The Gospel clarifies Christian-Muslim relationships

By September 23, 2010

Ghana (MNN) — There is a Ghanaian proverb which says
"too much meat does not spoil soup."

It's also a fairly accurate description of the Ghanaian
ethno-religious make-up. According to
the 2000 population census, Ghanaians are predominantly Christian, with more
than two-thirds (68.8%) of the total population claiming to be Christian.
Muslims are the second-largest religious group with 15.9% followed by
practitioners of Traditional African Religions with 8.5%.

Christians and Muslims mix and do things in common from the
family to national levels. That is the
good news. The bad news is that Ghana still faces inter-religious tensions and
violence. The question is: does that come from efforts to convert Muslims
to Christianity?

Rody Rodeheaver with
I.N. Network says the issue goes deeper
than religion. "I don't think that it's
an issue of ‘too much meat in the soup;' I think it's an issue of being called
to proclaim the Gospel."

Rodeheaver noted a development during his most recent visit. "Where there once were Christian churches,
there now are mosques in those little villages that are being funded from
Islamic countries."

There has been hostility in response to evangelistic efforts
in the rural areas, but that's mainly because people are responding to the
Gospel. "As this continues to grow in
the area, there's going to be more pushback, so now is the time for the church
of Christ to expand."

What was a "dialogue of life" at the
grass-roots level is being shaped by the excess of poverty. According to Rodeheaver, Islam is growing
fast. "The way that they are
doing that is offering food, offering to provide showers and sanitation IF you
will become a Muslim." 

Ironically, it is that approach that stirs the accusations
of "coercion" and "proselytism" when Muslims have protested Christian work in
the area. Rodeheaver responds, "There are needs
that need to be provided for, but those really go in a holistic fashion, and
they're not used as a ploy."

There are also some who say Ghanaian Christians are not
adequately prepared to respond to the challenge of the Muslim presence. To
that, Rodeheaver says they're trying to get church planters in place throughout
northern Ghana. "Our greatest challenge
is to continue to develop the church in that area and have people hear the

I.N. Network USA supports two church planters in Ghana as
well as the national director and other staff members. You can help by
sponsoring the nationals who work as I.N. Network Ghana staff and in the
schools and vocational training programs for the former Trokosi slave women and
their children.

"Pray that the people who are there can articulate their
faith in a very meaningful way, that they can feel God's protection, and be
bold in their proclamation of the Gospel."

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