So You Want to be Muslim?
“God, make me to be a Christian witness to the Muslims around the world, however you would see fit.”
It was the year 2006 in Phoenix, Arizona. My wife, my infant son, and I had traveled across the country to a pastor’s conference where we were asked to fill out a card with a prayer request concerning a dream that we had in our hearts for ministry. I can remember vividly the desire in my heart as I wrote the words of this big prayer on that card and dropped it into the basket, expectantly waiting for what the Lord might unfold for us in the future.
Fast forward to the year 2015…I live in a small, rural community in the great Midwestern plains of the United States of America where I raise my family, labor at my job, and help minister to a small congregation of faithful believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Although I have traveled outside of my country on several trips to share the gospel abroad, as far as I can tell, no, I have never had the opportunity to share it with Muslims. And no, I haven’t come across any Muslims at my job. And no, there aren’t any Muslims visiting our small church. And no, I don’t have the opportunity to witness to Muslims where I live because I’m pretty sure there aren’t any living here.
Sometimes the Lord answers our prayers with “Yes.” Sometimes the Lord answers our prayers with “No.” Sometimes He answers with “Not yet.” While the Lord may or may not have answered my prayer in the way I expected all those years ago, one thing that has happened is that my curiosity over Islam has led me to research and gather information over the years concerning this faith that was birthed in the sands of the Middle East and has reproduced itself rapidly around the world. My curiosity as well as my heart for those millions of people burdened by an empty, false hope has led me to read many books about Islam, as well as their holy book, the English translation of the Quran (although this may not be acceptable to most devout Muslims who believe that the Arabic translation is the only true uncorrupted translation). Although I’m sure there are still things for me to learn about this religion, I feel confident that what I have learned so far is accurate and fair and is worth sharing.
We live in a time in America where, understandably, tensions and emotions are high concerning Islam. Whether it be Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, morning talk show discussions, evening news reports, conversations in coffee shops and at the job site, we are all finding ourselves in the middle of the debate concerning the current threat to our country and way of life. Some people are calling for restrictions, some for deportation, some for greater vetting of immigrants, and some are easily (too easily in my opinion) declaring death to all Muslims.
While it can be debated whether or not we as a nation would be wise to allow refugees into our nation, knowing that militants will assuredly sneak in along with those who legitimately need help, it is my belief as a Christian that we have a responsibility to neighbors who are in need, even if they are hostile to our efforts. But ultimately, that decision is in the hands of Providence, who turns the hearts of kings like channels of water. My focus and desire, which is the desire of all true, spiritually healthy followers of Jesus Christ, is to see that those who have been created in the image of God be given the truth of the gospel; to see the great commission fulfilled in every tribe, tongue, people, and nation for the glory of the Father.
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (NASB95)
This includes the tribes, tongues, peoples, and nations who are followers of Muhammad and the Quran.
Worldwide Influence and Popularity
Historically, Muhammad has been leaving his impression on the world since the time of his first supposed revelation from Allah in 610 A.D. From the time of the Crusades that attempted to rescue Jerusalem from Islamic rule, to the apologetic writing, Summa contra Gentiles by Thomas Aquinas, to the Barbary War of the third president, Thomas Jefferson, to modern scholars like Dr. Norman Geisler, many have taken it upon themselves in their epoch of time and with the influence they have at their disposal to confront and combat the ever encroaching beliefs of this religious, social, and political ideology that stands in contrast to Christianity.
In modern times, the growth of Islam has steadily grown in the West. Consider some of the European nations, such as France or Germany or Great Britain, that at one time boasted of a population that was almost entirely Christian but is now experiencing very large populations of Muslims, while at the same time, the number of Christians shrink (Muslim Population in Europe ). It seems for the sake of inclusiveness, these nations have forgotten their rich heritage of faith in Christ and those Christian individuals who left their mark on history for the glory of God. This trend is seeing serious consequences, one of which was pointed out by the New York Times headline recently that read, “More British Muslims have joined Islamist militant groups than serve in the country’s armed forces.” ( Her Majesty’s Jihadists)
And what about its influence on America?
Recently, I was in southern California where I was at an outdoor mall and witnessed a family of Muslims obediently honoring the call to prayer outside of a Barnes and Noble book store. While it seemed out of place to me, to the rest of the shoppers politely stepping around them as they were on their knees facing Mecca, it seemed totally normal.
Then there was the disturbing quote from a lady the other day who was arguing that maybe it would be best for us as a nation to just convert to Islam. After all, she went on to say, we would be better off. Her logic was that it would be a nice change to see women covered head to toe in a burqa rather than showing all the skin that she claims most American women shamelessly flaunt, citing Miley Cyrus as an example. I wonder if she has ever seen women in burqas before?
Honestly, this woman’s argument was shocking but at the same time revealing. So was the lack of concern by the busy shoppers at the mall who were indifferent to the family’s ritual prayer toward a false god and a false hope. The realization that struck me in the midst of all of this, is that we are a people who are speaking very loudly and passionately about the threat of Islam, but most of us don’t really understand what it is that we are speaking so loudly and passionately about.
So let’s entertain that argument for a moment, we would be better off as a nation if we converted to Islam…what exactly would that mean for us as a country and as individuals? That is a deep question with a lot of possibilities, but I believe that by examining five key areas of the Islamic faith, we can arrive at a fairly clear picture of what that religion has to offer. And I believe what we discover will be something empty and antithetical to Christianity, but you be the judge.
The five areas we will look at in future articles include:
- The Quran
- The Prophet Muhammad
- Muslim Salvation
- Islamic Eschatology (End Times)
My prayer for this article and those that will follow is two-fold.
First, if you are a Muslim reading this, it is my heart that you take into careful consideration the facts that are presented concerning Jesus Christ, who is more than a prophet…He is the way of salvation.
“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 (NASB95)
Secondly, if you are a Christian reading this, I pray that the compassion of God that was given to you by the Holy Spirit when you were regenerated at the time of your rebirth in Christ according to His kind mercy toward you, will manifest itself towards those who are lost in a false religion. Sure, on a superficial level we are in a battle with people who want to see us be converted or be killed. But we must remember that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of darkness. We might be their enemy, but they are not ours…they just simply need Jesus.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 (NASB95)
One of my youngest son’s friend is Muslim. His father is from Egypt….we have taken his friend on vacations with us. He has heard our Christian music, listened to us pray at meals, and me “thank Jesus” or “Praise the LORD!” I say this not bragging, but with just a little bit of anxiousness in my heart, as I know only God knows whose hearts will be softened, whose veils will be lifted, to “hear” the Word and accept it. They are “here”, you just may not know it.