Worshiping Jesus in the Mosque
The [rest of the community] have started to think now, and they say, "Lial lial rasul Isa"—"These are the people of the messenger Isa." They'll say, "Who are these people? These people are not Christians. These people are not Muslims. Who are they? Let's go and hear what they are thinking." We explain as much as possible from the Bible. People ask us, "Who is Isa for you?" Our answer is, "He is the Word of Allah." Then we quote from the Qur'an, but explain what the "Word of Allah" means from a biblical perspective.
If the Muslim community thinks the new believers "are not Christians and are not Muslims," what do the new believers themselves think? What is their self-identity?
When they first come to believe in Isa, of course they still think [of themselves] as Muslims. What else could they think? We are not telling them they are now Christians.
But when they understand the gospel more clearly, they don't want to have an Islamic religious identity. Yet they also do not want to let go of their cultural identity as Muslims, which naturally includes forms from their previous way of life and worship.
Where is Jesus in the life of the people in your movement, the People of the Gospel?
When people want to know our faith articles, we can tell them. But when it comes to individual people, we cannot say so easily, because they are not all on the same level. We find some people who say Jesus is God, some who understand that Jesus is the Savior. Others say he is the Word of Allah, without explanation, as they are struggling to understand what that means. Sometimes they understand Isa, other times they don't. So we have to instruct them.
We have to teach them from the things that they already know. For example, some people may not [understand] if I tell them that Jesus died on their behalf. Islam has a different theology of sin; they don't accept that Jesus died on their behalf. It is true that he died on their behalf, but it is not the only benefit [of Christ's death].
When he died on the cross, he defeated death and the one who owned the power of death, Satan. And because God raised Jesus from the dead, he was appointed by God as a judge on the Day of Judgment, and the Savior from the Day of Judgment. The Cross is the answer for every [issue] in life. It is the solution regarding our relation to God, Satan, sin, death, and so on.
It is the evangelist's responsibility to choose which benefit of the Cross is the answer for the spiritual needs a Muslim feels. Then gradually the Holy Spirit will explain the benefit of the Cross as it relates to their sin.
Muslims are afraid of evil spirits; they are afraid of the Day of Judgment. They are afraid of the Devil. I have a message from the kingdom of God that addresses all of these spiritual needs. So we are using the Muslim way of thinking about Isa, even if it is incomplete. If Muslims understand even one of these, they will call to Isa, and the Holy Spirit can lead them to understand more benefits of the Cross.
There are lots of opportunities in Islam; there are also lots of challenges. But the opportunities are bigger than the challenges. We must remember that it is not we who are bringing God to the Muslim people. He was already here.