ANGLETON—Winning Muslim converts to Christianity is difficult, but veteran missionary Kevin Greeson knows a way—start with the Quran.
Greeson, who has served 16 years with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board working to start Christian movements among Muslims in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal, stressed the importance of spreading the good news of Christ with Muslims.
“The best way to fight terrorism is to share the gospel. And I believe that not because I want to fight terrorism, but because there are lost people,” he explained.
Debating religious tenets with Muslims is a waste of time, Greeson added. Muslims are taught to memorize the Quran in Arabic, not analyze it, he said.
“Even in Pakistan, where they speak Urdu, boys memorize the Quran in Arabic. They are not allowed to ask what anything means. They are told the words are too holy for them. Just memorize,” Greeson said.
Still, Christians must attempt to share the gospel with Muslims, Greeson insisted. But his goal focuses less on individual conversions and more on starting spiritual movements that will result in thousands of Muslims becoming followers of Christ.
“Our generation can’t afford to be satisfied or happy with winning one lost person to Christ. There are so many lost people, we can’t be happy with that,” he said.
And the tide is turning, Greeson said. “Almost every missionary serving now is seeing fruit among Muslims. Something is cooking out there. Something big is happening.”
Many thousands of Muslims are converting to Christianity on the Arab Peninsula and in Iran, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Indonesia, he said.
“Don’t think it’s limited to the other side of the world,” Gresson cautioned. “It can happen here. It’s got to happen here.”
But making it happen depends on finding a few key Muslims who can become the catalyst for a spiritual movement, he stressed.
“With a Muslim, you are always an outsider. Find that insider. You can’t get to all his relatives. You are an outsider. He has access,” he continued.
Greeson offered another word of caution. “When you find a person of peace, don’t make him join your church, comb his hair different and make him like you. Disciple him, but don’t make him go through an eight-month discipleship program. Messy people start movements. Don’t try to clean them up.”
Greeson’s first two years working with Muslims largely was unsuccessful, he admits. “Everything was thrown back at me.” They didn’t believe Jesus was the Son of God or that he died and rose again. They did not accept the Bible as authoritative, so quoting Scripture was useless. Greeson had to learn how to communicate with Muslims in ways that would not cause them immediately to shut down the conversation.
“Salaam-Alaikum” or “peace be to you” is a greeting that often lowers defenses, he suggested. Greeson then follows that up with the invitation: “Let’s read the Quran together about Jesus.”
Greeson discovered a Christian movement in a village where there were many conversions from Islam, and he asked about the catalyst for the transformation. The approach Greeson now teaches— “The Camel Method”—stems from that encounter.
The name of the method comes from an Arabic saying: Every good Muslim knows 99 names for Allah, but only the camel knows the 100th name. “We tell them we know the 100th name. It’s Jesus,” Greeson explained.
The Camel Method uses the Quran to establish three main points: ’Isa, or Jesus, is holy; ’Isa has power over death; and ’Isa knows the way to heaven.
Using selected verses from the Quran, the Camel Method doesn’t teach or lecture, but asks questions.
The 45th verse of Imran addresses Jesus as Masih ’Isa. “Ask them what does Masih ’Isa mean? Muslims know the meanings of their names. Names are important to them, but most won’t know this one,” Greeson said. “Then you can tell them that it means messiah or anointed one.”
Next, ask if any other of the 124,000 prophets the Muslims revere was given that designation, he instructed. None were. This demonstrates the uniqueness of Christ.
In the 47th verse of Imran, Mary the mother of Jesus testifies she never had been touched by a man. Ask if any other prophet was born without a father, and Muslims typically will answer, “Adam.” Let them tell the story of the Garden of Eden until the point where Adam is forced to leave paradise because of his sin.
Note all of Adam’s and Eve’s descendents likewise have been sinful, but Jesus wasn’t included in that line.
The 49th verse of Imran says ’Isa, or Jesus, has can “bring dead to life.”
“At this point, I say, ‘My greatest fear is death, and I’m grateful there is one who has power over it,” Greeson suggested.
Verse 54 of Imran says God has a plan, and verse 55 describes that plan. It says that Allah will cause ’Isa to die and then will exalt him. It goes on to say that those who deny the truth that ’Isa proclaims will be far below those who follow his truth.
Greeson suggests asking if any of the 124,000 can help a person get to heaven.
“I’ve never gotten any answer other than ’Isa,” he said.
At that time, a Muslim is prepared to hear the plan of salvation using verses 54 and 55—Korbani Plan of Salvation.
“Korbani” means sacrifice. The Quran points out a blood sacrifice is needed to cover sins, and Muslims go through a ritual every year where they slaughter an animal to cover their sins. That gives an opening to talk about Christ’s sacrifice, Greeson said.
Let them know Allah’s plan was for one perfect person to be sacrificed who would take all sin for all time.
Next, a Christian witness can talk about accepting Christ’s sacrifice. Greeson said to ask if a judge let a guilty man go if that would be justice, which will bring a negative answer, because a judge has to give punishment for wrongs.
“But ’Isa came and said, I have clean hands, put their judgment on me. That was God’s plan,” Greeson explains.
He acknowledged that the process takes time, and many fall away due to pressures from their society. But, he said, Christians must be diligent in telling the good news to Muslims because God already is preparing hearts to hear the gospel.