Summary: Summary of Islam along with what Jesus has said in the Gospel of John. Concludes with some ways to reach Muslims with the Gospel.
What Jesus Would Say to a Muslim
Rev. Brian Bill
I’d like you to picture hundreds of Muslims bowing to the ground in prayer. What kinds of feelings well up within you? Now imagine an image of some angry followers of Islam. How does that affect your emotions? Do you feel afraid or do you get angry yourself?
In a recent Christianity Editorial (October 2010) called, “Mosques in Middle America,” the editors write this: “Debate over the so-called Ground Zero mosque has stirred an excess of angst over the Muslim presence in America.” Is there reason to be angry and afraid? While I’m going to steer away from politics because I don’t want to lose my job at NPR, here are some things that have hit the news just this month that deal with Muslim extremists.
* Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary, appearing on an ABC News town hall meeting, said this: “We do believe as Muslims the East and the West will be governed by Sharia. Indeed, we believe that one day the flag of Islam will fly over the White House.”
* According to the Washington Post, the attempted Times Square bomber, who just received life in prison, told the judge: “We are only Muslims…but if you call us terrorists, we are proud terrorists, and we will keep on terrorizing you…the defeat of the U.S. is imminent.”
* And the group behind the failed Christmas Day bombing has released the second installment of its new magazine, “Inspire,” featuring a man from North Carolina who says he is “proud to be a traitor to America.” Samir Khan, now believed to be in Yemen, says: “We pledge to wage jihad for the rest of our lives until either we implant Islam all over the world or meet our Lord as bearers of Islam.”
One reason we’re tackling this topic is that almost every day there’s a story about Islam. From Bill O’Reilly’s viewpoint causing an exodus on “The View,” to National Public Radio firing Juan Williams on Wednesday night for his comments about Muslims, to that crazy pastor threatening to burn the Quran to the strong opinions about the Ground Zero mosque to the interfaith dialog in Normal this past Wednesday called, “Islam Among Us: How Do We Respond?”
That’s a good question. What should be our response to the fastest growing religion in the world? I’ll never forget a conversation I had with a missionary from Africa about 20 years ago when I was on staff at a church in the suburbs. We were in the workroom at church (I was talking, not working) and he asked me if I knew what the number one threat to Christianity was. I mentioned a couple things that came to mind and then he said that Islam was on the march throughout Africa and would soon make its way to Europe and America. I think I laughed when he said it because at the time Islam seemed so insignificant. John Ockers proved to be a prophet, didn’t he?
Did you know that there are over 1.2 billion Muslims across the globe today, making up over 20% of the world population? In America, there are approximately 5 million Muslims, meaning there are twice as many Muslims than Episcopalians in our country. In 2001, there were 57 mosques in Illinois alone, and there are over 1,400 in the U.S. today. Islam is a missionary religion, meaning that they are committed to spread their faith and way of life all around the world. This came home to me in a chilling way when I was listening to a Muslim podcast in which the speaker referred to those who are not practicing Islam as the “not-yet Muslims.”
While I’m certainly no expert on Islam, I have studied it in Bible College and seminary and these past couple weeks have read a number of books, listened to many different podcasts, some by Muslims themselves, and I’ve read large sections of the Quran for myself. I’ve also contacted four different people who live and minister among Muslims and will share some of their insights a bit later. My aim is to take a missional, not a militant approach.
Parents and grandparents, this is really important for us to learn because our children and grandchildren are growing up in a totally tolerant and accepting atmosphere, with no regard for what is true and what is false. In fact, we could say that our culture is tolerant of everything except for the exclusive truth claims of Christianity. Our children must hear biblical truth from home. It’s a much more diverse and politically correct world than what most of us were raised in. One example of this nationally took place on a newscast I watched earlier this month. When reporting about Christianity, a well-known commentator referred to “The Bible” with disdain in his voice and on his face. And then, in the very next sentence, with obvious reverence and a nod to political correctness, he referred to “The Holy Quran.”