How to Evangelize a Muslim
Can this be a religion of peace?
Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment, http://quran.com/5/33
My goal in pointing out these passages is not fear but I pray for a passion in every Christian to reach their unbelieving neighbors for Christ.
Now, that said, not all Muslims are radicalized yet Islam itself is a radical religion of fear and not love and not grace. Many Muslims claim submission (Islam means submission) to Allah and yet do not follow all that the Quran instructs. These ones who do not follow the Quran are secularized Muslims and they, like Christians, are often the target of persecution by those that have been deemed by politicians and the media as “radicalized”. The difference between the radicalization of a Muslim and a Christian is clear but not to all. A radical Muslim or one that follows Islam through the teachings of the Quran looks more like ISIS and a radical Christian looks more like David Platt. Not all Christians follow the tenets of the Bible. One does not have to look very far to see a secular Christian. This, however does not change Christianity or the claims of Christ in any way.
There are people who would like to point to some radicals that claim Christianity and behave violently. These accusers will say things like, “All religion leads to violence”. Often these accusers will quote the Bible taking passages out of context. Most people who claim this are either ignorant of the teachings of Islam or Christianity or both. As Christians, we need to examine claims carefully and humbly as we defend our faith, a religion of grace and truth and love.
Again, as you read, may our hearts break for the lost who are without Christ and run to our neighbors with the Good News of the Gospel. Be sure to read how you can bring the Gospel of Peace to your neighbor further down in this post. It is reported that one of terrorists in
Is Islam a religion of peace? Many of its advocates say that it is. Let’s see what the Qur’an actually says.
The Qur’an tells Muslims to kill and go to war to fight for Islam: Quran, chapters (Surahs) 9:5, 2:191, 2:193, 3:118, 4:75, 76, 5:33, 8:12, 8:65, 9:73, 123, 33:60-62.
Fight for Allah: “And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers,” (Quran 2:191).
Muslims are to battle for Allah: “Those who believe do battle for the cause of Allah; and those who disbelieve do battle for the cause of idols. So fight the minions of the devil. Lo! the devil’s strategy is ever weak,” (Quran 4:76).
Kill those against Islam: “The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter,” (Quran 5:33).
Beheading: “When thy Lord inspired the angels, (saying): I am with you. So make those who believe stand firm. I will throw fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Then smite the necks and smite of them each finger. 13That is because they opposed Allah and His messenger. Whoso opposeth Allah and His messenger, (for him) lo! Allah is severe in punishment,” (Quran 8:12).
Allah urges war: “O Prophet! urge the believers to war; if there are twenty patient ones of you they shall overcome two hundred, and if there are a hundred of you they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they are a people who do not understand,” (Quran 8:65).
Slay non-muslims: “Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful,” (Quran 9:5).
Allah urges war: “O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination,” (Quran 9:73).
Allah urges war: “O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness; and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil),” (Quran 9:123).
Allah urges killing: ” . . . the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease and the agitators in the city do not desist . . . 61Cursed: wherever they are found they shall be seized and murdered, a (horrible) murdering. 62(Such has been) the course of Allah with respect to those who have gone before; and you shall not find any change in the course of Allah, (Quran 33:60-62).
Beheading: “Now when ye meet in battle those who disbelieve, then it is smiting of the necks until, when ye have routed them, then making fast of bonds; and afterward either grace or ransom till the war lay down its burdens . . . ” (Quran 47:4).
Allah loves those who fight for him: “Truly Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in battle array, as if they were a solid cemented structure,” (Quran 61:4).
So if your neighbor is a Muslim and a really nice person, that doesn’t mean the seeds of a kind of radical Islam are not sown, in fact, they already are. The very fact that they are friendly and seem harmless and this is possible as Anne-Sylvaine Chassany and Adam Thomson reported on Tuesday in the Financial Times in an article on one of the Paris suicide terrorists in their article Paris attacks: How a ‘really great guy’ became a suicide bomber, is only because the Spirit of God is restraining sin.2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 says, “And now you know what is holding him back so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.”The purpose of this working of God in the World is so that God, the God of the Bible, His glory may be made known in Christ. Will you bring the words of peace to one who believes a religion of fear?
Christianity Brings Peace: How to Evangelize a Muslim
The testimony of the Gospels provides the most reliable witness to Christ. Preach the Gospel as it is! Do not soft-pedal around biblical terminology to please Muslim hearers. Be clear about what you believe and why you believe it. Know the Scriptures well, and know the confessions and what exactly you believe . The more you know about your faith, the easier it is to talk with Muslims.
There is no gospel in Islam. The Quran clearly contradicts the essence of biblical Christianity and rejects the triune nature of God, disfigures the biblical doctrines of the person of Christ and denies justification through faith on account of the work of Christ on the cross. While claiming to be the perpetual religion of nature and history, following in the footsteps of Christianity, it attempts to justify its claims by asserting that the Word of God, revealed in the New and Old Testament, is corrupted. Our apologetic discussion with Muslims should be to defend the Scriptures and prove that the Scriptures aren’t corrupt as Muslims claim. Our goal is to open up their minds a bit so that they can start reading the Gospels for an eyewitness or a companion of an eyewitness to the real Jesus.
Always ask them the classic evangelistic questions. ‘What about your salvation?’ ‘Can you be certain of this?’ ‘If you were to die, can you be certain you’d enter heaven at some point?’ Their response is always, “No, I couldn’t be certain, nor do I care.”
Most western missionaries are result oriented; instead you should be concerned about preaching the Gospel correctly (as it is). The essence of Muslim evangelism is accurate communication about sin and grace: simply and clearly. Talk about the law and the gospel, not about infralapsarianism and divine simplicity! Don’t compare the Bible with the Quran. That comes later!
Always remember that you are talking to Muslims. Avoid the use of Christian jargon. Speak about real sin, real guilt, real shed blood! Do not be ashamed to use Jesus’ direct and indirect titles clearly such as ‘Son of God’ ‘Lamb of God’ ‘New Adam’ ‘I AM – YAHWEH’ ‘Savior’ ‘Almighty God’.
Use tact and be charitable! Don’t talk about reprobation with a Muslim or a new convert who has just lost an unbelieving family member. Be kind and courteous! Many Muslims act and speak out of ignorance, not malice.
Be sensitive to their past – if they’ve had a bad experience with Christians, missionaries or churches, struggled with a particular sin etc., be understanding and compassionate! Muslims hate self-righteousness, and rightly so! Do not soft-pedal the law and the guilt of sin, but make sure they understand that you are a justified sinner, not a self-righteous “know it all” who is here to correct them!
Muslims will ask you many questions about your faith. Don’t feel like you have to answer all of their questions in one day. However, make sure they hear your answers to one or two questions clearly. Stick with the subject – don’t get sidetracked. When the conversation wanders, pull it back to center stage – the law and the gospel.
Muslims will ask you to comment on their faith. Don’t go there; they will not benefit from your criticism (or feigned approval) of other religions. Your job isn’t to debunk Islam but to give a clear witness to the truth of the Gospel. Instead of letting them drag you into the topic, turn the tables and ask them questions. Let them articulate their own understandings of the religious themes you are discussing; let what you communicate be the plain truth of Christian doctrines without enumerating how Islam is wrong.
The message of the Gospel offends Muslims. It is okay! Don’t worry! God will take care of the hearer. It is His message. Muslims will not convert to Christ if they are not offended by the message of the Gospel. Offend them by being very clear about the teachings of Christ!
Do not use any ‘Muslim friendly’ bible translations. ‘Muslims friendly’ bible translations are very deceptive! They are not true to the original Scriptures. Muslims see it as a form of deception by missionaries!
Muslim evangelism is not about winning an argument, but leading Muslims to Christ with the Gospel. Discussions may get heated and intense at times – that’s okay. But the purpose of Muslim evangelism is not to show why you are right and Islam is wrong. It is to communicate the truth of the gospel! The message is to be the offence! Not you!
When Muslims are apathetic about sin – use the law. When Muslims have doubts or are skeptical – use basic apologetic arguments. When Muslims express guilt for sin – present the Gospel.
Evangelism is about leading Muslims to Christ. Convincing non-Christians or Evangelicals that Reformed theology is true, falls under the heading of polemics. Don’t confuse the two.
When talking to Muslims stick with what all Christians hold in common wherever possible. Leave the internecine fighting among Christians aside when talking to Muslims. A Muslim will not care so much about differences between the Catholics and the Protestants or Lutherans and Baptists. Issues such as the exact meaning of the Lord’s Supper or methods of baptism should be addressed later, during discipleship!
Wherever possible, when talking to Muslims speak about Christianity as factually true – “Jesus did this,” “Jesus said this,” “people heard and saw him,” etc. Keep away from the subjective line of approach– “it works for me,” “this is how I feel about it,” this is my testimony.”
Before meeting with your Muslim friends pray for wisdom.
Muslims will respect the text you quote, but not your personal opinion. Trust in the power of God the Holy Spirit working through the word! Cite texts directly from the Scriptures with attribution. Jesus says, Paul says…. It will not help Muslims to hear your personal opinion on biblical issues. So, don’t say “I think,” or “it seems to me” or “I feel like…” Muslims interpret your thoughts, your take on things or your feelings as part of the corruption of the Bible.
Don’t rush things with Muslims. Just because a Muslim is not ready to trust in Christ after one encounter does not mean that effective evangelism has not taken place. Pre-evangelism is equally vital. You may plant, but someone else may have to water! Always remember that it is not us who convert the Muslims to Christ but God Himself (in His time)!
Remember that evangelism isn’t complete after you first present the Gospel message to a Muslim. Evangelism has to continue even after they repent and give their lives to Christ. They have to sit under the ministry of the Word. Evangelism of a Muslim is complete only after they are baptized, brought to the Lord’s Supper and sat under the preaching of the Word at church. In other words, evangelism never ends. Discipleship is evangelism.
Treat Muslims as objects of concern, not notches in your belt! Establish relationships and friendships with Muslims whenever and wherever possible.
Don’t forget that a prophet is without honor in his own home. The chances of Muslim converts leading their own unbelieving family members (or someone close to them) to Christ by themselves is remote. Encourage them as they give witness to what they have learned, but also pray for God to bring other people into the picture to help evangelize their families
Don’t force things. If your Muslim friends balk, ridicule and otherwise are not interested, back off. Find another time and place. If after repeated attempts to communicate the gospel, and someone still shows an unwillingness to hear what you have to say, “shake the dust off your feet and move on to a new town!”
Be willing to get your Muslim friends the resources they need: be willing to provide them with a Bible (not just a New Testament), the right book to read, and certainly an invitation to your home and later an invitation to attend your church or to a Bible study, etc. Never ever use a Muslim friendly bible translation. These translations are a product of some western mission agencies without any support from the national churches who know their context best.
Pray for opportunities to evangelize Muslims. Make sure to let your Muslim friends know that you regularly attend a church. Do not disconnect your evangelism effort from the church. Pray for your church – that God would bless the preaching of his word, that he would bring Muslims into our midst, and that he would bless the church with growth.
You don’t have to become a practical Arminian to be a faithful evangelist! A Christian approach to Muslim evangelism simply means telling Muslims the truth in love without changing it. Trust that God the Holy Spirit will penetrate hearts and minds of Muslims with “the Gospel”
Muslims love to sing Islamic hymns that tell the stories of the Quran. Islamic hymn singing is singing the words of the Quran. Show your Muslim friends some samples of Christian biblical songs with verses directly taken from Scriptures. In other words, sing the Bible to them! The role of music in human culture is to join people together. Biblically we are commanded to sing the praises of Christ. There are 694 references to singing or music making in Holy Scriptures. Participatory singing is a very significant matter biblically. There will be no singing in Hell, but the saints in Heaven will sing everlastingly. That is really amazing and remarkable! Let us show Muslims what we will be doing in Heaven.
“Fear God and give Him Glory, because the hour of His judgment has come, and Worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” (Rev. 14:7)
In Islam, there is no guarantee of salvation except in one instance, dying in Jihad. Jihad is the struggle–the battle against those who would oppose Islam and what Islam stands for. This is very important because in the Muslim religion, there is no guarantee of salvation. Please consider the following verses:Then, he whose balance (of good deeds) will be (found) heavy, 7Will be in a life of good pleasure and satisfaction. 8 But he whose balance (of good deeds) will be (found) light,–9Will have his home in a (bottomless) Pit. (Surah 101:6-9)In Islam, there is no assurance that the Muslim will be forgiven of his sins. As you can see, the Quran teaches a system of works’ righteousness. Therefore, no Muslim can ever know whether or not he has done enough good in order to please Allah. This is a burden that many Muslims do not like to bear.