250 collegians gain insights into Islam at Golden Gate

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)--A better understanding of Islam was the agenda at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary’s annual mission conference Feb. 13-15. Hosted by The David and Faith Kim School of Intercultural Studies, the conference drew approximately 250 college students from across the West to the seminary’s northern California campus in Mill Valley.

“Within our culture today, there is a sense of fear about Islam,” said Tyler Watts, a student from California Baptist University. “This conference has helped me understand the nature of the Islam faith and how, out of love, we can more effectively share the Gospel to Muslims.”

Bringing in experts from both academia and the mission field, the conference offered practical help to reach the nearly 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide with the message of Jesus Christ.

“This has been a strategic opportunity for Golden Gate to host this event and to connect these potential missionaries with one of the most demanding and thrilling mission fields on earth,” said Ray Tallman, director of the Kim School of Intercultural Studies, who has worked with Muslim people in North Africa and the Middle East throughout his career.

One of the featured speakers was Imad Shehadeh, founder and president of Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary, the only state-recognized seminary in Jordan. “God’s power is one of the most untapped powers in the universe,” Shehadeh said. “As believers, there is not a task that is insurmountable.”

Brannan Duncan, a student at Golden Gate who recently returned from the United Arab Emirates, felt the conference added to his depth of understanding of Islam.

“Islam has become such a focal point in the world today since 9/11; this conference has renewed my passion to return to the Muslim people and share with them my love for Christ in their context,” Duncan said.

In addition to the featured speakers, seminar sessions focused on such topics as strategies for ministering to Muslims, avenues for mobilizing believers to meet worldwide mission needs and the historical roots of religious tension in the Middle East.

“What this conference has done is bring a realistic perspective to the Islamic faith. Since 9/11, everybody tells us what Islam is, but the important reality is that Muslims are people who need Christ,” said Keri Sheckler, director of student mobilizations at California Baptist University.

Bill Wagner, the E. Hermond Westmoreland Professor of Evangelism at Golden Gate, presented his new book, “How Islam Plans to Change the World,” which he feels allows believers to understand Islam and its theology.

“The events on 9/11 issued what many leading historians feel will be a clash of civilizations between Islam and Christianity. Therefore, it is imperative that Christians spend time understanding the theology of Islam,” Wagner said.

“The call of God in a believer's life is always a call to step into something larger than oneself,” said Stacey Harris, program administrator for the Kim School. “Through their participation in the missions conference, my prayer is that students were able to release some of the fear that surrounds this topic and gain the information necessary to share the Gospel with the ends of the earth.”

Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary is a Cooperative Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention and operates five campuses, in Northern California, Southern California, the Pacific Northwest, Arizona and Colorado.


Download Story