Muslims are taught that the Bible is not true because it was corrupted. There are some Christians who enter into discussions that are essentially book-versus-book, and they can be very successful. They have usually studied Christian apologetics for years, and have very strong foundations in discussing these matters. They know how to show, through historical evidence, that the Bible is intact as it was spoken and that it is true. They also understand the Koran and Muslim thinking very well.
More often than not, when people without those skills try to do the same thing, a book-versus-book argument occurs and there is no good solution, just a useless argument. When I was a Muslim, I got into many of these, and none of the arguments that the Christians were using made me journey any closer towards Christ because I already knew the gospel and rejected it because I did not believe the Bible. I and many MBBs that I encounter have the feeling that it is better to not specifically reference the chapter and verse of the text that you were referring to if you get into an argument debating the relative merits of the Bible and the Quran. It is often better to paraphrase it and give the Muslim the content of the Bible without specifically referencing it. Then a discussion can occur about the content of the Bible without an unfruitful and often angry argument.
Discipling Muslim Background Believers discusses methodologies to use when encountering Muslims who seem unwilling to consider Christian ideas at all. The methods have successfully been used by others. They include using specific analogies that are culturally effective, as well as reasoning that does not usually trigger book-versus-book arguments that prevent a Muslim hearing the Gospel. Please note that describing the methodologies — which are short when used — would make this post too long.
Keywords: Muslim ministry, objection, method, skeptic
While the desire to see Muslims come to Christ is an indication of love, treating people simply as potential converts makes them feel like projects. Our love for them has to be for them as individuals or they will likely reject our message.
Most Muslims know that Christianity is based on love, and are looking to see the love written in the Bible displayed in our lives. I was looking for it in my Christian friends, and saw little of it at first. They only related to me at that time in order to convert me, showing little care about me otherwise.
I listened patiently to them for quite some time, but then decided to tell them how I felt. I told them that if I had to become like them in order to be a Christian, then I never wanted to be a Christian. I felt that they lacked love for me, denying the validity of their message. When they heard it, they, to their credit, went and prayed long prayers of repentance before God, asking for another chance to share the love of Christ with me properly (I found out about this after I became a Christian). They changed. They began treating me like a person rather than a target, and some of them even became friends. That was much more convincing to me than them trying to make me convert. Their change was certainly not the most important part of me becoming a Christian (divine intervention was), but it did help.
What I am writing is not limited to Muslim ministry. I think that all people want to be treated with love. Non-Christians measure us by our love for them and for other Christians. We probably should ask ourselves how we’re doing in that area. Let’s really love rather than have those we’re ministering to and interacting with say, “Love? Really?”
Keywords: Muslim ministry, real love
Why should I care about Muslim ministry, especially if I’m not called to it:
- More than one in five people in the world are Muslim. It is likely that you will meet eventually meet a Muslim if you have not already.
- We’re told by God to love everyone.
- God’s purpose is to reach the lost and we should be about His purposes and love the way He does.
- There’s an unprecedented move of God among Muslims, with more Muslims coming to Christ in the last 60 years than in the previous 1,350.
- The world is becoming and ever smaller place, and it is likely that you will encounter a Muslim and have an opportunity to minister to them.
- It’s best to be prepared to love your neighbor. A part of loving and entertaining strangers is to be prepared, if led by the Holy Spirit, to invite them into the family.
Keywords: Muslims, prepare, love, learn
Part of my testimony provides useful insights into evangelizing Muslims:
[Please] let the [Muslim] seeker know that they will not see all of Christ in a single person. Also, you cannot be all of Christ to any individual. Even though I could see the likeness of Christ being formed in my Christian friends, no single one of them carried Christ’s entire image. It was seeing many Christians loving each other and me that showed me much of Christ in them. I could see that He was transforming them, and recognized that I could not expect any one of them to be perfect. Neither do you have to be perfect to be effective in sharing the gospel.
Before I became a Christian, people at the university I attended knew that I was a Muslim. They also knew that there were not many Muslims that became Christians, and those that were Christian wanted to see Muslims come to the Lord. In fact, some were determined to see me come to the Lord. However, in their zeal, they did not use the best of methods.
At first, they simply tried to argue with me. When they were not trying to convince me, they really did not pay much attention to me. I am very independent, and did not need attention, but I was examining their conduct to try to find out if Christ was who He said He was. I was searching for the truth at the time. They did not know that. One day, after they had confronted me with the Bible, I told them that they would be much more effective if they actually started living the way that they believed and loved me rather than trying to force me to become a Christian. I also told them I felt that they were trying to cram the Bible down my throat rather than reason with me, and their entire approach lacked love. I told them, not wanting sympathy but to tell them the truth, that their approach made me feel like I was to them simply an object to be converted – a potential notch on the belt – rather than a person. I also told them that if becoming a Christian would make me treat people like that, I did not want to become a Christian. I thought that would be the end of their attempts at trying to convert me.
Thankfully, my words had the opposite effect. I later found out that what they did was they listened to what I had said, realized that they needed to change how they were doing things, and spent some time in repentance and asking God to show them how to love me properly. They started including me in things that they were doing and actually showed care and concern for me as a person. I started to see Christ in them, rather than people who were trying to convert me. Seeing the change as they begin to actually live out their faith was a powerful testimony to me, and part of the reason that I continued to seek understanding regarding the nature of Jesus. For any person wanting to share the gospel, please show the love of God to the people you are talking with, even if it is just for a few seconds. That love will be remembered, and is an extremely powerful way of drawing people to Christ. It is also part of obeying the Lord.
The above excerpt is from my book, Discipling Muslim Background Believers, available in digital format from this website (EPUB and MOBI) and on Amazon (Kindle (MOBI)). The printed version is only available on Amazon.
A more detailed testimony, including how God answered my three main questions (asked by most Muslim seekers) about the virgin birth, the Trinity and the nature of Jesus, can also be found in the book.
Keywords: insights, evangelism, Muslim, salvation
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