samedi 14 janvier 2012

How to approach Muslim

In 2010, my friend Ngabe requested that I give few advise on how to conduct a possible effective evangelism to Muslims. Since they planed to do small evangelistic team of two to preach the gospel of Christ. Below was few advises i gave them. I thought it might help some of you too involved in Christian's ministry.

Since i might not be available as i am all week long outside Kigali, i'll rather give some tips for the possible Muslim evangelism at Atenee (Kigali) so that the whole evangelistic team of L.W may know what to do or  expect from Muslim prospective convert to Christianity.

1. The conversation will be quite long depending on what type of Muslim you'll meet. I can almost guaranty that they will not go down without a fight. So the usual evangelism style might not work with them. You'll need to mix it a bit with some apologetic, while avoiding to be argumentative. Avoid a complete debate style emphasis, do consider to compromise on some points that are not necessarily part of your objective. E.g. you may find yourself using Issac as the sacrifice Abraham wanted to give to God, and you'll realize at the insistence of your Muslim interlocutor that it was Ishmael that was presented as sacrifice. At this point of the dialogue, it will be a waste of time to start arguing historically who was the real son who was given as sacrifice. If you want to prove your point at all cost, you may as well forget your evangelism purpose, because you'll have an endless, fruitless and frustrating discussion and before you know it, it will be time to go home. So for the sake of argument just grant some points that are immediately irrelevant to your objective and focus to the salient point the Holy Spirit has put in your heart to share.

2. Most Muslim are somehow apologists of their faith, which means that they are trained to defend it, so they have some way to put sticks on your wheels. one of them is to accuse you of ignorance about their religion and one of the way of doing that is to ask you if you speak Arabic. Since the expected answer is no, they continue saying that the day you'll speak Arabic, you'll understand the beauty and truth of the Koran. Here is an Ex-Muslim scholar that explains how to respond to these charges that are real conversation-stoppers.

3. Another charge of ignorance that they usually use, depending of who you are meeting with of-course, is to accuse you of taking the text out of context while they'll be doing a lot of that themselves. But since most of Christians aren't familiar with Islam they can't identify where they are being played - by the Muslim. I have to say that at time, the accusation of some Muslim of non-Muslim misrepresenting them are indeed correct. So in order to avoid that i hope that our evangelists will do at least a minimum reading about what their Muslim friend believe in. You can start with the 36 pages PDF that i have added to the J.C archive this week. But do not also just believe everything that they say to you. Verify their context too. Here is a link that will arouse your awareness about that. Example:
"For instance, after September 11, 2001, many Muslims and apologists of Islam glibly came out with the following Koranic quote to show that Islam and the Koran disapproved of violence and killing: Sura V.32: "Whoever killed a human being shall be looked upon as though he had killed all mankind". Unfortunately, these wonderful sounding words are being quoted out of context. Here is the entire quote: V.32: "That was why We laid it down for the Israelites that whoever killed a human being, except as a punishment for murder or other villainy in the land, shall be looked upon as though he had killed all mankind; and that whoever saved a human life shall be regarded as though he had saved all mankind. Our apostles brought them veritable proofs: yet it was not long before many of them committed great evils in the land. Those that make war against God and His apostle (Muhammad) and spread disorder shall be put to death or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the country."

4. Be patient and resilient. And ask a lot of questions. Do not assume to know what he believes. Let him/her be the one who informs you about his/her belief. Keep asking questions, ask a lot of questions. In this way, you'll will not be accused of not knowing about the specifics of his/her belief system, since it would be him/her who has informed you about it. If you know better, propose to make some corrections. Do not assume that s/he will be honest in everything that s/he'll say. Remember point 3 above.

5. For Christ' sake please, before you start talking, at least know what Jesus said as reported in your Bible. Sure, you may not have read your whole Bible, but at least read what Jesus said in the Gospel since He is the one that you are going to preach. I am serious. If you haven't done that, then let your partner do the talking and you can just shut up and pray as s/he speaks. This is evangelism not public debating performance. If you intend to do the first one, you need to understand the gospel and if it is for the latter one, you need to know the Law of logic and some other basic philosophical tools and historical knowledge to stand firm during the exchange. So decide, 'are you out there for evangelism or for a debate purpose?' Or both? Which is also possible.

6. Finally, here is a small personal story that happened between the year 2004-2005. I was at Eaton Hall Hotel, it was a Sunday morning. I didn't go to Church that morning because i usually attended the Evening Mass at the Pretoria Cathedral Sacred Heart. I can't quite remember what i was doing that morning. I was either reading or watching the SmallVille series. The phone rang, and on the other end, a lady friend of mine asked me to come immediately in her room. She didn't tell why, but i knew her enough to sense that it was important. So i did. When i entered the room, she greeted me with a smile and as i look around i saw an unknown guest, a perfect stranger. She told me that he was a Muslim friend of her and that she was a bit confused after an hour or so of conversation with him. I thought to myself: "Is that so?!" and i smile as i understood then the reason of the emergency call.

So here's what happened in brief. We exchanged some polite greetings and before we knew it, the religious topic was up. Embarrassingly, the Muslim had been correcting her about some important New Testament topics before i came. So i had to agree with the Muslim about her mistakes as they briefed me about the previous dialogue between them. She was shocked, not so much with me. Not anymore. /:) Then i also made some statements. Our Bibles were still closed. Then after some arguments which happened to have been overwhelming to him, he struggled in answering and in formulating a defense and that is when he just spitted these words: "These are from this hooligans of Paul who taught these heresies (falsity)". I smiled nervously as i felt that i was about to return the favor about Mohammad but i cooled myself (and for the sake of the argument, I ignored his rude outburst about St.Paul). I then said: "Actually no. What i have been telling you is from the Injil (the Gospels). Not from Paul" I then asked him, 'do you believe in the Gospel?' Imagine his answer? ofcourse he believed it. He had no choice. I was smiling and excited. Then he wanted to rant some more against St. Paul again, but i reminded him that i can prove to him that it wasn't Paul who said what i was arguing about Jesus but that it was from the Gospel narrative. He wanted proof. And i was happy to provide them.

Then we opened the Bible, in the book of Luke and we read. He said that it wasn't Jesus who said that but one of his disciples and that the text was corrupted. I smiled and said approximately this,'matter of fact, i wasn't reading Luke commentary but his rendition of Jesus saying.' I insisted again just to be sure that he understood the implication. Since i had that bible that has Jesus sayings in red (it was hers), i said 'the letter in red are Jesus words and in black is the narrator words'. And since he just wanted the Jesus word, he agreed to continue the conversation. I showed him from Mathew, Marc and Luke on the topic we were discussing; at the end he didn't want to answer anymore of my question and wasn't able to ask me anymore question either. He looked confused and i was feeling great! Vindicated!

With a smile, he asked me to give him more time and that he'll come back to me. And with those words we parted company, and our hostess was satisfied and insisted that he should come back soon so that we could resume the dialogue that had ignited her interest on the subject. Well, as you can guess, he never came back! I stayed in Pretoria for another 3 more years but he just never contacted us again.

So don't be surprise if all of them do not immediately convert. Bringing them at least in a position where there are willing to give you a hearing is the first step. Because you'll have earned their respect during the conversation. Preaching Christ to an already committed religious folk is a tough job. One which demands respect and patience. It is the same for all people who have already adhered to another worldview from a different school of thought than yours. Patience and prayer always prevail at the end, anyway. I saw it in other occasions and i wish you also see it regularly in Jesus' name during your evangelism.

Have a great weekend in Jesus' name.
P.S: An excerpt of my book can now be read online. Click here.

Aucun commentaire:

Enregistrer un commentaire