In 2010 Muslims constituted more than a quarter of the world’s population (23.4%) and is expected to increase by about 35% by 2030. 97% of the world Muslim population and about 65% of Christians live in the majority world or Global South. It can be said that Islam poses the greatest challenge for a number of reasons and Muslims remain the largest single unreached people group.
In the wake of 9/11, Islam raises a number of serious theological, missiological, ideological and existential questions for Christian presence and witness in new and challenging ways. Recent attacks against Christians by ISIS in Iraq and Boko Haram in Nigeria as well as terrorist attacks around the world are making the arduous task of Christian witness to Muslims across even more difficult. Radical Islam is not only radicalizing sections of Muslim societies across the globe, but threatens to radicalize sections of Christian populations some of who are growing in their fear and hatred of Islam and Muslims and resorting to revenge attacks in self-defense.
In the name of the God of truth, we (i) refuse to promote lies and caricatures about other faiths, and (ii) denounce and resist the racist prejudice, hatred and fear incited in popular media and political rhetoric. In the name of the God of peace, we reject the path of violence and revenge in all our dealings with people of other faiths, even when violently attacked. The Cape Town Commitment II-C-1
Yet research over the years has shown that over 30% of Muslims who come to faith in Christ testify to the direct impact of Christian lifestyle and personal testimony on their decision. There is no substitute to the physical presence or embodiment of the gospel in the form of informed minds and loving hearts. Unfortunately, recent research shows that 86% of non-Christians might have never met a Christian. There is an urgent need to de-escalate the fear and hatred some Christians harbor and express towards Islam and Muslims, and to instill confidence in the gospel with the view of inspiring the 2.6 billion Christians to be living epistles in Muslim contexts. It is in this spirit that the Lausanne Islam issue network seeks to work to equip and resource the global church for the task ahead.
Toward this end, a Global Consultation on Islam was convened in Ghana in April 2014, gathering 40 diverse evangelical influencers from 20 countries with extensive experience of ministry in Islamic contexts, and several who had come to faith from Muslim backgrounds.The focus of this consultation was on resourcing Christians in the majority world for ministry to Muslims. More resources are forthcoming from the Lausanne Islam issue network.