This page consists of two sections:
- All eight volumes of Studies in Christian-Muslim Relations, including comments and notes about the series and about each volume as well as additional papers originally meant to be included in the series.
- Other papers / articles on various Muslim subjects.
The Series: Studies in Christian-Muslim Relations
Author's Preliminary Comments on the series:
This series of studies deals with Christian-Muslim relations. Though I concentrate on Nigeria, it is Nigeria as a case study with global implications.
- What dynamics develop when you have two large blocks of these religions living together? These large blocks are some 80 million each!
- What happens when you have these two aggressive missionary religions competing for a place in the sun?
- What happens when a once almost supreme Muslim community is confronted with an emerging Christian community that has woken up to a growing sense of political awareness and power?
- What happens when you have a confrontation between a Muslim community that vehemently rejects secularism in favour of sharia and a Christian community that insists on a form of secularism?
- What happens when both communities are fearful, mistrusting of and angry with each other so that they can no longer hear each other out?
The flow of events in Nigeria is a powerful example of how things are not to be done from either side. I expect that many Nigerians who read these monographs will feel deeply ashamed of the violence they unleash on each other in the name of their respective religions. They should! Especially now that their violence is perpetrated before the face of the entire world. They defile not only the name of their people, but also of their two major religions.
After 30 years in the country as a missionary and having experienced and researched all these events together with my Nigerian brothers and sisters, I need to own up to these events as much as Nigerians. Missionaries contributed to the problems in a serious and foundational way that puts me to shame as well. We have been part of the tremendous growth of the Church in Nigeria, but it cannot be denied that the way we have brought the Gospel was not “altogether lovely.” The series will explain the how and why of missionary culpability.
But these studies are not written only or even primarily to embarrass Nigerians, though I hope that shame will play a constructive role here. The main purpose is to arrive at some parameters within which they can develop more positive relations with each other, relations of respect and tolerance that will allow both religions to flourish within the one nation.
These relations have been bedeviled by untold blood shed and destruction ever since the 1970s. The series describes and explains the riots themselves and the issues of confrontation. Most of the study concentrates on the opinions of Nigerian Muslims and Christians themselves by providing extensive quotations and appendices, especially from the media. Each volume deals with a separate aspect of the relationship.
These studies do away with political correctness and religious wishful thinking. We are encouraged to get real. The fatal influence and role of a soft kind of secularism in these relationships in Nigeria come across very pointedly. The weak inheritance of a dualistic gospel transmitted by Christian missions also is explained and constitutes a major reason for confusion in Nigeria. Muslim aggressiveness is another major reason.
What This Series Seeks to Accomplish
- To contribute to the search for a solution to Nigeria's religious violence by establishing some necessary parameters.
- To demonstrate the horrors and dangers that arise when religious institutions are distorted into power blocks and parties or into weapons of manipulation instead of vehicles for service.
- To illustrate that secularism…
- Leads to anger and resentment among Muslims.
- Derails Christian thought.
- Prevents rapprochement between the two religions.
- Is not a suitable solution in Nigeria due to secularism's anemic view of religion, its arrogance, self-delusion and partiality.
- To help Christians develop a more Biblical and wholistic view of their religion.
- To demonstrate to Muslims that the picture of dualistic Christianity they have been given is an impoverished version and that a healthier, more wholistic version exists.
- To urge Muslims to adjust and update their traditional sense of pluralism and tolerance to the current situation in Nigeria.
- To convince the secular West that it must take religion seriously, respect it – not merely tolerate it – and incorporate it into their political equations.
Some of these goals will be implied, not argued.
About Author Boer
Dr. Jan H. Boer – aka “John,” the English equivalent – was born in The Netherlands and immigrated to British Columbia, Canada, with his parental family during his teens. At age 20, after becoming a Canadian citizen, he promptly left the country and spent 43 years abroad, as a student in Europe and the USA and as an inter-church worker in Nigeria. He returned to “retire” in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he wrote most of this series. For more details about his life and career as well as other books he has written, turn to the About and Boeriana pages of his website.
Boer served for 30 years in Nigeria, during which time he observed and experienced very closely the interplay between that country’s Christians and Muslims. He developed a Christian-Muslim archive on the subject that contains extensive newspaper and magazine articles, mostly in English, but some in the Hausa language, quite a number from now defunct publications no longer available. He also gathered many conference reports and lectures both in hard and electronic format, quite a few rare documents no longer available, many of them in English, some in the Hausa language. And, of course, throughout his writing, he made grateful use of the internet with its wealth of scholarly and other documents on the subject.
During that same time period, Boer took time to obtain his doctorate from the Free University of Amsterdam with his dissertation Missionary Messengers of Liberation in a Colonial Context: A Case Studu of the Sudan United Mission, a tome of 530 pages. This constitutes a thorough examination of the relationship of colonialism and religion in Nigeria, an issue that even today plays an important role in the Christian-Muslim struggle of that country. That study forms the backdrop to the current series you are about to examine. It provided Boer with the tools to understand the current bitter disagreements between the two. (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1979. See also the more popular summary with the title, Missions: Heralds of Capitalism or Christ? Ibadan: Daystar Press, 1984.) The text of the summary is completely available on the Boeriana page of this website.
Simultaneously, Boer studied the worldview issues that also have given shape to the interplay between these two religions. He discovered that the dualistic separation of religion and secularism, imported by Western missionaries, has shortchanged Christians in their understanding of and approach to their Muslim neighbours who tend to hold to a more comprehensive and dynamic perspective on religion. And then, of course, there is the aggressive Nigerian Muslim attitude towards da’wah or missionary outreach, a right they claim for themselves but deny to others.
Boer has done thorough research for which academics praise him. His academic background and life experience have fully equipped him for this series. But, a natural free-lancer, he has taken freedom in his use of popular language and expressions, sometimes breaking out into humorous bylines in Hausa or Nigerian English. So, academic-level research; personal expression. Sometimes humorous; sometimes very personal. As one reviewer put it, “Boer writes as he speaks.” Not quite, perhaps, but close – sometimes!
Publication / Distribution Info:
|Original Publishers||Essence Publishing Company|
|A Print-On-Demand Company|
|Belleville ON, Canada|
|Publishers in Nigeria||ACTS – Africa Christian Textbooks|
|(free of charge – volume by volume)|
|(free of charge – volume by volume)|
|Here, right where you are!|
Nigeria’s Decades of Blood (1980-2002), volume 1
2003 Summary Notes – originally on back cover
WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN BETWEEN CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS?
This book tells you what is happening in a country where fifty million Muslims face fifty million Christians – Nigeria. Over the last twenty years, rivers of blood have flowed into the abyss. This book describes Nigeria’s religious riots and how it all happened – the killings, the violence, the arson of churches and mosques, homes and businesses.
The book answers these questions:
- Who started what?
- How did it get started?
- Who got hurt and how many people got killed?
- What did Christians do? And what of Muslims?
- What did the Government do about it? Or the police?
Author’s 2015 Explanation
This book starts with the year 1980. The above questions about the who and how should, of course, go back way beyond 1980. There was the Nigerian Civil War in 1969-1971 that dealt with similar issues. Even before that, the independence struggle against colonialism and the post-colonial decade in between, all of them were marked by Christian-Secular-Muslim tensions. Some Ibos have castigated me seriously for not including those earlier phases of the struggle. I can understand their frustration with me, though they should know that I was somewhat personally involved in the Ibo massacres in 1966, the year of my arrival in the country. I helped many of them escape from the Middle Belt to Cameroons and had a gun pointed at my temple. I had decided that I could not improve on all that had been written about those earlier years already.
Muslims: Why the Violence?, volume 2
2004 Summary Notes
This Volume 2 in the series extensively covers Muslim opinions and evaluations of Nigeria’s religious riots. An abundance of quotations allows Muslims to speak for themselves. This will be counterbalanced by the Nigerian Christian interpretation in Volume 3. Subsequent riots can be studied from the author’s Companion CD-Rom.
From back cover of hard copy edition:
- Why do Muslims riot, kill and destroy?
- Why do Christians riot, kill and destroy?
- Why should religion bring Nigeria constantly to the brink?
- Who is to blame for all this terror? Muslims? Christians?
- What are the causes for all this violence?
These are the questions this book answers from the Muslim point of view. This monograph is the second in the series Studies in Christian-Muslim Relations. It covers extensively Muslim opinions and evaluations of Nigerian riots. An abundance of quotations allows Muslims to speak for themselves.
Vol. 1 describes the Nigerian riots themselves. Vol. 3 will give the Nigerian Christian perspective on these riots. Later volumes will deal with other issues that cause friction between the two religions. The overall aim of this series is to help both constituencies work towards a solution of which both will be proud.
Christians: Why this Muslim Violence?, volume 3
- Why do Nigerian Christians and Muslims riot, kill and destroy?
- Why should religion bring Nigeria constantly to the brink?
- Who is blame for all this terror? Muslims? Christians? Both? Neither?
- What are the causes for all this violence? Religious? Political?
These are the questions this book answers from the Nigerian Christian point of view. The many quotations ensure that you hear the genuine voice of Nigerian Christians. Reading the Nigerian Muslim perspectives in vol. 2 also will help you develop a balanced point of view.
Muslims: Why We Reject Secularism, volume 4
It may surprise you that I, a Western Christian missionary, invite all my secular and Christian friends to openly and sympathetically consider Muslim arguments against secularism. These arguments reach far beyond the one country Nigeria to encompass the entire globe. They have direct implications for current relations between the Muslim world and the West. It is almost inconceivable that anyone who has carefully thought through this Muslim perspective, would even consider secularism as the solution to the so-called “Muslim problem” in the world. Allow me to serve as the “devil’s advocate” by inviting you to ask yourself: Which is the greater problem—Islam or secularism?
This volume explains why Muslims generally reject with great fervor the unholy triad of secularism, colonialism and Christianity, three forces that have allegedly joined forces to destroy Islam. I have once again included many quotations and appendices to allow you once again to hear the voice of Muslims themselves. Positively, the discussion also explains the wholistic Muslim social approach to religion, an approach with certain formal parallels to Neo-Kuyperianism, the school of Christianity to which I subscribe.
Christians: Secularism – Yes and No, volume 5
A basic challenge today is the question of Islam versus Secularism. It is a major factor in the 9/11 debacle. Volume 4 of this series discloses the majority Nigerian Muslim rejection of secularism. This volume five contains two Christian approaches to the same issue: that of Nigerian Christians and the more wholistic approach of Neo-Kuyperianism, also known as “Neo-Calvinism.” Both approaches were hammered out in the course of politico-religious struggles. One seeks refuge in the face of a Muslim community that reacts to threats. The other developed a wholistic pluralistic alternative stand against an oppressive and intolerant “liberal” secularism. The Neo-Kuyperian response to secularism today evokes the consent, not to speak of admiration, even of the spiritual descendants of these early “liberals” as well as of Christians from around the world. The two approaches, the Nigerian Christian and the Neo-Kuyperian, are not pitted against each other here. The latter is brought in to supplement and deepen the approach most current in Nigeria.
This series is a case study of the general global crisis in the relations between Christianity, Islam and Secularism. As such, it has serious relevance for all who are interested in these relationships—and today, who isn’t? If you are reading this, you must be!
Muslims: Why Muslim Sharia Law, volume 6
This volume is number six of the series Studies in Christian-Muslim Relations, and the third to present the majority Nigerian Muslim voice. It explains why Muslims want to revive Muslim Law or Shari’a. It is in line with their rejection of secularism. They are angry at how colonialism has consciously undermined their religion and has tried to replace it with what they consider a cheap and unrealistic secularism. Secularism is seen as the cause for the disintegration of Western culture, especially its moral degradation. So why force it on others?
Boer, the author of the series and proprietor of this website, has lived in Northern Nigeria’s Middle Belt for 30 years and has developed some understanding for the Christian-Muslim struggle going on there. In addition, he wrote a doctoral dissertation on the role of missions in colonialism in Northern Nigeria. These factors give him a degree of authority on that scene.
This book and, in fact, this entire series is unique in that a Christian missionary tries to get into the heart of Nigerian Muslims, to understand them critically and sympathetically and, at times, go to bat for them. It presents a serious challenge to Christian readers.
Christians: Why We Reject Muslim Law, volume 7
In this volume, even more than in the earlier ones, you will hear the voice of Nigerian Christians under duress and pressure from their Muslim neighbours – and sometimes from their erstwhile friends. Their voice is loud and clear – and usually reasonable. Admittedly, not always right on. Why prefer secular to Muslim law? This preference is at least partially due to not having experienced the force of secular law as we do in places like Canada, where it is putting on the screws slow but sure. And what is the relationship between secular law, Christian law and Muslim law? The Christian attitude is based less on principle than on many years of bitter experience – and a degree of ignorance about the real long-run nature of secularism.
But the arguments for Muslim law in Volume 6 seem equally powerful, right and reasonable. So what gives?
These two volumes, six and seven, shed light on these two contradictory but apparently reasonable quests. These two quests together form a case study of Christian-Muslim struggles for leadership. It sheds light also on the reason they do not simply adopt an attitude of live and let live. Here the Achilles’ heel of multi-culturalism and multi-religion is exposed. Political correctness, their silent ally, in its effort to sweep it all under the carpet, has only prolonged the bloodshed. And yet we cannot solve the problems without either “multi-.”
ADDITIONAL WRITINGS ON CHRISTIAN-MUSLIM RELATIONS
Books/lets, Articles, Lectures, Comments, Correspondence*
NOTE: The history, origin or occasion of some of the articles and lectures in this bibliography are lost in history, at least partially due to our international moving about. I provide you with the most complete information available.
But for those using the Boer papers in the Yale archives, I can assure you that most items listed here can be found there, with the exception of some of the materials written, to my embarrassment, on scratch paper. I had a choice between discarding them or face the embarrassment!
Items in this section followed by an * are explained under the heading “Abbreviations” on this page.
Retooling Our Approach to Sharia: A Wholistic and Pluralistic Perspective. Sixth Adeolu Adegbola Memorial Lecture delivered on May 11, 2011, at the Institute of Church & Society, Ibadan, Nigeria.
The late Bishop Adeolu Adegbola was a man with wide-ranging interests and sympathies. The fact that this annual series of lectures normally focuses on development and poverty reduction is reflective of one of his major preoccupations.
For reasons I will not take time to explain, this lecture has a different focus, namely the issue of how we handle the sharia challenge. This, too, was one of his strong concerns.
Though the sharia issue appears to have died down, a perusal of the internet indicates that the issue is still ongoing and causing headlines right up into 2011.
“Headscarves: Secularism vs Islam.” CC*, 2003. See also Studies in Christian-Muslim Relations, Vol. 9: Companion CD*, Dec/2013 (8 pp).
“The Muslim Side of Things.” A speech given at First Baptist Church, Vancouver, February 2011.
“Thoughts about Islam and Christianity.” Six questions from the Editor of Christian Courier (CC)*:
What are the most striking similarities and difference between the religion of Islam and Christianity? Sept. 13/2010 (p. 12).
Is the religion of Islam a threat to Christianity and Western societies? Oct. 11/2010 (p. 12).
What are some frequent misconceptions about Islam and how do we counter them? Nov. 8/2010 (p. 14).
How does the Quran say women should be treated, and does this conform to or contradict what is practiced in many Muslim countries or cultures? Dec. 13/2010 (p. 16).
What can Christians learn from Islam? Jan. 10/2011 (p. 12).
How can Christian witness effectively to Muslims? Feb. 14/2011 (p. 12).
“Www: Wholistic World Witness.” Lecture presented at Missions Fest, Jan/2008, Vancouver, Canada. Available on CD from Missions Fest www.missionsfestvancouver.ca or e-mail email@example.com. Or contact Boer via firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Relating to Muslims in a Post-9/11 World.” In FirstNEWS, Newsletter of First Baptist Church, Vancouver, BC, Sept. 14-21/2008.
www.ChristianMuslimWorld.blogspot.com, a blog I ran for a short while.
“Introducing a Christian Alternative to Secularism.” Lecture presented to an Inter-Faith Dialogue, organized by the International Centre for Gender and Social Research, Rayfield-Jos, Nigeria, Feb 9/2005 (pp. 12).
“Studies in Christian-Muslim Relations: Introduction to the Project.” Lecture delivered at the Theological College of Nigeria, Bukuru, Nigeria. Jan/2005 (pp. 11).
“Christian-Muslim Relations in Nigeria.” BC Christian, July 2003
“Nigerian Muslims and the Miss World Pageant.” TRB,* No. 39, March/2003 (pp. 36-43); Woord & Daad*, No. 386, Summer/2003 (pp. 25-29). A slightly different version: “The Anatomy of Miss World.” CC*, March 3/2003 (pp. 12-13).
NOTE: This file is included on this page for the benefit of researchers in this very interesting Miss World Pageant. It contains a wealth of newspaper and online articles on the subject you are not likely to find anywhere else.
It begins with the opening volley of John Balogun, who, as you can read here and in the rest of his article further down in this file, was utterly dismayed by my “shameless ignorance.” Well, read it for yourself.
I do warn you, that since these are notes and articles imported from other sources, one does not always have control over their final format. You will see what I mean as you proceed. Enjoy your research.
This file includes a rough outline of the "Miss World Pageant" article. Though it is not exact, I leave it for you so you can check out the subjects covered. In spite of its rough nature, it can help you determine whether or not to proceed with your research here.
A Rejoinder to Dr. Jan H. Boer's Article: The Anatomy of Miss World. By John Balogun *
I read the above article written by one Dr. Jan H. Boer with utter astonishment and helplessness. I couldn't help marveling at the confident manner Dr. Boer displayed his shameless ignorance of Islam. Mine is not a long meaningless grammar, rather an attempt to draw Dr. Boer's attention to some avoidable misconceptions that polluted his articles...Details
“Western-Christian-Muslim Relations in the Current Crisis: A Christian Challenge.” Woord & Daad,* No. 380, Winter/2002 (pp. 24-28).
“Nigerian Islam vs Secularism.” Woord & Daad,* No. 379, Autumn/2002 (pp. 20-24); REC Focus*, No. 2, Sept/2002 (pp. 35-43).
“Western-Christian-Muslim Relations in the Current Crisis: A Christian Challenge.” Woord & Daad,* no. 380, 2002 (pp. 24-28).
“Christianity, Islam, and the Secular West.” Perspectives,* Aug-Sept/2002 (pp. 14-18).
“Western-Christian-Muslim Relations in the Current Crisis.” CC,* May 20, 2002.
“Secularism: The Major Culprit.” VS*, Dec. 14/2001.
“The Christian-Muslim Standoff in Nigeria.”
- Part I: “The Christian Viewpoint.” CC,* Jan. 22/2001, pp. 17-18.
- Part II: “The Muslim Viewpoint.” CC,* Feb. 5/2001, pp. 15-16.
“The Voice of Islam.” CC,* Nov. 26/2001, pp. 13-14.
“Christian-Muslim Relations in Nigeria.” CC,* 2001?, pp. 4.
“World Council of Churches: Too Good or Not Good Enough?” CC,* Dec/2000.
“The Nigerian Christian-Muslim Standoff: Some Underlying Issues.” TRB,* No. 33, March/2000, pp. 4-23. TCNN website: www.tcnn.edu.
“Muslim Evangelism in Nigeria.” Lecture at Calvin College, Jan/2000 (pp. 13).
“Sharia Research File—Notes and Articles,” 1999-2000 (284 pp.)
“My Dear Salisu,” correspondence with a Muslim student, 1998.
The indented materials below constitute papers I have delivered at the West MichiganTheological Society over the period of 1997-2001, but were never published.
“A Tragedy of Wasted Opportunity: Two Decades of Religious Violence in Nigeria.”
“The Nigerian Christian-Muslim Standoff: Some Underlying Issues; Parameters for a Solution.”
“Islam Vs Secularism: The Nigerian Radical Position.”
The indented materials below represent essays written for inclusion in various volumes of the Studies in Christian-Muslim Relations series, but did not make it. They nevertheless contain read-worthy materials.
“Interreligious Problems in Nigeria: Religious Statistics,” May/1998 (pp. 7-1); July/1998 (pp. 11-21).
“Christian Objections to the Shari’a.” Apr/1998 (pp. 1-44).
“Muslim Missiology” (pp. 1-37).
“Oppose Worldviews: Secularism vs Wholism” (pp. 1-6).
“The Perceived Role of Governments” (pp. 4).
NOTE: This paper was originally intended to be included in my series Studies in Christian-Muslim Relations. However, for reasons of space and economy, it did not make it. It was written as part of that series and assumes familiarity with it not only, but the bibliographical sources in this paper are scattered throughout that series and are not complete here.
“Christian-Muslim Relations in Nigeria.” Lecture at King’s University College, Edmonton, Oct/1995 (pp. 17).
“Islam in Nigeria.” A deputation lecture, Aug/1995 (pp. 5).
Letter to Yakubu Masoyi about Bitrus Sadiq. Jan. 9/1995.
Brief Report on Christian-Muslim Conference, November 9, 1993.
“Report on Verification Journey.” For KAMA, Apr/1992 (pp. 3).
Christianity and Islam under Colonialism in Northern Nigeria. Jos, Nigeria: ICS,* 1988 (68 pp). In dialogue with a former Nigerian Muslim Minister of Education.
Letter to editor of Toronto Globe & Mail along with supporting documents, June 11/1984.
“The Last Crusade.” Hand-written notes.
Notes on Secularism—2 manilla envelopes in the Yale archives
Christian Courier (CC) – a Christian bi-monthly based in St. Catherines, ON, Canada.
Companion CD – A CD that not only contains the text of the entire Studies in Christian-Muslim Relations, but also contains the appendices of most of the volumes of that series. Without that CD at hand, you have an incomplete series. While I last, copies are available from Boer at < email@example.com >. Otherwise, request a copy from the Yale Divinity School Archives or from Calvin College’s Heritage Hall.
ICS – Institute of Church & Society, Jos/Ibadan, Nigeria
Perspectives – “A Journal of Reformed Thought” published by the Reformed Church Press.
REC Focus – quarterly journal of the Reformed Ecumenical Council.
TCNN Research Bulletin (TRB) – TCNN is the Theological College of Northern Nigeria.
VS – Vancouver Sun.
Woord & Daad – a magazine from the University of Potchefstroom, South Africa.