The Worldview of Islam: Muslim beliefs & practices
Loving Muslims for the sake of Jesus
From Islam to Christ: One man’s testimony
What is Shariah Law?
The challenge of Islam
Encountering followers of ‘Allah’ with the Good News of Jesus

The Worldview of Islam: Muslim beliefs & practices

>> by Tawa J. Anderson 

The Islamic religion began in A.D. 610, when the prophet Muhammad reported receiving divine revelations mediated by the angel Gabriel. These ‘recitations’ continued for 22 years, and were collected in the Qur’an, the Holy Book of Islam. Muslims consider themselves to be the only authentic followers of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and accuse Jews and Christians of having perverted God’s previous revelations (the Torah or Old Testament and the Injil or New Testament).

The word ‘Islam’ is derived from the Arabic word for ‘to submit’; Islam focuses upon submission to the one true God. A follower of Islam is a Muslim, meaning ‘one who submits’. Today there are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, including an estimated 2.6 million Muslims in America.

///Core Beliefs of Islam

The central affirmation of Islam is the shahadah (confession of faith): ‘There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is His messenger.’ There are five additional pillars of belief fundamental to the Islamic worldview. (1) Allah is an undivided, indivisible, one. The sin of shirk, associating anyone/anything with Allah, is the paramount sin of Islam—a sin that Christians are perceived as guilty of, since they equate Jesus of Nazareth with Almighty God. (2) Allah’s angels are spiritual beings active in the world. (3) Allah has revealed Himself through the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospels and finally the Qur’an. (4) Allah has anointed and called prophets and messengers in past ages—including Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Elisha and Jesus. (5) Allah will judge all peoples at the end of time, with some cast into eternal hell and others receiving eternity in Allah’s paradise.

Perhaps the most significant distinction between the Islamic and Christian worldviews concerns the identity of God, especially regarding Jesus. Christianity affirms Jesus as the incarnate Son, the second person of the Trinity, part of the Triune Godhead. Christianity believes in one God Who exists eternally in three persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus of Nazareth, then, is more than a prophet—He is God incarnate.

///Core Practices of Islam

Faithful Muslims practice the Five Pillars of Islam. (1) The shahadah, recited multiple times daily. (2) Salat, or ritual prayer—five daily prayer times. (3) Zakat, a religious tax to support the poor. (4) Sawm, fasting from sunrise to sunset during the month of Ramadan. (5) Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca, which is to be undertaken at least once in the lifetime of a faithful Muslim. The five pillars are acts of devotion and service to Allah.

In addition to the core beliefs and practices of Islam, one can understand the religion and its followers by articulating the contours of an Islamic worldview, answering four fundamental worldview questions.

///What Is Our Nature?

Allah is the creator and sustainer of all that exists, including human beings. Like Christianity, Islam understands human beings to be the pinnacle of God’s creation, called to be stewards of God’s creation. Muslims believe in a historical Adam and Eve, as well as their primeval temptation by Satan. Islam departs from the Christianity, however, in asserting that Adam and Eve quickly repented and were forgiven by Allah. Their offspring are born not in a state of sin or fallenness, but rather in a state of moral purity: every child is born a natural Muslim, but is later corrupted by his parents. Humans inherently possess more good than evil, and can respond to Allah and obey his requirements.

///What Is Our World?

Muslims share the Christian belief that God has created (and presides over) all that exists. Allah is the Lord of life and death, and nothing occurs that is outside of His purview and control. Through the world, Allah carries out his sovereign will. Allah is the transcendent creator, and is utterly distinct from the world he has made.

///What Is Our Problem?

The main problem with the world is failure to submit to Allah. Disobedience is the source of individual and social problems. In addition to natural human weakness, human beings are tempted by Satan and drawn into sin. Accordingly, Allah judges and destroys cultures and societies. Humans whose sin outweighs their good will be consigned to hell. The simple solution to the problem is Islam—submission to Allah. Christianity, by contrast, identifies human fallenness as the core problem; the solution is not outward obedience to religious law, but rather renewal by the grace of God through faith in Jesus’s atoning sacrifice on the cross.

///What Is Our End?

The purpose of human beings is to submit to Allah, to serve and worship Him. Our destination is eternal judgment: those who submit to Allah and obey His commands as communicated through the Qur’an will be rewarded with paradise; unbelievers will be punished for all eternity in hell.

From a Christian worldview, our eternal destination is determined by the answer to the Father’s question: “What have you done with My Son?” Those who accept God’s salvation by grace through faith in Jesus will spend eternity in Heaven with God; those who reject Christ as their Savior and Lord, including our Muslim friends and neighbors, are condemned to an eternity in hell.

Loving Muslims for the sake of Jesus

>> by James R. White, Director of Alpha and Omega Ministries

I do not like to argue. For someone who has engaged in approximately 130 moderated public debates on four different continents, that may sound like an odd statement. But I truly do not. I debate as a means of Gospel presentation and defense. But if I never had to argue with someone again, I’d be very happy.

When I engage Muslims in debate I am seeking to exalt Jesus Christ and bring a knowledge of Him to men and women who have been given a Jesus who is not personal, attractive or real.

While Muslims will often claim they are part of the second largest religion in the world that teaches people to love Jesus, the reality is I have met very, very few Muslims who loved Jesus.

How could they? The Jesus of the Qur’an to whom they are committed is a one-dimensional person who randomly says things about monotheism, but who is never seen as a person in a context.

With all due respect, to love the Qur’anic Jesus is to love a brief, repetitive argument. The Muslim cannot consistently come to the Jesus of the Gospels, the real, historical Jesus Who ministered amongst us in Judea and Galilee at the beginning of the First Century, because to do so would be to come to a Jesus denied by the author of the Qur’an and by later Islamic orthodoxy.

The Jesus Who walks the pages of the Bible is the eternal Son of God, the Prophet, Priest and King Who defies the narrow confines placed upon Him by the author of the Qur’an.

And so the Muslim is forced to reject that Jesus and, instead, hold to a Messiah whose mission was a mystery, who was sent only to the Jews, a “mere prophet” (Surah 5:75) who at the judgment will be asked the following, according to the Qur’an, by Allah Himself: “Did you (Jesus) say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as two gods distinct from Allah’?” (Surah 5:116—all translations in this article by the author).

The Jesus of the Qur’an denies ever doing this (Christians immediately recognize that the author of the Qur’an had a tremendously fallacious understanding of Christian belief to pen such words!), but then these terrible words are put into His mouth: “You know what is in myself. I do not know what is in Yourself.” Clearly, the author of the Qur’an knew next to nothing about the text of the Gospels, and surely had never heard these life-giving words, written more than half a millennium before him:

“All things have been delivered over to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father. Neither does anyone know the Father except the Son, and whoever the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matt. 11:27).

It is easy to understand why most Muslims prefer Islam over Christianity when you realize that the Christianity they have been exposed to through their own sacred text, the Qur’an, and through the teachings of their leaders, is but a shadow of the reality of the living Lord of the Bible. It is this reality that should be part of what motivates Christians to passionately proclaim the truth of Jesus to the Muslim people.

What a tragedy for a billion people to be told “Jesus was merely a prophet, just the Messiah for the Jews alone.” This one falsehood from the author of the Qur’an has separated these precious people from the one and only Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, whose precious and perfect intercession is the only way that any human being can ever have true and lasting peace with God.

They are left with the untenable position of having a holy God who punishes sin, the reality of hell fire, judgment, and yet—no mediator, no one who can do what only Jesus can do in bringing peace between sinful men and the proper demands of God’s holiness and justice.

Christians, who by God’s grace have come to rejoice in the finished and perfect work of Christ, who daily give thanks that the Holy One stands in the presence of the Father interceding for us, must experience heartache when we think of so many precious souls cut off from such a life-giving message.

We should be thereby emboldened to make known the glories of the true and living Jesus Christ to men and women burdened with a religious commitment that cannot bring them peace, cannot bring them life.

I have often said, “Theology matters.” Here is a tremendous example. By removing from Jesus His true essential nature as the God-Man, and thereby rendering Him incapable to function as the true Mediator, the Muslim Jesus becomes a stale, one-dimensional artifact of history, irrelevant to the daily life of the follower of Islam.

What is worse, the message of the Gospel, which is so firmly grounded in the biblical witness of Jesus as the God-Man, the divine Son of God, is removed from the realm of the possible for the Muslim, for not only is the Muslim warned that following the Gospel would involve him or her in the unforgivable sin of shirk (the association of anyone or anything with Allah), but because the Qur’an denies the historical reality of the crucifixion (Surah 4:157) the very historical grounds upon which redemption is offered to the repentant and believing soul is denied as well!

Truly, the believing child of God has every reason to be praying for the opportunity to proclaim the complete, full truth of Jesus to the Muslim—not a watered down, fearful version, but the deep, biblical, historical reality of the Prophet, Priest, King, Son of Man, Son of God Who invaded His own creation so many generations ago.

This is the uncompromised message they need to hear, and we, God’s people, must obediently proclaim it!

From Islam to Christ: One man’s testimony

>>by Afshin Ziafat, Lead Pastor of Providence Church in Frisco, TX

In Matt. 16:24, Jesus tells his disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.”

Jesus was clear to articulate that there was a cost to following Him.  It is important for us to remember that salvation is a free gift that cannot be earned, but we must also embrace the truth that the call of Christ is not just merely acknowledgement of a set of truths, but rather a commitment to giving our lives to follow Jesus regardless of the cost.

This was a truth I didn’t fully understand when I became a Christian. This is a truth that I am passionate about proclaiming to the world.

I was born in Houston, Texas. When I was 2, my family moved back to our native land of Iran. When I was 6, an Islamic revolution hit that country. Because of the volatility of that time, we moved back to Houston, and I grew up in a Muslim home. My father was a very prominent Muslim in the Houston area.

I didn’t speak English when I first moved back to America, so God, in His incredible plan, provided for me a teacher who became my tutor. This lady taught me the English language every day after school by reading me books. She poured herself into me at a time when a lot of people turned their backs on my family because we were from Iran, because of the Iranian hostage crisis that was going on at the time.

But this one lady loved me, poured herself into me and taught me English. In the second grade, she came up to me and said, “Afshin, I’ve been reading you all of these books, but now I’m going to give you the most important book in your life,” and she handed me a small New Testament. I’m so thankful that my second grade tutor invested in me at a critical time in my life.  I would not have trusted most people at that time, but since the New Testament came from someone who was loving me and serving a huge need in my life, I held on to it.

I grew up a Muslim believing Jesus was just a prophet and having to earn my way to Heaven.  During my senior year in high school, I became curious about the person of Jesus Christ, and God put the New Testament the tutor had given me on my mind.  I found it at the bottom of my closet. I began reading from the Book of Matthew. I read every day under the bed covers with my flashlight so my parents wouldn’t come in and figure out what I was doing.

Finally, I got to the Book of Romans when I started hearing about a righteousness that comes apart from the Law; apart from what I do for God. It said that this righteousness comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. That verse nailed me. It means Jesus secured a right standing with God for anyone: any race, any ethnicity, any nation.

After reading that, a friend invited me to an event where a man preached the Gospel. I heard the Gospel, and my life changed. I gave my life to Christ, but once again, I didn’t fully understand what it looks like to really follow Him. I hid my faith from my family for about a year and a half until, finally, my father found out. He had seen my Bible; he’d seen other evidences in my life. He sat me down and said, “Son, what’s going on?”  I told him I’m a Christian. He said, “You have to choose between being a Christian or being my son.”

Everything in me wanted to say, “Forget it. I’ll be a Muslim.” I didn’t want to lose my father. But God in His strength gave me the words to say, “Dad, if I have to choose between you and Jesus, then I choose Jesus. If I have to choose between my earthly father and my Heavenly Father, then I choose my Heavenly Father.”

My father disowned me on the spot, told me to get out of his face. I walked upstairs to my room. This was the defining moment of my life. I said, “God, how could You do this to me?” The Lord spoke to me clearly. He said, “Open My Word.”

I turned right to Matthew 10 where Jesus says, “Whoever acknowledges Me before men, I will acknowledge him before My Father in Heaven, but whoever disowns Me before men, I will disown before My Father in Heaven.” And Jesus says, “Do not suppose that I came to bring peace to people. I do not come to bring peace but a sword for I have come to turn a man against his father.”

(I read that and thought, “Whoa, this just happened for me!)

“I’ve come to turn a daughter against her mother. A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves his father and mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. Anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

That’s when I first understood what it means to be a follower of Christ. I had to let go of the most important thing in my life to cling to Jesus and follow Him. Eventually, my father would accept me back, but only on a provisional basis.

He wanted me to be a doctor and follow his footsteps. But once again, God called me to follow His plan and go into full-time Christian ministry. One of the most difficult things I have had to do in my life was to break that news to my father. Though this led to another period of estrangement, God has been faithful to bless me with so many opportunities to proclaim His goodness to the world.

Today, I could be a doctor and have my dad proud of me, but I would have missed the life Christ had for me. As I’ve followed Christ, He has opened every door for me. Today, I’m a pastor, and God has given me a platform where I get to go into the Middle East and train Iranian men and women to plant underground churches.

It all goes back to one lady who loved me and several people along the way who were faithful to pour into me. I’m so thankful for that.

What is Shariah Law?

>> by J. Scott Bridger, Assistant Professor of Word Christianity and Islam, Criswell College

In August of this year, an Oklahoma federal judge struck down a 2010 constitutional amendment approved by 70 percent of the state electorate forbidding the courts from considering Islamic law (shariah) in their decisions.

Oklahoma is one of several states that have either passed laws, or are seeking to do so, that would prohibit their courts from appealing to “international” or “foreign” precedents in their legal decisions. Islamic groups have criticized such moves as anti-Islamic.

Proponents of such laws, however, argue that they are necessary to stem the tide of cases where American justices are formulating judicial decisions based on precedents that originate in Islamic law and are contrary to rights and privileges shared equally by all citizens under the constitution. One example is the 2009 court ruling in New Jersey that refused to honor a wife’s request for a restraining order against her husband on the basis that the man believed it was his religious right to have non-consensual sex with his wife. The court’s decision in this regard was later overturned, but this case illustrates the willingness some justices display towards entertaining the legitimacy of shariah-based legal decisions.

Issues of this nature raise a number of questions for Christians and necessitate an informed response. Part of forming that response is understanding the origins and role of shariah law in the Muslim worldview.

According to the Qur’an, when Adam violated God’s command not to eat from the tree, he was punished by being cast down to the Earth, and he was told to follow God’s “guidance.” By doing so, he would preserve his life (e.g., see Qur’an 20:115-24). Over the course of human history, the Qur’an says that divine guidance has been delivered to humanity via God’s human agents—his prophets and messengers.

The guidance they delivered consisted of instructions and laws humanity needs to structure their lives so as to live in accordance with the will of God. People can please God so long as they follow his divine law code. Violations of this code, however, are met with severe punishment; thus, part of the role of God’s prophets and messengers has been to warn people about the coming Day of Judgment should they fail to heed God’s word.

Muslims believe that the final and most authoritative version of these divine laws and instructions were revealed to Muhammad in two sources: the Qur’an and Muhammad’s sunnah. The sunnah refers to the reports, sayings, conduct and example of Muhammad observed by his companions and their successors. These traditions were passed down orally through chains of transmitters until, according to Muslim belief, they were providentially preserved in the earliest biographical works on the life of Muhammad called sira and the canonical collections of these reports called hadith.

For religiously-minded Muslims, the life and example of Muhammad, both in terms of his personal conduct and his example in economic, political and military affairs in the early Islamic community, is the supreme standard for judging human behavior and, indeed, for regulating human societies.

Over the centuries, Muslim scholars utilized these authoritative sources to delineate five categories (ahkam) for classifying various behaviors and actions. These categories range from obligatory to prohibited. (In actuality, the Qur’an contains very little practical instruction, so most of what is in Islamic law derives from the hadith. For instance, the Qur’an says nothing about praying five times a day, but seems to suggest that Muslims pray three times a day).

Along with the sources mentioned above, commentaries on the Qur’an and records of legal discussions and decisions have come to form large body of literature collectively referred to as shariah. In theory, Muslims believe the shariah contains a comprehensive system governing every aspect of their lives, from how to brush one’s teeth to how to conduct financial transactions. In practice, most Muslims demonstrate a wide range of attitudes and responses to the dictates of the shariah law since legal experts often contradict one another, and there is no centralized governing body enforcing these decisions. Today, the binding nature of legal decisions depends upon the status of shariah law in a particular country.

What is important for Christians to remember when befriending Muslims is that the true story of this world, including the role of God’s prophets in history, is only preserved in the comprehensive and self-contained narrative found in the Bible—from Genesis to Revelation. All of us, including Muslims, are dwelling within the story narrated in Scripture. That story is encapsulated in the Bible’s four grand plot moves: creation, fall, redemption and restoration.

The Bible’s story is the story of the cosmos; it alone contains the truth as to why the world is in its current state despite the best efforts of men to legislate and regulate human behavior. Moreover, it is only in Christ and through the power of His life-giving Spirit that individuals and societies can be forgiven of their sin and transformed—from the inside out.

The challenge of Islam

>> by Zane Pratt, Associate Professor of Christian Mission at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Team Leader for the Global Theological Education Strategy Team, IMB

Islam is a hot topic among Evangelical Christians. More than 1.5 billion people worldwide profess to be Muslims, and many now live in the United States.

American news sources are full of stories about the activities of radical Muslims, and the fear of Islam has become a part of the American cultural landscape. Tellingly, action movies and books now often portray the bad guy as an Islamic terrorist, where a generation ago the archetypal enemy was usually a Soviet Communist.

American Christians are influenced by this cultural environment. They are aware that their country is in a war on terror, and they observe that terror often seems to have an Islamic face. They are aware of stories of persecution of Christians in Islamic countries. They are skeptical of statements that Islam is a religion of peace, and they openly reject relativistic assertions that Islam and Christianity are basically the same. How should evangelical Christians view Islam, and how should they relate to the Muslims who are moving into their communities?

It will be helpful, at the start, to clarify a few things. “Islam” is the name of the religion. The word means “submission” in the Arabic religion, and it refers to submission to God. A follower of Islam is a Muslim—a person who submits to God in the way of Muhammad. Furthermore, Muslim and Arab are not the same thing. An Arab is a member of an ethnic group who speak the Arabic language.

It is true that Muhammad and the early Muslims were ethnic Arabs, and it is also true that the Qur’an (Islam’s holy book) and the prayers of Islam are in the Arabic language. However, not all Arabs are Muslims. There are still many Arab speakers in the Middle East whose ancestors never converted to Islam, and who continue to adhere to one of the ancient Christian churches of the area. These include the Coptic Orthodox of Egypt, the Syrian Orthodox, the Maronite Catholic of Lebanon and the Chaldean and Assyrian churches of Iraq. (Many of the Arabs who have immigrated to Michigan, for example, are not Muslims at all, but rather are members of one of these ancient Christian communities.)

At the same time, the vast majority of all Muslims are not ethnically Arab at all. In the Middle East itself, the Iranians, the Kurds and the Turks are all majority-Muslim, but none of these people groups speak Arabic as their heart language, and all of them have a separate culture and ethnic identity from the Arabs.

The largest Islamic countries in the world are actually outside the Middle East. Indonesia has the largest population of Muslims of any country on Earth, followed by India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. None of these countries are even remotely Arabic in language or ethnic identity. Perhaps most importantly, it is crucial to realize that the vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists. Only a very small minority of Muslims believe that terrorism is a legitimate expression of their religion. That minority just gets all the press outside the Islamic world.

Islam and Christianity share a lot of the same religious vocabulary, but we mean very different things by those words. The similarities are superficial; the differences are profound and deep. Both religions profess belief in one and only one God1. However, Islam explicitly rejects the biblical doctrine of God as Trinity—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It affirms that Jesus was a mighty prophet Who was born of a virgin, performed miracles, spoke the word of God, is even now alive in Heaven and will come again at the end of history.

However, they deny that He is God (the term “Son of God” is regarded as blasphemy by Muslims), and they reject the idea that He died on the cross. Islam denies the possibility of salvation through an atoning sacrifice for sin. Islam acknowledges that the Law of Moses, the Psalms of David and the Gospel of Jesus were the inspired word of God, but they believe that Jews and Christians changed the text of their Scriptures, so that only the Qur’an is reliable today.

Islam represents a powerful challenge to Evangelical Christianity. It is a fast-growing religion with a significant missionary impulse of its own. It has a built-in apologetic against the Christian message, however erroneous that apologetic may be. It exerts intense social pressure on its adherents to remain within the Muslim community, and in some Muslim societies that pressure can become legal or even physical. Most majority-Muslim countries restrict or even forbid Christian missionary activity.

How should followers of Jesus respond to this challenge? First of all, we should not be afraid of Islam or of Muslims. We should not fall into the error of the relativists on the one side, who claim that Christianity and Islam teach basically the same thing. They do not. Neither should we fall into the error of the fear-mongers on the other side, who see a terrorist behind every Muslim face. The vast majority are not.

Instead, realizing that Islam is the largest non-Christian religion in the world, we should seek to understand it. As Jesus commanded, we should love Muslims, whether they are our neighbors, our enemies or both. We should reach out to Muslims in friendship and hospitality.2 Most importantly, we should graciously share the Gospel with them. When all is said and done, Muslims are simply another group of people, usually quite friendly and hospitable, who need to hear about Jesus.

 1“Allah” is the Arabic word that Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews used for God long before the time of Muhammad, and continue to use to this day. It is, in effect, a Judeo-Christian word that Muhammad appropriated.
2 We have found that Muslims are generally very willing both to give and to receive hospitality, usually to a far greater degree than most Americans.

Encountering followers of ‘Allah’ with the Good News of Jesus

>> by Bruce Carlton, Professor of Cross-Cultural Ministry & WMU Professor of Missions and Director of Avery T. Willis Center for Global Outreach at Oklahoma Baptist University

Strolling down the street praying, I caught a glimpse of a Muslim gentleman heading my direction. As he drew near, I greeted him, “A Salaam, Alikum,” (Peace to You) as I placed my right palm over my heart. “Alikum A Salaam,” (And to You, Peace) was the greeting returned by the startled gentleman.

“Are you a Muslim,” he inquired? “No, I am a follower of Isa al Masih (Jesus Christ),” I answered. “Why did you greet me with the Muslim greeting?” he asked, puzzled.

“I am a follower of Isa al Masih, and we are told to greet people by saying ‘peace’ to them; it is a greeting for followers of Isa as well,” I quickly answered.

The gentleman’s curiosity had peaked, so I continued, “You are probably wondering why I came to your community today. I came because 38 years ago someone came to my house and shared a story with me that forever changed my life, and since that day, everywhere I go I seek to share that same story. I would be happy to come to your house and share that story with you.”

The above interaction is one I have repeated numerous times with Muslims all over the world. More times than not, by the end of the brief conversation, I am invited to the other person’s home.

From such encounters, there are several principles that I have come to believe are true, generally speaking, regarding engaging Muslims with the Good News about Jesus.

First, I must have the desire to share with Muslims, so I must go into communities where they live or places where they gather. Second, greeting people following their cultural pattern can, and often does, open a door for engaging in a lengthier conversation.

Next, identifying myself from the very beginning as a follower of Jesus, does away with any suspicion about who I am, and it protects me later on from the charge of being deceitful and dishonest by seeking to conceal my identity and/or my intentions. It also implicitly signals to the other person that I am interested in engaging him in a discussion about spiritual matters.

In my experience, most Muslims are willing to engage in such discussions. Further, in a culture that values hospitality and as an outsider to that culture, I can indirectly invite myself to someone’s home with a high degree of probability that I will be welcomed.

After entering the home, I begin to ask questions about my new friend and his family. (A word of caution at this point—As a man, I never ask a Muslim husband about his wife, neither do I ask a Muslim father about his daughters. To do so is culturally inappropriate.)

After listening to the other person’s story, I then ask if they would like to hear the story I earlier mentioned that had changed my life. More often than not, I am given permission to share. At this point I share my story of how I came to be a follower of Jesus Christ, and if time permits I continue to share the story of redemptive history (short version) from Creation to Christ.

Sharing the Good News from an honor/shame perspective rather than a guilt-perspective makes the message easily understood. The Gospel is a message of raising humankind from a position of shame to a position of honor as joint heirs with “Isa”; a message of God moving us from being defiled to being cleansed.

Cleansing is fundamental to understanding grace. Humankind is unclean. We are more than just depraved; we are defiled.

Whenever we converse with Muslims about spiritual matters, we must impugn neither Muhammad nor the Qur’an. Nothing is gained by disparaging remarks. Rather than criticizing the Qur’an, it is helpful for us to be familiar with the key teachings of the Qur’an as this can “open the door” to a discussion about Jesus. Jesus holds a position of high regard in the Qur’an.

Jesus is mentioned more times than Muhammad. Throughout the Qur’an, Jesus is spoken of with much respect and acknowledgement of His power. I have often been asked by Muslims if I have read the Qur’an. I can answer in the affirmative. This then “opens the door” for me to ask in return, “Have you ever read the Injil (Gospels)?” Sometimes, the person willingly accepts the Bible that I offer to them with my encouragement to read about ”Isa” (Jesus) in the Gospels.

Volumes have been written on how to share the Good News with followers of Islam. This brief article barely scratches the surface. May you read these paragraphs and walk away knowing Muslims are real people like you and me, and they are open to the truth spoken in love.