What Christian evangelists won’t tell you…
There are numerous Christian-based articles and books written about witnessing to Muslims. Most treat Islam as if it is just another erroneous version of Christianity, like they would treat Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness, or Christian Science. Big mistake.
Many evangelists stress the commonalities of Islam and Christianity as if they believe the same god, the same “Jesus”, the same Abraham and the same Old Testament. Another big mistake. Many focus on the love and forgiveness inherent in Christian doctrine. Many propose a form of “friendship evangelism” where the objective is to “friendship” the Muslim into liking and trusting you. “Give your personal testimony” and surprise and engage them into something they’ve never experienced before. Stress “forgiveness” because there is none in Islam.
Some of these suggestions may be helpful, some are totally off base. All of them are subject to the uniqueness of Islam that makes such witness especially challenging, maybe treacherous compared to witnessing to any other group of people.
Here is a list of challenges that are unique to witnessing to Muslims:
Islam is a total way of life. It is spiritual, social, cultural, legal, economic, political, and militant. Muslim morality and sense of justice is different. So the Christian witness needs to understand the nature and degree of the Muslim’s adherence to each of these components of their heritage and faith. Some Muslims may believe and practice the whole package. Others maybe bits and pieces. But how can we know for sure?
Most Muslims were taught distorted history about the Crusades and hate Christians because of them. They ignore the facts of Christians enduring 400 years of Muslim persecution and conquest across most of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa even before the First Crusade. The Crusades were the delayed Christian response of “enough is enough.” The Crusades were the last resort to the existential threat of Islamic conquest and dominance.
Islam also distorts Biblical history. Is Islam really an Abrahamic religion? No! Not when Ishmael is their father. Not when Islam believes the Bible is full of distortions. More on that HERE.
Islam teaches “taqiyya”, deception to misdirect the unbeliever and protect the Muslim. This requires the Christian witness to be wary of what the Muslim claims to believe. He may express things that cause us to believe he is a “nominal” Muslim in the same way we understand a “nominal Christian” who only goes to church on Easter and Christmas. Is said Muslim truly “nominal”, or is he a bit more devout and practicing Islam’s very effective “taqiyya.” Many if not most Muslim terrorists in this country were first known to be the “nice Muslim next door” or a “moderate” or “nominal” Muslim.
Islamic doctrine promotes the concept of being friends with the infidel outwardly, but inwardly keeping a distance from them.
Here are just three of numerous sections of the Qur’an about infidels as “friends.”
Quran (5:51) - "O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people."
Quran (5:80) - "You will see many of them befriending those who disbelieve; certainly evil is that which their souls have sent before for them, that Allah became displeased with them and in chastisement shall they abide." Those Muslims who befriend unbelievers will abide in hell.
Quran (3:28) - "Let not the believers take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah: except by way of precaution, that ye may Guard yourselves from them..." This last part means that the Muslim is allowed to feign friendship if it is of benefit. Renowned scholar Ibn Kathir states that "believers are allowed to show friendship outwardly, but never inwardly."
HERE are more quotes from the Religion of Peace website on this topic.
Understand that Islam is like no other “religion” in that it is the ONLY one that doctrinally imposes its precepts and mandates on those of other religions and those of no religion. This characteristic is more akin to a political ideology that imposes its laws and mandates on those who are not of that political persuasion. Islamic law, Sharia, imposes severe, often barbaric, penalties and punishments upon both Muslims and non-Muslims who violate Islamic law.
Understand that many Muslims may know more about our Christianity than we do. And certainly know more about their own doctrines than we do. So we may find ourselves at a distinct disadvantage when we attempt to use facts and reason with a Muslim.
Speaking of facts and reason, Islamic culture and doctrine is dualistic. That means that they are able to believe two opposing, incongruent ideas are true at the same time, as in something can be both black and white at the same time. No, not gray, not striped, not polka dotted, but both black and white. Try reasoning with THAT mentality.
What helps that dualistic thinking is the culture of inbreeding common in predominantly Muslim nations. Muhammad did it. And Muhammad is the most perfect human – as Islam teaches. So it is normal and natural, even desirable for Muslims to marry first cousins and other close relatives. Guess what that does to the gene pool? Guess what that does to human intelligence. Guess what that does to reasoning abilities. Any wonder why Muslim protesters often appear to be psychotic?
Finally, if a Muslim claims the label “Muslim”, whether he or she is devout or not, they believe in some or all aspects of their faith. Only when we know a Muslim really well will we be able to discern their words from their beliefs. And “knowing a Muslim well” to the extent needed to be adequately discerning will be quite the challenge given the Islamic doctrines they may or may not embrace.
So, what to do? Yes, we should witness to Muslims when the opportunity arises. But prudence should direct us to treat such opportunities with caution. Some Christians who give advice will say “give them the benefit of the doubt until they prove themselves otherwise.”
The much more prudent advice would be “witness with caution and discernment. Be wary of their words; consider them to be devout Muslims until they prove themselves otherwise.” As long as they continue to call themselves “Muslim” you know that they believe some aspects of Islam that may cause them to lie, be deceptive or even be dangerous. When a Muslim disassociates himself from being called “Muslim”, then there may be a bit more room for meaningful dialogue.
Allow for the distinct possibility of endless debate – they may be trying to convert YOU. Remember the wisdom in Matthew 10:14: “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.”
A fact to note: There was no “Islam” in the days of the Apostles, so there is little equivalent to devout Muslims as examples in Acts or any other part of Scripture. However, there is a situation in the New Testament that comes close to the conversion of a known anti-Christian terrorist and that is the story of Saul. How was he converted? What formula, method or words did a well-trained apostle, disciple, deacon or evangelist use? It was by none of these. His conversion was through the direct intervention of Jesus Christ.
The problem today is there is not just one “Saul.” There are potentially 1.4 BILLION. We need to pray that similar interventions occur 1.4 billion times.
Should Muslims be a priority for our witnessing? Actually,next to Christ, former Muslims make the best witnesses. For those who are so led, HERE are tips from former Muslims that may help you reach Muslims for Christ.
It is almost certain there are people who would be more receptive to and appreciative of God’s message. The chosen of Israel for one. At least they have at some level embraced the Old Testament – not the perverted version taught by Islam. Most Jews just haven’t gotten around to seriously considering the numerous Old Testament prophesies that clearly point to the first coming of Messiah at 0 AD.
There are also numerous “Christians in name only” running around this country. Many of these even attend Church, especially the liberal ones where they have learned to doubt the Deity of Christ and His forgiveness of or even the reality of sin. These may be more receptive to God’s pleas than the average Muslim.
The unchurched 20 to 30-somethings will certainly learn things they never heard. And the elderly who are closer to an eternity with or without God, may be welcoming.
Christian leaders, on the whole, have shown a dismal ignorance of the threat Islam poses to our nation, our freedoms and our lives. Many are no better than our newly appointed Director of Homeland Security John Kelly. In response to 30,000 jihad attacks committed in the name of Islam and in accord with its teachings since September 11, 2001, he suggested Christian and Jewish beliefs are also causing terrorism. No, John, there is no moral equivalence.
Final thoughts about witnessing to Muslims: Trust the Holy Spirit more than your abilities or the potential deceptions of Muslims. Use your time wisely. Others (than Muslims) are likely to be more genuinely receptive. Avoid throwing pearls before swine. And be careful not to mention swine.
Here are two “bonus” tidbits that help us understand the current problem:
1. The Somali Muslim cop who “inexplicably” shot an unarmed woman in Minneapolis HERE.
2. The failed attempt of an Arizona Congressman to adopt legislation that would bring attention to the numerous Islamic doctrines that promote violence and terror against less devout Muslims and non-Muslims, aka “infidels”, HERE.