Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Guidelines on Muslim evangelism strategies

We encourage Christians to actively participate in Muslim evangelism. It brings us great joy to see God raising up laborers to enter into His harvest among the unreached Muslims throughout the world. At the same time, we also recognize the potential for dangerous misunderstandings to occur as a result of certain contextualization strategies. In view of problems that have emerged, we feel it necessary to articulate the following boundaries in Muslim evangelism to help Christian evangelists remain biblical in their approaches.
Statements of faith regarding Islam
- The Quran is not the inspired word of God. The Bible is the inspired word of God, and is the only authority for our beliefs, values and practices.
- Muhammad is not a genuine prophet of God.
- Islam is not the true way that may lead its believers and followers to heaven or to a relationship with the true God, or to salvation, or to forgiveness of sins.
Expression of core beliefs
Christians should not give the impression that the core beliefs of Christians and Muslims are the same, and must make clear the differences between these core beliefs in the following aspects:
• The attributes of God [2]
• The identity of Jesus [3]
• The status of the Quran [4]
• The identity of Muhammad [5]
Participation in Muslim religious practices [6]
• Christian evangelists should not convert to Islam in order to win Muslims to Jesus Christ.
• Christian evangelists should not participate, nor should they teach converts to continue participating, in the Muslim worship at the mosque.
• Christian evangelists should not recite, nor should they teach converts to continue reciting, the Muslim creed (Shahada): “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger”.
• If Christians participate in biblically permissible Muslim practices (e.g. fasting during Ramadan and avoiding pork and alcohol) they should communicate that it is not about earning salvific merit with God.
• Christian evangelists should not identify themselves as Muslims.
• Christian evangelists should not teach converts to continue identifying themselves as Muslims in terms of faith commitment.
• The identity of Christians should include identification with other followers of Jesus Christ around the world.
Bible Translations
• Christians should reject any Bible translations in any language that remove or replace the words “Father” and “Son” in relation to God the Father and Jesus Christ.
• We reject any deception by saying things that we do not believe whatever the purpose.
[1] Notes for the guidelines: We are committed to work in ways that communicate respect for culture and mores as far as they are biblical and do not affirm adherence to Islam. Besides the statements of faith, most of the issues relate to what means are permissible without conveying meaning that is not intended and unbiblical. Just because a person has been genuinely saved, it does not follow that the means employed are desirable, reproducible, or to be emulated. Any number of conversions of Muslims by a strategy does not necessarily mean that the strategy is biblically permissible or that it is sustainable.
[2] There are major differences between the attributes of the God whom Christians worship and those of the God (Allah) whom Muslims worship.
[3] Jesus of the Bible is not the same as Isa of the Quran.
[4] The Quran was not divinely inspired and does not have equal nor higher authority than the Bible.
[5] Muhammad was not a genuine prophet of God following Biblical traditions.
[6] This is not to say that Muslim background Christians early in their conversion might not continue to participate in these temporarily. It is to say that Christian evangelists should not teach such participation.

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