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What Jordan’s Evangelicals Think of Templeton Winner King Abdullah’s Interfaith Acclaim

This article was first published at Christianity Today on July 2, 2018.

King Abdullah
Photo by Pietro Naj-Oleari/© European Union 2015 – European Parliament/Creative Commons

 

For his lifelong commitment to religious peace, King Abdullah II of Jordan recently became the second Muslim ever to win the prestigious, $1.4 million Templeton Prize. And Jordan’s Christian minority is celebrating with him.

“I believe in our king,” said Imad Shehadeh, president of the Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary, following Wednesday’s announcement. “He is a kind, wise, loving, humble, and effective leader.”

Established in 1973, the Templeton Prize is awarded for exceptional contribution to “affirming life’s spiritual dimension.” First given to Mother Teresa, previous winners range from Billy Graham to the Dalai Lama. More recently, Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga and Jean Vanier of L’Arche have won the prize.

But this year, Abdullah was honored as a ruler who has done more promote inter-Islamic and interfaith harmony than any other living political leader, Templeton said.

Islam is the official religion of Jordan, and the constitution guarantees freedom of religion for minorities such as the roughly 2 percent of the population that’s Christian (mostly Greek Orthodox). The Protestant community joins them in commending their king’s efforts for religious unity, though some wish his commitment went even further…

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