When God turned my life toward peacemaking, I had a difficult time finding a mature evangelical leader who was both an authentic peacemaker and a faithful witness to Jesus. Where could I find an older coach or mentor to help me in this transition? I finally found one in David Shenk (Dr. David W. Shenk serves as a global consultant for the Eastern Mennonites, specializing in Christian-Muslim Relations).
I met David years ago and have enjoyed reading his books and articles. But in the last four years I have had the privelege of watching him up-close-and-personal with Muslims. He models an integrated commitment to the good news of peace and Jesus’s teaching about the way of peace. Because of this, Peace Catalyst International recently presented him with the Legacy Award – reflecting a lifetime of peacemaking.
Here’s an example of how David demonstrates what it means to be an authentic peacemaker and a faithful witness. David was participating in a Christian-Muslim dialogue hosted by high-level devout Shi’ite theologians. The theme was peacemaking. As David started sharing about Jesus and the cross, the Muslim participants interrupted him: “Please do not speak about the cross, since the dialogue is about peacemaking. We don’t need to address any unnecessary controversial theological issues.”
But in his disarming, gentle manner, David responded, “The cross is the center of the Gospel of peace revealed in the Bible. Here we see the God who understands our pain, the God who suffers for our sin, the God who loves his enemies. All authentic peacemaking flows from God’s initiative in Jesus the great peacemaker.” So his Muslim guests let him continue!
Most of you will not have the opportunity to watch David in action. But you can learn something about the peaceable ways of Jesus by reading his important book, A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue with Badru Kateregga.
Will you join me in following his example? Will you join the increasing number of evangelicals who both show and share the good news of peace?