How To Witness To Muslims
by
Kraig J Rice

If you are a Christian and want to witness to a Muslim here are two booklets that I have quoted in order to help you. God loves these folks and wants them saved. Let's go and bring them into the fold.
The first booklet is titled: Sharing Your Faith With Muslims.
The second booklet is titled: Questions Muslims Ask.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
(clicking on one of these links will move you down the page)

SHARING YOUR FAITH WITH MUSLIMS by Del Kingsriter

The 5 Pillars of the Islamic Faith
Muslims Are People Who Are Lost
How To Share Your Christian Faith With A Muslim
QUESTIONS MUSLIMS ASK by Del Kingsriter
Chapter 1: Has the Bible Been Corrupted?
Chapter 2: Why Do Christians Worship Three Gods?
Chapter 3: Who Really is Jesus Christ?
Chapter 4: Who Is the Holy Spirit?
Chapter 5: Is There Really a Triune God?
Chapter 6: Why Do Christians Insist on the Crucifixion?
Chapter 7: What About the Unholy Lifestyle of Christians?

SHARING YOUR FAITH WITH MUSLIMS
by Del Kingsriter

"Muslims are people!" This booklet helps the reader understand Muslims and how to share the Christian faith with them.
"Often the media, or other forms of communication, distort the true picture, and we form very wrong conceptions of people In other cultures. One thing we must understand If we are to love and pray for and witness to these Muslim people- as well as all mankind- is that they are all human beings! Yes, MUSLIMS ARE PEOPLE!"
Written by Del Kingsriter

INTRODUCTION
by Del Kingsriter

"The largest bloc of unreached people In our world today Is the Muslims. Missiologists estimate that one out of every five people on earth- about 967 million- now ascribe to the Islamic faith. They support the Idea that the premier task of the Church today Is to give an effective witness for Jesus Christ to these lost souls.

The purpose of this booklet is to help you understand Muslims first of all, and secondly, how you can share your faith with them. I shall be drawing from Scripture and personal experience some basic truths which I pray will be helpful to you.

At the very basis of our understanding we must realize that MUSLIMS ARE PEOPLE! This statement was made by one of the hostages to newspaper reporters when he was finally released after a TWA (Transworld Airlines) hijacking episode in Beirut.

"To my surprise," he explained, "I found that these people had all of the emotions that ordinary people have— fear, love, the desire to succeed."

When I heard this I was reminded of my own experience some years ago when I was speaking at a mission conference. In the hotel where we were staying was a group of Chinese from Mainland China who had come to help the people of that country build a railroad. Dressed alike in their Mao uniforms, I viewed them as robots- machines— or something a little less than human.

That night the Spirit of the Lord convicted me and showed me how human these people were. Most of them, no doubt, had wives and children at home who were lonesome for their husbands and fathers. And here were lonely husbands and fathers in a foreign land— a foreign culture.

Here were people who had all of the basic needs of every human being— and God revealed to me their very special need to find peace with Him.

The next day I determined to make friends with them. Although we could not communicate in a common verbal language, there was soon non-verbal sign and heart language. As I showed them pictures of my wife and children, they also responded by showing me pictures of those they loved. Humanity is the same worldwide.

Often the media, or other forms of communication, distort the true picture, and we form very wrong conceptions of people in other cultures. One thing we must understand if we are to love and pray for and witness to these Muslim people- as well as all mankind- is that they are all human beings! Yes, MUSLIMS ARE PEOPLE!

Secondly, I feel we should be made conscious of the fact that MUSLIMS ARE SINCERE PEOPLE!

Because of events in recent years in the Middle East, we often think of Muslims as people with hate in their eyes, brandishing guns, crying out slogans against the Western world. Or we may see them as exorbitantly wealthy sheiks, driving expensive cars.

Actually, less than 20 percent of the total Muslim population are found in the Middle East. The largest concentration of Muslims is in Southern Asia- where nearly 300 million live in Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. Indonesia has the largest concentration of any one country in the world- with approximately 100 million Muslims. One-half of Africa claims allegiance to Islam, and about 50 million Muslims live in Russia. So most Muslims are not of Arabic origin- but are scattered throughout the world.

It should also be noted that only a very small percentage of Muslims who live in the Middle East are involved in terrorism. Most Muslims are as saddened as we are when they see the terrible lawlessness and wanton killings perpetrated by their fellow men, but they are totally helpless to do anything about it. Many have personally suffered the loss of property and death of family members to this terrorism. We certainly need to remember these dear people In our prayers.

The Bible tells us to pray even for our enemies. Surely we should love and pray for those who hate us and express their hatred toward us in horrible acts of terrorism. Remember, genuine love and sincere prayers are far more powerful weapons against the powers of Satan than guns and explosive devices!

We need to also realize that MUSLIMS ARE A PEOPLE OF COMMUNITY!

Islam Is more than just a religion. It Is a "law" which governs their culture and touches every facet of life- personal, social, economic, religious, and political. The Islamic teachings create an awareness of the duties each Muslim must fulfill in all these areas of his life.

A Muslim belongs to a community in which he functions as a member. From birth to death, he lives a life related to other members of his community. This is one reason why it is so difficult for a Muslim to become a Christian. To detach oneself from one's community is like cutting off a member of one's own body. One Muslim remarked that it is almost like committing suicide. When a Muslim becomes a Christian, often it means not only being cut out of the community, but also being driven away from home. This means leaving not only father and mother, but many times husband or wife and children.

According to Islamic law, the penalty for defecting from the faith is death, and this sometimes is the case for those who choose Christ.

How we should pray for the entire family- the entire community- to come to Christ. The only thing that will keep the individual from being isolated from his community is God's divine intervention in his behalf.

Another important point Christians should be aware of is that MUSLIMS ARE PEOPLE WHO SEEK AFTER GOD!"

The most powerful position
is
on your knees

THE FIVE PILLARS OF THE ISLAMIC FAITH
by Del Kingsriter

"There are five pillars on which the Islamic religion is founded. Each of these "foundations" shows the tremendous dedication, the zealous attitudes, and the deep religious convictions these people hold dear.

Pillar No. 1: FAITH

All Muslims must declare that there is no God but Allah, and that Muhammad is his prophet.

Pillar No. 2: PRAYER

Every true Muslim should pray five times a day. These are ritual prayers but are always said with sincerity. Anyone who has lived or traveled in a Muslim area will have seen Muslims- regardless of place (in an airport, on the street, at work, or wherever they might be)— taking out their prayer mats and kneeling in prayer. On Friday, it is customary for every Muslim to attend a mosque, usually at noontime, for his "Jumaa Prayers." The Arabic word for Friday is "Jumaa." The Center for Ministry to Muslims invites Christians everywhere to join our "Jumaa Prayer Fellowship" whereby we covenant to pray every Friday for Muslims, and fast the noon meal if possible. We will not limit our prayers for Muslims to Friday alone, but covenant to make this a special day of emphasis for prayer.

Pillar No. 3: FASTING

Once each year an entire month is given over to fasting. This is called the "Month of Ramadan." During this time Muslims must refrain from taking any nourishment, even liquids, during the hours of daylight. After sundown, however, he may eat and drink as he wishes.

Fasting is scriptural and all Christians worldwide need to rediscover not just a ritual and discipline, but a joy in fasting. Jesus declared that some prayers must be accompanied by fasting before victory and deliverance is given. May we hear the voice of the Spirit calling us to fast and pray for Muslims that they may come to know Jesus Christ "....whom to know is life eternal."

Pillar No. 4: GIVING OF ALMS

Very strict laws are laid down as to how much a Muslim must give in alms each year. It must be from 2 1/2 percent to 10 percent of his capital, not just his income.

Pillar No. 5: PILGRIMAGE TO MECCA

It is mandatory that every Muslim man make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in his lifetime unless ill health, extreme poverty, or other serious problems make it impossible. Prayer is a very important part of this trip. After making this "hajj" the men are given the title of "hajji"- which gives them added merit for entering into paradise.

Yes, Muslims are people who are seeking after God. Three out of five pillars of their religion involve spiritual communication toward God. Fasting and alms-giving are also forms of prayer. We certainly can admire the Muslims for their consistency in ritual praying. But we must be absolutely clear in our understanding of prayer.

Many prayers- even those by many Christians- are not heard because, as
Isaiah said in chapter 59: "Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you that He will not hear." However, in
James 5:16 we read: "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avalleth much." The key word here is "righteous."
Romans 5:17 teaches us that righteousness is a gift from God through Jesus Christ and cannot be earned.

Will you do two things right now— even before reading on? First of all, would you thank God for Jesus Christ and His righteousness, and that He has made a new and living way unto God
(Hebrews 10:19-22). Let us humbly express a deep appreciation that we have access to God's holy presence through prayer. And second, let us earnestly intercede for our Muslim friends that they too will find Jesus Christ as their personal Savior- the promised Messiah- and that their prayers will be heard.

A loose tongue
often
gets into a tight place

We must also be conscious of the fact that
MUSLIMS ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE LOST!

Perhaps It would be well to state at this time that many so-called "Christians" are people who are lost- dying without Christ. America is often called a "Christian" nation, but I am afraid that we have come under the judgment of God. Unless we repent of our terrible sins, I fear what will come upon this nation.

The word "Christian" has really lost its original meaning- a true follower of Jesus Christ.

When a Muslim asks me, "Are you a Christian?" I respond by asking another question: "What do you mean by the word 'Christian'?" Their response often will be: "A Christian is someone who lives in debauchery and sin."

One day I was called in to see the president of the country where I had applied for a visa for one of our missionaries. This leader of millions of people challenged me when he said "You Christians in America have nothing to offer my people." He went on to describe drinking and gambling parties in the churches of America. He accurately described the conditions in "Christian" America- homosexuality, drug addiction, divorce, crime....

After about 20 minutes, I had an opportunity to respond. I confessed that America is no longer the Christian nation it once was but that God has a remnant of true followers of Jesus Christ who live pure and holy lives, and that we do, indeed, have something to offer to the people of the world.

Much of the world- Muslims in particular- considers America "lost." The truth is that all men without Jesus Christ, regardless of how religious they may be, are lost. The good news is that Jesus Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost
(Luke 19:10).

I recall an experience I recently had while in a Muslim state. I went to the mosque on Friday to pray and found about 500 devout, religious men praying. As I witnessed their fervency, I began to pray,
"Oh, God, is it necessary to bring the gospel to these people who are seeking You so earnestly?"

I shall never forget the answer He gave to me. It was like fire in my soul. God took His finger and wrote three words indelibly across my conscious mind: "TO EVERY CREATURE." Of course I recognized these words from
Mark 16:15 where we are commissioned to take the gospel to every creature. May God help us to understand the doctrine of redemption— the doctrine of the lostness of man.

All people- Muslims, Jews, Christians- must find the true way to God. The only way is through Jesus who made a new and living way through the Cross
(Hebrews 10:19-22). Jesus said, "I am the way...no man cometh unto the Father except through Me"
(John 14:6 N1V). This truth, when truly understood, will cause us to understand our responsibility to be witnesses "to every creature."

Perhaps the most important reason for bringing this booklet to you is to let you know
HOW TO SHARE YOUR FAITH WITH A MUSLIM.

I am asked this question more than any other.

A superintendent of a national church recently said to me, "Teach our people to witness to Muslims." The Christian church all over the world is awakening to the need to put arms of love around Muslims and bring them into the full reality of Jesus Christ. The question is, "How can we do it?" I believe that the Bible gives us several fundamental rules we must follow to reach the lost of our world. I will list for you six very practical ways of witnessing.

1. PRAYER

Prayer is the first and most fundamental ingredient in witnessing to all people- including Muslims. When we have demonstrated to them that we are godly people who pray, barriers are broken down and they are ready to listen. This was demonstrated only days ago as I was witnessing to a Muslim. He had all the barriers up, but he had been closely observing my life for over 10 years. He was very aware that God had priority in my life, so when I told him, "I'm praying for you," he knew it was true. There was a visible melting away of the barriers. He opened his heart to a clear witness.

I have been a missionary for over 30 years and am more convinced than ever before of the power of prayer. Perhaps the greatest reason that over half of the world has not received a clear witness of the gospel is because of the prayerlessness of the Church. I recently heard of a survey that was taken which asked evangelicals how long they prayed each day. It was found that the average was under three minutes a day.

God said, "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land"
(2 Chronicles 7:14). Please join me in humbly crying out to God for the lost of this world!

Recently I felt a deep burden to witness to a friend who is a devout Hindu. I was at a loss to know how to witness to this man who is such a good, kind, religious man. He and his brothers had, through honesty and hard work, built one of the most prosperous businesses in their large city. Every morning they would pray 20 minutes- and every evening, together with the entire extended family, they would again pray. How do you witness to such a religious man? I wanted so desperately to talk to him of my personal relationship with God. So I began to pray, and others joined me in my prayers.

One day my Hindu friend came to me and said, "Please, I must have an appointment with you. I need spiritual help." What a joy it was to see God open a door so beautifully. He is now reading the Bible and has testified of a new faith in God. What happened to this Hindu can happen to a Muslim or any person who is lost.

PRAYER is the first pillar of witnessing. It will open doors and hearts as nothing else will!

May we constantly breathe this prayer:
"Oh God, our Father, we humble ourselves and confess our sin of prayerlessness. We ask, as did Your disciples, that You teach us to pray. Teach us to be intercessors. Amen."

2. SHOW LOVE

There are between 2 and 3 million Muslims in America. What an impact we could have on the Muslim world if we put into practice
1 Corinthians chapter 13 right here in America! Is our witness, as Paul said, as "sounding brass and tinkling cymbal?" Just so much noise that the true message is not heard?

True love is often expressed in hospitality. As we open our hearts and homes in genuine love, we begin to break down cultural barriers that often effectively block out any attempt at witnessing. The mark of the Early Church was its hospitality. Genuine love gives without any thought of return.

Someone has said that what we need is "friendship evangelism." So many of these Muslims are lonely. They are living in a foreign culture. They have left their families and friends overseas. There is a vacuum in their lives. Thousands of Muslims are students in this country. They are the leaders of tomorrow in their homelands. Often they come from countries where there is little witness of Christ. Muslim businessmen constantly visit this country. Many others come for medical help or other reasons.

I think it is important to understand that there are vast differences among Muslims- just as there are vast differences among Christians- in their commitment. Many Muslims have become Westernized. Others are what we would call "nominal" Muslims. They are not practicing their religion, but are ready to defend it if challenged. Others are very devout- we would say they are "fanatical fundamentalists." Then there are many who are like Cornelius was in
Acts Chapter 10. They are true seekers of peace with God.

The good news is that God so loved the world that He gave Jesus Christ to be our Savior, that whosoever- be he fanatical, nominal, or secular- believes on Him should be saved. This great love of God can often be demonstrated only through our lives- through our love!

In John 13:34 Jesus said, "A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another AS I HAVE LOVED YOU." He farther said, "By this shall all men know ye are my disciples...." It is almost Incomprehensible to think that it is possible to love like that. Yet when we read the history of the Early Church, we see this quality of love. The result was that all of Asia Minor- indeed the entire Roman Empire- came to know that they were His disciples.

Here surely is a key to witnessing to Muslims, both in America and around the world: Love them as Jesus loves us. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you find the key to their hearts. It will take much of your "valuable" time, but a soul is of inestimable value. Giving of your time, of yourself, will involve sacrifice. Yet there really is no sacrifice involved when true love is present. You must give your SELF to your Muslim friend- not just the gospel!

How often we should pray:
"Oh, Heavenly Father, we confess our sin of selfishness. We have not shown the true spirit of Jesus Christ- the spirit of love. We confess that we cannot do this by ourselves, but by the help of Your Holy Spirit we will deny ourselves and allow the beauty of Your love to flow through us. Amen."

3. Witness by GIVING YOUR PERSONAL TESTIMONY.

This is more powerful than eloquent theological discourse. During the horrible days of Idi Amin's regime in Uganda, I had a deep desire to witness to this very evil man who claimed to be a Muslim— but who, I'm sure, was an embarrassment to true Muslims. Even though I went to Kampala on several occasions and requested an audience with him, my requests were never granted.

I usually stayed at Makarere University on these trips. One afternoon I had an opportunity to meet and witness to a very learned, but agnostic, professor. I soon found that I could not give a true witness by trying to match his intellectual arguments, and so I just began to tell him of my personal encounter with Jesus Christ when, as a young man, I prostrated myself in the alfalfa hayfield on my father's farm and asked Jesus to reveal himself to me.

I related to him the tremendous personal relationship I experienced with God that day- a relationship that has grown and matured and has been a sustaining force down through the years. He grew very quiet. As the evening shadows began to fall, and as the usual staccato of automatic gunfire could be heard in the background, he turned to me and said, "I have no argument to counter such a testimony."

Your Muslim friend will also appreciate your sincere personal testimony. It will create a real hunger in his life for such a loving relationship with God.

The negative side of "how to witness" is "how not to witness." A cardinal rule is: Never become involved in arguments- especially theological! Nominal and even irreligious Muslims often become fanatical advocates of their faith when pushed by argument. The truth is: We have argued and debated for hundreds of years without success. Let us now become witnesses— not debaters!

In sharing God's love with your Muslim friend, you should never speak negatively about his religion, his holy book, or his prophet. Don't attack his beliefs. He Is just as emotionally tied to his beliefs as you are to yours. You would not appreciate negative statements about Jesus. Instead, share in a positive way what Jesus has done for you and tell of your wonderful relationship with a loving heavenly Father.

Our prayer should be:
"We confess our sin of pride, our self-righteousness which causes us to be argumentative. Give us, Father, a daily renewal of our beautiful relationship and help us to share that relationship with our Muslim friends. Amen."

4. GIVE A REASON FOR THE HOPE THAT IS WITHIN YOU.

First Peter 3:15 is a powerful verse for anyone who wants to be an effective witness. Muslims will ask questions and we must be ready to give an answer— as Peter said, "...in meekness and fear." This will require diligent study- not only of the Bible, but also of the Muslim faith.

As a Christian, I have confidence in the message of Jesus Christ and am therefore free to examine all other religions without anxiety. I have found that a good way to open dialogue is to ask a Muslim to tell me what his religion is- what he believes.

Try to place yourself in the shoes of your friend. Remember to respect his culture and convictions. We are more a product of our culture than we realize.

In witnessing it is important to understand that the Muslim has no cultural concept for the gospel. For this reason we should not become discouraged if there is no immediate response. Be patient with your Muslim friend. Continue to share the gospel with prayer and faith, knowing that the Holy Spirit can make the truths real to him. Remember that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to reveal Jesus Christ
(John 16:8-14).

Also, you should remember that dialogue is very important. So much of our witnessing is a monologue. In John we have a most poignant illustration of how Jesus used dialogue to witness to the Samaritan woman.

Sometime during the process of giving the reason for the hope within us, it is vital to deal with the sin question and how we can receive forgiveness of all our sins through Jesus Chrlst- the sacrificial lamb.

No religion on the face of the earth deals with forgiveness of sins except Christianity. Only through our blessed Savior can sins be forgiven. The concept of God as a loving Heavenly Father is completely foreign to a Muslim. That God so loved us that He would give Jesus Christ to be our Savior is very difficult for him to comprehend; yet that is exactly what we must patiently show him. Show him from the Bible how God has provided a way whereby all sin can be forgiven, and every trace of guilt can be completely removed. This is a very powerful tool in witnessing.

In this small booklet it is impossible to deal with the controversial points which Muslims will raise in dialogue, such as the Trinity and the Cross. Suffice it to say, these must be answered carefully- and, as Peter said, "our answer must be in meekness." Then continue to witness- with complete dependence on the Holy Spirit to guide you.

May our prayer be:
"Oh God, we thank You for Your Word which is a lamp to our feet, and for the blessed Holy Spirit who will guide us. Help us to be diligent in our study in order to be able to give a clear reason for the hope that is within us. Amen."

5. WE CAN HAVE A VERY EFFECTIVE WITNESS BY GIVING THEM THE WORD OF GOD.

I have a young Muslim friend who gave his life to Jesus Christ and is now a student in one of our Bible colleges. He had come from a very large, wealthy family, and he had had no contact with any Christian. He had never been witnessed to by a Christian.

He wanted to learn the trade language of his country and he heard that the Bible was one of the best pieces of literature in that language, so he purchased a copy. By the time he had read through the Gospels, he was convinced that Jesus Christ was the true way to God. He became a dedicated Christian at great personal sacrifice and persecution by his family. He graduated from Bible college and ministered to his family and community.

Remember, the Bible is powerful and should always be used as a witness. The Center for Ministry to Muslims has just purchased a quantity of Bibles which have the English and Arabic side by side. There are many good modern translations. The New International Version is both an excellent translation and the title "New International" helps convey the idea that the Bible is for everyone.

A present of the Bible in your friend's mother tongue would be treasured. By contacting the
International Bible Society,
you may be able to secure a Bible in his or her language.

My continuing prayer is:
"Thank You for the power of Your Word, Oh God. As we share Your Word with Muslims, may they be drawn to You through Jesus Christ. Amen."

6. Pray that
THE SUPERNATURAL GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT SHALL BE EVIDENCED THROUGH YOUR LIFE.

A mark of the dynamic growth of the Early Church was a holy boldness in witnessing, accompanied by the demonstration of the Holy Ghost. Certainly they were opposed, oppressed, and often imprisoned- yet that did not daunt their witness. One of the most dynamic verses on witnessing is found in
Mark 16:20: "They went forth....the Lord working with them, confirming the Word with signs following."

Friend, here is the key to reaching Muslims: As we go forth in faith, backed by prayer and a godly life, the Lord will work with us with signs and wonders.

Muslims are taught to believe in the supernatural. One of the leaders of a dynamic underground church related to me how he accepted Jesus as Savior after seeing a demon-possessed man set free when his Christian friend prayed earnestly in Jesus' name. He said, "I tried to cast demons out in the name of Muhammad and the demons laughed at me." Oh, praise the Lord for the mighty power in the name of Jesus!

One way Pentecostal power is demonstrated is through physical healing. If your Muslim friend or a member of his family is sick, offer to go and pray for them. They will deeply appreciate your concern, and when the person is healed, such a demonstration of Pentecostal power is very convincing- often the key to their accepting Christ as Savior and Lord.

Remember: The Lord will work with you. When we boldly witness in love and power, Jesus Christ has promised His mighty presence to confirm His Word. Expect Pentecostal power to be demonstrated through you. Be Pentecostal in deed as well as in word. I am convinced we will not reach Muslims effectively without a witness which is accompanied by miraculous power and demonstration of the Holy Ghost.

How often we should pray:
"Oh, God, forgive us for our timidity and fear. Give us a holy boldness to witness in Your powerful name. Give us a boldness to pray for the sick and take authority over evil spirits. Let the Pentecostal power be evidenced in our lives. Amen."

A FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT

"Ye shall be witnesses unto Me" (Acts 1:8). This is a wonderful promise. We may feel shy, inexperienced, fearful, or have many other emotions that would hinder us from witnessing to Muslims. Remember that the Holy Spirit stands ready to help us, but we must step out in faith and begin to obey and do what we are commanded to do. Remember, too, that Satan would have us think that Muslims are unreachable and difficult to witness to. But the fact remains that Muslims are people who are approachable and who wait for our loving, Spirit-anointed, prayerful witness.

As we look upon the Muslim world, may our hearts be moved with compassion. May we confess our sin of prayerlessness and carelessness and begin to do the necessary things that they, too, may be saved.

If the Lord has spoken to you and given you a burden concerning this- the largest bloc of unreached people on earth- please write to us. It will be such an encouragement to know you care, and we will be happy to send you our prayer bulletin.

A WORD TO OUR MUSLIM READERS...

If you are a true Muslim, then you are sincerely seeking the one and only true God. Thomas, one of Jesus' disciples, was also a true seeker and asked Jesus, "How can we know the way (to God)?"
In John 14:6 Jesus replied, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

He is the Messiah, the healer, the Savior and forgiver of sins. In
Matthew 9:2 He said to the paralyzed man before He healed him, "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee."

The greatest need you and I have in life is the forgiveness of our sins and deliverance from guilt. Friend, read with me these wonderful words from God's holy book, I John 1:5-9:

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
Del Kingsriter, Sharing Your Faith With Muslims,
Published by Center For Ministry to Muslims (CMM),
Minneapolis, 1991, pages 1-22.

Please feel free to write for further help.
Center For Ministry to Muslims
Address: 1315 Portland Avenue # 100, Minneapolis, MN 55404
Telephone: 612-338-3243
web address: http://www.cmmequip.org/
This institute is offered by CMM in partnership with AGTS Continuing Education;
The Islamic Institute at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS) in Springfield, MO.

This booklet is available for purchase or for free download in the PDF file format from their website.

QUESTIONS MUSLIMS ASK
by Del Kingsriter

"The author responds to the questions of Muslims concerning
the corruption of the Bible,
their misunderstanding about the trinity in general and
Jesus Christ specifically,
the Holy Spirit,
the necessity of the crucifixion, and
the unholy lifestyle of people who Muslims think are Christians.

INTRODUCTION
by Del Kingsriter

"As I travel worldwide- even into remote areas untouched by media- I find a wall, an incredible barrier between Muslims and Christians. For centuries, Muslims and Christians have stood on separate hills and shouted across the valley at each other, never daring to come together closely enough to truly examine each other's beliefs and answer each other's questions- never truly listening to each other's heartbeat. It is a futile exercise to point the finger of blame at events of the past, or even to those of the present. The fact is, there is a wall— a deep gulf that must be bridged by love and understanding.

Thank God, we see this rapidly changing during these final years of the 20th century. Christians and Muslims are not only becoming interested in the differences of each other's belief systems, but they are also becoming interested in each other as individuals— individuals who are equally created by God. This is good and needs to be encouraged at every possible level.

In my dialogue with Christians, I often find that there are many misunderstandings about Muslims. Many Christians are afraid of getting too close to Muslims; some even believe Muslims are all terrorists or, somehow, evil people. I would like to say that as a general rule, I have found Muslims are very God-conscious people.

Conversely, in my dialogue with Muslims I find the same fear and suspicions. I have also found that these people are asking some very fundamental questions which need to be answered.

One of the areas of outreach of the Center for Ministry to Muslims team is to conduct Muslim Awareness Seminars in nations throughout the world. The basic thrust of these sessions is to impact pastors and church leaders with the great need for praying for and trying to understand Muslims— coming to the realization that we must reach out to them in love.

During a recent trip to one of the largest Muslim countries in Southern Asia, I was urged by many attending our seminars to write down some areas of misunderstanding between Christians and Muslims, giving answers to each one. As I began to do this, I soon realized the need to direct the contents of this booklet to both Christian leaders and our Muslim friends.

To thoroughly examine the subjects and the complex problems which need to be addressed would take several volumes. This small booklet can only scratch the surface of these major issues. We will briefly address several of the basic questions Muslims ask. What is really needed is for Christians and Muslims to sincerely and prayerfully sit down together to discuss these vital areas of disagreement and misunderstanding.

I pray this booklet will be a catalyst for accomplishing that goal. I pray that my Christian brothers who requested this material and also my Muslim friends who are sincerely asking these questions will not only come to a better understanding of each other, but that we will, together, come to a deeper understanding of God and His plan for mankind.

Chapter 1
Has the Bible Been Corrupted
?

God's Holy Word is very important. Muslims and Christians both believe throughout the ages God has given instructions to man concerning how he should live and how to find a way to heaven.

Christians believe that God spoke through His Holy Spirit to men, and they wrote as the Holy Spirit breathed upon them
(2 Peter 1:19-21). The apostle Paul said, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness"
(2 Timothy 3:16). We then see that the Bible itself explains that the Scriptures were given by God to holy men who were submissive to the Holy Spirit, holy men who wrote as God's Spirit "breathed" upon them.

On the other hand, Muhammad said that the Qur'an was given to him by the angel Gabriel and that it was given exactly as it is recorded in the "Mother of books which is on the throne of God." Muslims say that the Qur'an (which means recitation) is the final revelation of God to man and supersedes all previous revelation. Christians say the Holy Bible, which was given centuries before the Qur'an, is the complete Word of God and is the rule of faith and practice for all men. The Holy Book itself says it is the final revelation of God to man
(Revelation 22:18,19).

It is interesting to know that Muhammad firmly believed in the authenticity of the Bible as it existed in his day. There are many verses in the Qur'an which demonstrate his confidence in the Holy Books that came before him. I will quote only two:
1) "Say people of the book! Ye have no ground to stand upon unless you standfast by the law, the gospel and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord" (Sura 5:71); and,
2) "Before Thee, also, the apostles we sent were but men, to whom we granted inspiration. If ye realize this not, ask of those who possess the message" (Sura 21:7).

Dr. Akbar Haqq, in his book Sharing Your Faith With a Muslim, says, "In view of the clear teaching of the Qur'an about the authenticity of the Bible and its freedom from corruption, it is no wonder that not only the earliest doctors of Islam but also many other Muslim scholars after them have refused to entertain a belief contrary to that. Their position is further strengthened by a crucial verse in the Qur'an: 'The words of the Lord are perfect in truth and justice; there is none who can change His words' (Sura 6:115). Again, we read, 'No change can there be in the Words of God. This is indeed the supreme felicity' (Sura 10:64)." Christians can say "Amen" to that. (Parenthetically, please note that the author's use of the Qur'an does not mean followers of Christ accept it as authoritative for themselves. However, as Muslims consider it authoritative, they should accept the testimony of the Qur'an as it relates to the authenticity of the Bible or of Jesus Christ.)

With this in mind, a Christian should ask his Muslim friend: If Muhammad believed in the authenticity of the Bible and if Muslim scholars did not question it, then when was the Bible corrupted? Manuscripts of both the Old and New Testaments, dating back to several hundred years before Muhammad, were placed in museums and are intact today. These original manuscripts give credence to the content of the Holy Scriptures. The Christian might want to phrase his question in this manner: When was the Holy Bible corrupted? Was it before or after Muhammad lived?

If the Muslim replies "before," he is in a dilemma because then he accuses Muhammad of being a false teacher because, as has already been noted, the Qur'an, which Muslims say is the very Word of God, clearly refers to the Holy Scriptures as God's Word and was to be obeyed and followed. If, on the other hand, the Muslim says "after," he also is in a great dilemma because the Bible had already been written in many languages and distributed widely in the world.

The Christian could then ask another series of valid questions. Who changed it? When was it changed? How could this possibly happen? What did it say before it was changed? Does history record such an historic event, as it would certainly be if all the leaders of the Christian and Jewish communities worldwide were to come together to rewrite the Holy Scriptures? Christians love their Scriptures and would never, at any time, agree to any attempt at changing them. In fact, the Bible itself promises the severest penalty against anyone who attempts to change them. The Jews love their Old Testament Books of the Law and would never collaborate with Christians or anyone in an attempt to change these Scriptures.

Archeological Discoveries

It is interesting to note that in recent years, archeological discoveries have unearthed ancient manuscripts dating back more than 2,000 years. These manuscripts include portions of every book in the Old Testament, with the exception of the book of Esther. The entire book of Isaiah was uncovered. All of these ancient manuscripts show no major changes from the Bible we have today.

But the most convincing answer to the question of the changing of God's Word must come from God himself. We read that God said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away"
(Matthew 24:35). Thus the sincere question concerning who corrupted the Bible must be answered with God's own words, "My words will never pass away." God's Word is eternal and He would never permit His Holy Word to be changed. How very important it is that we read and obey His Holy Scriptures and accept them as His pure Word, "which can save you"
(James 1:21). "And how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus"
(2 Timothy 3:15).

What About Different Translations?

The original Old Testament was mostly written in Hebrew with some portions in Aramaic. The New Testament was written in Greek. Many manuscripts of the Holy Bible still exist in these languages. As the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ spread into many countries, the Bible was translated into the languages of these countries. Some Muslims may be confused by the various translations of the Holy Bible and an explanation is in order. For example, in English, there is the King James Version which dates back to 1611 A.D. and is still widely used today. However, since then, as the language of the people has changed, revised versions have been printed to make the Holy Bible more readable. Since these translations are made from the original documents, there is no difference in meaning.

The Christian would also answer by saying that there are many versions of the Qur'an which have been translated by different scholars. These versions differ in many aspects. I have the Dawood, Yusuf Ali, Arberry, and Pickthall's versions of the Qur'an in my library. Each translation differs, although each seeks to be true to the original meaning.

Chapter 2
Why Do Christians Worship Three Gods
?

To better understand why this question is asked repeatedly, Christians should understand some history of the beginnings of Islam. By the seventh century the Christian Church, especially in Arabia, had drifted far from doctrinal purity and spiritual vitality. Among pagans, there was a great deal of polytheism (worship of more than one god) and this incensed Muhammad. The strongest thrust of his message was that man must worship one true God. To a Muslim, even suggesting that God can be divided or to say someone can be equal with God is to commit "shirk," which is the worst possible sin- blasphemy.

Some of the so-called "Christians" Muhammad knew practiced Maryolatry. This may have led to the mistaken belief that Christians believed Mary to be a part of the Trinity. The Qur'an always speaks of Jesus as the son of Mary. In Sura 4:171 we read, "Oh people of the book... Christ Jesus the son of Mary was an apostle of God and His word...." Muslims, Christians, and Jews state in their creed that they worship the one true God- the Creator, Ruler, and Judge of the universe, who revealed himself to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and other prophets. The unity of God is fundamental, yet Muslims and Jews feel that Christians have compromised this belief through the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.

Christians need to understand the sincerity and force of the feeling Muslims have concerning this. There are many differences in belief systems among Muslims around the world, but the belief and practice of the declaration that "God is One" is a daily ritual worldwide. For 13 centuries, this emphasis has not lessened.

In answering Muslims, one must understand that Islam is a very practical and reasoned religion. This is part of the problem. To understand the Trinity through human reasoning is a futile exercise. An infinite God cannot be understood by finite people. Muslims freely admit that God is beyond human reasoning; God is transcendent and unfathomable. As one Muslim stated, "Allah cannot be comprehended. He comprehends us. We are His slaves who only have the privilege to worship Him in fear."

When once discussing the question of the Trinity with a Muslim scholar, I said, "Do you agree that God is all powerful and is so great that if He wished, He could reveal himself to man in a hundred different ways?" My friend answered in the affirmative. I then said, "Please, my friend, though it is a mystery, let us accept by faith that God who is one is also 'three in one'." Faith in His word is the key.

In her book entitled In the Family of Abraham, Anne Cooper wrote, "The ability of human beings to reason logically is a very precious gift. It is one of the major factors which distinguishes us from animals. At the same time the ability has parameters and this must be recognized. Man cannot fully explain himself; he cannot explain the mystery of his own tripartite nature, how his body, mind, and spirit react together to make an integrated whole. How then can he dare to presume to dissect the nature of the great power so infinitely above and beyond him? We must reject any attempt to prove religious mysteries by reason" (page 86).

The Holy Bible says, "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?"
(Romans 11:33,34).

"Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory"
(1 Timothy 3:16).

In the first chapter, we established that the Bible is the unchangeable Word of God. Therefore, we need to look very carefully at what it says in order to answer this very important question.

Jesus Christ himself said that the first commandment is: "The Lord our God, the Lord is one"
(Mark 12:29). To be a follower of Jesus Christ is to believe in the unity of God.

God, speaking through His prophet Isaiah, said, "I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God"
(Isaiah 45:5). Every follower of Jesus Christ must believe in the unity of God or he is not a true follower. The very thought that God had a physical relationship with Mary and produced a son is absolutely repugnant to Christians.

On the other hand, followers of Jesus Christ have come to know God:
1) as a loving heavenly Father who loves mankind;
2) as a redeeming Savior who shows the way to God; and
3) as a quickening Spirit who gives comfort, guidance, and power in this life.

To better answer the question "Why do Christians worship three gods?," we should try to understand who God is. Both Muslims and Christians agree that no man has seen God. It would be amusing, if it were not so tragic, to listen to people who cannot put God in a test tube and analyze Him declare there is no God, or that "God is dead." What foolishness! The Bible says, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God'"
(Psalm 53:1). But the real quest of life is to come to know and understand God's nature- what God is really like- and then find the way to know Him personally and intimately.

The prophet Isaiah was one of many prophets who spoke of the coming of Jesus and what this would mean in helping mankind understand who God is. The prophet Isaiah said, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel"
(Isaiah 7:14). The meaning of that name, Immanuel, is "God with us," or "God revealed to us."

So we ask, "Who is God?" We would have to say He is unknowable, unreachable, incomprehensible apart from Jesus Christ who was sent to man as Immanuel, God revealed to man. This explains Jesus' answer to His disciples when they asked Him how to find the way to God (remember, that is the ultimate question of mankind): "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me"
(John 14:6). The follower of Jesus would answer the question "What is God really like?" by saying that a person cannot really know God except he first knows Immanuel. It is Immanuel who introduces mankind to a heavenly Father whose greatest attribute is LOVE. It is Immanuel who demonstrates this unfathomable love. Only Immanuel is without sin. No other man ever lived who did not sin; all have sinned. This Immanuel has power over all sickness, even over death. No man in the history of the world had this power. This Immanuel has power to forgive sins. No man has ever dared to even say he had power to forgive sins. So through Immanuel we have a trustworthy testimony of who God is.

This then brings us to another question.

Chapter 3
Who Really is Jesus Christ
?

Both the Qur'an and the Holy Bible speak of the miraculous birth of Jesus. The prophet Isaiah prophesied 700 years before His birth that He would be born of a virgin
(Isaiah 7:14).

Sura 3:47 and Luke 1:34,35 both give accounts of the angel who appeared to Mary to tell her of the miraculous birth.

The prophet Isaiah continued to speak of His wonderful life. "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this"
(Isaiah 9:6,7). Both the Qur'an and the Holy Bible speak of His sinless life. His power to heal the sick and raise the dead.

Perhaps the two greatest differences between Muslims and Christians are in their understanding of who Jesus Christ was and what His great work on earth was. First, He was "Immanuel," God with us, and second. His great work was to provide a way of salvation. He was crucified on a cross and arose from the grave on the third day.

Concerning the first question, both the Qur'an and the Holy Bible speak of Jesus as being the Word of God. We read in Sura 4:171, "Christ Jesus the son of Mary was an apostle of Allah and His Word which He bestowed on Mary and a spirit proceeding from Him;" and in Sura 3:45, "Behold the angels said, 'Oh Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus.'"

In the Holy Bible we read, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning"
(John 1:1,2). Thus both in the Qur'an and the Holy Bible, Jesus is seen as the Word of God.

To really understand who Jesus is, one should study the first 10 chapters of the Holy Book of Hebrews in the New Testament. The first two verses of Hebrews chapter one succinctly introduce us to God as revealed in Jesus Christ, "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe"
(Hebrews 1:1,2).

We have now briefly examined who God is and found that He is unknowable, unreachable, and incomprehensible apart from Jesus Christ who is "Immanuel," a name which means God revealed to us. We have also introduced who Jesus is. Now, before we leave the subject of the Trinity, we need to try to understand who is the Third Person or the Third Revelation of God to man.

Chapter 4
Who Is the Holy Spirit
?

We must again ask "Who can understand the mysteries of God, and how or why should He reveal himself as the Holy Spirit?" To try to understand, we can only go again to God's Word which is eternal.

When Jesus told His disciples that His life on earth would soon be ended and that He would return to heaven. His disciples were very troubled. We read in the Holy Book, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me"
(John 14:1). John also says, "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever"
(John 14:16).

Think with me for a moment how Jesus described the person God would send and what His work would be. First of all, the Greek word used for this description is Parakletos, which means Comforter, Counselor, or Helper. In
John 14:16 we read, "to be with you forever." Only the Holy Spirit of God could stay with us forever, for though man must die God's Spirit is eternal. Again, we read, "The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you"
(John 14:17). It is not possible that this "paraclete," who Jesus prophesied would come, could have been a man, for the world can know a person but it cannot know the Spirit of God. Again we read, "The Holy Spirit (the paraclete) will dwell in you." Surely, we can see that Jesus was not prophesying about the coming of a man, rather He was announcing the coming of the blessed Holy Spirit of the Godhead. Some Muslims have brought confusion by inserting the Greek word Paraklutos, meaning "praised one," for Parakletos. Paraldutos is sometimes used as another name for Muhammad. However, it is not found in the original Greek manuscripts of the Holy Scriptures.

Chapter 5
Is There Really a Triune God
?

God is one and only one, but He eternally exists in Tri-unity. This is a mystery. But to those who will, by faith, accept God in His great revelation to man, the Holy Bible declares that the mystery becomes a reality. In concluding this weighty matter of the Godhead, I want to quote from the writings of two theologians, Richard Starch and Christopher Gornold-Smith.

According to Richard Starch:

"There is and can be only one God— of this, all Christians are absolutely certain, just as much as Muslims. Nor can any other being be in any way compared to Him, for He is infinite and eternal while all else is finite and created. Least of all can human beings be compared to Him, as He is utterly just, loving, merciful, and good, while men, even the saints and prophets, are sinners. Why then have Christians maintained that Jesus Christ is divine, and so also the Holy Spirit of God? There must have been very strong reasons for them to do something so strange.

Let us begin with the Holy Spirit, as it may be easier to understand Christian beliefs about Him. The Bible speaks of the Spirit as a personal reality and a power (as indeed does the Qur'an); what is more, a personal reality and a power which God can and does send to inspire His prophets and His people. But He is the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of God cannot be a distinct being created by God, like a human spirit or an angel. The spirit of a man is not something separate from the man, which he might make or unmake; it is part of that man's very being, yet not the whole of it. So also with the Spirit of God. He must be truly divine, and not a created being. Nor can He be a second God, for there cannot be any such thing. He must be in some way a part or aspect or attribute of the one God- truly God, yet not exhausting the whole meaning of the name "God."

Consider then what the Bible tells us about Jesus. In His own time many people recognized Him as a prophet, and He accepted the name. If that had been all, there would be no problem. But it was not all. He did not speak of revelations granted to Him, as other prophets did; He spoke as if He himself were the revealer- or even that which was revealed. He did not only warn of judgement to come, as other prophets did; He said that He himself would be the judge. Most important of all, He said that He had come to do something which was not the work of any prophet; He had come to give His life as a ransom for many, to be lifted up on the Cross to draw all men to himself. The apostle Peter described this in words taken from the prophecies of the Old Testament: Jesus, he said, was the bearer of our sins
(1 Peter 2:24).

But these are things which only God can do. A prophet can reveal what God says to him; he can speak in the name of God, as God's apostle and representative; but he cannot speak as if he himself had authority. Jesus did. A prophet can warn people of judgement to come; but only God can actually judge, for only He understands the inner hearts of people. And no created being could ransom sinful men for God, or bear their sins; God would never punish the innocent, nor would it do the guilty any good if He did. But if God himself took the weight of our rebellion, and bore the pain of our sinfulness- that really could make the difference.

There are (a Christian writer once said) three great barriers between God and the human race. One is
the barrier of nature: God alone is God, and we are mere humans. The second is
the barrier of sin: God is good, and we are not. The third is
the barrier of death: God is eternal, and we are mortals.
There is no way any of us could cross or break down any of those barriers. But God, who is Almighty, could and did. He broke down the first barrier by taking our human nature upon himself; He broke down the second by bearing our sin; and He broke down the third when Jesus rose from the dead.

Yet Jesus was not the whole of God; indeed. He spoke of and to God. Therefore, as with the Holy Spirit, we seem driven to speak in terms of a part or aspect or attribute of God; not as a lesser being, not as a second god, but truly part of the One God.

What sort of language should we use to refer to Him? Jesus himself habitually spoke of God as His Father, and hence it has been very common to use the phrase "God the Son" or "The Son of God." This had one serious disadvantage; it might suggest to pagans something like one of their legends, in which a 'god' comes to earth and has a child by a human woman. Such an idea seems equally blasphemous to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. There is in fact only one place in the Gospels where Jesus' "Sonship" is connected in any way with His birth,
Luke 1:35, which is simply indicating the truth that Jesus' birth was by the direct will of God, that He was born of a virgin, without any human father. Elsewhere it is made clear that He always had been "the Son," from all eternity, one aspect of the one eternal God.

The other key term that the New Testament uses is "The Word of God"- one especially used by the apostle John. (It is interesting that this expression is also used to describe Jesus in the Qur'an.) A human "word" is something distinct from the people who use it; for one thing, any number of people may use the same word. But God's Word is different; it is the expression of His will, and cannot be distinguished from Him except as an aspect or attribute of His; it is as truly divine as His Spirit. And since Jesus came not only to save us but to reveal the truth about God, to show God's loving will in His life as well as His words, 'The Word of God' seemed particularly appropriate as a way to refer to Him; for it is through words that we are able to tell one another the truth.

Christians have therefore felt obliged to recognize that within the eternal unity of God there are three different aspects, the Father, the Son or Word, and the Holy Spirit. Each is fully divine, but none is, by itself, exhausting of what is meant by the word "God." Although in English these Three have traditionally been called "persons," this is not meant to suggest three different people; the word was actually taken over from Latin, in which it can often mean something more like "character," or even 'mask,' a notion quite close to what was meant earlier by the use of the word "aspect." There is no question in any way of denying the Oneness of God; it is simply a matter of doing justice to what He himself has revealed about himself in the word of His prophets and apostles and in the work of His Word and His Spirit."

Christopher Gornold-Smith writes concerning the Trinity:

"Muslims need to know that the Christian belief in the Trinity has been misunderstood. Christians do not believe in three Gods. So what do they believe?

First of all, Christians recognize the greatness and essential mystery of the Divine Being of God.

Saint Basil, one of the great leaders of the Early Christian Church, said it is easier to measure the entire ocean in a little cup than to grasp the greatness of God in the human mind. We can say things about God which we know to be true, for God himself has revealed them. But if we could fully understand the Nature and Being of God, we would have to be as great as God himself or He would have to be as small as we are. And both of these notions would be at once impossible and blasphemous.

Second, Christians recognize the unique authority of Jesus Christ.

The Injil (John 1:1-14) describes Jesus as the living Word of God. It is interesting to note that Muslims too believe that Jesus is the 'Word from Him.' As I write, my thoughts, which are part of me, are expressed and embodied in words. As you read my words you understand the way I think. My words are part of me. Remember, God's Word is perfect. There is no imperfection in God. If Jesus is the living Word of God, which we agree He is, then He is the perfect expression of God. His teachings are perfect; His life is perfect; His character is perfect. This gives Him unique authority. We agree that God alone is perfect. Yet we have seen that Jesus is also perfect.

It goes one step further. I said my words are part of me. If Jesus is God's Living Word, then Jesus is, in some mysterious sense, part with God. In what sense we shall see later.

In the New Testament there is an important statement about this: "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his Being, sustaining all things by his powerful word"
(Hebrews 1:1-3).

These verses describe Jesus Christ in His relationship to God. Three expressions are used: Son, radiance, and representation.

When Christians describe Jesus as the Son of God they do NOT mean that God had any kind of sexual relationship with Mary and thus begat Jesus as His Son! That would be as blasphemous as it would be abhorrent. Jesus himself said, "God is a Spirit"
(John 4:24). In Hebrews 3:1-3 it is clear the word Son does not refer to a physical relationship, for these verses describe the Son as existing before the material Universe.

There is a clue to the meaning in the next key word: radiance. He is the "radiance of God's glory." What radiance is to a source of light, Jesus Christ is to God. It is through the radiance which enters your eye that you can see a source of light. You cannot see the source without the radiance, but without the source the radiance would not be. There is no source without radiance; no radiance without source.

The third word is representation. Keep in mind the language of the original is Greek. The Greek word here is charakter, which we translate as representation. It refers to the impression made by a seal on wax or clay. In ancient times, for any document to carry authority it had to be sealed. The charakter gave it the mark of authenticity, so it carried all the power of the one to whom the seal belonged. Reading such a document is the same as personally meeting with the author. Because the charakter was formed directly from the seal, the two were identical in form. To see the stamped impression, the charakter, was to see the seal itself. Of course, without the owner's seal there would be no stamp to reveal it.

The terms radiance, representation (charakter), and Word convey relationship, but they do not convey personal, conscious existence. The closest term we have in human language is Son. A son could not exist without a father; a son may be expected to look like his father; a son may know the mind of his father; a son can officially represent his father and communicate his wishes; and a son is also a living, conscious person. Is it surprising that Jesus Christ referred to God as Father? Jesus said, "He who has seen me has seen the Father"
(John 14:9), and "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me"
(John 14:6).

Third, Christians believe in the Holy Spirit.

In the Gospel (Injil) we read that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God himself. Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit not as an angel (not even the archangel Gabriel) nor as another prophet, but as One like himself in nature and as God.

Jesus said, "I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever- The Spirit of truth"
(John 14:16). The Greek word translated another is allos. The word means another of the same kind. Jesus was saying that just as He and the Father were One in Nature, so the Holy Spirit is also of the same Divine Nature.

What is the difference between a man and a man's spirit? What is the difference between God and the Spirit of God? In the Holy Scriptures the terms Holy Spirit and Spirit of God are used interchangeably. The Holy Spirit is God. In the first two verses of the Bible (the first two verses of the Taurat) we read, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," and "the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters"
(Genesis 1:1,2).

Jesus was not describing another prophet. He said, "The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he (already) lives with you"
(John 14:17).

Jesus made it very clear that the Holy Spirit was not merely an influence or force from God; the Holy Spirit is God. The Holy Spirit
teaches us (John 14:26),
testifies about Jesus (John 15:26),
reminds us of what Jesus said (John 14:26),
guides us into truth (John 16:13), and
convicts the world of guilt in regard to sin, righteousness, and judgment
(John 16:8). The Holy Spirit has personal, conscious, and Divine existence.

How can all this be brought together?

It is beyond the capacity of man to fully comprehend God in His infinite greatness. Man himself, even within his small being, is complex and difficult to understand. Saint Augustine described man as a complex of body, soul, and spirit- three, yet one. Is my body, relating to the physical world, really me? Of course it is. Is my soul, relating to the mental world, really me? Yes. Is my spirit, which responds to God, really me? Yes. Then am I three men or one? One.

How much more is the complexity of God beyond man's reach! Yet God has revealed himself. In this profound complexity of God's Being there is three-ness. Why not two-ness or four-ness? Simply because it is so. What emerges from a close study of Scripture is that God is One, yet within that unity there is a three-ness of Being. Thus comes the expression Tri-unity, or Trinity. This also means there is within God- in His self-sufficient, eternal relationship- an eternal dynamic.

When Christians speak of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, they do not mean there are three gods. Neither do they mean that these are just three modes in which God has revealed himself. No, it goes beyond that. God eternally exists in Tri-unity. The Son, the living Word of God, came to us in human form when Jesus was born, but within the Godhead He had always been. God was not silent before Jesus (the Word of God) came into the world. And God's eternal Holy Spirit has always been moving. He is the Lord and giver of life.

Certainly there is mystery in this Tri-unity, mystery far greater than that of man's own being. But this is what we should expect of God. He remains above and beyond us in His essential Being, yet He has revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ, the Word of God."

Chapter 6
Why Do Christians Insist on the Crucifixion
?

Muslims have a serious problem concerning the Crucifixion, raising some sincere questions which deal with the subject of sin and why Jesus needed to die as an atonement for sin. If the reader studies the first 10 chapters of the Holy Book of Hebrews, he will receive a better understanding concerning this most important subject.

The Islamic doctrine of sin is much different than that of Christianity. Muslims say that while Adam and Eve made a mistake in disobedience, their mistake, or sin, was confessed and forgiven. Muslims say that sin is not a part of man's nature, and though man continues to make mistakes, these can be forgiven by striving toward self-righteousness through a series of good works which will bring the favor of God on judgment day.

The Holy Bible admonishes mankind to do good works, but it clearly teaches that good works can never deal with the most basic problem facing mankind— sin.

The prophet David wrote, "Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me"
(Psalm 51:5). The apostle Paul said, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"
(Romans 3:23).

Isaiah asks the question, "How then can we be saved?" He says, "All our righteous acts are like filthy rags... and like the wind our sins sweep us away"
(Isaiah 64:5,6).

God's Holy Word gives us the answer, "He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior"
(Titus 3:5,6).

Since the beginning of time, our gracious and merciful God has provided a way to have our sins covered and forgiven. In obedience, Abraham took his son to offer as a sacrifice, but our merciful God provided a ram for the offering.

The question is: Why was it necessary to kill an animal and offer it as a sacrifice? Again, we see all through the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament that mankind was commanded to offer blood sacrifices as a covering for sin. But in the Holy Book of Hebrews we see that on the Cross Jesus Christ became the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. From that moment forward, mankind can be free from the guilt of sin by accepting His atoning work and believing on His name.

Just the mention of the words "Cross" and "Crucifixion" brings deep emotion to the follower of Jesus Christ. Christians are amazed that He was willing to suffer and die so that mankind could be forgiven and have freedom from the guilt and penalty of sin. This is a very sacred and powerful force among Christians.

Some Muslims say that Judas or someone else was substituted by the Roman soldiers, that Jesus did not go to the Cross. If that had happened, why did not Judas or the person substituted scream out that a mistake had been made?

How could anyone other than Jesus pray, in the midst of excruciating pain, that God would forgive His persecutors? How could such merciful and compassionate sentiments be heard from the lips of a passer-by who had been substituted? How could Mary, the mother of Jesus, not see such a fraud as she stood at the foot of the Cross and recognized Jesus and heard His voice speaking lovingly to her? If it were someone else on the Cross, Mary would have exposed it.

There are three things concerning this subject which Muslims should carefully consider.

First, they should consider that the prophets foretold the Crucifixion. As the prophet Isaiah said, "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken"
(Isaiah 53:4-8).

The prophet David said, "You lay me in the dust of death. Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing"
(Psalm 22:15-18).

Second, consider that secular history confirms the Crucifixion. Cornelius Tacitus was the greatest historian of the Roman Empire. He wrote, "The name Christian is derived from Christ, who was executed under the government of the procurator Pilate."

Josephus wrote in his Antiquitatis Iudaice,
volume 18, 111:3: "Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal among us, had condemned him to the Cross, those who loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day as the divine prophets had foretold these and 10,000 other wonderful things concerning him."

Third, consider the preponderance of scriptures which record the Crucifixion. The entire theme of the Holy New Testament deals with the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul wrote, "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also"
(1 Corinthians 15:3-8).

Yes, the Holy Scriptures confirm that He was crucified and arose from the dead. There are in existence about 5,000 manuscripts of the New Testament in whole or in part which testify that Jesus was crucified.

I encourage my Muslim friends to carefully study why Jesus needed to die. I suggest you read again the first 10 chapters of Hebrews to understand why the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ are so important.

Chapter 7
What About the Unholy Lifestyle of Christians
?

Without doubt, the unholy lifestyle of some has caused much confusion. It certainly has caused a great deal of pain for the true follower of Jesus Christ.

Part of the problem arises as many people call themselves "Christians" because they occasionally attend church, but have never had a transformation in their lives. They have never allowed Jesus Christ to forgive their sins and make them a new person
(see 2 Corinthians 5:17). Therefore they keep on sinning and doing detestable things even though they call themselves Christians. This is a great shame and causes many Muslims to question Christianity. This also is an embarrassment to those who are true followers of Jesus Christ.

However, it should be pointed out that all people of all religious persuasions are under the bondage of sin. There are some who, under the cloak of religion, seem to be pious and righteous. The Pharisees were like that. Jesus said that while on the outside they looked good, on the inside they were full of hypocrisy and wickedness
(Matthew 23:27,28).

To become a follower of Jesus Christ is a personal matter. It is not a decision of a community or nation. There is no such thing as a "Christian nation." There are individuals inside every nation who have made personal commitments to Christ. These are the true Christians or "followers."

I would encourage our Muslim friends to study the lifestyle and spirit of those who are committed followers of Christ. God said we are to be holy and live righteously among mankind. Please read the book Journey to Understanding to comprehend the difference between those who are Christian in name only, those still living in sin, and those who have had their lives transformed by the power of the crucified and risen Savior Jesus Christ.

In conclusion, I appeal to my Christian and Muslim friends to listen to each other. Yes, dare to come close and truly examine each other's beliefs. Answer each other's questions in a spirit of love and understanding."

Del Kingsriter, QUESTIONS MUSLIMS ASK, Published by Center For Ministry to Muslims (CMM), Minneapolis, 1991, pages 1-36.

Please feel free to write for further help.
Center For Ministry to Muslims (CMM)
Address: 1315 Portland Avenue # 100, Minneapolis, MN 55404
Telephone: 612-338-3243
web address: http://www.cmmequip.org/
This institute is offered by CMM in partnership with AGTS Continuing Education;
The Islamic Institute at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS) in Springfield, MO.

This booklet is available for purchase from their website.

POSSIBILITIES
Longfellow could take a worthless sheet of paper, write a poem on it and make it worth $60,000-
that is a genius
Bill Gates can sign his name to a piece of paper and make it worth a million dollars-
that is capital
Uncle Sam can take gold, stamp an eagle on it, and make it worth $200.00-
that is money
A Mechanic can take materials worth $50.00 and make an article worth $500.00-
that is skill
An artist can take a $5.00 piece of canvas, paint a picture on it, and make it worth $5000.00-
that is art
God can take a worthless sinful life, wash it in the blood of Christ, put His spirit in it, and make it a blessing to humanity-
that is salvation
(Shared with you by Kraig J. Rice)


If you have not already invited Jesus Christ to come to live inside of your heart then click on the above banner if you want to learn how to have a relationship with Jesus Christ and receive spiritual encouragement in your heart and soul.

In some small way I hope that you have been encouraged by this article.
This article shared with you by:

Kraig Josiah Rice
www.breadonthewaters.com

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