How can I share my Christian faith with my Muslim neighbor without offending him?
If Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan today in America, he probably would tell the parable of the Good Muslim. The same types of prejudices the Jews held for the Samaritans in Jesus’ day affect Christian/Muslim relations today. Misunderstandings abound on both sides. So, if you want to share your faith with Muslims, you cannot just hand them a tract or go through a prepared presentation. Witnessing to a Muslim neighbor requires building a relationship of genuine love and friendship. Everything in Muslim culture is based on relationships. Your friendship serves as the bridge to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Jesus calls us to love our neighbors and even our enemies. Jesus also calls us to share the good news of the gospel with the whole world. One billion people in our world are Muslims. Witness is not a verb; it is a noun. When we begin to think of our whole lives—and not just our words—as our witness, we have made the first step in having an effective witness to our Muslim neighbors. Live your faith every day for your Muslim neighbor to observe. Because of the influence of free sex, drugs and alcohol on Western “Christian” culture, and based on what they see on TV and in the movies, most Muslims believe Christians are misguided blasphemers. They want to show us the truth. Be willing to let them tell you about their faith so that you earn the privilege of telling them about yours.
Muslims respect Jesus as a great prophet and admire many parts of the Bible. You will not be effective in your witness to them if you do not show equal respect for Muhammad and the Quran. Share your faith and use the Bible, but realize most Muslims believe Christians and Jews have changed the Bible through the centuries, so they believe we have a corrupt text today. They also believe the Quran is God’s final and more complete revelation superseding the Bible. That is why you will have to work hard to convince them of the authenticity of the Bible; why Christians believe Jesus is the Son of God; that Jesus really did die on the cross; and that the Trinity is not a belief in three Gods.
To be an effective witness to Muslims, you must learn what they believe. There are points of similarity between Islam and Christianity, but there are also many serious differences. A good resource for learning more and finding materials that will help you answer Muslims’ questions can be found on the internet at http://arabsforchrist.org/witnessing101/5.html.
Above all, pray and never give up. Only the Holy Spirit can change people’s hearts and minds. Muslims do become Christians. Through your prayers, the witness of your life and your consistent love and friendship, God can use you to bring your Muslim neighbor to Jesus Christ.
Alan Stanford, pastor
Leesburg Community Church
Right or Wrong? is sponsored by the T.B. Maston Chair of Christian Ethics at Hardin-Simmons University’s Logsdon School of Theology. Send your questions about how to apply your faith to firstname.lastname@example.org.