October 21, 2018


Christians are hospitable because Jesus is Lord: An evangelical case for pluralism: a review of  Christian Hospitality and Muslim Immigration in an Age of Fear by Matthew Kaemingk (Jason Byassee October 19, 2018, Christian Century)

The question asked by both liberals and conservatives is what Muslims must do to integrate into Europe. No one asks what Europe must do to welcome Muslims. The presumption is that secular liberalism is the unquestioned hegemonic power: take off those hijabs.

Kaemingk isn't surprised at liberalism's failure. Every ideology can be­come hardened and brittle once in power; that's precisely why we need multiple competing interests. Western Europe once figured it was the eschatological culmination of all history: with brutal religion left behind, tolerance and multiculturalism were unquestioned and unquestionable. No longer. Kaemingk observes: "a small group of veiled Muslim women walking down the Champs-Élysées confront the young, secular Parisians they pass with a series of questions many of them have never asked during their young lives." The hijabs challenge secular presumptions.

So what's the answer? There is none writ large. Kaemingk professes to write for Christians, not to offer universal truths. Yet he finds a resource in a surprising place--the 19th-century Dutch Reformed theologian and politician Abraham Kuyper.

Christians in Holland and America have often dropped their distinctiveness in attempting to show the world they can be tolerant. Kaemingk's response is not hostile, but it is accurate: these churches win some outside respect but few converts. At the other end of the spectrum, right-wing Christians just parrot their secular counterparts in the culture wars. Kaemingk presents Kuyper as someone as christologically anchored as the conservatives, which enables him to be more pluralist than the liberals. He allows for an "uncompromising commitment to the exclusive lordship of Jesus Christ" and also "an uncompromising commitment to love those who reject that lordship."

Posted by at October 21, 2018 6:53 PM