Today I was blessed by a teaching that relates to one of my last prayers to the Lord. In light of the recent events by radical Muslim terrorism in Paris–and before that in Beirut, among many other attacks in the world by violent “Muslim” fighters–I had seen my heart grow weary, afraid and unloving toward the Muslim community at large. So some days ago I started praying to the Lord that He would help me love them instead, as He taught us to love even our enemies and to pray for them. I noticed a gradual shift away from fear and rejection afterwards! As a bonus from Him, today I came across this teaching I am sharing below, about how to reach the Muslim community for Christ. I know this comes from the Lord. And now I know that He is able to transform my fear into courage for the glory of His name. I know too that He is aware that I desired to have the proper knowledge and understanding to approach Muslims without fear and without reservation–that they may know grace and love too, and peace that surpasses all understanding that results from knowing and receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
This is a teaching by Remon Nabil Samuel, the son of a missionary to Muslims in Egypt, that was shared at Life Church Fishers, Indiana, on September 23rd, 2012. In it, he “explains how to bridge the gap between Muslims and Christians. He explains some similarites that wil help you connect and build relationships with those of a Muslim culture.”
I am sharing below my notes of the talk but you can listen to it directly on their website, clicking here. You need to scroll down and look for the talk on 9/23/12. May the Lord bless you through it!
There are some basic aspects we must know when it comes to Islam and Muslims. Firstly, Islam is not so much about a religion, but a political system. A political system that controls people. Islam is all about the culture and the community. So when Muslims come to the US they are free from the pressure of their communities and families. 97% of all Muslims are nominal Muslims, so they don’t know much about Islam.
Secondly, there is a huge difference between Islam and Muslims. Muslims are not the problem, Islam is. Islam is an evil system. It’s all about rituals but there is no spirituality; Muslims have no freedom to use their own words to approach their god; there is no relationship, there is no hope. Nothing in Islam can guarantee a Muslim that he can go to heaven, EXCEPT when he dies for Islam. That is the only way. The Islamic concept of heaven is a lot of food and a lot of sex, that’s it. The Q’ran doesn’t say anything about women in paradise; it’s all for men. Actually, it does say that the majority of hell dwellers are women.
What Impacts Muslims?
Grace . Because they have none in Islam. Love, because their god is moody and unloving. So when it comes to relating to Christians, they are most amazed by the love they enjoy and show.
This means there are certain characteristics that we as ambassadors of Christ must display to them, such as:
– Be loving, show unconditional compassion
– Be friendly, don’t hit them in the head with a fact; don’t turn conversations into an argument
– Bridge the gospel, throw the gospel message in 1 sentence, in 1 conversation, they are thirsty land. Start with the similarities between Islam and Christianity.
– Be biblical, please do not use the Q´ran becuse it has no authority over anybody, especially if you don’t speak Arabic. Use your Bible; be proud of what you believe, they will not be offended, forget about being politically correct by avoiding talking about religion, DO talk about religion, give them a New Testament as a gift.
What Bring Us Together
Bridging the Gospel is all about the similarities between Muslims and Christians:
1) God is one. Some Muslims think Christians worship 3 gods (God, Jesus and Mary). Make it clear that we worship 1 God and one God only.
2) Man is sinful. Muslims believe that a person is born sinless until they sin for the first time and that is what they are judged for. They don’t believe in the idea of original sin (you shouldn´t talk about Adam’ sin because in their eyes, he died and there is no more to it). They even believe that the prophets sinned. Even Mohammed sinned and was forgiven 3 times. What is ironic is that in the Q´ran Jesus is the only prophet that did not sin.
3) Jesus Christ! They believe Jesus (Isa in the Q´ran) was born from a virgin woman; the Q´ran says that Jesus is the spirit of God, he raises the dead, he heals the sick, among other deeds. The Q´ran mentions Jesus 97 times and Mohammed 25 times. That’s four times more. They believe that Jesus is coming back and he will be the antecessor on Judgement Day.
4) Holy Books. Muslims believe God sent the Torah and the Jews corrupted it. The God sent the Psalms to David and the Jews again corrupted it. God sent the New Testament to Jesus and the Christians corrupted it. So God sent the Q´ran and the Q´ran cannot be corrupted because this is the perfect word of God. They also believe in the Prophets. So you can start with the Prophets and end up talking about Jesus Christ.
What Separates Us
There are important differences that we should not avoid but clarify–it might be good not to start conversations with them but we should definitely deal with them:
1) Jesus is not the son of god. Muslims do not believe Jesus is the Son of God in a spiritual way, but that God had a sexual relationship with Mary and that that is how Jesus was born; that He is half divine, half humane, like Hercules. Our clarification: We believe that Jesus’ sonship is not a physical tie but a spiritual one.
2) The Christians worship three gods. Because Muslims hear of God, Jesus and Mary, then they think we believe in 3 gods. Our clarification: We must explain how it works, that it is one God. [I would also add that Mary should be clearly put out of the picture but instead explain, if at all possible, God in three persons.]
3) The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They see the cross as a big loss. Our clarification: We have to make clear that Jesus was stronger by being killed and coming back to life, not just running away from that and going back to heaven unharmed. [I think Muslims probably are not very impressed by the resurection as they might consider it as a myth so maybe stressing this fact would probably take us nowhere? But there is no mistake in saying the love of God was so much that He was willing to give up His own Son to redeem humanity of sin] Thus, He is our only way of salvation.
4) The Bible and its corruption. Above it was mentioned the fact that Muslims think the books in the Bible (the Torah, the Psalms, the New Testament) have been corrupted by human beings. Our clarification: We can present the question to them of whether are people stronger than God that they can actually corrupt Word’s God? Or is God stronger?
All this teaching doesn’t matter if we don’t understand Jesus’ heart. He died for the Muslim people too. There are about 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. That means that there are only 2 missionaries for 1 million Muslims! The need for workers is great.
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.” (Luke 10:2-3)
May the Lord move our hearts to reach the Muslims in our communities for Christ and for His Kingdom!