Recently I attended the Common Ground (CG) symposium in Atlanta, Georgia as part of a larger mission team wrestling with issues of contextualization in Muslim ministry. What I saw and heard, however was no small cause for alarm.
Muhammed was made out to be "a prophet in a New Testament sense" with his sins amply justified; the Qur'an the revelation that leads to Biblical truth; the people of Islam those "who love Jesus and His Kingdom" and Allah revealed in the Qur'an as the functional equivalent
of the YHWH.
The ground rules of the conference were:
Never—speak bad against the Qur'an
Never—speak bad against the People
Never---speak bad against the Prophet
Never---speak bad against Allah
In order to accomplish this, CG resorted to using a revisionist history of Islam and the life of Muhammed with a not-too subtle whitewashing of both as well as pouring Christian values into the texts and prescribed activities of Islam to make them appear more saintly. The Al-Fatiyah prayer was said to be "pretty." Theologically the conference could only be portrayed as shallow,
depending on extensive proof-texting and eisegesis to further the agenda.
What is the agenda of the Common Ground Consultants?
I believe it is a way to propose a silver bullet to those who are discouraged about their results in Muslim ministry. Thus, under the guise of results and supposed love for Muslims, CG packages the best of the American dream informed by the spirit of the age, or the Zeitgeist:
-instant and guaranteed results-------the "victory stories" by a global battery of witnesses attested to this.
-persecution avoidance-----chameleons live longer than martyrs went the rationale
- a good image----now you can write home about the immense following you have created
This American dream falls far short of God's mission vision and the results that I see forthcoming are divisiveness, heretical tendencies, spurious conversions, and heterodoxy.
PS an article on this conference 'Common Ground' will be published in www.StFrancisMagazine.info in the near future