Finding a Heart for Muslims

Learning, laughter, and even a few shouts of “Amen!” marked a recent presentation in Holland, Mich., as about 130 people attended an event about bringing the gospel to Muslims. It was hosted by Central Avenue Christian Reformed Church and organized by New Life Fellowship Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Three speakers shared different perspectives how to bring the message of Christ to Muslims.

Kamal Saleem of Koome Ministries and Hicham Chebab of Salam Christian Fellowship Church (Lombard, Ill.) are both originally from Lebanon. Each related personal stories of their Muslim extremist backgrounds, including time with the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization), and their later conversions to Christianity. Chebab also touched on Middle Eastern history. “The Middle East is a mosaic—not a simple story,” said Chebab, who learned English reading comic books and Louis L’Amour novels.

The third speaker was Victor Atallah, director of Middle East Reformed Fellowship (MERF), an international missionary organization that has partnered for many years with Back to God Ministries International (BTGMI).

Central Avenue CRC has been a long-time supporter of MERF, said senior pastor Chad Steenwyk. “For many years we’ve had a growing heart for bringing the gospel to Muslims.”

Atallah, who is from Cyprus, said, “Muslims are never won by attacking their religion or their prophet." Instead, he said, what young Muslims are attracted to is hearing Scripture and learning of God’s self-sacrificing love found in the person of Jesus Christ.

When Christians reflect on political and religious movements throughout history, “we must believe in a sovereign God and not become paranoid,” Atallah said. “God has all things in his hands.”

Dan Walcott, pastor of Bethany CRC in Holland, attended the event. Having spent time with Muslim students in Nigeria and Turkey, he appreciated Atallah’s comments about “loving people, walking alongside them, caring for them,” he said.

Steenwyk valued getting three different perspectives how to bring Christ to Muslims. “In the end,” he said, “I thought there was great reason for hope in the power of the gospel of Christ, and the night seemed to crescendo in that way.”

About the Author

Susan Vanden Berg is the Banner's regional news correspondent for classes Holland & Zeeland.

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