Mentioning Jesus in Arabic and Hebrew, Was Rick Warren Inclusive—or Evangelistic?

What was the purpose behind Rick Warren's Mention of Jesus in Arabic and Hebrew?

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By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

I wrote yesterday about Warren's nods to Judaism and Islam in his invocation, even as he closed with an overtly Christian prayer. In addition to reciting the Shema, the most sacred prayer in Judaism, and the lines that open most chapters of the Koran—You are the compassionate and merciful one—Warren introduced the Lord's Prayer by saying Jesus's name in Hebrew and Arabic, which struck me as another ecumenical move.

Over at Spiritual Politics, Mark Silk concludes otherwise:

Warren concludes by saying that he is praying "in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus, Jesus (hay-SOOS)"—which is to say, not just Jesus as named in English and Spanish but also in Hebrew and Arabic. For Jews, Yeshua is the name by which Jews for Jesus proselytizes among Jews, as in the pamphlet I was handed this very day by a member of the Rockville, Maryland, Jews for Jesus chapter. Praying the Lord's Prayer in the names of Yeshua and Isa (as far as Muslims as opposed to Arabic-speaking Christians are concerned), is an evangelistic strategy. It is not inclusive, as Gilgoff and ABC News' Susan Donaldson James believe, but hegemonic.

Interesting theory. But how does Silk purport to divine Warren's intent? The important question now is how that passage was received by Jews and Muslims, as ecumenical or as evangelistic. But it's worth noting that Warren has been an enthusiastic participant in interfaith dialogue, including—to the chagrin of some fellow evangelicals—with Muslims. Not every ecumenical gesture he makes can be written off as evangelism in disguise.

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