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                        "THE RELIGION OF ISLAM"

                          Responding To Islam


1. Our study thus far has mostly focused on learning about Islam...
   a. How it began and its early history
   b. The origin, importance and content of the Qur'an
   c. Some of the faith and practices of Islam
   d. Whether or not Islam is a religion of peace
   e. Some comparisons between what Islam and Christianity teaches

2. In this final study, I wish to offer some thoughts on responding to
   a. How Christians might prepare themselves for trying to reach
      Muslims with the gospel
   b. What approach to use in seeking to convert a Muslim to Christ

[There may be many effective ways to evangelize Muslims, but I doubt
that any will succeed without proper...]


      1. Islam has much to be commended
         a. Submission to what they perceive to be the Will of God
         b. Dedication to what they believe is the Word of God
         c. Personal religious devotion as expressed by prayers,
            fasting, charity
      2. Christians should certainly equal if not surpass the
         righteousness of Muslims
         a. Just as Jesus taught His disciples regarding the scribes and
            Pharisees - cf. Mt 5:20
         b. Our submission to the Will of God should not be any less
            - Mt 6:33
         c. Our dedication to the Word of God should be as fervent - Ja
            1:21; 1Pe 2:2
         d. Though not as formal or ritualistic...
            1) Our prayers are to be fervent, without ceasing - Col 4:2;
               1Th 5:17-18
            2) Our fasting to be done to be seen of God, not men - Mt 6:
            3) Our charity to be abundant - 1Ti 6:17-19
      3. We must take the call of pure and nondenominational Christianity
         a. Christ prayed for unity of believers, to convince the world
            - Jn 17:20-21
         b. Paul condemned religious division, and so should wee  - 1Co 
      -- The call to follow Christ will be hindered if Christians are
         less dedicated to their Lord than Muslims are to their Prophet!

      1. Much harm has been done in the name of Christ
         a. As during the Crusades
         b. Or even today, through misrepresentation of beliefs, or
            name-calling (e.g., describing Muslims as "Mohammedans" or
            even worse, "rag heads")
      2. Paul has listed the proper Christ-like attitudes - 2Ti 2:
         24-26; Ga 6:1
         a. Must not quarrel, but be gentle
         b. Must be able to teach, patient
         c. Must correct in humility, in a spirit of gentleness
      -- The gospel of Christ is more likely to be taken seriously when
         represented by those imbibed with the spirit of Christ!

[With personal piety and graceful demeanor, the Christian is useful for
the Master (cf. 2Ti 2:21).  But when there are so many differences
between Islam and Christianity, what approach does one take?  Here are
some thoughts on the matter...]


      1. The crucial difference between Christianity and Islam is this:
         a. The Christian faith is based on the testimony of the
            apostles and first generation Christians
            1) All that we know and believe about Jesus is based upon
               their word - cf. Jn 17:20
            2) This testimony is found in the pages of the New Testament
               - cf. Jn 20:30-31
         b. The Muslim faith is based on the testimony of the Rashidun
            ("rightly guided" caliphs) and first generation Muslims
            1) All that they know and believe about Muhammad is based
               upon their word
            2) They compiled the fragments of the revelations given to
               Muhammad and put them into the Koran forty years after
               his death
      2. Once we admit our respective faiths are based on the testimony
         of these various witnesses...
         a. Our task is to examine their lives and teaching, to
            determine which is the more credible
         b. We must ask what possible motives could any of these
            witnesses have for lying, for someone (if not both) is lying
      3. When we compare the lives and deaths of the apostles and first
         generation Christians with the lives of the first generation
         Muslims, we see a remarkable contrast...
         a. There is no reasonable ulterior motive that one can place on
            the Christians for their willingness to die for their faith;
            they received no power, fame, or money for their testimony
            - this gives weight to their testimony as true
         b. The Muslims, in contrast, spread their religion with the aid
            of a sword; they gained great wealth and power in the process
            - this makes their motives suspect and weakens their
      -- The fundamental issue is this:  Who are we going to believe?
         The apostles or the Rashidun?  Who are the more credible

      1. The key test is to compare the New Testament with the Koran
         a. To see which presents the higher standard of morality
         b. While this is somewhat subjective, I believe the fair minded
            person would agree that the New Testament presents a higher
            standard of morality
         c. The Qur'an reverts to a standard of morality equal to the
            Old Testament (even worse)
      2. It basically comes to this:  "faith comes from hearing the Word
         of God" - Ro 10:17
         a. Muslims believes that if one will read the Qur'an
            objectively, it will convince a sincere person that it is
            from God
         b. I contend that if one will read both the New Testament and
            the Qur'an objectively...
            1) A sincere person will see that that New Testament
               presents a higher plane
            2) Supported by the lives and death of witnesses who
               suffered great hardship for no earthly gain
      3. Muslims like to point out slight corruptions of the Bible in
         some manuscripts or translations
         a. Yet God has preserved it sufficiently to fulfill its
            intended task, as promised - Ps 12:6; Mt 24:35; 1Pe 1:
         b. Which is to present to us the true Word of God, Jesus Christ
            - cf. Jn 1:1-5
      4. Yet read the suras of Qur'an chronologically, in the order they
         were "revealed"
         a. One can see the gradual progression of the Islamic religion
         b. "Revelations" were received that changed previous
            "revelations", to accommodate current circumstances
      -- The Word of God (i.e., Bible) has the power to produce faith;
         the challenge for Muslims is to read it objectively, not for
         the purpose of trying to prove it wrong!


1. There are many side issues that can easily distract efforts to
   evangelize Muslims...
   a. But as with all religious discussions, the key issue is one of
   b. What is our standard of authority in religion, and what evidence
      supports it as such?
   -- Which is why I suggest our focus in approaching Islam be on the
      credibility of those who gave us the Qur'an, and upon the Qur'an
      itself, in comparison with the New Testament and its authors

2. As stated at the beginning of this study, Christians need to become
   more familiar with Islam...
   a. To better understand world events, our neighbors, and in some
      cases, our enemies
   b. To be able to share the gospel of Christ with those who in many
      cases know the Bible better than many professing "Christians"

3. I hope this study has helped in that regard, and also to challenge
   a. To consider our own dedication to God
   b. Are Muslims more dedicated to God than we?

Of course, dedication alone to God does not save, as Paul wrote
regarding Israel...

   "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that
   they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal
   for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant
   of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own
   righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.
   For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone
   who believes." (Ro 10:1-4)

Can (should) we not say the same for the followers of Islam...?
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