Abu Da'ud

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You’re not an MBB, but you led one to the Lord. Now what?

You know that your friend will face disorientation and great risks (please see my last two posts), and that errors could be very costly. You want to help your friend prepare for what’s to come, but you don’t know how because you haven’t been down that road. Your friend is leaving soon, and you do not have time to read entire books written by MBBs — you need answers quickly because your MBB friend has an urgent need for information and advice. Your friend also may be prevented from contacting you again, and there are no churches or Christians within several hours of your friend’s home.

You need a book that will tell you how to help your friend follow Jesus; tell family and friends about conversion to Christianity; prepare for and react to persecution; learn to evangelize; learn to set up small groups; learn spiritual warfare; and learn to survive in the midst of perilous changes. You need to also tell your friend about being a secret believer for a period, if need be, and how to not mix Christianity with other beliefs. To gain all of that knowledge in a short time would be impossible unless the book was organized into short, easily referenced, biblically-based sections. The sections would need to be intentionally written by an MBB to answer questions like yours as well as help your friend through discipleship.

Such a book exists, and there are accompanying Bible studies to help the new convert disciple others. It is called Discipling Muslim Background Believers, and is available on the home page of this website.

Keywords: MBB discipleship materials, Discipling Muslim Background Believers

What does a Muslim seeker risk to follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?

There are a host of risks that a Muslim seeker considers prior to becoming a Christian. There are also associated questions to answer. Some of the risks and questions are below, from the perspective of a seeker:

Losing God and heaven: The way I believe says that becoming a Christian means hell for me. Am I sure about Christianity?

Losing nation, culture, community and family: If my family and community reject me, I may have to leave my family, community, culture and country. Will I even fit in anywhere? Will people value me for who I am rather than treating me only as a convert? How will I properly pass on the heritage that I still love without family and community support?

Losing status in life: I value the status that I have because of my family name and my own status, but could lose all of that if my family and community follow Sharia law. What will become of my life? Will I also be disinherited?

Losing friends: If my friends reject me, I will be very lonely, especially if my family does and I also have to leave. How will I be able to cope?

Losing financial security: Because of community reaction, I may lose my job if I stay and will almost certainly lose it if I must leave. How will I survive? Also, if I have to leave in a hurry, I may lose all of my possessions. Again, how will I survive?

Losing my life: If I become a Christian, those around me, and perhaps even a stranger, may use Sharia law or the country’s apostasy law to kill me or have me killed. Is it worth dying to follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?

A Muslim seeker faces losing his or her identity, relationships, possessions, future and even his or her life if he or she follows Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Muslim seekers face an immediate hurdle of laying down their entire lives to follow Him. From talking to hundreds of Muslim background believers — former Muslims who now follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior — the answer is clearly, “It’s worth it!” God provides help, mercy and grace, and meets needs. The road is rarely smooth, and is often difficult, but I can tell you from experience that knowing God in Christ is worth paying any cost.

Keywords: Muslim seeker, cost of conversion, worth it

Addressing MBB misconceptions about Christianity

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

A Muslim background believer testimony

When Christians reach out to Muslims in the love of Christ, wonderful things can happen. One example is a former Muslim/animist who has now been used by God to lead many to Christ and start hundreds of small groups and churches. His story is in Discipling Muslim Background Believers. He is MBB3, and his salvation story, in his own words, is below.

“I come from a family where my father was a very devoted Muslim.  My mother came from an animist background, but became devoted through my father’s devotion.  My mother was infertile, and my parents tried for years to have a baby.  They did all the Muslim prayers and nothing was happening.  My mother opted to go to the traditional way of seeking a solution.  That took my mother to a fertility shrine.  They consulted a fertility god and my mother became pregnant.  My father would make me to remain loyal to Allah and my mother was making me go every year to the shrine.  I was loyal there too.  I grew up and I was confused about Allah and the gods.  I thought about breaking my religions to the gods, but I was told that there were spirits attached to them and if you separate yourself from them the spirits will destroy you.  Islam teaching on the other hand that consulting the gods was against Allah.  There was confusion in my life.  My Muslim teachers didn’t have a solution for me when I asked what I could do to protect myself from the spirits if I stopped going there.  They just didn’t have an answer to that.  I saw that truly speaking they didn’t have answers to that because the same items the use in Muslim sacrifice here are the same items they use in the shrine.  They both use rams.  I was beginning to think Islam doesn’t have the power to save me from this shrine.  Where do I go?  I was confused.  A couple shared stories about a man called Jesus that has power over everything God has created.

One question that was in my heart was the question of assurance.  What’s the proof that this Jesus is going to save me from the destructive powers of evil?  The stories were told about Jesus driving demons out of a demon possessed man and raising the dead and He himself rising up from the dead and declaring that He is the good shepherd for humanity.  Those were things that really answered question in my heart.”

Keywords: MBB, Muslim salvation story, Christian, Christian love, discipleship, Muslim ministry

How well are we loving?

Two things about love — it is active and it is intentional.

While Christians are called to love everyone, we are not called to relate to everyone. This truth brings up some key questions. Are we relating to the ones we are supposed to be relating to? Do we need to add or subtract people? Even entire people groups? Both adding and subtracting need to be done with wisdom and in a biblical way.

Another set of questions surround how we love the people in our lives. Are we intentional? Do they experience our love, and to the extent that we should love them? Is our intention only an intention, or are concrete, meaningful (to the recipient) actions involved?

A further set of questions surrounds how we measure our love. Are we giving to get? In other words, is it only worth it if you are receiving what you expect to receive? Or are you loving the way Jesus loved, wanting the best for those you love and laying down your life for those you love? Are you giving freely and without setting conditions?

The best way to know if you are loving well is to study love in the Bible, as well as those who loved well. The goal is to learn the ways of love rather than creating a perfect standard for behavior.

As you learn these ways, ask God to enable you to improve the way you love. He is love, and wants to love others well through each of us. As we continue to go to Him in humility and ask to be transformed in the way we love, He will answer our prayers in His way and time.

Keywords: loving well, love assessment