Muslim Clerics Demand Christian Debate in Pakistan. Report by Christian Aid-Mission insider.
26 Nov 2002
In a land known for its Muslim-Christian tensions, an evangelistic team had a polite invitation to share their faith at a Muslim seminary this past July.
In a report received by Christian Aid this week, the leader of a Christian ministry in Pakista
The debate was held at the Muslim theological school. The five-member Christian team arrived at 10 a.m. and was immediately surrounded by 103 Muslim students and 15 Muslim clerics, including three professors and an elderly local chieftain.
"It was a scary scene," the Christian leader told Christian Aid.
However, the head of the seminary greeted the Christian team members in a hospitable manner and served them cold drinks. Then both sides took their places on carpets spread under shady trees with a canvas canopy. Only the leaders of both sides were allowed to speak and ask questions.
The head Muslim cleric spoke at length trying to pinpoint the contradictions in the Scriptures while the Christian leader focused on the sinfulness of human race and need for forgiveness of sin for every human being. A break was taken for lunch and the debate continued in the afternoon.
After six-and-one-half hours of discussion, the Muslim leader announced that they didn't accept the Christian teaching and that therefore in the future the Christians could not sell Bibles in their city. In response to that, the Christian leader challenged the audience that even though they didn't accept the Bible as a holy book, it was still worth reading as literature, since millions of people around the world read it. He suggested that refusing to read it would be a naÃ¯ve act on their part and offered to give a copy to anyone who wished to have one for personal use.
Immediately the whole group stood up for a copy. Most of them had never seen a Bible before. Within ten minutes the supply of 13 Bibles, seven Old Testaments and 17 large print New Testaments was taken and all smaller pieces of literature lapped up. The team members also stayed an additional hour to share their understanding of the Christian faith individually with the Islamic students.
The Christian leader stressed that their Muslim hosts maintained a cool and calm atmosphere throughout the event. Hospitality was generously tendered and most of the participants expressed a desire for more talks in future.