope for the future is simply mind boggling. Besides the fact that the message in this movie clashes with the passive Mennonite gospel of preaching peace, Avatar is a platform for preaching a new blend of Hinduism, shamanism, and goddess spirituality. However, this Mennonite magazine is not alone in its downward spiral of compromising Christianity as it grasps at straws to redeem the culture.

Christianity Today, the Emerging Church Movement, Rick Warren’s Global P.E.A.C.E. plan, and those among some mission and parachurch organizations (e.g., those that follow the leadership and teachings of C. Peter Wagner) have a penchant for trying to find buried nuggets of Christ in the culture, or accommodating Christianity to the culture, and vice versa. Many are about sanctifying and redeeming the paganism of a society, or at least trying to harmonize and work with all religions. This is all fodder for syncretism and ecumenism. They are contributing to the religion of the Antichrist.

…Warnings are also clear in the Word of God that a great spiritual battle is being waged all around us, that we are in the days of rampant apostasy in the church, and that we are being subjected to an increasing antichristianity in the world.

The Avatar Gospel

For more Christian reviews of Avatar from biblical perspective, see these:

The Mind-changing Myths of AVATAR
Blending Hinduism, Shamanism and Goddess Spirituality

Is there anything that redeems ‘Avatar’?
Drew Zahn


Disappointing film reviews