Guidelines for sharing views on Christian faith with Muslims
Published September 4, 2003
RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP)–It takes time to win Muslims to
Christ, and when Christians hurry the process they can turn the
Great Commission into a "great debacle," Carl Ellis, a
featured speaker said at the National Conference on Islam Aug. 15-17
at LifeWay’s Ridgecrest (N.C.) Conference Center.
"Microwave conversion just doesn’t work with
Muslims," said Ellis, co-founder of Project Joseph, an
effort to educate the church about contemporary issues.
IMB photo by Roy M. Burroughs
Muslim women gather and prepare for the haj pilgrimage to Mecca.
"We have to understand that it’s more than a matter
of differing doctrines," he noted. "It’s also each
person’s unique situation – what’s happening in
their lives right now. And it’s understanding their goals
and motivations – why they are Muslim, and what they hope to
achieve through their faith."
Ellis offered the guidelines to Christians eager to share
their faith with Muslim friends and acquaintances, including:
- Begin discipling before insisting on conversion.
"In the Great Commission, Jesus commands us to make
disciples – people in the process of learning to obey
all that Christ commands. If we do that, He will take care of
the conversion," Ellis said. "Discipleship begins
when we first engage people through day-to-day encounters and
casual conversation, and it builds from there. Don’t
wait for a Muslim to become a Christian before discipling him."
"Don’t evaluate a Muslim only on the basis of
his doctrine," Ellis advised. "Ask questions.
Examine the situation that led him to Islam and the goals he
is trying to achieve through it."
- Try to understand Islamic doctrine from the
perspective of Islam.
"Recognize that the Christianity Muhammad encountered
was corrupted. Study the history of Islam’s development."
- Be careful how you present and handle the Bible.
"Do not use a King James Version. According to the
teaching of some Muslim sects, King James himself translated
this version and corrupted it," Ellis reported. "Also,
never use a Bible in which you have made any marks. This
appears disrespectful to Muslims, who would never write on
the Koran. Do not put the Bible on the floor, either, or hold
the Bible with your left (unclean) hand."
- Avoid all pictures of Jesus or any other biblical
"A Muslim thinks that’s idolatry."
- Allow them to reveal their personal situations,
issues, concerns and fears at their own pace.
"Usually, they reveal more superficial issues in the
early stages of a relationship, and save deeper life issues
- Be respectful of them and their beliefs.
"It’s crucial that we are not judgmental.
Remember how Jesus dealt with the woman at the well. Rather
than focus on her moral failures and theological
shortcomings, He offered her living water."
- Wisely apply God’s Word to the issues they
choose to share.
"The Bible addresses every life issue. When we are
able to demonstrate how practical and relevant the Word of
God is, we’ve come a long way in leading our Muslim
friends to Christ."