Well Rock Church, another team has been sent to somewhere in the world and returned! I had the extreme honor and pleasure of leading 4 great men to the Middle East for a one week visit to a missionary that we support.
Many people asked us, “Why on earth would you go to the Middle East?” Well we were able to see all sorts of mind blowing Biblical sites. We also wanted to show our missionary that besides the financial support we provide, we believe in what they are doing and want to be a part of it. We certainly feel the responsibility to Christ’s command to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” I guess the following is why we went to the Middle East.
We were gone from Saturday to Saturday. Mid week, on Wednesday night, at a popular local mall, we met a young Muslim man who was just interested in improving his English. One of the guys talked with him for over an hour at the mall, then we invited him back to where we were staying to continue our talk. We didn’t realize this conversation was going to last until the very early hours of the next day.
This talk turned into a phone call on Friday afternoon when the young man’s brother wanted to talk to us and ask questions about Christianity. Seeds planted.
Talking to Muslims is not like talking to an unbelieving American and anyone who approaches conversation with a Muslim with an American Gospel drum-banging church culture mindset will probably not have much of a conversation. Muslims do have some textbook questions and things that they believe about Americans and it’s worth stating here. Granted, Muslims in America are different than Muslims in the Middle East. Here they witness American Christians. Over there they are told what to believe about American Christians.
To help those who may know someone who is a Muslim, but have no idea how to engage them for the Kingdom, I offer some of the things learned on our week long visit to the Middle East.
Before you ever begin a conversation with a Muslim, be prepared with the following: first, don’t jump right into religious talk. Build a foundation of respect and friendship. The religious conversation will come about naturally, don’t worry about that. Second, be certain that whoever you engage is going to be knowledgeable! Muslims, unlike Christians, are raised in their faith. They’ll know the answers to your questions and are prepared to answer and back it up with the Qur’an.
So what are some of the questions I may be asked by a Muslim and should be prepared to answer. Though not comprehensive this snap shot should help you.
1) “What are your views of Mohammed?” (He is their holy prophet, held in as high of regard in their religion as Christ is in Christianity. No matter how you feel about Islam, the truth is that Mohammed really lived and really wrote the Qur’an. If you disrespect or insult Mohammed or the Qur’an, you have lost your audience as well as whatever chance you’d hoped to have for sharing Christ. Be assured, they will not disrespect or insult Christ or the Bible.)
2) “What are your views about drinking?” (This is strictly forbidden in Islam and they believe all Americans drink. You must show yourself to be moral. Often debated as a grey area in Christianity, it is not grey in Islam.)
3) “Why do you say Jesus is God?” (Muslims consider Christians polytheists, belief in multiple gods. They do not believe that Jesus is God, though respected and revered. He is one of God’s greatest prophets but Allah is God alone, not Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God would not defile himself to come to earth as a man.)
4) “How can you accept a corrupt book as truth?” (The Bible; they believe it is corrupt due to many translations throughout the years. Multiple authors, span of time in writing, they do not accept its validity. They will, however, respect someone who adheres to belief in the Bible, the teachings of Christ. Though they don’t accept it’s validity they won’t disrespect or insult it.)
Expect these questions, they will be asked at some point in time or another! We need to Biblically master the answers to these questions and know how to answer them with confidence. You should also be prepared to share your testimony. Most Middle Easterners hold the belief that all Americans are Christians; that from birth we are raised in Christianity. This is just simply not true and if you have a testimony about not being raised in a Christian home, becoming a Christian later in life, this will shock your audience.
We talked to one Muslim convert to Christianity and he asked that we share this about the work that is being done in the Middle East. “There are thousands and thousands of people leaving Islam and coming to Christianity. We must pray for workers because the harvest is great.”
Ripped right from the pages of the New Testament when Jesus told His disciples to pray for workers because the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few, they are experiencing the same thing in the Middle East right now!
You may not hear about Muslims coming to know Christ every day, but they are. You may not think that Kingdom work in the Middle East is worthwhile; if that’s the case I pray that the Lord opens your heart to this vast people group that is in desperate need of His Salvation!
If you have any questions about talking to a Muslim person; if God has laid it on your heart to do something locally to reach out to the Muslim community, let us know, we’d love to talk to you!
Thank you to all who prayed for our safety in travel and in the land. We certainly had moments where we felt God’s hand upon us. We are deeply moved at the amount of prayer and the care you have shown us both before and after this trip. Remember, missions trips aren’t just to a foreign land. Every day is a mission trip and the One who sent us, is with us! Now Go!