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How to reach Muslims

By Timothy Abraham

I often get asked my thoughts as to what is the best approach in communicating the gospel to Muslims without offending and certainly without compromising.  

One brother in Christ asked me, “Timothy, I pastor a downtown church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Nearby is a Mediterranean style restaurant run by a lovely man in his 40-50’s.  He is Iraqi by birth.  I welcome any suggestions as to how I might witness to him, but not act pushy or intimidating.”

Whether it’s Jamal in the Mediterranean restaurant or one of your international students named Ghassan, it’s important that none of them gets the feeling that you’re making a missionary project out them.  Don’t make them feel that you are not happy with them as they are. Be friendly and accepting.  Don’t try to make things happen.  Simply rely upon the Holy Spirit to lead the conversation.  You don’t want to give the impression that you are friends with him solely so you can convert him. You should be their friend because you enjoy their friendship and you enjoy giving and receiving.

Instead of doing all the talking, put him in the position of teaching.  Have him tell you about his own relationship with God.  Ask him how God intervenes and comes to his rescue.  Ask him how God has shown Himself to be such a gracious provider. We learn a bit about the attributes of God in Islam.  He is the Sustained One, the Provider, etc.  Make them the topic of discussion. Start out with what are generalities and gradually climb up to what is specific. The revelation of God in Christ is specific, but that comes later.  It’s better to let the Bible do its job as he reads it for himself. Thanks to your intelligent approach, you will be turning on his appetite as you quote here and there the words of Christ.  The Sermon on the Mount is full of great material. Subsequently he will become curious to hear more about the unique person of Jesus.

As ambassadors of Christ, it is essential for us to remember that it is not all about the words and the correct verbiage that we are using. Rather, you can actually witness effectively in your silence, choosing to speak as needed. As you speak, your words are seasoned with grace (Colossians 4:6). In your stillness and gentle, calm demeanor you are bound to pique his curiosity. What is so different about Christians? Why are their faces beaming with joy and light, especially after they pray to the Creator? Is Christianity actually applicable, or is it some form of idealism or utopia that doesn’t actually exist? Everything about you should make your Muslim friend wonder and get attracted to the person of Jesus.  Jesus in you is definitely attractive. Christ is attractive. Christ is unique and nobody is like Him. This is your goal.  What you aim to do is instill this curiosity into his soul.

Another thing that I can’t stress enough is this: But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a youth'; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.  The LORD replied, “Don't say, 'I'm too young,' for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you (Jeremiah 1:7). Just because you weren’t born in the Islamic religion or you didn’t use to be a Muslim before doesn’t mean you can’t communicate the gospel as effectively as I who used to be a Muslim would. In fact, Muslims can be more receptive of you because you didn’t betray them by giving up their religion. To a Muslim, somebody like me is and will always be a traitor.  A Muslim is going to deal with you on a completely different level . . . as a sophisticated, sincerely believing Christian who sees good in people and wants the best for them. Muslims admire Western people for being straightforward and honest, as opposed to the cunning, conniving, indirect ways that are common to people where I was born and raised. Muslims admire many qualities about you.  That’s your chance to give Christ the credit for such biblical traits. Remember, it’s going to be a long process, but the Holy Spirit is in no hurry.  You want Him to do all the work as you are gently led by Him.  Make sure that you don’t force anything to happen. You could sow for many years, but another brother comes in the last stages and leads him to the Lord. You both did it! It takes many witnesses to labor together and see a Muslim get saved.  Ultimately the Lord gets the glory.
We are profoundly blessed by your love for us and your partnering with us.  Together we are fulfilling the Great Commission.  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).

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