Summary: Seeing A.J. enter the auditorium during the conference, I mouthed a silent prayer. My message included historical facts about Islam gleaned from Muslim scholars. I presented the basic beliefs of Islam, and critiqued the religion’s violent beginnings. I
Keys to Sharing Christ With Muslims: Prayer, Politeness, Patience
by Alex McFarland
His name was “A.J.,” a 20-something immigrant to the U.S. from a predominantly Muslim country. He was very friendly, and worked at a certain sub shop that my wife and I frequented. A.J. would sometimes sit with us and talk as we ate. A.J. and I eventually began discussing our religious beliefs, and as might be expected, subjects of Jesus’ deity and the Trinity did not resonate with his Islamic background.
A.J. had been invited to attend a missions conference where I was scheduled to speak. “What will your topic be?,” he asked. It just so happened that I had been assigned, “A Christian Response To Islam.” Pondering whether to come, A.J. asked me, “Will you be objective?” I was about to defend my objectivity, but instead answered, “No, A.J., I won’t be objective. If we’re honest, we all have our biases, and I am biased in favor of Christianity.”
A.J. cautiously agreed to attend as I pointed out that we all wear ideological “glasses” which color how we see the world. No one is consistently objective or without bias. But I insisted, “A.J., people- including me- have biases. But the facts of history are there for every one to honestly evaluate.”
Seeing A.J. enter the auditorium during the conference, I mouthed a silent prayer. My message included historical facts about Islam gleaned from Muslim scholars. I presented the basic beliefs of Islam, and critiqued the religion’s violent beginnings. I addressed the question of whether or not Mohammed met the criteria of a true prophet, and flaws regarding Muslim views about Jesus Christ and the Bible.
In the second part of my presentation, I began to make a positive case for Christianity. I explained that Christians agree there is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:3; Isaiah 43:10-11, et al), and do not believe in three Gods. We looked at data affirming the trustworthiness of the Bible. It is important for Muslims to realize that compelling lines of historical evidence verify Scripture’s Divine origin and preservation. Regarding the Muslim assertion that the New Testament has been corrupted, I said to the audience: “Islam says that our record of Jesus is not trustworthy; But what were the changes, and when were they introduced into the text?” Clearly there is no answer to this challenge- because alleged textual corruptions aren’t there.
In the weeks that followed, A.J. and I continued talking. I stressed the fact that Jesus’ claims about salvation were confirmed by an unparalleled degree of proof: Christ physically rose from death, thus confirming Who He was, and what He taught. I reminded A.J. that Mohammed’s teachings were not accompanied by any supernatural confirmation, and in fact, the Muslim prophet said that “He did no miracles.”
I will never forget that day that A.J. called and asked to meet with me. I was leaving town for a speaking engagement, and assured A.J. that we would talk as soon as I returned. When A.J.’s voice over the phone said, “Alex- I’m ready,” I quickly turned the car around. Within about 30 minutes A.J. and I had met, went over the Gospel message one more time, just before he prayed to receive Jesus as His Savior and Lord.
In our time with A.J., my wife and I learned several practical lessons about reaching out to Muslims living in the U.S. We clearly saw the vital role of prayer. I believe that the most important steps in evangelism among Muslims, are: Pray, pray, pray! It is important, too, to remain friendly, humble, and to avoid an air of superiority at all cost. Be patient, and be ready to re-explain certain things several times.
Muslims have a high level of respect for the Bible, though they will need to shown that the New Testament is accurate and can be trusted in what it says about Jesus. Point out that the Prophet of Christianity is unique in that Jesus was a loving and sinless Savior (in suras 40:55 and 48:1-2, the Quran teaches that Muhammad was a sinner). Jesus was qualified to die sacrificially, and capable of rising by His own power. Emphasize that Christians have an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus, and have great joy in knowing that they are secure in Christ (see John 10:28-29).
Gently remind Muslims that where one stands with God is the most important issue of life- More important than culture, family background, or social customs. Seeing A.J. come to Christ cultivated within me a deeper commitment to pray for the salvation of U.S. Muslims. Sharing Jesus with such persons continually reminds me of the uniqueness and power of the Gospel message. A.J.’s story again made me aware of God’s ability to penetrate the human heart- even one that had been brought up to resist the errors of we “infidels.”