When it comes to witnessing to a Muslim there are few helpful hints to follow in order keep the conversation focused on giving them the Gospel, without needlessly offending them on less important issues. But before we dig into some specifics of witnessing to a Muslim there are a few general things we need to do when witnessing or doing apologetics with anyone. First you must be spending time in the word of God and in prayer. The strength of your faith is dependent upon God, and there is a direct relationship between it and your time in the word. I’ve heard of too many people who begin to engage in apologetics and with very little resistance they begin to doubt and get confused. In almost every case that person was not diligently studying the scripture and as a result their faith was weak. You must also make sure that the reason you wish to engage them is because you ultimately desire to see them saved. If you are only engaging them because you want to prove yourself right, you may do more harm than good. Now there are times when we have to engage a person in dialogue and debate knowing that they will most likely not come to know the Lord because of an extreme hardness of heart, but we must engage them for the sake of the people they are influencing. But even then, when the debates can become a bit heated, it is important to show the person, and the people watching, that you are doing this because you care, not merely because you think you are right and want everyone to know it.
When dealing directly with Muslims it is also important to have some understanding of what they believe and, as already stated, have a strong understanding of what you believe. It is also important to remember that many Muslims, at least in the United States, are much like many Christians in the fact that they may do their religious things but they might not have a strong understanding of what they believe.
With all of that out of the way, here are some basic points to remember when witnessing to a Muslim.
1. To start with, stay away from arguing about the Koran’s or Mohammad’s validity. It is true that eventually we will have to address these issues, and there is plenty to address, but this is not the place to start. If we start here, the average Muslim will tune you out and reject everything you have to say. Of course if you run into a highly educated Muslim you will end up at this point much more quickly, but avoid the issue for as long as possible. Remember the point of witnessing is to make sure the person you are speaking to hears the Gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation. And salvation is our ultimate goal.
Also, when handling your Bible, be sure to use one in which you have not written, be sure to not let it drop below your waist, and if you stack it with other books, make sure that it is kept on top. To fail to do these things will be sign of disrespect for the word of God in their eyes, and there is no need to offend them on this issue. The Gospel is offensive enough to the natural man. So if there will be offence let it be because of the Gospel.
2. In order to give them the Gospel bring them to the Scriptures. Do not forget that they believe that Jesus was a prophet and that he was given the Gospel as a Holy book, along with Moses and David. So be ready to use those portions of Scripture to show them the Sacrifice Jesus made for sin.
If they know the Koran, they may try to tell you that the Bible we have today is corrupt by pointing to passages in the Koran. Let them show you the passages, and as you read them be sure to point out that none of those verses say that the Bible is corrupt, they only say some people’s interpretations of it are. Now some may come along and say that it has been corrupted since the time the Koran has been written, but be sure to point out that we thousands of hand written manuscripts from before the time of Muhammad. We know we have what was around during the time of Muhammad.
Once you get through some of these things try to bring them to passages of Scripture that show the Gospel, such as God telling Abraham to sacrifice his son. Now it is true that they believe that the son was Ishmael and not Isaac, but this is not the point you want to make at this time. What you want to show them is that God is demanding a sacrifice for sin. They do not believe Allah requires a sacrifice for sin but that he can forgive arbitrarily. So begin to press upon them the idea that God required a sacrifice, and then ask them why, and begin to show them that God stopped Abraham because he was going to provide a sacrifice for himself. And since they believe that Moses was given the Law, be sure to use all the types and shadows in the Levitical law to point to Christ. You can use the scapegoat, the bull offering, the cities of refuge, and many other things to begin to show them Christ.
Ultimately, we know that taking them to Scripture is the most important since faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. It truly is the seed that we must sow. And many Muslims, with their strong emphasis on law, have come to faith in Christ because they know they have violated the moral law, and the truth of Christ’s sacrifice can give them rest from the burden with which they continually live.
3. Begin to show them that God is intimately involved in their lives and even in closer relationship with those He calls His children. The relationship between Allah and a Muslim is one of Master and slave, but they were made to have a relationship with God that is as close as father to child and husband to bride. Whether they admit it or not, you have a point of common ground with them since they were made in the image of the Christian God for the purpose of being in relationship with Him. Ultimately, they have no relationship with Allah, since he cannot be known to them, only his laws can be known. Besides that, he doesn’t exist. So, even though they may be suppressing it, you must appeal to the God shaped vacuum with which they live.
The parables are a good place to turn in order to show them this close relationship. Show them the prodigal son, and that God longs for his return. In their understanding, Allah hates the prodigal. You can also tell them the parable of the lost coin or the lost sheep to help bring this home.
4. If there has been some reception up to this point, you can begin to show them untrustworthiness of serving a God who can change his moral laws at will, and makes no promise to those who are in submission that he will keep them. They believe Allah can take a man or woman who has lived in submission to him all their lives and right before death he can deceive them and send them to hell. Show them that God has promised to be faithful and just to complete the work He has begun in someone who is his child, and that He will never leave them or forsake them.
You can also point out that Allah has abrogated many of the other Holy books, how do they know for sure that he hasn’t abrogated the Koran yet? Simply because he said he wouldn’t has not stopped him from abrogating previous Holy books.
5. Finally remember that they do not know God at all, because they do not know Jesus. Jesus said, "if you do not know me you do not know the father," so be sure not to be blinded by any claim that you really believe in the same God, and that they simply don’t believe Jesus was anything more than a good prophet.
Obviously every encounter you have will be different, so this is not to be read as some kind of formula. But hopefully these points will be helpful next time you share your faith with a Muslim.
Labels: apologetics, Forgiveness, Islam, Justification, The Gospel