Series By Rony Tomo, Guest Blogger Working With Muslims in the Middle East
After looking at some of the common barriers that Christians face when discussing the Gospel with Muslims, I now want us to examine three possible bridges that can be used when engaging Muslims in conversation. You will notice that the same three topics that served as barriers can also be used to serve as bridges. When one is involved in Muslim evangelism, a wise warning is to be careful not to spend 3 hours arguing (although at times this can unavoidable). A more useful method is to find some common ground. This can be challenging, but contrary to popular belief, most Muslims are not jihadist who want to take your head off with a sword, but rather people who thoroughly enjoy dialoguing about their faith. Therefore, since they love talking about their faith and we love talking about our faith, it is often simple to get into a conversation with a Muslim about spiritual matters. When those conversations arise, here are three bridges that one can utilize to share the Gospel in a jovial and cordial manner.
Conclusion: I am not condemning or advocating using the Qu’ran as a bridge to the Gospel. You cannot get the Gospel from the Qu’ran; it just is not there. At the same time, any conversation with a Muslim is going to consist of dialogue about Jesus and how He is portrayed in the Qu’ran. After all, the only Jesus (Isa) they know anything about is the one presented in the Qu’ran. You begin there, but quickly move to what the Injil (Gospels) teach about Him. This will eventually be met with opposition, but we can remind them of the Qu’ran’s instruction for them to read the books that came before. Believers must be prepared to discuss Jesus, the Qu’ran, the Bible, and the Gospel with a Muslim to the end that the non-believer will put down the Qu’ran, open up the Scriptures, and cry out in faith to Jesus.
Conclusion: Get the Bible into the hands of a Muslim as soon as possible. If you detect even a slight interest on their part, make sure you get the Scriptures in their hand immediately. We cannot neglect the power of the Holy Spirit in the life of a person seeking truth in God’s Word. Often we try to break down the barriers with our eloquent arguments. Let’s do our part and be a faithful messenger, but be active in putting the Scripture in their hands and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work. He is much more convincing than we are!
Conclusion: This is a wake-up call for all of us. It is time for us all to look in the mirror and ask if we are above reproach. For too long we have been turning Muslims away from Christ because we do not live what we say we believe. I am not advocating a lifestyle evangelism that is void of words. What I am advocating is a reminder to live as if God is always watching. We are not seeking to become legalists, but we want to be careful to not construct any unnecessary barriers by the way that we live our lives. Instead, our lives should reflect the change that Christ has made and the desire that we now have to live for Him. This exhortation to authentic living extends to our churches. As a corporate body of believers, we must live in community with each other while fulfilling the “one another” commands of Scripture. To Muslims, the “church” is a building. They do not have a concept of a community of faith that fellowships and share life together. When they see the people of God living together in harmony and genuinely loving one another, all their preconceived notions of Western individualism will be shattered. People desperately want to be apart of a community, and Muslims are no different. This type of authentic faith and community is very attractive to a Muslim.
No matter where we live, we must accept that Islam remains a challenge to the fulfillment of the Great Commission. Every day young Muslims around the world are being taught that Jesus is a good prophet, but not God’s Son. Many of them are forced to read and memorize the Qu’ran in a language they do not even speak. Some have stated that it takes a Muslim an average of 7 years come to faith in Christ after he has heard the Gospel for the first time. Even so, we know from reports that more Muslims have come to faith in Christ in the past 100 years than in all the previous 1300 years combined. God is moving and working. A recent survey conducted with more than 450 Muslim Background Believers (MBB’s) shows that there are three common factors in their coming to saving faith in Christ. First, God enters their lives through dreams and visions. Second, the Word of God (Bible) is placed on their hands. Third, God brings them into a relationship with an authentic local or near-culture believer. Let us pray that God would continue to work in the hearts and lives of Muslims around the globe.
In the end, we are accountable to Christ for our participation in His Great Commission. We know that the harvest is plentiful, but the workers few. As Southern Baptists in the 21st century, let us plead with Jesus that the Lord of the harvest would send out more workers into His harvest. The task is tough. The work is not easy. Yet, we are reminded that we are not sent out alone. We can be encouraged that the battle has already been won. After all, the King said, “I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.”
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