In promoting dialogue with our Muslim neighbors (and here I am thinking of the more formal structured conversation rather than informal on the street interactions) I am often asked how we can do both dialogue and witness together. Is our goal to evangelize our Muslim friends? Or is to promote social justice, community cohesion and peace? If you want to evangelize - then you enter into dialogue with a hidden agenda and that doesn't seem right to some folks. On the other hand, if you only dialogue - there seems to be a spirit of compromise that also doesn't seem right.
But Jesus gave us both the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:34-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20). It doesn't seem right that Jesus would give us two conflicting commands.
Therefore as we approach Muslims we have to hold these two commands in tension. There isn't an easy answer - except to enter into relationships with a spirit of honesty and authenticity. Ultimately the goal is to form relationships and appreciate that we are all image bearers of God who should be respected and heard. We in the Reformed tradition have new opportunities to explore through dialogue, theological, social and practical subjects with Muslims and followers of other faith traditions. Hopefully, out of these interactions, long term relationships will be formed, and the light of the Gospel will shine through.
Have you noticed the tension between the Great Commandment and the Great Commission? How do we balance dialogue and evangelism?