It is quite probable that Muslims live in your neighborhood. All together, the Pew Forum estimates that there are between 2–3 million Muslims in the United States. This is less than one percent of the American population. However, this number has great practical meaning. In rural American states and smaller cities and towns the number of Muslims is virtually nonexistent. The percentage of Muslims in major metropolitan areas is higher, which accounts for the visibility of Muslims.
American Muslims are the most tolerant, friendly, and open-minded Muslims in the world. The brand of Islam practiced in the United States is not usually fundamentalist. Most Muslims who immigrate to the United States are seeking a freer atmosphere. However, within this context it is revealing to learn that 30% of American Muslims under the age of thirty think that suicide bombing can be justified in certain situations. Over half of American Muslims believe that the September 11 attacks were not Arab in origin. While these numbers are lower than in Europe or the Middle East, they are still frighteningly high.
Muslim families grow at a much faster rate than the general population. When they reach the level of 2–3% of the American population, their political clout, visibility, and rhetoric will be increasingly strident. A historical pattern has emerged. When Muslims exist as a tiny minority in a nation, they tend to be peaceful, quiet, and unnoticed. As their numbers increase, they make stronger demands and use threats to gain political power. Today Europe is faced with a strong and passionate Muslim minority that uses violence or threats of violence to gain political and religious concessions.
The Church stands in the midst of this Muslim increase with a duty. The Muslim population in America is tiny compared to the evangelical church. Christians truly have a chance to overwhelm Muslims with the love of Christ. This short document will lay out some key points to remember when reaching out to Muslim friends, neighbors, co-workers, and even strangers.
Look around. You may find that you have an Islamic center or mosque within thirty minutes of your home.
Never compromise truth! The Gospel is the Gospel. Don't attempt to make it more palatable for a Muslim or for anyone. The Gospel is something to be obeyed not to be weakened or changed for someone's benefit.
Be kind. Never Shout. Never lose your cool. You are dealing with deception and blindness. You are dealing with lostness.
The Holy Spirit must lead and convict. You cannot save. All you can do is present the Gospel and persuade the truth.
Don't be afraid to point out the inconsistencies and lies of Islam. Do it in a spirit of compassion.
Always use the greatest power that you have–your testimony. God changed you. Use it!
Points to Remember
1. Be Involved
Every Christian and every church needs to have a Muslim evangelistic strategy.
2. Acknowledge Differences
Muslims are not like Christians. They use many of the same terms, but the terms mean vastly different things.
3. Recognize Anger
Muslims see themselves as an oppressed minority.
4. Demonstrate Kindness
Muslims respond to kindness and loving strength.
5. Understand Deception
Muslims respect the Bible, but believe that it has been corrupted. Most have never read the Bible.
Muslims' name for Christ is "Jesus the Messiah." They respect Him as a great prophet of God.
Most Muslims think that Christians believe that God produced Jesus through a physical reproductive act with Mary. They rightly call this blasphemy. They are surprised to hear that Christians do not believe such a repulsive thing.
We believe that Jesus is God. We believe that He is the fullness of the Godhead. He is the physical revelation of God–the very image of God. Usage of such terms is vital when reaching out to a Muslim.
6. Believe The Trinity
Most Muslims believe that Christians worship three gods–the Trinity! Clear explanation of actual Trinitarian doctrine is vital.
7. Clarify Scripture's Purpose
Most Muslims believe that our Bible has been corrupted by too many translations. They do not understand that we place no aspect of worship on the Bible. John 5:39 teaches that the Scriptures are not an end to themselves; they point us to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
8. Identify Contradictions
Muslims believe that Allah gave the Koran in Arabic. They further teach that the Koran can only be fully grasped in the Arabic language. This point is a key opening for a Christian. This Islamic doctrine means that a Muslim's concept of god is limiting. The Islamic god can only be fully accessed by either being an Arab or learning Arabic. Further, there are competing sacred texts in Islam that contradict the Koran, notably the Hadith. Even the Koran contains many contradictions, and much of it is lifted straight from the Bible.
9. Value Jesus' Willing Sacrifice
Muslims attack us for stating that Jesus was killed. Wrong! He gave up his life willingly–a vital distinction.
10. Realize Most Are Not Radical
Most Muslims are nominal in the actual practice of their faith. They are Muslim because they were raised to be Muslims, and it gives them a social badge to wear. This identity is important in politically-correct free societies, because it gives them privileged status as a "minority." Muslims have learned to take advantage of our freedoms.
Never, ever allow a Muslim to end a conversation with the idea that we are on difference roads to the same place. Jesus ended such talk in John 14:6. The Bible and the Koran are not at all compatible. Jesus said that He is the only way. There is no other way. Either Islam is right or Christianity is right.
Islam is "religion." True faith is a relationship of restoration. It is the removal of the Curse of Adam. It is being joined together in a family of grace. It is the power of the Second Adam (always use this terminology) to restore humanity. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22).
To really reach a Muslim you must do three things:
1. First, and most importantly, pray. It is simple but rarely done. Evangelism is the work of the Holy Spirit.
2. Second, study Christianity. Read the Bible. Read Theology. Study great Christian authors of the past and present. Memorize Scripture. Know the basics of your faith inside and out. Most of all know and understand the doctrines of God, the Bible, and Christ. These points are vital.
3. Third, study Islam. You do not have to be an authority on the religion, but you should know the basics at least, so that you have an understanding of where Muslims are coming from. Learn the history of Islam, the cultures that make up the Islamic world, and the controversies surrounding the religion. There are many different types of Muslims. They are not all the same.
Islam puts God in a box!
For a Muslim the Koran is the sum total. For a Christian the Bible is eternal. It is all we need to know, but it holds the promise of so much more.
Islam puts God in a box. Christianity breaks the chains of sin and death. Jesus opens the door to eternal life and freedom!