2/4/10 Terrell, about 30
Before meeting at the deli for our weekly Bible Study/mentoring time, Jonathan and I went to a nearby grocery store and met Terrell, an African-America college professor who grew up in a family with both a Muslim and a Baptist influence. "How did you reconcile these two beliefs?" I asked. "What's there to reconcile? They both believe in the same God" was his reply. This led to a long, lively conversation with many questions from Terrell, who clearly favored Islam and has traveled to Muslim lands to better understand the faith. It can be tempting when talking with Muslims to argue about Jesus' divinity (they believe he is a great prophet, but not the Son of God) but because most are taught that the Christian Bible has been corrupted, the arguments can go in circles. Instead, my basic goal was to help Terrell to understand if God is truly holy, He will also be truly just, and the price of sin will not be cheap. Because of their religious activity, Muslim tend to take pride that they have a higher view of God's holiness, but in reality Jesus taught that God's holiness deserves nothing short of perfection - "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matt.5:48) One cannot "bribe" a holy God with good works to get Him to forego justice. Rather than believing that all the daily prayers and other religious practices of Islam glorify God, I wanted Terrell to understand that believing His justice can be appeased by anything we do by our own strength actually cheapens His glory. Terrell began to understand our need for a perfect sacrifice to take our punishment and so Jesus' divinity began to make sense. He gladly took more info and told me he would call with more questions. This conversation also helped Jonathan and I later in our Bible study, as we were vividly reminded that when we study the Bible it is not only for our own benefit, but for the benefit of all the people we will be able to share the Gospel with in the future.