How can we explain what we believe to those whom we know? Especially Muslims, who are so open to talking about spiritual things.
Muslims are dear religious people and usually enjoy hearing how God works in one’s life. As believers in Christ, we have a testimony of God’s deliverance and promises of salvation. No one can deny personal experience and an excellent place to start. Now a few pointers on giving one’s testimony. Our confidence is in God’s power and promises. The way we state things is essential. The focus is on God’s work, not personal choice or ability.
For example, how we share about salvation is quite essential. We say, “I know for sure that I am going to heave.” This statement sounds quite proud. Better to say, “I know that based on the promises of God, He gives me eternal life. I believe in His Word and trust in His promises.” Depending on God’s promises affirms the reality of our salvation that God saves, and we can only rely on His promises.
Pray for them
Be consistent in praying for your friend and pray for them in their presence when possible. Most Muslims believe in prayer and often repeat simple Arabic phrases of thanks. As believers in the Lord Jesus, we are granted access to the Father and freely enter His presence. I personally never shy away from praying in Jesus’ name. I believe in prayer, and my Lord is the one they need to believe in. If you are religious, then your friends would expect you to pray.
Ask pertinent questions but listen to their response. We can learn much about our faith when we listen well to others who contradict what we ought to believe. Unfortunately, too often, we have not heard well – attempt to give the gift of listening to others.
Be a friend
What does friendship mean to you? A friend, indeed, is a friend in need. Are you willing to help them or only share with them? How can you make time to develop a friendship? More so than not, a believer from a Muslim context will share how another Christian’s life influenced them. Your love for them may be the only love of Jesus they will ever see.
Be open about what you believe
I have seen way too many Christians shrink back on what they believe. There is nothing to be ashamed of that we believe Jesus is Lord. Yet, the critical issue is how we present biblical truth. Do you believe you have eternal life? If so, state it clearly. However, what is the basis of this eternal life? It is never based on what we did but on what Jesus did for us. It is not a promise based on our goodness but God’s faithfulness. I know I have eternal life because God does not lie. He promises eternal life. It is God who saved and promised eternal life. We know that eternal life is not founded on what we have done but on what God has promised. He promises, and we believe we can share how we know we are forgiven and have eternal life.
Do not debate but use God’s Word
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17, ESV). The issue is not how well we can debate one another as the Word of God works in our hearts. We need to keep the word of Christ front and center. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God – let’s not forget that. Always when possible, answer a religious question with the Word of God.
Issue of Will, not Confrontation
Critiquing their religion or prophet will always produce an emotional response. Speaking disrespect reflects on the person who said it, so be respectful. Seek to promote Christ, not denigrate their beliefs. They fully believe what they believe, so criticizing will not change their mind. Dr. Steve Winget repeated the phrase in our apologetic class: “He who is convinced against his will, will be of the same opinion still.” Pray for their will to change since conversion is a heart issue.
Be aware of customs and beliefs
Understanding some basic religious food restrictions when entertaining someone who believes in different ways will be beneficial. Also, review the words of the Lord Jesus in Mark 7, in which the Lord describes uncleanness as coming from our hearts. Attempt to use this passage to bring understanding and a healthy discussion. However, this passage should not be used to claim the freedom to force them to accept food that they may consider unclean.
When I say literature, I also mean downloads, videos, and electronic versions of the gospel. Recently I heard of a testimony in which a New Testament was given to a man as a student at the University of Tehran. About 20 years after graduating, he sought to find and read the book. The Lord knows when one’s search will begin. Who knows when God will use literature to bring one to know Him? Make material available to others, however and wherever.
Study what they believe so you can ask relevant questions.
Many Christian authors write about Islam; most start there but never go beyond this. Reading original material will enable one to understand the Christian approach to Islam, but what are Muslims saying? Read a Muslim blog and see what they are saying. Also, online there are many pdf booklets written by Muslim authors, which are well written. Hearing from the source always is better. When you read these things, you will learn how to use their words. Often terms are misunderstood, so deeper discussions seek to define the terms to avoid misuse of meaning. So study and see what they say about Christianity and themselves.