FAQs: CSIOF

The Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths (CSIOF) was established on 1 January 2008, and has to date devoted its time to offering a range of teaching programs at certificate through to postgraduate levels, providing supervision to postgraduate research students, running community short courses, and being available for comment to the media on matters to do with inter-religious relations.

The purposes of the CSIOF are several. First, the Centre is designed to equip students at various levels both to understand and to engage with people of other faiths. Second, the Centre has a core goal of equipping churches and para-church agencies with skilled graduates who can provide reliable advice on matters to do with other religions. Third, the CSIOF will serve as a point of reference for individuals and agencies, including the media, who seek specialist advice on inter-religious affairs in the modern world.

CSIOF Brochure for our CSIOF brochure.

You may contact the CSIOF directly at csiof@mst.edu.au or (03) 9881 7800

The Centre is located at the Melbourne School of Theology, Wantirna.

The CSIOF annually produces 2 publications which contain articles, reviews and commentary on issues concerning Christian-Muslim relations and interactions with those of other faiths. Please contact the Centre for more information on subscribing to the CSIOF Bulletin and the CSIOF Occasional Papers.

The CSIOF Faculty also continually write articles and scholarly papers for publication in books, journals, Christian magazines, and other external media publications.

No. The CSIOF offers the chance to put theory into practice through MST’s annual Mission Week. This week is designed primarily for MST students to take a week off study to become engaged in intensive, supervised practical experience. The CSIOF leads a team of students each year with a focus on engaging with those of other faiths, in and around the city of Melbourne. Also, some subjects offered by the CSIOF have a practical component to them, and there are other opportunities to be involved further throughout the year.

The CSIOF seeks to prepare Christian men and women to engage with people of other faiths, be it in a local context or in another country, through the study of other religions. If you are interested in broadening your understanding of other religions, and deepening your level of engagement with those of other faiths, then study with the CSIOF is for you.

Testimonials

If we are to serve effectively in a multi-faith, multicultural Australia and we need to understand the rich diversity that can be expressed by adherents of any one faith system. That’s why I value CSIOF classes such as: Islam - History and Institutions, and Christian Ministry in Islamic Contexts. I highly recommend these, (and the other CSIOF subjects) for anyone who is committed to thoughtful and productive engagement. These subjects have helped me to avoid unhelpful stereotypes and given me, not only a heightened assurance in my own Christian faith, but the ability to confidently engage and minister to Muslims as individual people – right here in Victoria!”

- Peter Johnstone, MA student

"Studying with CSIOF has benefited me greatly both in the academic sphere, and in the sphere of practical ministry. I have deepened my knowledge of Islam, gained a better understanding of the close connections between the early Islamic history and various processes taking place in the contemporary Muslim world, and acquired important skills in bringing the Good News to Muslims."

- Denis Savelyev, international MA student

The Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths began operations on 1 January 2008 and since that time has made significant progress in developing its activities.

A number of subjects relating to Islam and other faiths are offered in existing courses at undergraduate level, and this provision is frequently reviewed to meet increasing demand.

The CSIOF is also attracting increasing attention from would be postgraduate students who see higher level study of Islam and other faiths as equipping them for their own particular vocation, especially in the fields of ministry and mission. To meet these needs the CSIOF has designed a Master of Arts in Christian Studies (Islam and Other Faiths), that can be taken by students who have graduated in non-theological fields. As for those who have an undergraduate degree in theology, they can take a specialist Master of Arts (Ministry) specialising in the study of Islam and other faiths. There is also the option for postgraduate students to take research degrees in this field as well.

The study of Islam and other faiths is, of course, not only relevant to those wishing to seek formal qualifications, but also offers key opportunities for those in the churches and the broader community. To meet this need, the CSIOF offers a range of exciting activities: a set of four community courses offered at the BCV City Campus in Swanston Street, the annual Leonard Buck Lecture in Missiology, an annual Spring Symposium addressing topics of current interest, an Annual Dinner, as well as various ad-hoc speaking and writing inputs to the churches and wider community.

In order to continue and, indeed, expand all the above activities, the CSIOF looks to its supporters for support through prayer, participation in the activities, and financial assistance. We invite churches to form prayer groups focusing on the needs of the Centre. We also invite you to attend those of our events which are relevant to your interests and availability. We also invite you to support the CSIOF financially, which can be done using any of the options below. In the latter case, you are welcome to earmark a