Yale scholar to discuss Christian response to Muslims at OC

Miroslav Volf
Miroslav Volf

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Do Christians and Muslims believe in the same God?

That’s the question Miroslav Volf will discuss at Oklahoma Christian University (OC) on April 12.

Volf is the Henry B. Wright Professor of Systematic Theology at Yale University and founding director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture. His OC lecture will be rooted in his 2011 book, Allah: A Christian Response.

“This book challenges Christians to reconsider thinking about Muslims as people who worship a different God than ourselves,” OC professor of New Testament John Harrison said. “Volf is a Trinitarian – he believes in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and knows that Muslims think about God differently than Christians do. But he believes there are enough similarities that we are talking about the same God.”

Harrison said Volf will explain his belief that Allah and God are the same and address the way Christians and Muslims can talk about the similarities and differences between the belief systems.

“Christians should use respectful dialogue when talking to or about Muslims. There is too much language that is adversarial and incites negative feelings,” Harrison said. “I hope that, after hearing this lecture, a Christian could approach a Muslim with a greater sensitivity or respect for our mutual understanding of God.”

Following the lecture, Volf will participate in a panel discussion with Everett Huffard, professor of missions at Harding Graduate School of Theology; Imad Enchassi, endowed professor of Islamic studies at Oklahoma City University; and Mohamed Daadaoui, associate professor of political science at Oklahoma City University.

Volf’s appearance is part of OC’s McGaw Lecture Series. Previous McGaw guests include New Testament scholar N.T. Wright and Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias. Harrison said this year’s focus will be different than in previous years.

“The precious McGaw Lectures were conversations about Christians’ faith amongst each other, but this time we get to have a conversation about our faith with others,” Harrison said. “I encourage Christians, Muslims or anyone interested in Christian-Muslim dialogue to attend.”

The 2016 McGaw Lecture will begin at 7 p.m. in Hardeman Auditorium, with the panel discussion to follow. Tickets are free to the public, but must be reserved in advance at www.oc.edu/volf. If the auditorium fills to capacity, overflow guests will be able to watch a live stream of the lecture in OC’s Judd Theatre.

Oklahoma Christian is ranked as one of the best universities in the western United States by The Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report. A recent study rated Oklahoma Christian as one of the best higher education values in Oklahoma, citing the university’s low net price combined with OC graduates’ high starting salaries.

OC offers undergraduate programs in more than 80 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, computer science, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity, and theological studies.