Brother Andrew tells the following story giving us a perspective on how devout Muslim perceives American Christians.
In a meeting with Ayatollah Fadlallah, the spiritual leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon, he told me, “Brother Andrew, you Christians have a problem,” he told me. “You Christians are not following the life of Jesus Christ anymore.”
That was an interesting observation from a fundamentalist leader. It really hit me hard, so I asked him, “What do you think we should do about that?” He said, “You must go back to the Book.” (p. 196
Suddenly I realized that I didn’t have to agree with Muslims to identify with their deep, heartfelt cries to God. Something melted in me at that moment. I realized that I genuinely enjoyed being with these men. I had met them in their dire need and now I sat with them, a small Bible in my hand, ready to offer them hope.
I really love the fact that all humans are created in God’s image and that one facet of the image of God is Truth. And although many men do not know the Truth of who God is, they can still speak truth without knowing it, and in some cases they do.
I spent some time with some Muslims in October and the thing that many of them could not get past is the idea of Christians behaving in ways unlike Christ. It is sad that we must be told by people of other faiths that we are not living our own.
The belief that people of other faith traditions “do not know the Truth of who God is” is painfully ignorant.
Do you really think that Western Christianity understands who “God” is? Our muslim counterparts are much closer to this understanding that evangelicals are.
So often God speaks through unexpected circumstances or people. As in the example above. I echo Brother A’s heart of love for M’s and call to lovingly point M’s to the Book of Truth. Brother A’s recount reminds me of a recent article published by Pastor John Piper on pointing M’s to the Book, summarized in this quote: “We should always reach for the ‘yearbook’ of the New Testament Gospels to see the picture of Jesus.”
I love Muslims! Most of the ones I’ve met have a deep desire to know and serve their creator that convicts me in my apathy. The ones I have known (generally 2nd or 3rd generation British) have been more open than anybody to listening to the gospel and how we meet with God in our lives.
One even asked me as I was sitting on a train (after seeing that I was reading a Christian book): “I’ve been having this debate with my father; how many good works do you think we need to do to be saved?” My jaw nearly hit the floor! Needless to say, my answer was zero! We had a 45 minute in depth conversation about grace, forgiveness, Jesus and cruise ships before he had to leave. I was blessed that I was able to share the gospel with 3 muslims that month, I don’t know what came of it, but I have faith that if God had already got them to the point at which I had met them, he can and will take them the rest of the way.
Many of the Christians I know seem to have an irrational fear of Islam, but let’s take the opportunities it provides us with! After all, Muslims are certainly no further away from God than anybody else.
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I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.