Contend Earnestly: What I Am Learning From My Muslim Friends (Guest Post)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What I Am Learning From My Muslim Friends (Guest Post)

I asked Michael, one of the elders at Harambee that has a ministry to local Muslims, if I could post his thoughts on what he has been learning from those Muslims that he is not only contacting, but becoming friends with. He is teaching me a lot through this, and I respect his love for our Muslims neighbors greatly. I thought it would be great to share and show the "other side" of Islam, even if it is short and sweet.

SOME of what I’ve learned from my Muslim friends:

1) God’s word should be respected, so don’t handle it like any other book. Throwing it around, putting it on the floor, bringing it into the bathroom, stacking them on the shelf below other books. Why don’t I treat it like what it really is…God’s word.

2) Always have drinks and food ready to serve when ANYONE comes into your home. Arabs used to host strangers for three nights with food and sleep before they even asked the question “Where are you from and how can I help you?” Arab’s build homes with the guestroom as the FIRST room they decide on how to build and center everything else around the guestroom. They have a completely separate living room SOLELY for hosting guests.

3) Even though I can enter the throne room with confidence because of the work of Jesus, there is a reverence for God I have learned from Muslims. Just look at how everyone approached Jesus in the Gospels and you can see how many Muslims approach God.

4) Relationship trumps being considered “right” or “winning” the argument. That’s why arguing about who’s “religion” is right never leads anywhere but being upset.

5) Christians do not own Jesus…neither do Americans. Jesus is asking people to follow Him, take up their crosses and follow him. That looks different for everybody. I was with my friend Omer and told him how I think American Christians have hijacked Jesus. He said to me “Jesus is for everyone, Christians, Muslims, Jews, it doesn’t matter”. He then went on to tell me how he liked my idea about getting people together to study about the life of Jesus and other prophets as well. How amazing is Jesus!?!?!?!

I know some of you think this is legalism, but this is just what I’ve learned. I’d encourage you to spend time with Muslims and share what you learn.


SnatchedFromTheFire said...

Seth -
can i just be straight with you? You are scaring me a bit with some of these recent posts. I'd be very encouraged to hear an honest apraisal of where YOU personally stand on some of these ideas you're presenting from following Jesus and being a Muslim and 'relationship trumping being "right"', etc. Some of these things you're posting ride the line of orthodox and some are just plain mis-guided and wrong. It would be an un-loving, relationship killing act NOT to point out this error to you. Maybe i'm reading more into your thoughts than is there. Help me out?

Seth McBee said...

What specifically about this post bothers you? I think it would help so we don't talk past each other.

John said...

You would have learnt the same things from an Antiochian Orthodox Christian who comes from the same part of the world, or at least the things about respect for Holy things, reverence for God and hospitality. In fact the Muslims borrowed a lot of stuff from Christianity.

Seth McBee said...

That might be true, but that doesn't negate the facts of what is happening within the culture and people of Islam or what this author is learning from the specific people of Islam.

SnatchedFromTheFire said...

Seth -
took some time to think and pray over it a bit more; get some clear ideas to present.
Some of the ideas presented by your friend here are great and i agree wholeheartedly viz. respect (without becoming idolatry) for the Bible itself, generous hospitality, and a deep reverance for God. Whereever one learns these truths they are valuable and neccessary.
Where i start to get fearful is when people start saying things like, "Relationship trumps being considered “right” or “winning” the argument. That’s why arguing about who’s “religion” is right never leads anywhere but being upset." This begins to tear away at the fabric of truth itself and eventually denies that there actually is one, single, absolute truth. does that makes sense? What do you see Jesus, and then the apostles later, in the New Testament doing with the Pharisees and religious leaders of the day but 'contending earnestly' for truth and tearing the cover off there flase, "religious" practice. How concerned does Jesus sound about "preserving relationship" in Matt. 23? Of course, we must be winsome and grace filled, but there IS a way that "seems right to a man that leads to death" and i would rather love someone enought to say, 'this is not right my friend and if you follow this you will not inherit Life', than keep the "relationship" peaceful and nice.
Actually there are a few other things but the main other one to highlight is simply the concepts of ecclesiology and submission to the Word of God.
All over the place (not just with Roman Catholics or Muslims either, but right within evangelicalism) you;ve got this flase idea that you can just be part of the Church Universal and not the local body as well. Simply, you are not going to be fed true doctrine from the Bible in a Mosque nor will you have fellowship with other Christians who can hold you accountable and support you in your faith. Then, you have massive issues of doctrine as a whole when it comes to submission to the Word of God b/c the Qur'an teaches things in direct contradiction to Scripture. When you come to such contradictions, who do you submit to? Who will fault you if you side with the Qur'an and who will not desoise you (within your Mosque) if you choose the Bible?
It all strikes me as foolishness. We are called to be RADICALLY transformed by Christ and He tells us Himself that following Him will cost us everything, maybe even INCLUDING our families, our traditions, our faith practices, yes, even our lives. As my BIC Matt Chandler always is known to yell, you will end up with either one or the other but you can NOT have both. Matt. 6:24 (my little 3 year-old's favorite verse right now) says it best i think; 'Noone can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other."
That's a good part of where i'm coming from on this and why i'm fearful of ecumenisism that leans too far toward universalism. Sorry Rodney King, in the end we can't "all just get along." ;)

Seth McBee said...

Snatched...(what's your real name? so I don't call you snatched?)

I agree, for the most part, with everthing you put forth here. And the author that wrote this would as well for the most pasrt.

The "winning the argument" idea is this idea of just argumentation and apologeticts to win a fight, instead of a soul. That is the idea put forth here. The person who wrote this discusses Trinitarian theology and the Deith of Christ with his Muslim friends, but isn't going to present it to merely win an argument.

We would also agree that through time, a Christian has no use for the Qur'an and should be part of a local assembly of Christians. This takes time for some, as we would expect it to take time for someone that is in deep sin to fight through that sin as he/she turns their life to Christ. Some wil be able to do this right away, some need some time. We allow this in the West in our different areas, but it looks different in the Muslim world. We need to allow this, and not forbade this.

This doesn't mean that we water down the truth, or become syncretistic, it just means that we allow for growth and sanctification in both practice and truth.

The author is being truthful in diaologue and practice when doing this with his Muslim friends.

We need to be careful not to expect a Muslim to look like an American Christian at the time of conversion, but allow them to look and love their culture all while denying self and living for Christ.

Does this make more sense?

Again...I agree with most of what you said.

When most see the relations that some are having with Muslims is scares them. We should be careful to not polarize the new convert, but encourage them in truth and love for the glory of God.

SnatchedFromTheFire said...

Danger averted ;) Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. In turn, i agree with everything you've just said. Like most, i need to be careful of making assumptions but that is also why i wanted to diaologue with you instead of just being all, 'oh, there goes that Seth guy down the broad path!' or whatever ;) I'm thankful that God saves ANY of us gentiles and have no doubt God has many yet to call from many places including faiths. God be glorified. Thanks again.

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