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
, 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 Malaysia ? 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. China
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
, and the numbers are growing every day? America
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
. 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. Egypt, and back then he was named Mustafa
Mustafa eventually came to
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. America
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!