Contend Earnestly: Should Christians Try to Convert Muslims to Christianity?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Should Christians Try to Convert Muslims to Christianity?


This post is from Jesus in the Quran. I highly recommend you look through the site as it has a lot of very good information. When I first heard of this idea presented, it seemed odd to me, but after doing some study and reflection of the culture and understanding of the Kingdom of God, it truly is something that makes complete since. You also have to get passed the two terms, Christian and Muslim, on how you view them and what these terms actually mean to most of the world. The bottom line, I want everyone to follow Jesus, not Christianity or Islam or any other religion.

“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

Kingdom Circles

How can we radically change the conversation between Islam and Christianity?

It’s actually pretty simple. And it’s nothing new–Jesus did the exact same thing 2,000 years ago. In John 4, the Samaritan woman at the well recognized Jesus as a prophet and immediately wanted to ask Jesus a religious question: “Where should we worship God? At Jerusalem as the Jews believe? At Mt. Gerizim as the Samaritans believe?” It’s the classic setup for a debate. Whose religion is right?

Jesus, however, refuses to enter the discussion. In fact, he elevates the conversation to another plane altogether: “The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.”

So how can we implement Jesus’ way? Read on, friends, and see the simple diagram that has transformed everything.



1. For 1400 years, the debate has looked like this: Christianity v. Islam. Jesus v. Muhammad. Bible v. Qur’an. I know of many missionaries who tell Muslims that they need to become Christians. I’ve had many Muslims tell me that I’d be a great Muslim and that I should convert.



2. But what if there’s something far bigger than “Christianity v. Islam”? And what if THAT idea was actually what Jesus talked about all the time? Interestingly, Jesus never asked a single person to become a “Christian.” Paul was a Jew until the day he died. Both Jesus and Paul had a concern greater than religious identity. They spoke of the Kingdom of God. Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand. Change the way you think and believe in the Good News” (Mark 1.15)



3. The Kingdom is the conversation. What is the straight path into the Kingdom of God? How do we enter into a personal, transformational relationship with the King, living as citizens submitted to His good will? Here’s what I try to say to every Muslim I meet: “Listen, I know there’s been a lot of bad blood and misunderstanding between Christians and Muslims over the years. But we actually have quite a bit in common. And I believe that both you and me desire to love and honor the one true God. I promise I will never ask you to become a Christian. And please, don’t ask me to become a Muslim. But I also promise that I will do all that I can to help us both discover the true straight path into the Kingdom of God. And I believe that the true access to that Kingdom is through the sacrifice of Jesus the Messiah.”

21 comments:

ZSB said...

I sort of felt this coming from recent posts. So disappointing. Goodbye, orthodox Seth... Hello, new emergent "follow Jesus without being part of the church" Seth.

Contend Earnestly said...

Zach.
Interesting that's what you got out of the post...because that's not what I believe nor what I said in any way.

I wonder what you would believe is orthodox concerning the truth of the church.

Joseph Louthan said...

Hold the phone!

You are arguing for 1 Corinthians 9:19-23!

If Paul was a Jew to the Jews and a Gentile to the Gentile, perhaps we need to be a Muslim to the Muslims?

Kinda like how Jesus Christ became man in order to save men?

Shocking! Riveting!

Jonspach said...

My take on your was that Muslims need not embrace Western Christianity in a cultural sense in order to be seen as Christians, and we shouldn't expect them to.

Of course, we should expect other things from a muslim who has become a Christian - they're leaving a false church and a false doctrine for the true church and true doctrine - that should have an impact.

Chris said...

I think this line of thinking has interesting applications for Christians regarding life within the church, as well as life without; namely, that the prescription for health is to be known and loved by Jesus, rather than being a "good" Christian. But we've always had trouble living in the context of relationship rather than law. I applaud you for contending towards the one and not the other.

Justin Hunt said...

Joseph Louthan,

You gotta spend a little more time considering the categories you are throwing around. You would have to carefully consider and study what Paul meant when he said becoming a jew to jews and a gentile to gentiles. If we blindly assert (which I'm not necessarily saying you are) that we can become a jew to jews and a gentile to gentiles or a muslim to muslims we could find ourselves in a bad spot. Some people would take that as a license to say any socio-religious construct is fine as long as you incorporate Jesus. The question is, what does Paul mean and how far would he take it in becoming all things to all people.

akhter said...

So Jesus became man to save men , if man is here for a period on earth with full knowladge plus the guidence and if he still does wrong then he shall recieve what he desrves,so Jesus ,s teaching was the way to God .There is no need to kill someone to save some one.
I being a Muslim do not deny all the Prophets and all the perivious revalation,there for iam a Sbiean, a Christian, a jew by being a Muslim because i do not deny ,while they deny the last revalation and the final massenger Mohammed and Quran.

reallyrobins said...

So, if I understanding this correctly, you are hoping to find a path to the kingdom through Christ that will work for believers labeled as Muslim (those who follow Islam and the Quran) and as Christian (those who follow Christianity - that being called such because of Jesus Christ).

If I am understanding that correctly, then my thought would be how one would find a path common to both, when their beliefs about Jesus are so different. Yes, Islam "reveres" Jesus - as a Messenger of God, just as they revere Mohammad as the same. They do not believe him to have died on a cross (His image, in their belief, was "imparted" on another man, and that is who Jesus's enemies crucified. They do not believe him to be the Son of God - as a matter of fact, they do not believe in the Triune-ness of God at all. Therefore, Islam does not teach of the Holy Spirit, which Jesus says he will leave behind for the believers until his return.

Are these things,then, not important? Are you saying that teaching a Muslim these things would not convert him from his belief in Islam to a belief in the Bible... thus making him a Christian?

It sounds as if the theories of "all paths lead to God" and "the only way to the Father is through the Son" are being merged into a theory of "all paths lead to one road to the Father that involves Jesus (not necessarily the Son, as Christ says in the Bible)".

Contend Earnestly said...

reallyrobins.
Your first paragraph is a false paradigm. Muslim and Christian have become larger than mere religion, but also encompasses culture and even possibly politics.

Also, there is a lot of study going on with the Qur'an in what it states about Jesus dying on the cross.

I am not denying, nor is the one that wrote the post, that there are key differences in each religion. What we are saying, is that there is so much baggage in each religion that we want to return people to Jesus' original intent on the Kingdom of God. Which was, "follow me."

Huge difference.

Thanks for commenting.

Craig Bradley said...

Without getting into anything else, I'd just like to make a point about John 4: Jesus DOES get into the religious debate and tell the women the Samaritans are wrong and the Jews are right.

...the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is a from the Jews.

Craig Bradley said...

Oops I forgot to remove the "a" between is and from. Now it looks like the scriptures are being read by Mario.

ZSB said...

> Interesting that's what you got out
> of the post...because that's not
> what I believe nor what I said in
> any way.

Yes, you're taking the "come out of Islam" (a false religion) and become part of the CALLED OUT people of God out of the call to faith and repentance. If someone remains a Muslim, but "follows Jesus," they're either effectively renounced Islam (and most of its core teachings) or they've re-invented Jesus to fit with Islam. The church would fit into this by holding these new CHRISTIANS accountable. The arguments made in this JitQ post are exactly what Brian McLaren teaches in A New Kind of Christianity.

SnatchedFromTheFire said...

Man i love you Seth - if i had known you better earlier i would have asked you to consider a lenten fast from any Muslim studies; give the 'harvest' a fallow 40 days.
Too many issues to comment on in this post, though, in truth, i do love the spirit behind it.

Some of the big issues are just fundamental ones:
What is a religion? Defined it is, "a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons" or "the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith". However you wanna spin the language, the term Christianity is just a term describing what a person DOES who follows Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Are there things Christians do that go beyond that sometimes - yup - but reading the Word, prayer, Communion, meeting together with the saints, etc. are just the outworkings of following Jesus and 10 times out of 10 people are gonna call the beliefs you practice 'Christianity', just like the outworking of belief in Mohammed and the Qu'ran is called Islam. So you can say, 'i don't want you to become a Christian' all you want, but in the end, it's just a gimmick b/c surely you don't mean 'i don't want you to practically work out your faith in orthopraxy!'

Another problem is that this dicussion of Jesus' is taken out of it's context. Jesus is asking her about her past and 'pressing her buttons' and she is trying to deflect/distract the Lord of the universe by bringing up this long-standing debate over who's 'got it right'- it's comical almost. Then, sure, Jesus says it's not about the 'where' but about the 'Who' that really matters. But follow this through and see that this is why we're not Muslims or Jewish - we worship the one true God as revealed in Jesus Christ viz. Col. 1, Heb. 1. and the practices associated with loving and serving Him hold the name Christianity. Dunno why this keeps getting lost in the translation.

Joseph Louthan said...

Justin Hunt,

Understood.

You know what being a Muslim to the Muslim as an adopted son of God who has been commissioned to tell everyone everywhere about the good news of Christ Jesus?

* humbly respect their traditions
* celebrate with them
* live with them
* eat with them
* serve them
* laugh with them
* play with them
* cry and grieve with them
* love them
* reveal truth of God to them
* pray for them
* if necessary, lay my life down for them

In all things and so much more, my life and my words will always point back to God and give glory to him.

Am I off-based?

ielvanoin said...

Every Muslim is a follower of Jesus.

Contend Earnestly said...

Justin and Joseph...

Amen to both of your thoughts on this. Very well said.

schweetyfleety said...

Every Muslim is a follower of Jesus? Let me quote Paul:No other Gospel ESV
Galatians 1:6-9"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel-NOT THAT THERE IS ANOTHER ONE{emphasis mine}, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, LET HIM BE ACCURSED{emphasis mine}. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preahing to you a gospel contrary to the one you received ,let hime be accursed."
So, not only does Paul give this warning, he reiterates immediately. People, do not listen to this tripe. It is a convoluted, wishy-washy, mish-mash of Satanic lies! One world religion here we come!

Contend Earnestly said...

Schweety:

you might want actually read instead of jumping to conclusions...never does the above say all Muslims are followers of Jesus...try your best to chill out and show charity and grace.

Peace

schweetyfleety said...

Contend Earnestly,
My last response was directed at ielvanoin, whom I quote,"All Muslims follow Jesus". My response was no different than the way you believe JW's, Mormons and other various false teachers and wolves are to be dealt with; harshly. Just because the Q'ran mentions Jesus means nothing. So do the gnostic gospels and the Talmud. Are those accurate descriptions of Jesus why he came and what he accomplished? Muslims, though they may see Jesus as a prophet deny the most important aspect of why Jesus came down from from heaven and took on human form -they deny the cross. Which denies his redemptive work. Christ crucified is the "crux" of the matter(no pun intended). I do not hate Muslims nor do I hate anyone for that matter. This is life and death and I don't see how coddling and pandering to one false religion and then being "harsh" but honest with others does any good. This isn't show and tell. Furthermore, what about CAIR's connections to HAMAS, Hezbollah, etc.? What about the numerous verses in the Q'ran regarding killing Jews and "infidels" as non-Muslims are called. What about the verses regarding Mohammed having relations with his dead aunt's corpse, the verses regarding him violating his 6 and 9 years old nieces. It is all there. It is no different than the Talmud. Just lies,lies, lies. The bottom line is this; do you believe that the bible is inspired by God and God-breathed? If you do, then you know that when I quoted Galatians those words were not coming out of my mouth or Pauls' mouth but out of God's mouth. We DO NOT worship the same God as Muslims. Anything short of telling them this truth is wrong. I will quote and unknown source: "Building bridges with Islam is a road to hell". Harsh but true. I will pray that all Muslims leave their false religion as well as JW's, Mormons,etc. and that they accept Jesus- ALL of him. Thank you for allowing me to post. Especially since our views on this are drastically different.

In Him,
SchweetyFleety

Contend Earnestly said...

Schweety.

Please indicate that next time you comment if you are commenting to another commenter...it will help.

As far as their response, I understood that to come from a Muslim perspective.

Let me try to answer your questions one by one:

You: My response was no different than the way you believe JW's, Mormons and other various false teachers and wolves are to be dealt with; harshly. Just because the Q'ran mentions Jesus means nothing.

Me: I will say this. Those posts were written a while ago in regards to JW and Mormons, but I also find it be different than Muslims. For one, the understanding of Muslims/Islam is an identifier of more than merely a religion, but an entire global culture, just as Christianity is for religion is or Americans are for Nationalism. So, I find it different between a religion and two cults that call themselves Christian.

As far as the Qur'an and mentioning Jesus, I do believe it means a lot more than you give it credit for. You will notice this if you ever speak to a Muslim and try to understand them as a people and religious culture. Now, do I hold it to be Scripture? No. And my Muslim friends understand that, but I respect it for the sake of their culture and understanding.

You: Are those accurate descriptions of Jesus why he came and what he accomplished? Muslims, though they may see Jesus as a prophet deny the most important aspect of why Jesus came down from from heaven and took on human form -they deny the cross. Which denies his redemptive work. Christ crucified is the "crux" of the matter(no pun intended).

Me: The gnostic gospels and Talmud are not completely accurate. I also bet there is some truth in those. Again, do I hold them to the equal of the historical, orthodox Scriptures? No. But I don't deny that there might be some truth in them. Same with Qur'an. We have differences between the Qur'an and the Gospels in regards to Jesus. The Muslim will listen to the Qur'an in those aspects and the orthodox follower of Jesus will listen to the canonized Scriptures.

As far as Muslims denying the cross. This is an argument within Islam and also as we speak to Muslims in regards to what the actual Qur'an is getting at. So, again, this is a deeper issue. But, most Muslims do deny the cross, even if the Qur'an does not.

You: I do not hate Muslims nor do I hate anyone for that matter. This is life and death and I don't see how coddling and pandering to one false religion and then being "harsh" but honest with others does any good. This isn't show and tell.

Me: My Muslim friends know our differences and we discuss some of those. We also discuss our similarities for the sake of peace. We are not harsh at one another as we love one another and we desire to pursue friendships. Jesus said, blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God. This is what we desire. To build peaceful relationships, yet hold to and discuss important differences. Because of our cultural differences, we decided to be sensitive to their culture and not act as though Western culture is correct in how to deal with other religions and cultures. We believe we are loving our neighbor by doing this. Again, we never deny any orthodoxy by doing so.

(continued)

Contend Earnestly said...

(continued)

You: Furthermore, what about CAIR's connections to HAMAS, Hezbollah, etc.?

Me: This is false. Have there been some connections? I have heard of some. Are they connected as a whole? No. If they were, why would Washington D.C. continually have them as guests at functions? If you do your research on the White House's dealings with CAIR, you'll notice that what some report is false and just completely made up.

You: What about the numerous verses in the Q'ran regarding killing Jews and "infidels" as non-Muslims are called. What about the verses regarding Mohammed having relations with his dead aunt's corpse, the verses regarding him violating his 6 and 9 years old nieces. It is all there.

Me: Have you ever done any research on these topics from a Muslim perspective? Meaning, have you ever asked an Imam or any moderate Muslims about these claims? If you do, you'll find that Western scholarship is terrible and use a double standard when doing so. You'll also notice that when doing so, that most Western scholarship only uses the fundamental arm of Islam to interpret. Both of those would be like us being compared to Mormons or Westboro Baptist church that yells at people and tells them that God hates fags. It just isn't fair scholarship and this is now being exposed for the sake of peace.

You: The bottom line is this; do you believe that the bible is inspired by God and God-breathed?

Me: Yes. But this doesn't mean I have to agree with you on everything. We obviously disagree at points, yet you are willing to call me a wolf in sheep's clothing and tell me that you are loving me. Telling people that I am filled with a mish mash of Satanic lies, etc. If you want my understanding of historical orthodoxy, you might want to check out my posts in regards to The Nicene Creed

I am not completely done with that series, but it will give you a glimpse. I think you are throwing around words a little too quickly, and desiring to do it with a brother that you don't even know personally. Might be helpful, if you really care, to email me and ask some more questions first. That way, you can really admonish me biblically, which is walking a long someone, instead of merely yelling and screaming at them.

You: "Building bridges with Islam is a road to hell".

Me: I think this is one of the worst things you have said. True bridge building with another relgion, especially one so deeply entrenched in a particular culture, is the essence of loving your neighbor. I desire to build bridges with my Muslim friends because I believe that they are the most ostracized people in America and are treated like garbage. Lies are spread about them and many desire to hurt them even though most of them do nothing to deserve that. Are there others in their same position? I am sure that there are, but those I personally interact with the most happen to be Muslim. I love them. They know, just like any of my neighbors in my actual neighborhood know, my convictions and understanding of what it means to follow Jesus. Do I yell at them and tell them they are going to hell everytime we get together? Uh, no. Not sure how that is helpful. Maybe that's how you roll, but that's not what I see happening in the Scriptures. Do we discuss differences and try to learn from one another? Very much so. Do we just act like we believe all the same thing? Not at all. But we are both trying to love God and neighbor as much as we can as Jesus commanded.

I hope you find this more informative brother (or sister). I pray that both of us would continually be brought to the grace found at the cross.

Peace.

Seth.

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