2/24/16 Zishan early 20's
Despite all the horrible news coming out of the Middle East of the rise of ISIS and the torture and killing of Christians and others, I’ve been encouraged by reports of large numbers of Muslims converting to Christianity. Could it be true? Might God have a bigger plan working in the midst of all this pain and chaos? I believe He does, but the fog of war, both physical and spiritual, sure doesn’t make it easy to see.
A sidewalk conversation with Zishan, a Muslim college student struggling to embrace the Islam he has grown up in, reminded us of how close many Muslims are to a redemptive faith in Jesus. We talked quite a while about many beliefs and values we had in common – like the repulsion we feel for the sexual perversion and materialism of western culture, and the drift toward secularism of nominal followers of both Islam and Christianity.
Talking about our similarities helped us to be able to go on to talk about some of our differences. Of course there are many, but the most important is the deity of Jesus, whom Muslims respect as a great human prophet but not as the Son of God. “Would you like to know why we as Christians believe it is so important that Jesus is God’s Son, and not just a mere human?” Zishan did want to know, which gave us an uninterrupted opportunity to share the Gospel. Our bottom line was that while Islam says we can make up for our sins with religious devotion, Christians know we can’t “bribe” God with our righteous deeds, that only a perfect sacrifice – God’s own Son – would be an acceptable substitute to satisfy God’s righteous requirement for justice.
The Christian and Muslim concepts of God are very different. But not so different that we can’t find some common ground on which to explain the Gospel in terms Muslims might understand.