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This is a response to Johnny Low's post from February 26, 2010. He states that the Gospel is missing from this article. I don't think the article intends to exclude the Gospel from a Christian-Muslim dialogue. In fact, I think the Gospel, although explicitly unstated, is central in the author's mind. Each of his steps is meant to open doors for the Gospel to take root. Respect gives Christians the ability to be heard. Fairness is just that--fair. Neither side is treated unjustly. Friendship establishes personal connections that show the living of the Gospel, not only the words of the Gospel. All this leads to his stated goal of conversion.
This article addressed some of the major concerns that Christians have in evangelizing with Muslims, although the general principles are applicable to witnessing with people of all other faiths. The Christian's verbal and life testimonies are linked, and their integrity can make a huge impact in an unbeliever's openness to the Gospel. This isn't to say that the Holy Spirit can't work in whatever way He chooses, but it's the Christian's responsibility to testify through speech and life in such a way that supports the Gospel--and that way is love. Apologetics and debate have a place in the Christian-Muslim dialogue, but no matter how reasonable and cogent our arguments are, if we do not express them in a loving manner, all they will elicit is a frustrated and defensive posture. We can win minds without winning hearts if not done in a loving manner. As others have said, you can't argue Muslims (or anyone else) into the kingdom, but you can love them into the kingdom.
Christians must come to grips with the reality that there is a palpable tension Christianity & Islam dating back to the Crusades. Not all Christians or Muslims are aware of the tension, but some are. Therefore, it behooves us as Christians to tread lightly as we engage Muslims. Treading lightly not in the sense of fear, but in the sense of respecting their beliefs & one of the tried and true ways of showing respect in almost any culture is to take the posture of a learner. Personally, I’m finding out how much I just don’t know about the Islamic faith. In reaching out to Muslims we need to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves (Matt. 10:16). Wise not only in delineating what they believe versus what Christians believe, more than that, Christians must understand how what they believe impacts their lives, worldview and perspective God.May the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob and the Father of our Lord Jesus bless our Christian interaction with Islamic peoples until He comes again!
This is in response to Michael Tripet’s comments. To Michael’s point, Christianity is love. Jesus demonstrated his love to others that did not believe in him, on many occasions. We have his model to follow (John 4, Mt. 5:44, Jn. 15:13, . In addition, we have Paul’s imperatives from the epistles, most notably, Romans 12:9 and 13:10 and Gal. 5:22. This just scratches the surface on the imperatives to love our neighbor from the Word of God. The Kingdom of Christ has filled books with how to love our neighbor yet it is the one thing we find so hard to do with Muslims. We don’t have to force the Gospel. We do need to share it in words at the time the Spirit leads but we are commanded to love in all the unique ways appropriate to the situation the Lord places us in with Muslims and followers of “religion”.
Moucarry's article illustrates a great example of the gentleness and humility needed to share the Gospel not only with Muslims but with other faith groups and "religions" (e.g. JW, Mormons, etc...). We must always build relationships before we share the Gospel with others. Bill Hybels labeled it the "backyard BBQ" principle. Before we invite others to church or share the Gospel we should invite them into our homes and get to know them better. We should be servants with humble attitudes and transparent lives. Too often we are polemical with Muslims. This mostly occurs in our private lives as we are around other Christians. Because of this criticism and angst built up against them we don't know what to say or are to uncomfortable to begin a relationship with another Muslim we work with or we meet. Much of this is more cultural than anything else. We work to preserve America instead of build the Kingdom.
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