By Abdul Asad
Abdul Asad means “servant of the Lion.” As a follower of Isa al-Masih (Jesus Christ), Abdul’s passion is to see people and nations blessed and transformed by the power of His gospel.
So, you want to share the Gospel with Muslims? Great, praise God! We need more young people who are zealous for Jesus and want to embrace the challenge.
But zeal, important as it is, will never be enough to see Muslim peoples reached with the Gospel to the point where indigenous, self-reproducing churches begin to spring up. Drawing from my own experiences (and failures), I’d like to try and share with you a few more things it takes to reach Muslims with the Gospel, besides zeal.
Willingness to Suffer
Nobody told me about this one, at least not when I signed up. I thought suffering was for all those missionary heroes of the past, like Mary Slessor and George Patton, to name but a couple. They were the ones who buried family members and colleagues overseas in shallow graves.
They were the ones who caught mysterious diseases and nearly died on a regular basis. They were the ones who were hunted down and targeted for death by hostile people. But me, well, this is the 21st century and those days are long gone, right? Wrong.
Jesus repeatedly warns us in the Gospels that those of us who are his disciples, who desire to carry his name and his message in this world will be persecuted (2 Tim. 3:12). Paul even goes so far as to say that suffering is not just a byproduct of our witness, but is actually part of God’s plan to spread the Gospel (Col. 1:24).
I live in a Middle Eastern country that is very hostile to the Gospel. In the past few years, I have had more than a few colleagues martyred for their faith. Every day when I walk out my door, I say a quick prayer as I open the door, because I know there could be a bullet waiting for me on the other side.
One time a man with a gun threatened me just because I was a Christian. Then all his buddies joined in. But God delivered me. Another time, a man with a knife tried to kidnap me. But God delivered me. Then there’s all the times I have had to watch my children suffer with some strange bacterial or viral disease that is so common over here.
One radical group even threatened to kill all the foreign women and children in our area. Try dropping your kids off at school with that knowledge every day!
But despite the above things, or perhaps even because of them, my family has a closeness to Jesus that we would never have had if we didn’t live among Muslims every day.
Furthermore, because of the above things, I have had the chance to share the Gospel because suffering is usually not unnoticed, and people are curious as to why we would put ourselves through such stress. The answer is that Jesus is worth it. And as a result, some have believed.
Willingness to Humbly Focus on the Essentials
I don’t think anything teaches a Christian how to be humble quite like living among Muslims daily. When you live in a country like mine, where 99.99% of the population is basically brainwashed from childhood with lies about Jesus, the Bible, and Christians, you learn quickly that much of the theology that you thought was so important isn’t really that important in the beginning.
Islam has taught me to focus on the essentials. Therefore doctrines like the atonement, the deity of Christ, and the Trinity have become dearer to me than ever before. And instead of having a wide theological knowledge that is a bit shallow, I have found it far more important to have a narrower theological focus that is quite deep in the areas where we need it most.
This doesn’t mean that I am unconcerned with other important aspects of Christian theology, such as creation or the end times. It just means that I need to major on the majors first, and for a long time. Once people have a firm grasp on the essentials, I am free to move on to other aspects of Christian theology.
Please don’t misunderstand me – I am all for having a solid grasp on Christian theological concepts. But I want to let you know that you will spend the vast majority of your time dealing with things that you have always taken for granted, such as the Trinity, and almost none of your time dealing with other points that you might think are interesting or important.
So brush up on the person and work of Christ, and on the Trinity. In fact, you should be willing to fight to the death, so to speak, for those two things.
But as for the rest, well, you’ve got to learn to be humble about some of the prized theology that you thought was so important but your Muslim friends don’t even know or care about!