When we pray to be ready witnesses for Christ, we need to expect the encounters to come up!
I was taking a very enjoyable walk in my local park, and decided to sit on a bench in the ornamental garden. Two Muslim ladies came along and one of them greeted me as she remembered me from a place where I had done some volunteering. We proceeded to have a very friendly conversation. As we talked, I naturally made mention of my faith as a follower of Christ and gave them each a small Scripture card. Then the conversation temperature went up a few degrees, as these dear ladies began to question and challenge my beliefs, and I in turn challenged theirs. A male companion of theirs also joined in the discussion. We had a long discussion, but I give you just portions of that discussion.
One of the challenges I presented to them was this… “Your Qur’an states that the Scriptures which came previously were given as guidance and light, so have you read them?”. They hadn’t. I also said “Your Qur’an says you should ask the People of the Book (Jews and Christians)”. I urged them to read the Gospels/New Testament instead of dismissing what their own ‘holy’ book says they should acknowledge. Their argument – which is standard rhetoric amongst Muslims, is that the Holy Bible has been corrupted, changed. They are taught that the Qur’an is the final revelation and Mohammed is the last prophet, they therefore think the Bible we have today is not the same. Sounds like a convenient argument. They are also taught that Mohammed is mentioned in the Holy Bible. I told them that if God had revealed in the Bible that a prophet called Mohammed would come or that another book called the Quran would be sent, that I would be Muslim, yet I’m not because it does not state that. Yet even their own sacred book does not actually say that the Holy Bible was changed, at least not in respect of the written words. There are statements in the Qur’an that the ‘People of the Book’ – us who believe in Jesus and also those in Judaism – have concealed certain things (Surah 5:15) or distorted with our tongues (Surah 3:78). This can be a useful challenge to some Muslim objections to the Bible.
A challenge that we can be presented with as believers in the tri-unity of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is to find a simple way of responding to challenges to this. During the conversation in the park, the Muslim ladies were questioning my belief that Jesus is God, so I believe in 2 Gods. I had shared with them from John’s Gospel chapter 1 about Jesus being the Word of God, that He is the expression of God and also Creator, yet came into this world at the appointed time to be the pure sacrifice for sins. This is a struggle for Muslims, as their Qur’an teaches that ‘allah’ has no son and that no others should be ‘partners’ with their god. However, we need to be bold to declare that God has chosen to reveal Himself, that we should not limit what God can do, and to show people that we have all sinned and need atonement for our sins.
One other area which came up in the conversation is their understanding that Mohammed is the ‘last prophet’, yet Islam teaches that Jesus is the one coming again at the end time! (Although not in judgement as the book of Revelation declares). My question to them was this “you say Mohammed is the last prophet, then why is it Jesus who is coming back and not Mohammed”? The answer was not convincing.
I share these aspects of my encounter with the Muslim ladies to encourage you and myself to continue to do what God’s Word the Bible says, and always with love:-