Terrorism, unrest in the Middle East, spiking oil prices, and Qur’an burnings. With this constant barrage, it’s no wonder we’re afraid and agitated. But our fear has caused us to become muddled about what our responsibility is to Muslims.
After clearing away the clutter, it’s still our task to share the good news of the love of Jesus Christ with Muslims. Having served with Christian Reformed World Missions in a country that is 96 percent Muslim, I bear witness that the vast majority of Muslims I’ve met are friendly, warm people. They’ve shared from their meager resources to embrace us with hospitality. After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Muslims came to our home to offer their sincere condolences for the evil that was perpetrated in the name of their religion.
Our task is not to denounce the errors of Islam. Our task is to introduce people to Jesus.
Yes, there are extremists. But is it not our task to pray for them as Jesus asks us to (Matt. 5:44)? God does something in our hearts when we’re on our knees, praying for perceived enemies. None of us works well when fear controls us. But the perfect love of Christ casts out our fears (1 John 4:18).
I’ve had the great joy of seeing Muslims come to know Jesus. And in every situation it was the love of Christ demonstrated in the life of a Christian that drew him or her to Jesus. For example, a dear friend of mine who was a Muslim was dying of AIDs and shunned by his family. He decided to follow Jesus after Christian Reformed World Relief Committee staff and other Christians nursed him back to health.
Of the Muslims I know, an interest in Jesus never came about by a persuasive argument for the Trinity or by criticizing the prophet Mohammed.
Our task is not to denounce the errors of Islam. Our task is to introduce people to Jesus by our life and the words of the gospel. Then, as Muslims study God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will show them the errors as they turn all of their life over to Christ.
Every day Muslims pray the Fatiha, the first chapter of the Qur’an. Verse six of the Fatiha reads, “Lord, show us the straight way.” You and I are God’s answer to that prayer. We know the One who is the Straight Way to God the Father (John 14:6)! In sharing the gospel with Muslims and refusing to be controlled by disturbing headlines, we become the messengers who introduce people to Jesus, the Straight Way to God.
The Advancing Ministry Among Muslims Team (AMAM) in the Christian Reformed Church is preparing training for congregations who want to know more about Islam and share the Good News with Muslims. If you are interested in learning more, please contact AMAM by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.