When a Muslim begins to follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, his or her discipler will often encounter difficulties because the MBB has misconceptions about Christianity. The solution seems simple – teach them the truth about Christianity. While that is the solution, the issue for the MBB is that their whole way of doing things has shifted from trying to be good enough to know God and get to heaven to trying to relate to Him — but they know little of Him. They are often very disoriented.
The disorientation comes partly from not knowing how to live because the Quran prescribed so much of their life. Without it, they have to completely re-orient their lives. For instance, the Quran and Hadith describe how far up the arm one must wash before prayer. The Bible does not. It is silent about pre-prayer washing. MBBs have asked me if they needed to wash before prayer, and to what extent. It was troubling them — they wanted to do things correctly. I showed them scripture about the importance of having a clean heart, and that God’s focus was on the inside rather than the outside.
I thought that the conversation might end there, but was surprised when it ended hours later. We covered topics such as righteousness, salvation and justification by faith, peace with God, submission to God, Christ in us, mercy, grace, God’s nearness and many other topics. Christianity is multi-layered and its concepts are often built on each other, so small things may lead to the need for much explanation.
Disciplers may not have time to fully explain topics to MBBs. MBBs also often have critical questions about things that they need to know very quickly. The MBB often cannot seek advice from a discipler at the moment they need the answers. When an MBB consults the Bible, their misconceptions often prevent them from proper understanding, leading to improper actions.
I was an MBB and have interviewed hundreds of MBBs about their salvation experiences and life after salvation. My book, Discipling Muslim Background Believers, is a useful resource for correcting MBB misconceptions because its handbook format and cross-referencing allow an MBB to quickly reference important topics. The biblically -based topics are written with sensitivity to MBBs. A discipler or an MBB can quickly find answer to the MBB’s questions, removing both disorientation and misconception.
Keywords: MBB discipleship, misconceptions, disorientation