Livingstone on "A Common Word"

A couple weeks ago, we posted John Piper's thoughts on the Yale response to "A Common Word." A few days later, we posted some thoughts from Rick Love, one of the signatories of Yale's Christian response. Then last week, in the Q&A session of our pastors conference, we got a chance to hear from Greg Livingstone who also signed it.

You can listen to his answer or read the following (mildly edited) transcript:

Greg, can you address your signing of the Yale response to "A Common Word"? And maybe for those of us who are unfamiliar with it, you could give us a little background.

Greg Livingstone: Very quickly, 138 big names in Islam made an initiative called the Common Word and claimed that the common word between Christianity and Islam was the first two commandments: Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.

This was news to most of us, but when people have lived for years and years looking for an open door, there's always a temptation to run through one. And I've talked to John Piper, who pointed out that we were hasty and that there were implications and innuendos and issues involved that could, in fact, damage our testimony. I appreciate that.

I also am very aware that some of us are more called to defend the faith, and others are always looking for opportunity. Sometimes that opportunity grabs you before you think about asking for counsel. I'm sorry that my own mission is probably losing some donors over this.

But I'm not afraid to also rebuke the American Christian who sees Muslims as bigger sinners than we are. We've loved cannibals and they eat people. Muslims don't eat people. It's not halal; they're not allowed. And I don't think they're any more evil than the people in this room.

The idea of signing it was to get into the same room as these guys, and then, in the same room, to get one on one with them. There might be a Nicodemus among them, though most of them would be other kinds of Pharisees. But I'll talk to somebody even if his motives for wanting to talk to me might be suspect.

Should it have gone in the New York Times? Probably not. This may surprise you, but it's not my first mistake.