In a recent article from BreakPoint, “Sharing Jesus with Muslims: Challenges and Opportunities in a Post 9/11 World,” Stan Guthrie argues that writing people off because they are Muslim fails to take their God-given humanity into account. Though Islam is growing in popularity and adherence around the world—and in the U.S. in particular—Islamophobia remains a real problem. What is the cure to Islamophobia and seeing Muslims as lesser?
For Guthrie, the answer is to get to know them. Few evangelicals, he points out, actually do. “Only 35 percent of white evangelicals, according to Pew Research, even know a Muslim, the lowest of any religious group,” says Guthrie. However, research shows that most Muslims don’t have the same low view of Evangelicals. Guthrie argues that this is an “open invitation” for Christians to make friends and share the Gospel with their Muslims neighbors.
But will we have the courage to do so? “Tragically, those who have the living water they so desperately need are among those least likely to go to them, or even to know them,” says Guthrie. The Great Commission calls us to take the Gospel into all the world, not just the places we feel most comfortable.
However, there is more to the story. Drawing on the research of David Garrison, Guthrie notes that around the globe there are several movements of Muslims converting to Christianity. These movements involve ordinary people finding peace and hope in the Gospel of Christ. Guthrie concludes his article with an encouragement: “While there are undeniable challenges in reaching Muslims with the good news in a post-9/11 world, there are undeniable opportunities. Let’s take them.”
The article leaves us to discover what those opportunities are. Of course, many do not know any Muslims for the simple reason that there are no Muslims in their area. But most of us, if we get to know our neighbors, co-workers, and classmates are likely to meet someone who is a Muslim. We must begin relationships with Muslims by changing our thinking. If we have feared them or treated them as enemies simply because they are Muslim, we need to repent. We must see them as humans made in God’s image, just like we are.
Rather than fearing them as enemies, we ought to befriend Muslims just like we would befriend anyone else. We can invite them over for dinner. We can ask about their faith and try to learn about it and them. We can listen. We can break down the walls that stand between us. We can ask the Holy Spirit to guide our words, our thoughts, and our actions. Ultimately, it is the Gospel of Christ that frees us from fear, frees us from hatred, frees us from our selfishness, frees us from isolation. The Gospel is freedom; a freedom to be shared with others. Whom can you share that freedom with today?