How we can make it easier for Muslims to come to Jesus?

“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” (James) Acts 15:19

1.     Keep it in their culture.Yemen1

Muslims the world over are proud of their culture and country. Jesus must fit in here as part of the fabric of their lives. When we build buildings, pay people salaries and introduce "western songs and values", Jesus becomes yet another “foreigner” in their own country. I once heard the comment in Central Asia that a local Government official said: "Westerners are either here for making money or making converts."

2.     Keep it simple.

Many Muslims countries are the poorest countries on earth and their people are the poorest of the poor. This has been the case for 100’s of years. We must, therefore, bring such a “simple structure” of how to “do church” that the Muslims – by themselves – can really contain it, maintain it, sustain it and reproduce it. We have found that the house church model, as seen in the NT, fits in here beautifully. It expresses to the local people that everything they need to have the Kingdom expand in their country is already there!

3.     Keep our part in the background.

The more we foreigners are in the limelight, the less Christianity will be seen as an indigenous (home-grown) religion. The Christianity we bring to the Muslim world must not be in anyway connected with money or personal advantage, even if that means not helping people!

When Paul preached in Galatia, he was stoned and left for dead!

His followers knew from Day One that this "following Christ" would cost them everything! This was not an easy “believe-ism” or a cheap religion… How can a we, who direct dozens of native people in our NGOs and brings in millions of dollars, or are seen as Teachers and Professors, be considered a “stumbling block of offense” or the “scum of the earth”?

We must keep to the background and allow the power of the Gospel to be seen as that which makes Christianity work, not western money or might. Why else would the early believers have followed Peter, James, and John, simple, poor fishermen who gave up everything on earth for the sake of the Kingdom? There was no personal gain to be had to become a Christian in the 1st Century, only a spiritual gain. If ever we can come back to this 1st Century principle we will be on the road to seeing similar results:

"These men who have turned the whole world upside down have come here also.”  Acts 17:6

Yours for the Least in the Kingdom,

Jeff Gilbertson

One reply on “How we can make it easier for Muslims to come to Jesus?”

I don’t have any regular contact with Muslims, and have only known a few in my life, so I am talking theory. But I have friends who are/have been missionaries in Muslim countries, so I know a bit of what they experienced.
I have come to the conclusion, perhaps similar to yours, that our standard missionary methods are not appropriate for Muslim countries.
Influential in my thinking was reading Phil Parshall’s book “The Cross and the Crescent”, plus Frost & Hirsch’s “The Shape of things to come”.
Parshall was (maybe still is) 40 years a missionary to Muslim countries, and he suggests a much more appreciative approach to Muslim culture. Frost & Hirsch talk about cultural distance and the number of cultural barriers people have to cross to come to a missionary church.
My conclusion from these writers is that setting up a western style church or even a western-origin church, is counter productive, as you also suggest. Further, I can’t help wondering whether converts need to sever connections with the mosque. The mosque has social as well as religious meaning, and cutting oneself off from it makes one a cultural pariah and opposed to family and culture. So perhaps a convert might continue to attend the mosque and remain a Muslim in culture but a believer in Jesus who also attends a house meeting (not a “church”).
I’m not sure if that’s compromise, but I do think it may need to be considered.

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