Why “points of contact” between Christianity and Islam are mythical—and why Christians must stay true to the task of missions that lies before us.
In September 2007, 138 Muslim scholars and clergymen issued a response to Pope Benedict XVI’s 2006 Regensburg address. The document was entitled “A Common Word Between Us and You” and was designed to promote “open intellectual exchange and mutual understanding” between the world’s Christian and Muslim communities. The authors claimed that the basis for peace between Christianity and Islam has always existed: the Muslim shahadah (“There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His messenger”), together with a historic tradition (“None of you has faith until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself”), are the Islamic equivalents of Christianity’s two greatest commandments (“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” and “[love] your neighbor as yourself”). With such an understanding, a new day can dawn for Christian-Muslim relations.
Responses to this invitation included a letter penned by scholars from Yale Divinity School. “Loving God and Neighbor Together” was published in the New York Times with the names of 135 signatories—including several evangelical scholars, pastors, and missionary statesmen. The Christian authors were clearly impressed “that so much common ground exists” and expressed “hope that undeniable differences and even the very real external pressures that bear down upon us cannot overshadow the common ground upon which we stand together.”
Poston, Larry, "Evaluating “A Common Word”: The Problem of “Points of Contact”" (2010). Bible & Religion Educator Scholarship. 9.