Three Vital Points For Evangelism To Muslims
I have been able to witness to a lot of Muslims, and when I do, there are three things I always try to do. I am by no means an expert on the subject, but when I often ask Christians how they would evangelize to a Muslim I often get the response, “I don’t know”. You may find these three things to be very simple, but I hope that they bless you in reaching out to the world around you.
1. Preach the Gospel
I know this is common sense, but when I evangelized to Muslims, I have many times gotten so distracted by their questions and beliefs that I forgot the very thing I set out to do: preach the gospel. This hit me one day after I won many arguments in a debate with a Muslim. But I then realized that my winning arguments did not bring the Muslim any closer to Christ than when the argument started. My arguments were useless because I failed to preach the gospel. It is not just about winning arguments or making points but pointing Muslims to the truth of Jesus Christ (which in and of itself is more relevant for them than you may think or as good as your arguments may seem). So to start, just start there, with the gospel. Start with who God is, the fall, sin, God’s plan for salvation through Jesus Christ, and our response to it. It doesn’t need to be pretty or as precise and perfectly planned out as the apologetic book you read or course you attended. Paul did not go to the Corinthians “with eloquence or human wisdom” but he, “proclaimed… the testimony about God” so that their “faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Cor. 2:1-5). We proclaim the gospel trusting in the message of the gospel itself, that it is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes~" (Rm. 1:16)
2. Let the Bible speak for itself, instead of you speaking for the Bible
It is ironic that when we are defending the Bible we sometimes forget to use the Bible. We start to rely on logic and reasoning, but we don’t use the Bible. The Bible is the living Word of God that speaks to the depths of the human heart (Heb. 4:12; 2 Tm. 3:16). Almost every time I engage a Muslim, the question will arise, “Do you really believe that Jesus was the Son of God?” and I will say yes, and they will think I am irrational for believing this. But this question makes my word the authority and this is a problem. We need to reroute their question from me (man’s word) to the Bible (God’s word). So now when I am asked that question, I will say, “Yes, I do, because Jesus himself believed to be the Son of God as he teaches us this in the Bible”. All of a sudden the authority changes from me to the Son of God himself and God’s word. It changes from me be irrational to Jesus and that is a big difference. It is easy to call a man irrational, but to put the pressure on the Son of God is another thing. When I say this they often get quiet because they would never insult a prophet (which they consider Jesus to be). I then would ask, “would Jesus ever lie?” and again, to honor the prophets they would say, “no”.
So then, there is a better foundation for them to explore their question not based upon my belief but from where the belief originates: God himself. As Charles Spurgeon said, “The Word of God is like a lion. You don’t have to defend a lion. All you have to do is let the lion loose, and the lion will defend itself.” Always point them to the Bible and let the Bible defend itself.
3. Give them what we have in full in the Gospel that they lack in Islam
When my friend, Jan, from Afghanistan, became a Christian, everything changed in his life. Uncertain of their reaction, Jan was afraid to tell his family. But because of his life change, they started to ask questions about why his emotions were so different. One day, confronted by his brother, Jan was asked, “Why are you so happy?” Jan became very scared because he knew if he shared about his faith his brother may kill him. He started to pray and Jan felt led to ask his brother, “What do you think love is?” His brother said, “I love my wife”. Jan said, “No, not what do you love, but what is love?” His brother said, “I do not know,” Jan then asked, “Do you think love is patient, kind, not proud” and Jan continued to recite part of Paul’s definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13. His brother was quiet and said, “Yeah, you are right.”
Weeks go by and his brother returns but this time with fire in his eyes and he was overflowing with anger. He said to Jan, “That definition of love you gave! It comes from the Bible! Do you read this book? Do you believe this book? Are you a Christian?” Jan asked, “Do you agree with it?” His brother got quiet and left.
You see what my friend did to his brother? He knows there is no love in Islam from Allah, but in the Bible, we know God is love. What he said meant so much to his brother that his brother went and googled it to see where he could read more about this idea of love! This is giving them what they lack in Islam but what we have in full in the gospel. Muslims lack assurance, share with them your assurance in Jesus. They lack hope, tell them of the hope we have in Jesus. They want to make God happy by what they do, tell them that God your Father loves you unconditionally.
Three vital points for reaching Muslims: to preach the gospel, point them to God’s word, and show them that what they lack in Islam is found in Jesus Christ. Speak to their hearts and affections. When Muslims reads John 3:16, don’t let them just get distracted by the fact that God had a son. They will read that part and miss the point: that God sent his Son because he loves. The incarnation is a mystery that we cannot fully explain. The best explanation for the incarnation from John 3:16 itself is that God loves us. That for me is a greater mystery than the incarnation alone. Why would God love a sinful person like me? How amazing is the love of God, to send his Son so that I can believe and have eternal life. This truth will preach to Muslims more so than just an argument would. Our battle is not merely an intellectual one, but a spiritual one. Get below the surface and to the heart of issue.
There is a fourth point that I wrote about here: Evangelism To Muslims (Part 2): Spirit Empowered Boldness.