“You cannot hate a people and reach a people at the same time.” —Ed Stetzer
Loving Muslims Enough to Reach Out, Globally and Locally
Are you as eager to build bridges with your Muslim neighbor as you are to build walls to protect yourself from them? Christian author, Ed Stetzer, posed this challenging question in a recent post at Christianity Today. With so much news coverage in the West about radical Islam around the globe, Western Christians often project radicalized stereotypes onto their non-radicalized Muslim neighbors. “With all of this noise in the background,” writes Stetzer, “How can we, as Christians, reach out to Muslims in our communities?”
Stetzer suggests five steps to seize opportunities for Muslim evangelism:
1) Understand your Muslim neighbors. They are Westernized, but still probably do not eat pork (or marshmallows), they observe Ramadan, and dress modestly.
2) Be friends. Not just for a project, but for a relationship. Muslims will already have much in common with devout Christians.
3) Have spiritual conversations. Talk about what you believe. Ask about what they believe. Answer questions and common objections (such as the one they will have about the Christian belief that God is Triune---the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit).
4) Bring them to church. Let them see what a Bible-teaching church is like. You might also choose to visit their mosque and talk about it together.
5) Share resources as appropriate. (Such as these available through the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton.)
Here are a few other resources to help you reach out to your Muslim neighbors:
What Ramadan Means to Me Now that I'm a Christian, by Nabeel Qureshi
This brief, very personal article by a very devout former Muslim highlights the opportunity that Ramadan offers Christians. Here is an excerpt:
For Muslims, Ramadan is the month of relationships. For Christians, the Gospel is a message of relationships. His words leave little room for confusion: “As I have loved you, so love one another.” (Jn 13:34)
Now that I see the world through the lens of the Gospel, what Ramadan means to me is an opportunity to love Muslims as Jesus loved us. Just as He was willing to enter into our context so that God might be glorified, so also we can commune with Muslims during Ramadan so that Jesus might be glorified. (Read the whole article here.)
What you need to know before talking with Muslims by James R. White
This short video clip summarizes some important points in his book: What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Quran.)
Quote: "The problem we face is most Christians are drawing their information from the news. As a result, most Christians are afraid of Muslims."
Your turn: Do you love your Muslim neighbor enough to reach out to him with the gospel? What have your conversations with Muslims been like? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.
Alex Crain is the editor of Christianity.com