THE CRUSADE OF RAMON LLULL:
APOLOGETICS AND EVANGELISM TO MUSLIMS
DURING THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY
Numa Ulisses Gomez, Ph.D.
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2018
Chair: Dr. James A. Parker III
Ramon Llull was a thirteenth-century Franciscan monk who lived during a tumultuous period in Spain’s history. Those who have studied missions believe Llull is the first and greatest missionary to Muslims. He is recognized as the greatest Catalan mystic and poet whose writings helped influence Neo-Platonic mysticism throughout Medieval and seventeenth-century Europe. He believed love for Christ and love for the lost should be the only motivating factors to evangelize and teach the lost. Many modern missionaries and historians believe Llull understood salvation by grace in the blood of Jesus Christ. Llull was always in good standing with the church during his lifetime.
Chapter 1 gives an overview of Llull’s life, calling, missionary zeal, writings and apologetic work, and the reasons why he taught the truths of Scripture. Chapter 2 offers a historical background and setting for Llull’s work and his calling into ministry. Chapter 3 explains his theology and philosophy of ministry, giving a panoramic view of his ministry. Chapter 4 digs deeper into his apologetic, specifically, his refutation of Averroes philosophy. Chapter 5 looks at his apologetic work in the Jewish community and evangelism of Jews. Chapter 6 looks at his apologetic work within his own faith community and introduces some of his literature aimed at refuting pagan philosophy in his culture. Chapter 7 reviews at his travels and missionary journeys and impact in society. Chapter 8 is some concluding thoughts on his work in discipling others and in society.
Llull’s aim in his writings and his ministry was the conversion of Muslim and Jews “that in the whole world there may not be more than one language, one belief, and one faith.” Soon after his conversion, Llull concluded he should evangelize Muslims, who were numerous in southern Spain. He was inspired by the writings and actions of St. Francis of Assisi who lived earlier, and had reached out to Muslims in hopes of converting many to Christianity.
Llull’s apologetic work focused on refuting the philosophy of the Muslim philosopher Averroes. Llull’s purpose was to show Muslims the error of this philosophy so that they could not fail to see the truth. The strength of the Muslim religion in the age of scholasticism was its philosophy, and with this in mind, Llull developed a system or logical machine (Art) where theological propositions could be arranged in circles, squares, triangles, and other geometric figures so that opponents could not reject his arguments. Llull exalted the doctrine of the Trinity as central to evangelism, spiritual formation, and apologetic work. Llull believed personal testimony was far superior to any philosophic argument because it testified to the power of the gospel and not to a system. Llull took into account faith and reason as acceptable (in terms of belief) to all three religions. This dissertation explored his spirituality and how it influenced not only his personal life, but also apologetic and evangelistic work.||en_US