Abraham the missionary


In NRO today, David Klinghoffer (who is Jewish) argues that there shouldn't be objections to Christians communicating the Gospel as they bring supplies and help to the Iraqi people. After all, Abraham, revered by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, was a missionary for monotheism, and used hospitality to create opportunities for his message:

Abraham was pretty aggressive. In another cryptic verse in Genesis, he's said to have planted an "eshel" in Beersheba (21:33). If that is just a kind of tree, as many translators say, who cares that he planted one? According to the Talmud, this eshel refers to an inn Abraham established in the wilderness, a hospice where he taught wayfarers to acknowledge God. The patriarch would give them food, then ask them to say grace.

Sound familiar? As Christian missionaries understand, food creates fellowship. We eat with our friends. And it is friendship that, more than food itself, leads to conversions.

How could any religious believer, who thinks his faith has the answers to ultimate questions, not share those answers with others? The patriarch operated in a free market of ideas, where he was able to share his conception of the One God. Part of his legacy is missionary work. Another part is the liberty to make friends by offering food, and then to tell them about your God.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 23, 2003 6:23 PM.

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