God has taken me on an incredible journey. I feel like he has designed me to do what I am doing these days. My childhood years in Syria, followed by many years in Lebanon, fifteen great years in Egypt, and my time in the United States since 1991 are all part of his plan for my life.
I am grateful to God that I have had the opportunity to learn to stand in the shoes of Muslims and see the world through their eyes. I am also grateful to God that I have learned to interpret Islam and Muslims for Christians in America and in the West.
When I heard the news about the 9/11 attack, I was shocked but not surprised. My shock came from the magnitude of the attack and how evil it was. I was not surprised, however, because for years I had expected that the "rumbling volcano" of Islamic fundamentalism, which I addressed in one of my books, would erupt.
For eight days after 9/11, I was confused, sad, and anxious. On September 19, God transformed my confusion, sorrow, and anxiety into passion for the Great Commission.
As a result of 9/11, it's easy for Christians in the West to have an attitude toward Muslims similar to that of Jonah toward the Ninevites. Jonah was a missionary without a missionary's heart. Some of us tend to be very much like him. My passion is to help Christians in general, and American Christians in particular develop a clearer and more objective understanding of Islam. When there is understanding, compassion and love develop.
WHERE DO YOU TEACH?
I have been an adjunct professor at several institutions/seminaries. Over the course of five days - for eight hours a day. I teach a course dealing with Islam. Later, the students send me their book reports and course paper to read and grade. Over the years, I have taught my course at Columbia International University in Columbia, SC, at Dallas International University (Formerly G.I.A.L.), at Western Seminary in Portland, OR, Fuller Seminary in Colorado Springs branch, Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, Canada, at Providence Seminary near Winnipeg in Canada and at some seminaries around the world such as in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.
Currently I am an adjunct professor at Denver Seminary.
DO YOU COME FROM A MUSLIM BACKGROUND?
No. I come from a Christian background that dates back perhaps to the first century. Christianity was around the Mediterranean region, but when Islam spread in the seventh century, many "Christians" became Muslims. Others persevered through the centuries. The Christianity that exists in the Middle East mainly goes back to that early Christianity. My ancestors were Orthodox, and my great-grandfather became Presbyterian. This came as a result of having an encounter with Christ after reading a copy of the New Testament that was given to him by an American Presbyterian.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU PERSONALLY COME TO KNOW CHRIST?
My parents taught us to fear God, but they did not know how to articulate the gospel to us. My older brother went to the States as an international student to study for his masters’ in engineering. In America, he came to know Christ, and after his return to the Middle East, he was the primary instrument in my coming to know Christ in my senior year of high school. God also used in my life an American missionary and his family who were living in the same town in Lebanon.
TELL US SOME OF YOUR CONVICTIONS ON MATTERS RELATED TO THE INSIDER MOVEMENT MISSIOLOGY
The response to this question comes from the Minority Report submitted to the Presbyterian Church in America's General Assembly in June 2014. Dr. Jabbour is one of the two authors of the Minority Report.
We hold to the Scriptures as our only authoritative guide to engaging in mission.
We believe that both Scripture and our confession encourage believers to apply scriptural principles to the realities of everyday life, wherever they live.
We believe that Christ ordinarily intends that his people will follow him in the context of their family, birth community, and vocation.
In recognition of the comprehensive claims of Christ on the lives of his people, we hold that identity in Christ is wholly controlling in the life of the believer; we do not advocate or support voluntary, indefinite retention of Islamic religious identity by Muslim-background believers.
We hold that disciplers of Muslim-background believers should not encourage a disciple to remain within Islamic religious institutions.
We hold that every believer is a member of the church of Jesus Christ, and we believe in the central importance of every believer to be part of a local expression of church.
We hold by faith that Muslims are people made in the image of God, and that through Christ alone, people from Muslim majority countries will be among those represented before the throne of God (Rev. 7:9-10).
Please look at this important blog evaluating the two reports submitted to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America in June 2014.
Note: The authors of Minority Report 2014 have elsewhere affirmed that translations of the Bible intended for Muslim readers should translate literally those passages referring to God as Father and Jesus as his Son, and that other means should be used to help Muslims who misunderstand these passages.