Divinity professor’s new book explores encounters with different faiths, from Iran to U.S.

Photo by Bennett Scarborough

“All religious people are trying to do the best they can with the conditions they have. My experiences have helped me understand they are pilgrims on a path, too. I wouldn’t choose that path, but I understand that path and where they are on that path. It’s helped me understand them better and helped me to be better able to share my faith with them, not in a judgmental way but in a sensitive and kind way.” – Dr. George Braswell Jr.

Read more about why the Campbell Divinity senior professor founded the World Religions and Global Cultures Center and has dedicated his life to missions in our August 2014 interview with him –> Campbell Proud: The Missionary

BUIES CREEK — In his new book “From Iran To America: Encounters With Many Faiths,” George W. Braswell Jr., senior professor of world religions at the Campbell Divinity School, draws on his own experiences to provide first-hand insight into the practices of every major religion. By writing about his life journey that spans several countries, Braswell also offers deep and personal conversations about those major religions’ major beliefs, views on humanity, family life, community with other religious neighbors, and even of an afterlife.

“Readers will be taken into the most intimate places of mosques and homes to see and hear from Iranians about what matters to them in all the varieties of concerns,” Braswell said. “Readers will also go into the heartland of the great world religion communities in America that are literally next door; and through visual, vocal, and visceral experiences, they will engage in a conversation about the important issues of life.”

Braswell lived in Iran from 1968 to 1974, serving as the first Baptist missionary in the country. As a faculty member of Islamic theology at the University of Teheran, he taught world religions to Iranian clergy (mullahs), heard many sermons from the mosque, and had hundreds of conversations and meals in the mullah’s homes. He has also taught at Damavand College, a liberal arts college for Iranian women, and accompanied them to many Iranian prayer meetings only for women.

After returning to the United States, through a Practicum in World Religions he began in 1980 when he was on the faculty at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Wake Forest, North Carolina, Braswell has taken several thousands of students and church members into world religion communities in the U.S. Braswell also has visited temples, mosques, and churches in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Today, Braswell offers the one-week, intensive Practicum in World Religions through the World Religions and Global Cultures Center he founded at Campbell University in 2007. The center — the only one of its kind in the world — hosts numerous seminars and short courses related to world religions each year and offers a certificate program that prepares Christian leaders in the teaching of world religions. More than a hundred students have graduated from Campbell Divinity with a certificate in a world religion over the past eight years.

Braswell has dedicated much of his life to helping others, particularly church leaders, understand religion pluralism. In an interview with Campbell.edu in August, he said: “I think it’s a need for the church to be not only educated about religious neighbors but to understand them and be motivated with sensitivity and love to reach out to them. And if you’re sensitive and loving, you’ve got all kind of possibilities with communications with religious neighbors.”

In addition to being a senior professor at Campbell and the founder of the World Religions and Global Cultures Center, Braswell is the author of numerous books, including “Understanding World Religions,” “Islam and America: Answers to the 31 Most-Asked Questions,” “Islam: Its Prophet, Peoples, Politics, and Power,” and his memoir “Crossroads of Religion and Revolution.”

His newest book, “From Iran To America,” is published by Xulon Press, the world’s largest Christian publisher with more than 12,000 titles published to date. Xulon is part of Salem Communications Corporation, the country’s leading Christian communications company with interests in radio, Internet and magazine publishing.

“From Iran To America” is available online through xulonpress.com/bookstore, amazon.com, and barnesandnoble.com.