12 Reasons to Love (and not Fear) Muslims

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In the spirit of the 12 days of Christmas, I challenged myself to think of 12 reasons to love Muslims. Here goes and we will see if I can do it.

  1. Muslims are fellow image bearers of God. When I think of Muslims as brothers and sisters I think of the fact that we are all made in the image of God. Better to think of them as brother, rather than “other. “
  2. We are monotheists. Although our understanding of God may differ in many ways, we both worship one God who reigns on high and is sovereign over creation (which sounds a lot like Calvinism).
  3. We both respect Jesus. Yes, we have a fundamentally different understanding of who Jesus is – but at least we both respect him.
  4. Increasingly Muslims are our neighbors, and Jesus definitely instructed his followers to love their neighbor.
  5. There are some Muslims, just as there are some Christians, who have taken the path of violence to obtain their goals. The percentage is small, but this is a reality. However, Jesus also instructs his followers to love their enemies.
  6. Halfway there.  Both Christians and Muslims believe that to live their faith means to submit to God. In that sense we are all Muslims.
  7. Jesus commanded his followers to make disciples of all nations. We can’t make disciples without first loving people. We can’t effectively witness to those we fear.
  8. Perfect love drives out fear.
  9. We can learn from our Muslim neighbor. I remember driving across a region of West Africa with an elderly Muslim man. When prayer time came, he insisted that we stop so he could spread out his mat and pray. By the end of the trip I was frustrated at the extra time it took to reach our destination. But I was also left with admiration for this man’s devotion to God.
  10. When you get to know a Muslim personally, it becomes much easier to love him or her. The fact is that we fear what we do not know. Muslims are people just like you and me.
  11. Christians are persecuted in the Middle East and other places around the world – that is a sad fact that should drive us to pray for them. But does that justify a sort of revenge treatment of Muslims in North America? Wouldn’t Jesus want us to show them even more love?
  12. Yes! Made it to 12! We live each day with the help of the Holy Spirit. He gives all who follow Jesus strength to overcome their fears and do more than we can imagine. He also works in the hearts of men and women. He is revealing His power in our day, to all who do not yet follow Jesus as Lord and Savior, including Muslims.
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Community Builder

Thank you for sharing this wonderfully Biblical piece, Greg! Well said.

Recently I read in the Qur'an that the Muslim's duty in obeying Allah, they are to annihilate the people of the Book.  I take it that the people of the Book are Christians who love their Bible.  Can you help me understand the language in the Qur'an.

Greg...........AMEN to all 12 statements!..............Dean Koldenhoven

We are to love Muslims yes - by earnestly praying for the Holy Spirit to enable them to come to saving faith in Christ.  The Qur'an or holy book of Islam emphatically rejects the divinity of Jesus and  his death and resurrection - the very heart of the gospel. The Qur'an brands the Christian worship of Jesus as the Son of God blasphemous. As to the Muslim who had to stop the car for prayer time, one may wonder whether it was devotion or legalism that is, a strict obedience to Islam. The Pharisees strictly sought to observe the Law of Moses and as for me, when a Roman Catholic I never missed Sunday Mass. And it wasn't always genuine devotion. It was primarily because I believed it was a mortal sin deserving of hell punishment unless forgiveness is obtained, normally through the confessional booth at church. 

Guide

Thanks for this, Greg! I find that I can talk openly about God and find common ground much more easily with my Muslim friends than with my secular ones. 

In response to Barnhardt's comments on Islam, Islam is most definitely a religion, but it operates without the separation of church and state that we're so used to and which is a pretty recent invention in the West. 

Danielle:   With respect to Islam "being a religion"  I was also of that understanding at one time,  but found that  Barnhardt's use of the  word 'masquerade'  (refer to Hebrews 4:12,13) made the correct distinction i.e. Islam is a politcal system masquerading as a religion.

Participant

Thanks for this Greg!  What I appreciated the most about your '12 reasons' was your reminder for us to think of ways God is already at work in those we meet, including Muslims.   

Isn't it great that the triune God is always at work in this world ahead of us and if we are willing, offers us daily opportunities to share with others our unique relationship with God that has come to us through Jesus with those we meet!  

You have done us a favour by reminding us of some common human bridges that if we are wise enough to recognize them as we interact with Muslims will enable us to become more effective witnesses for the living Jesus. 

 

Community Builder

Thank you for all of your responses to this post. It is good to discuss these issues. I want to respond specifically to Elizabeth because this is a question that I often receive in seminars. Can you tell me which specific verse (Sura, ayat) you are referring to in the Quran? It would help me in formulating an answer. Thanks.

 

 

 

Thanks for a very balanced listing, including items 7and 12, which clearly indicate that loving Muslims includes witness to the truth about Jesus.

I have never been a fan of comparative religious studies or conversations; be it the liberal version that tries to share common ground or the fconservative versions that tend to be polemic. I always felt this is dangerous territory for the average Christian to tread and rather unecessary. I wish to highlight the relational aspect that can be distilled from this 12 step program, Just a joke; along the way. 

Speaking as one who grew up with his window facing the mosque and the "call to worship" my morning rooster and a neighborhood to this day mostly Muslim; I was visting it several decades later. I saw a man sitting on the ground in the front of the mosque. You could spit across the street into my room. I told him I grew up across at that home. This old man lept up to his feet and asked me who Dr. Devaputra was. I answered "he was my grand-father." He bowed down (imagine an older man) and thanked ME for what my grand-father did for myriads of Muslim students; since he was an educator. In fact, he was the first Christian to obtain a PhD (in our city) and that would have been in the late 1920's. This old man spoke how my grand-dad would tutor the local children; and he was one of them. He refused to let me go!!!!!

I think most Christians GET that  ultimately it is relational and contributing your own gifts and talents to others; whoever they might be. 

 

 

Community Builder

Thanks Daniel for the testimony of your grandfather and for pointing out that relationships are key for engaging with people of other faiths and witnessing to our faith.

For a biblical basis for viewing all persons as children of God see www.evangelicalinclusivism.com, Postings 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Greg:

This relational aspect needs to be expounded further. The family home; bought in 1949 was a former British Bungalow. India gained independence in 1947. We finally sold it in 1991 to a Muslim family and my spinster aunt moved in to "Husaainabad" a Muslim condo a few blocks away. Our home was sold to Mr. Khan. on the condition that he would not demolize it. Every other Bungalow in our neigborhood had been bought up and high-rise condos were built; the land being more valuable than the Bungalows themselves. Our home still stands to this day; Mr Khan kept his promise; even though he (and actually my aunt initially) could have made a lot more money. Each family invites and attends important events in our lives.

My point. We need to define relational; it involves being a genuine neighbor, doing proper business transtactions, sharing what we have with those who do not, engaging in social ativities, etc. This issue of love & fear (a rather western constract) needs to be translated into real relational terms. Will someone sell or buy a house from a Muslim here in N. America? (I have a rather different version about Islam -as a system- and its desire for world dominion; without a cross; but not in this discource).  It gets down to getting dirt under our finger nails; so to speak ; in our own neigborhoods.  

One of my favorite shows is "Little Mosque" on the PIVOT Channel. Great funny comedy of interactiins between Muslims & Christians in Canada. Brilliant show. 

 

Just sharing....

 

one grows weary of modern ideas of incusivism and acceptance. the danger of it is that without proper instruction and or explanation, too many Christians are being confused at to where do we draw the line.

loving our neighbors, loving our enemies and praying for those who persevute us is a commandment. The Bible teaches us that if we do not love our neighbors who we can see we cannot say that we love God whom we've never seen. but that same chapter of 1 John 4 tells us that anyone who denies Jesus as the son of God is not from God, it goes further to say that whose who deny Jesus have the spirit of the antichrist.

what I get from this is that the god the Muslims worship is not our God, and we must pray hard for them and LOVINGLY lead then to the truth. the fact that they recognize Jesus as a great prophet can hardly be used as an argument when those who acknowledge Jesus as the son of God are called Blasphemers by muslims, and, in their believes,  are deserving of death.

I have plenty of muslim friends, and touching religious issues with them is very complicated, only when they ask questions do I answer, and because they see me as an infidel, there is very little I can say which gets acknowledged by them. Bottom line is, only prayer anf letting the Holy Spirit touch those God has separated for Himself can do the Job. Beware that we do not turn against God trying to get too cozy with the enemies of God!

 

It was, I beleive, Bishop Newbigin who pointed out to me that when we examine the gospel writingss; all "so called gospel presentations" are actually responses made to questions FIRST asked. Jose puts his finger on sometgng crucial at the end. That to me, is the key approach.

It is our genuine & authentic relations with Muslims in all other areas of life (not a narrowed focus on just the spiritual or figuring whose God is right, etc) that the HS works so they can ask questions of us. Without the first, the second may not take place.Then only do we have some reason to share "spritually." Moreover, it might mean some Muslims would have to remain anonymous. 

Let me illustrate. In a rather wealthy neighborhood, I was approached by a family stating some in the neighborhood were alarmed that a Muslim doctor had painted his house in rather bright colors. I took a walk to see the place and she was right. It did stand out from the rest. She asked for my advice.  Rather than give it here; maybe this can be a case-study for thoughtful people to interact over how they would handle it. 

 

Just saying....

 

Community Builder

Hi Daniel,

I agree that first questions are crucial, and with help of the HS and apologetics we can encourage the asking of such questions. Not sure where you are going with your example of the painted house. Now I am curious, could you explain your point a little more?

Thanks.

OK the distinction I am making is moving away from apolegetics ( using your term now) to being relational & what it means to be a neighbor. The House example.  have experienced aploegtics as mere conversations amongst Christians themselves and not that engaging in the real world. However, being a good neighbor (with all its complexities) in the REAL world does allow for greater interaction amongst people of various faiths. That's all.

Community Builder

Thanks Daniel. That makes sense. I agree that it is all about relationships in the real world.

And the CRC wonders why so many members are leaving the denomination.

Community Builder

Hey JP I don't know where your comments went, perhaps they were flagged for moderation - considered too sarcastic. At any rate it is only through honest discussion that we will find common ground in our approach to Islam. This debate has been going on at least since the 19th century evangelical missionary movement. We have different approaches but the Spirit of God leads us and Lord willing Jesus will be glorified. Whether you take a more contextual or historic approach, that is our end goal. I advocate a respectful stance towards Islam as an important part of that process.

Hey greg!

I appreciate that you make these things clear for people im a muslim myself and they thought us to love everyone and Christian people especially because they have a good religion

and we both believe in the only god, now i heard that Jesus told Christian people that a greater and better religion is going to appear(islam) and that they have to be muslim is that true?

Community Builder

Hello Alireza Amiri,

 

Thank you for your question and your interest in our discussion. I can say that there is no biblical evidence that Jesus pointed people to the appearance of Islam. I think that sometimes Muslims misunderstand Jesus' words that he would send a comforter - the Holy Spirit to come after him. So you may actually be referring to the Holy Spirit, who is indeed our comforter and helps us to follow our faith.

I hope that clears up any misunderstandings. Sorry to dissapoint you but Jesus is the only way.

Blessings,

Greg

 

 

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