There are conflicts throughout the world between Muslims and Christians, both physical and cultural. Jesus said that when the gospel was preached to all nations, he would return. So it’s imperative to preach the gospel to Muslims and help them receive Jesus. But many Christians don’t personally know Muslims. Most people think that all Muslims are alike, the same as the terrorists they see on TV.
Carl Medearis, who has ministered to Muslims in Lebanon for years, wrote a book, “Muslims, Christians, and Jesus.” This book helped a lot in my understanding of Muslims.
The author says that many Christians are unaware that Muslims are more pious than most Christians. Praying 5 times a day and fasting for a month each year show how devout they are, although they worship a false God. Hospitality is one of their religious duties and Western hospitality pales in comparison.
He suggests that we should emphasize commonalities rather than differences in the Christian and Islam faiths when witnessing to Muslims. Like us, they believe that there is only one God, that Jesus was sent by God, and that he was born of the Virgin Mary. Instead of discussing Christian doctrine when we witness to them, we should talk about Jesus, because they are also interested in knowing Jesus. Start with Jesus’ teachings, move to his substitutional death and resurrection, and finally help them acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God and receive him as their Savior and Lord.
Medearis insists that we should allow converts from Islam to practice their Christian faith in their own way. We shouldn’t confuse culturally influenced Christian practices as Biblical norms. For example, Muslims pray standing with their eyes open, arms extended with their palms up. Christians in the West pray with bowed heads and eyes closed. We shouldn’t think that our ways are the only or better ways. In fact, Jesus probably prayed the way modern Muslims do. There’s often resistance when Christians witness to Muslims because we try to impose Western cultural Christian practices as the “correct” way.
This book helped me realize that all Muslims are not terrorists but ordinary people like us, who have ordinary problems such as worries, fears, hopes, and dreams, just like us. After reading the book, I felt like they were my flesh and blood. I admit that I tend to talk more about Christian doctrines than Jesus when witnessing to people, but Jesus should be the center of my message. I made a promise to myself that Jesus will be the central point of my witnessing and that entering an intimate relationship with him will be the goal of discipleship training.
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