SHARING OUR FAITH
[E] WHERE TO FROM HERE?
- Pray: This is a spiritual battle as well, thus we need to be equipped to face it.
- Break down the barriers which exist between the Muslims and Christians and bridge with them where possible. This can be done by:
Jesus responded to each differently and so should we. Never 'Either/Or' but 'Both/And'. This may be challenging; often it is we who are the barrier to Muslims hearing the Gospel. We may need to change first.
- Incarnational Life-style: Move into Muslim areas, and open ourselves up to the Muslim community.
Be careful to:
- Respect cultural sensitivities with respect to alcohol, pork and 'halal' food.
- Handle the Qur'an (and the Bible!) with real respect in a Muslim's presence.
- Be aware of ritual observances (especially prayer, fasting at Ramadan and hand-washing etc)
- Be discrete in cross-gender relations (touching, dressing, witnessing etc)
- Refrain from eating pork or drinking liquor in their presence. Let our children go to their schools. These will open doors for us.
- Train: Go to schools, (i.e. SOAS or Ealing), learn about Islam, from their perspective, make contacts with Muslim students, obtain credibility, and gain access.
- Learn Arabic, and brush up on Urdu, Bengali, or Hindi, to not only communicate, but be able to refer to the Qur'an directly during discussions. This helps to show them that we care, as we take the time and energy to understand them at their deepest level of communication.
- Participate: Attend their meetings on campus, to find out what they think, hear their agenda, so that we can talk to them more intelligently, and better communicate the gospel within a context that they know.
- In witnessing it is wise not to initially attack Muhammad or the Qur'an directly (although in time this will be necessary at least by implication). We should also resist the temptation to 'be nice', as Europeans interpret it (Jesus wasn't!). When we are afraid to show passion or emotion in defending what we believe Muslims may interpret it as lack of conviction!
- Build Bridges: Most fundamentally we need to know why we believe in the divinity of Christ and the resurrection and be able back it up biblically. To do that we need to:
- establishing common ground first; by asking questions and listening to the answers.
- pray with Muslims (that God will reveal the truth) & constantly in prayer ourselves.
- read the Bible together (Genesis, Proverbs, Luke); if need be read the Qur'an in return.
- Verbal testimony of answered prayer or of 'power encounter' with God.
- support converts; spiritually, physically, materially and emotionally.(1 Thes 2:8).
- Help the Muslims with legal assistance, conveying information, tutoring in English, correspondence courses, assist in finding jobs, and relief for the poor (showing the love of Christ in practical ways). Certain Muslim groups tend to have high unemployment rates, particularly among the first and second generation immigrants. The 1991 census shows that for Pakistanis the rate was 28.8%, for Bangladeshis it was 31.7%, compared with 8.8% for whites.
- 'Be all things to all men' Although the Gospel never changes our context does. Muslims are not a homogeneous group so our approach must not be stereotyped.
- Nominal: like the woman of Samaria, worshipping God 'not in spirit or in truth' (Jn 4)
- Orthodox: Others are highly moral like the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-30)
- Fundamentalists: While some are hypocrites like the pharisees (Mark 7:1-23)
- Seekers: There are genuine searchers like Cornelius (Acts 10)
- Talibes: The majority are lost like the people in the crowd (Mark 9:36).
Dialogue and Proclamation (again, not "either/or" but "both/and")
It is not good enough to simply depend on "lifestyle evangelism," as many of them do it better then us. We need to tell people the good news (like Jesus and Paul). "And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" (Romans 10:14).
Through the contacts made at school and in the community (literature distribution, Leicester Square, Speakers corner etc...), get into mosques, Qur'anic schools, and Islamic centres, or Muslim student meetings to set up dialogues and discussions.
The Islamic studies will give a good background, as well as credibility, and hopefully, the trust needed for this type of ministry. From these contacts, try to set up times of Bible Study in the Muslims home, or in a neutral area.
Since 50% of Muslims are now born within Britain, the trend towards the indigenisation of Islam in Britain will grow, which means that potentially Islam can and will be penetrated by traditional British cultural values (i.e. Judeo-Christian values, as well as modernizing Western Humanistic values) to which Islam has no response. Two misconceptions:
- Be nice. Instead be firm and resolute. (incarnational presentation)
- Don't attack the "book" or the "man" (whose agenda do we use?)
What do the scriptures say?:
Matt. 23:13-33 "hypocrites, blind guides (blind fools, blind men), white-washed tombs,
snakes, brood of vipers"
Acts 17 Paul in Athens, at the Areopagus
Acts 19 Paul in Ephesus, 3 months in the Synagogue, then 2 years, discussing daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.
Need to be 'Passionate, Confidant, and Forthright'
Bring Muslim contacts or converts into an existing churches.
- From these contacts, try to set up times of Bible Study in the home, or in a neutral area.
- Ultimately, with those who are regularly in Bible studies, it is hopeful that one could set up a worship service, in the home, or with another church. This meeting can be the foundation for a church made up of Muslim converts, and other stronger and more mature Christians, who can give it body, while helping the new converts to be discipled. Experience from some of the Arab-convert churches in London has shown us that it is advisable to bring new converts to Christ to an existing church; one which already has international people who worship there.
By doing this the Muslim can be integrated into an existing body of believers, who would have the maturity and understanding to cope with the unique problems which Muslim converts face.
Get on the Internet:
200 Muslim web-sites versus only 15 Christian web-sites.
Newsgroup: MCD on the Debate site; & soc.religion.islam; alt.religion.islam
Future Missionary Service:
- Summer cross-cultural programs.
- Medical Internship overseas (medical electives: see Sandra or Peter at CMF).
- Short-Term volunteer assignments.
- Long-Term Career assignments (O.M., AWM, FRONTIERS, WEC, INTERSERVE, YWAM, and many others).