Tuesday, September 27, 2016

“Room for All at the Convocation: World Christianity and Islam”

Mulder Chapel
Western Theological Seminary

The Reverend Dr. Charles Amjad-Ali is an Anglican from the (United) Church of Pakistan and comes from a recent Muslim background. He has spent his life devoted to various causes of justice, speaking out against the persecution of religious minorities, and helping others to understand Islam as it intersects with Christianity.

Dr. Amjad-Ali says, “Of all the religions in the world, historically Islam has most thrust itself onto the consciousness of Christianity as ‘the other.’ We have responded to this ‘other’ by pointing out the speck in our neighbors’ eyes while ignoring the beam in our own. We cannot afford to condemn others as sinners and forget our own sinfulness…  It is clear that we need a new theological and missiological discourse for new relationships in our mission among Muslims.”

Rev. Dr. Charles Amjad-Ali was the inaugural Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Justice and Christian Community and the Director of Islamic Studies at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN for 16 years. In 2013, he also became the first Archbishop Desmond Tutu Professor of Ecumenical Theology and Social Transformation in Africa at the University of Western Cape in South Africa. Thus, he had the honor of occupying two prestigious academic chairs named after two Nobel Laureates of African-American and African descent.

Before joining Luther Seminary in 1997, Dr. Amjad-Ali lectured at Princeton, Notre Dame, St. Thomas and Temple Universities as well as Princeton and Union Theological Seminaries. He also served on faculties in South Africa, Sweden, England, Germany, Australia, Japan, and the Philippines. A native citizen of Pakistan, he was ordained as a presbyter of the Church of Pakistan in 1987. He directed the Christian Study Center in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, from 1985-1995 and then spent a year as the Director of Political Education at the Aurat (Women) Foundation in Pakistan. He has been active in national and international civil society institutions and has published extensively.

He did his first graduate studies in Philosophy and Social Thought at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, Bonn, Germany, and earned his M.Div. and Ph.D. in Theology and Political Philosophy from Princeton Theological Seminary. He has a post-doctoral degree in Islamic Law and History from Columbia University and has received a special honorary doctorate in Theology from the Uppsala University, Sweden, on the occasion of its 500th year anniversary in 1995.

He served as an advisor and speechwriter to Ms. Benazir Bhutto during both her terms as prime minister of Pakistan. He produced a major text on electoral rigging for the Pakistan Democratic Alliance of the Pakistan People’s Party, entitled, How an Election was Stolen: PDA White Paper on Elections 1990.

Besides being on many editorial boards as well as boards of international journals and international civil society institutions for well over 30 years, he now regularly lectures during the winter in universities across Pakistan.

Among his numerous publications are:

Dreaming A Different World: Globalisation and Justice for Humanity and the Earth, ed., with Allan Boesak and Johan Weusmann, 2010

Leaving the Shadows? Pakistani Christians and the Search for Orientation in an Overwhelmingly Muslim Society, with Theodor Hanf, 2008

Islamophobia or Restorative Justice: Tearing the Veil of Ignorance, 2006

But the Spirit Gives Life, 1993

Passion for Change, 1989

Religion and Politics, 1986

Liberation and Ethics: Essays in Religious Social Ethics in Honor of Gibson Winter, 1985

He has published over 400 articles and chapters in books and special volumes around the world in several different languages, the most recent of these are:

“Prejudice and Its Historical Application: A Radical Hermeneutic of Luther’s Treatment of the Turks (Muslims) and the Jews”

“From Dislocation to Dislocation: The Experience of the Christian Community in Pakistan”

“Challenges of Diversity and Migration in Islamic Political Theory and Theology”

Also on Tuesday, September 27

9:40am – Dr. Amjad-Ali will preach in morning chapel.

       The Leonard F. Stoutemire Lectures in Multicultural Ministry are named in honor of the late Reverend Leonard Foster Stoutemire, pioneer African American clergyman and church planter to Holland, Michigan. Although originally he wanted to enlist into missionary service in Africa, in 1944 Stoutemire migrated to Holland, MI to plant the city’s first intentionally multi-racial congregation, the All Nations Full Gospel Church of Holland.
       The lectures equip seminarians, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and local congregations with resources for increased intercultural competence for greater effectiveness in Christian ministry.