We’ve written two other blogs on how to share the gospel with Muslims, and this is the third in the series. The other two blogs share some crucial things in proclaiming the gospel to Muslims, but I want to add a few more that will help the average Christian evangelize to Muslims.
Get Rid of Prejudice
I can’t tell you how many times in Kenya I’ve heard Christians say that they fear Muslims because they fear one of them has a bomb or might make a terrorist attack. Since two planes crashed into the World Trade Center in the USA, the bombing of the US Embassy in Nairobi, and the shooting at the West Gate Mall in Nairobi, there has been a heightened sense of fear and even prejudice attached to Muslims because of the sins of a few. Regardless of that, we should remember that while we were sinners, God demonstrated his love for us by sacrificing Jesus for our sins to forgive us (Romans 5:8). God looked on us with love and gave a great sacrifice to redeem us (Ephesians 2:4, John 3:16). We, too, should behave like God and go to share the gospel with Muslims so that they may know the redemption that comes through Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:18-20, Acts 1:8). The consequences of their not responding to the gospel are terrible (Romans 2:8, 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). Don’t let your prejudice stand in the way of proclaiming the gospel to Muslims. To further fight your prejudice, remember that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are just ordinary people who love their families, go to work, and live responsible lives.
Muslims are born Muslims, and a minority have been converted to Islam from other religions. Whereas in Christianity, every Christian is a convert and not born a Christian (John 3:3, 2 Corinthians 3:4-6, 5:17, Ephesians 2:8-9). This difference is crucial to understand as we proclaim the gospel to Muslims. For example, they see every white person as a Christian because they are born in areas where Christianity was or is more of an everyday religion. Then, these white tourists come to Muslim strongholds in East Africa for a safari or a beach vacation, and they see them drinking and wearing more revealing clothing and swimming costumes. They also see these white people living sinful lives on Netflix or television shows. They will say these “Christians” are unholy because they drink and walk virtually naked. We know that most of these people probably are not Christians but Europeans. The average Muslim’s worldview causes him to struggle to understand this because it teaches that Christianity and being of European descent is the same thing. As black East Africans, saying, “I am a Christian,” means that you’re unholy, just like the white European tourists and movie stars on Netflix. This misunderstanding of Christianity leads many Muslims to believe all Christians are sinful.
Islam is a very pious religion that desires an outward show of righteousness. Whereas in Christianity, our righteousness is found through our faith in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 1:17, 1 Corinthians 1:30). Christians are to live out our faith and let the light of Christ shine through us (James 2:18-26, 1 Peter 2:11-12). Still, many of us struggle with that, leading to a lousy testimony of our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:14-16). We must live holy lives to change the perception that Christians are unholy. Consider that a Muslim desires to see that our faith isn’t just present on Sunday but also Monday through Saturday. We would agree because if Jesus is Lord, then we shouldn’t abuse his grace; we live empowered by his grace to be holy (Titus 2:11-12, Romans 6:1-4). A Christian friend who lives near Muslims told me his Muslim neighbors were shocked that he was a Christian because he lived a holy life. He explained to them that Jesus doesn’t give Christians freedom to sin; Jesus gives Christians freedom and empowerment to live righteously (Romans 6:10-14). Holy living is essential to successfully proclaim the gospel to Muslims (1 Peter 3:15-16, Titus 2:7-15).
Don’t Use the Quran as a Bridge
Another key way to successfully proclaim the gospel to Muslims is not to use the Quran as a bridge to the gospel. I’ve seen a lot of YouTube videos where Christians will try to discredit the Quran, debate Muslims about the Quran, or use the Quran to show that Jesus is God and Savior. I think that is unwise because, as Christians, we believe the Bible is profitable for teaching, training, and righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Bible is the very Word of God (2 Peter 1:20-21), as pronounced more than 2000 times in the scriptures. We know the gospel through the scriptures and are born again (1 Peter 1:23, Romans 10:17, James 1:18). The Quran is only helpful in that it does say that the Old Testament is a holy book, but that is where I would advise stopping. Also, as Christians, we probably don’t understand the Quran better than Muslims and would quote it out of context. Muslims I have interacted with quote the Bible, often trying to show that Islam is the true religion. We rightly would say that they are taking the Bible out of context. Let’s not do the same things they do to us because it will most likely end up in a debate instead of a fruitful conversation. Also, if you use the Quran as a bridge to the Bible, you subtly validate it as true and useful in connection with the Bible. This is unwise long term. The Bible, explained by the evangelist, is sufficient to lead someone to Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:23, Romans 10:15-17).
Slowly Explain the Trinity
Lastly, one thing that will come up as you proclaim the gospel to Muslims is arguments against the Trinity and the deity of Jesus. Muslims believe in a strict definition of monotheism, saying, “Allah is one.” Christians also believe in monotheism (Deuteronomy 6:4). However, contrary to Islam, we believe in one God existing in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Trying to explain the concept of the triune God using illustrations such as water or an egg usually complicates things. It is better to show Muslims the Trinity through Bible study. Take them, for example, to Genesis 1:1-2, John 1:1-3, 14, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, and Matthew 28:19-20, which are a few places to see the Trinity in scripture. Also connected to this is the deity of Jesus Christ. He is called God in many places of scripture, for example, 2 Peter 1:1 and Titus 2:13. Thomas also calls Jesus God in John 20:28, and Jesus does not correct him. Then Jesus says before Abraham was born, he existed in John 8:58. There are many other verses you can find through careful Bible study, but take Muslims slowly through the scriptures to explain the Trinity and deity of Jesus as opposed to one simple conversation. They may not agree that scripture communicates a triune God, but agree to disagree and pray for them to agree with that fundamental doctrine sometime later. Remember, your goal is to bring them to believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins and the salvation of their souls. If they believe in Jesus, they will soon understand and believe in other doctrines like the Trinity since they will have the Holy Spirit in them to teach them all the things of God.
Don’t Lose Heart
I want to end this blog by reminding us that God has a heart for missions. He desires the gospel to go out to every people group and language so that they may worship him (Psalm 67:1-7, Philippians 2:9-11, Acts 13:47, 1 Chronicles 16:23-24). His heart includes Muslims. It is encouraging to think that God brings people to salvation, and it is not dependent on how well we evangelize (John 6:44, John 4:23, John 12:32). He can bring any Muslims to salvation whenever we are faithful in proclaiming the gospel to them (Romans 10:13-17). Remember that God brought a tax collector to believe the gospel (Mark 2:13-17), a blasphemer and violent man (Galatians 1:11-17), a demoniac (Mark 5:1-20), a religious leader (Mark 15:43-46, Matthew 27:57) and billions more hard-to-reach people. God can bring anyone from anywhere to salvation because salvation belongs to the Lord (Jonah 2:9, Ephesians 1:11, Romans 8:28-30). Therefore, share the gospel with Muslims as the Lord leads with boldness and confidence, believing in the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16-17). Don’t lose heart, and don’t believe the lie that they cannot or will not come to faith in Christ.