Imagine this: A day is coming when Jew and Gentile will live in peace (Shalom) because they worship the one true God and are saved by the one true savior – Jesus / Y’shua / Isa. The Bible tells us that Christ is our peace (Ephesians 2:14) and that he has torn down the dividing wall of hostility between otherwise warring factions.
The Isaac-Ishmael Initiative exists to be part of tearing down the walls of hostility between the descendants of Abraham’s two sons – Isaac and Ishmael – who will be reunited in the Kingdom of God. Today we wait expectedly for that fulfillment.
We are not naive; today there are more than 400 peace plans in the Middle East. None of them are working very well. And yet the peace (shalom) offered in and through Jesus the Christ is the ultimate hope for Jew and Arab alike.
There are more than 400 peace initiatives in the Middle East today – governmental, non-governmental, faith-based, secular and humanitarian. We guess they are not going so well. Isaac-Ishmael is not a social-political peace initiative, although we care about such efforts. Rather, our approach to Shalom involves three aspects:
We TRAIN LOCAL CHURCHES to love and minister to Muslims and Jews in their local contexts as well as globally. This is done through workshops, seminars, classes, and preaching.
We EQUIP LEADERS (Muslim-Background Believers, Jewish Believers, and people ministering amongst both groups) in leadership development and spiritual formation.
We encourage COMMUNITIES OF FAITH (congregations) of Christ followers who are committed to and passionate for Muslims and Jews and who actively embrace them as part of the community.
When we speak about people from Muslim and Jewish backgrounds it raises important and legitimate biblical questions. The Isaac-Ishmael Initiative does not fall under a label – Reformed, Dispensational – very readily. We embrace the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed as our core confessional statements.
In addition we believe the following:
It is only through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior that a person is made right with God. The essence of Grace is God finding us in Christ. People must come to a personal understanding of and submission to Jesus Christ in order to be in relationship with God. (Romans 10:10-14)
Jews and Muslims have a common heritage through the bloodline of Abraham to Isaac and Ishmael. The descendants of Isaac are people of the Covenant and the descendants of Ishmael are given a specific blessing of God. (Genesis 17:4-14, 17:22-27, 21:12-13)
The children of Abraham through Ishmael and Isaac will inherit the Kingdom of God as prophesied through Isaiah in chapters 59 and 60, as well as in the book of Revelation (the Great Multitude).
Sharing our faith with Jews and Muslims is a central part of in the Great Commission (Matthew 28) and is a sign of Kingdom living. Neither Jews nor Muslims is to be excluded from the Church’s calling as “evangels” (messengers).
The primary purpose of Israel and the Church is to be a blessing to the nations and to bring people to God and into His Kingdom. Israel’s purpose and the Church’s purpose is the Missio Dei (God’s Mission). The Church and Israel both have a unique place in God’s redemptive plan. We do not believe that the Church has replaced Israel. Nor do we promote a view that national Israel today is equivalent to Israel in the Bible. Our theology is a broad Kingdom mission theology that includes Israel and the Church in God’s purposes.