Evangelizing Muslims and Light

In this section, Abd al Haq explains a little about how he shares the Gospel with Muslims. I want to clarify that his approach is far from universal, but he makes a case for it and you can evaluate it as you see fit. In many ways it is the same as Paul's approach when he was in Athens.

Let me also point out that I know some Muslims read this website and I see no problem with discussing these topics in their presence. This sort of material is not some kind of secret of Christians or anything of the sort. Jesus said we are children of light so we must live in the light, not keeping secrets or living deceitfully.

The reason I feel this way is that the purpose of Christian evangelism is not to enforce one view on another person. Nor is it "tunsur al diin," to make the religion victorious. The purpose is to respectfully present the truth that we believe God has revealed about himself and us humans to others, giving them the opportunity to accept this gift of God's grace or to reject it, as they will. Ultimately, the conversion of a Muslim to the way of Jesus Christ is between him and God. I write a lot about community and how evangelicalism has become too individualistic--accurate criticisms I think--but on the day of judgment each man and woman must stand alone before the throne of Jesus and given account for his decisions and judgments. That, I think, is not individualism, but a real and honest assessment of the situation and every Muslims I know agrees with it.

God is indeed light upon light. But where do we see that light? Does it shine forth in the words of the Quran as Muslims say and must believe, under penalty of death? Or does it shine forth in the person Jesus Christ, who was "like us in all ways, but without sin"? That is the question. When Christians evangelize, as we all must, we raise the question. That is all. But that small thing can be, in God's hands, a great thing indeed.

[...]you should know that the philosophy that I typically work from is that we want to emphasize those things that we hold in common (things that are evident) and move from there to a challenge. The key is to build strongly on the common ground and walk them through to the natural, clear, true, evident conclusion which is the challenge to their worldview. We must also prioritize these challenges that we will bring before those we encounter. What I mean is that we must “pick our battles.” If we fail to prioritize these things prior to visiting with someone, we can quickly go down a rabbit-trail that may certainly be a concept that they have not yet grasped and is challenging to their mind and heart, but at the same time this concept may not be an essential or is, perhaps, a concept that will be grasped further along their journey towards worshipping God in spirit and truth. What I am attempting to say, with far too many words, is that we should attempt to figure out what our focus is … and keep it there! This is how we see the Apostles and their companions dealing with unbelieving Jews as well as Gentiles all through the book of the Acts of the Apostles. They were focused on The Story and did not dig into deep doctrine until a body was formed. Practically, for me, this means that as quickly as possible, I will try to get to this phrase: “That is a long story. How much time do you have?” As soon as I get the okay to tell The Story, I do it and then we can go from there.

Concerning bridges that are found in their religion, I don’t typically pull out a Qur’an or a copy of Ahadeeth in order to show our common ground or to make a point. That is mostly because I don’t make statements about what Muslims where I live believe or about what the Qur’an or Ahadeeth say until I know what it is that they believe or what the books say. So, if I make a statement like, “We all know such and such to be true, thus ….,” it comes out without doubt and if someone questions what was said, I immediately ask for a copy of the Qur’an so that I may show it to them. The overwhelming majority of the time, they don’t bring it out … because they either know that I am correct or because they are afraid that I am correct. So, the bridges from their religious beliefs and books are used, but just not quoted word for word or drug out and studied … it makes more sense to tell stories and quote proverbs in an oral culture anyway!

Comments

Fletcher said…
I wholeheartedly agree with following the approach Paul took in the Areopagus with his sermon on Mars Hill. Find common ground, and then REASON together. The trick is, finding a way to objectively reason with someone when it comes to religious beliefs. All too often people get caught up in their emotions and so you get a subjective emotional response. How do you deal with this? Do you actually ask your conversation partner to try to be objective and try to emotionally detach from the subject matter so that you can discuss things objectively?
Abu Daoud said…
The Quran talks about reasoning a lot, if you remind a Muslim of this it can be helpful.

Or you can just play from the same script and get emotional too. My experience in the ME is that sometimes if you don't get emotional people won't take you seriously at all.

Some times I just ask why they are getting emotional. Sometimes, I say, "Ah you see, that is the difference: I like reason, and you like anger."

It's a case by case thing. You have to really on the Spirit to guide you.

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