David Shenk is a Mennonite elder who has spent his life relating to Muslim people all around the world. He tells this story:
“On one occasion after I described the astonishing reconciliation offered in the cross, a Muslim academic and theologian turned to me and said, ‘I have never experienced the church as a peacemaking community. This is the first time I have ever known that Jesus rejected the way of violence against his enemies. As for the church, we Muslims perceive of the church as a community committed to violence when things do not go your way.’ I responded, ‘May God forgive the church for portraying a violent Messiah who is a distorted masquerade of the Messiah of the Gospel. I hope by God’s grace you also can forgive us. Your comments are a call to Christians to repent of the distortions of the Gospel that we so often embrace.’ The Muslim scholar thanked me and with deep emotion said, ‘This is the first time in my life that I have heard a Christian ask forgiveness from Muslims for the sins of the church. In your confession, I have seen an image of the Messiah I have not known.’”
Adapted by Donna Entz from David W. Shenk, Christian, Muslim, Friend: Twelve Paths to Real Relationship (Waterloo, ON and Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 2014), 132.
Attend MCC Ontario's Fall Conference on Nov 14 to see, hear, and experience first-hand how MCC is changing lives and communities through peacebuilding. More info at mcco.ca/fall-conference.