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Issue Date:  December 7, 2007

Christians, Muslims pledge to seek common ground

A wide range of Christian theologians and leaders have endorsed a document calling for increased efforts to work with Muslims for peace and justice. The move responds to an earlier call from Muslim leaders seeking common ground.

The new document, “Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to ‘A Common Word Between Us and You,’ ” was signed by almost 300 Christians and published as an advertisement Nov. 18 in The New York Times.

“Given the deep fissures in the relations between Christians and Muslims today, the task before us is daunting. And the stakes are great,” the statement reads. “The future of the world depends on our ability as Christians and Muslims to live together in peace.”

Four scholars at Yale Divinity School initially released the document in mid-October, responding to an open letter by 138 Islamic clerics and scholars to Pope Benedict XVI about the need for partnerships aimed at peace.

The Yale document has expanded to include endorsements from such varied Christian voices as Rick Warren, author and pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.; William A. Graham, dean of Harvard Divinity School; Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary; Robert Schuller, founder of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif.; Richard Cizik, vice president of the National Association of Evangelicals; David Neff, editor in chief of the evangelical magazine Christianity Today; and John M. Buchanan, editor of the mainline Protestant magazine The Christian Century.

The Christian leaders acknowledge that people of their faith “have been guilty of sinning against our Muslim neighbors” and ask for forgiveness.

Organizers of the document hope it will lead to conferences and workshops involving some of the signatories as well as other Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders.

-- Religion News Service

National Catholic Reporter, December 7, 2007

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