Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Why Muslims need Christians to understand them

I just finished reading this book:

Some Christians think it is inappropriate to learn about other religions for fear of being influenced the wrong way. I agree with this is some ways. I believe that it is important to be careful of what one exposes oneself to. That is why I am strongly opposed to practicing other religious or demonic practices (like Ouija boards, practicing other religions’ prayers or rituals for “the experience”, etc.). There are demonic influences out there, one has only to read the story of Christ’s life to know about them (he cast out demons numerous times). It is important to stay above the devil’s influence, however, I believe that learning ABOUT other religions is essential if Christians are to have any influence in bringing others to Christ.

As a missionary, would you enter a country like Malaysia, hoping to bring others’ hearts toward Christ without learning a single word of Malay? Would you not learn Mandarin or Cantonese to further attempts to bring others to Christ in China? How could you teach if you have no way to touch the hearts or minds of those you are teaching? Language is important for many peoples’ sense of culture and identity.

In the same way, many people see their religion as a tie to their culture, identity, nation, family, etc. Ignoring the importance of one’s tie to one’s religion is counter productive to winning hearts for Christ. Did you know that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world? This has a lot to do with high birth rates in many “Muslim” countries (and falling birth rates in many “Christian” countries), but it is still a very important fact for many Muslims, who use it as a claim to Islam’s legitimacy. Did you know that there are millions of Muslims in America, and the numbers are growing every day?

Would you share Christ in the same way with everyone person you meet, regardless of who they are? Of course not! If you have no idea what a woman in an Islamic headscarf actually believes, how can you really share Christ with her in a meaningful way? Especially given that Muslims do believe in Jesus, and his birth and miracles are recorded in their holy book, the Qur’an. Did you know that the 2 most featured people in the Qur'an are Abraham and Mary?

This is where the above book, Jesus and Muhammad, comes in. This book is written by an amazing man. Mark Gabriel was born in Egypt, and back then he was named Mustafa. He memorized the Qur’an at a young age and began teaching in the local mosque as a teen. He even taught at the prestigious Muslim university, Al-Azhar. He tells the amazing story in this book of how he found Christ. He was given a Bible by a local Pharmacist, stayed up all night reading the New Testament, and accepted Christ. The Qur’an instructs Muslims to kill other Muslims who turn away from the truth (i.e. Islam). Hence it was no surprise when his father tried to kill him when he found out his son had converted.

Mustafa eventually came to America and earned a Ph.D. in Christian Education. He wrote the above book, which I read and found to be so amazing. It compares and contrasts the teaching of Jesus and the teaching of Muhammad (the final prophet of Islam) in an effort to prove why Christianity is true. It is an amazing book and a great affirmation of Christ’s uniqueness and holiness. Mustafa reversed the tradition of taking a “Muslim” name when one converts to Islam (i.e. Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali). He choose to be known by the “Christian” name Mark Gabriel.

I would recommend every Christian read this book. It taught me a lot about Christ, while at the same time giving me some food for thought in how he contrasts with Muhammad. You will know from my testimony that I earned a minor is Islamic studies in college. I did this because I wanted to know how to speak to Muslims, how to defend my faith and show them the way to Christ. I don’t necessarily condone such in-depth learning of another religion, but I believe this book by Mark Gabriel provides the perfect amount of debth to show why Jesus is Lord, and why Muslims everywhere need to feel his love for them!

2 comments:

  1. I wanted to just say that I understand where your coming from and ( and also I'm in love with your blog) but you make it's seem like Muslims are lost people who have no idea what they doing. I a sure you there is a good reason Islam is the fastest growing reli

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment. Bible-believing Christians (believe it or not, there are some sects of Christianity which rely more on tradition than the Bible, such as Catholicism) believe in salvation through Christ. Just as Muslims believe Allah is the one true God and that he is the one way, Christians believe that Christ provides salvation for the sins of those who believe he is the messiah. Think about how in the days of Abraham, they would sacrifice animals for payment of sin. Christ being a blameless and perfect man became the ultimate sacrifice for sin. God saw that humans were continually falling short of his standard, and so provided Jesus as a way of saving us through faith and not good works. We believe that good works then are the result of one who follows God and accepts the free gift of salvation which Jesus already paid the price for. So rather than doing good works to earn heaven, we accept the free gift of heaven and do good works as a result of our close relationship with God. We believe that salvation comes only through faith in Jesus as the messiah and ultimate saving sacrifice. As such, those who do not believe in Christ are not saved in the eyes of God. Unfortunately, in a world full of inclusive religions, Christianity has a very narrow view of what salvation is that allows for eternal life. As for growth rates, you are right that Islam is the fastest growing religion. It is a bit of a misleading statement, as much of that growth is due to high birth rates. But either way, you are correct. But as you can see with many things in our world, just because something is becoming popular or fast growing does not necessarily mean it is correct.

      Delete

I love to fellowship with others and hear what they have to say. I would ask, however, that you be mindful of what you write and try to be uplifting and respectful. Thank you for sharing!