(“Religionists” refer to adherents of the major world religion centered in the Middle East which we will call “the Religion”)
In response to our prayer “for the nations” (Psalm 2:8) the Lord has seen fit to bring the nations to our shores so that we may share the love of Jesus Christ with them. We now see them everywhere—in our local shopping malls, restaurants, schools, and other public places. They are our next door neighbors and co-workers at the office. Based on our personal experience overseas, we would like to share with you some hints to make you more fruitful as you reach out to them with the gospel.
First of all, before you share the gospel with them, show sincere love to them from your heart. Look beyond their religion and see a sinner who needs forgiveness just as you did at one time. See someone who is just trying to make a living and needs to provide for his or her family just as you are. The great majority of Religionists you know will not be radical jihadists, but are here in search of a better life. Some were brought here by their parents when they were little, or may even have been born here as Americans. So first reach out to them in friendship as a fellow human being. When they have needs, help them. Win their trust through sincere love and accompanying good deeds.
At this early stage, it may be better not to wear your faith on your sleeve and identify yourself as a “Christian.” It’s easy to see why. One of the driving forces behind Islamism today is European history. Religionists will cite the Crusades and the centuries-long colonialism at the hands of European nations under which Religionists and other pagan, non-Christian peoples suffered. The religion of the Crusaders and then later the colonialists was known to them as “Christianity.” Today disciples of Jesus Christ do not at all identify with the actions of the European colonialists of past centuries. We might have good reason to doubt that they were in fact saved, born-again followers of Christ.
But the reality is that Religionist nations identify their former colonial masters as Christians. For them there is no distinction between saved and unsaved. For them it is simply a question of outward religion. (If you confess three times something to the effect that “there is no other god than Allah and Mohammed is his prophet” you have become a true Religionist. Repentance, subsequent deliverance from our sin nature, and transformation into the likeness of our Father in heaven are not required. The 19 hijackers enjoyed themselves in strip clubs the night before 9/11 expecting to be rewarded with 72 virgins in paradise.) Similarly, if you identify yourself to a Religionist as a Christian—whether born-again in your heart or simply in name only—you are an adherent of the religion of the European Crusaders and colonialists. And you are branded as an infidel.
In the past when missionaries were sent abroad to proclaim the good news in pagan nations, they unfortunately brought not only the gospel, but imported aspects of Western culture as well. In order for them to be saved, it was necessary for the people to “renounce” their pagan religions (be it Islam, Hinduism, Buddhist, idolatry, or witchcraft) and “convert” to the religion of Christianity within which were embedded elements of western culture so foreign to them. They were required to become “Christians” after which they had to “go to church” every Sunday at the foreign, out-of-place-looking structure atop which proudly stood a cross—the very symbol of the religion of the European occupiers.
As Christians brought up in the West or in America, these things might seem inoffensive and reasonable to us. But are they requirements found in the New Testament? No. Jesus never told us to renounce our former religion and then convert to Christianity to become Christians, and after that to go to church every Sunday. These are not necessary for salvation according to the teachings of Christ.
He told us rather to renounce sin in order to convert to Him (Romans 16:5) and follow Him as his disciples. We are taught not “to go to church” but rather not to forsake assembling together (Hebrews 10:25) to exhort and encourage one another as fellow disciples—which need not be in a “church” but in any home or location not called a “church.” The original meaning of “church” in the New Testament refers to the body of Christ—those who are “called out”—and does not refer to a church facility.
But on the foreign mission field, radical Religionists see churches as foreign abominations to be burnt down to the ground. Adding on traditional “religious” requirements for salvation can and will be stumbling blocks to Religionists entering the kingdom of God. So it is good at the outset not to mention the expressions Christianity, Christian, and church. These are not necessary to the sharing of the gospel. After you earn their trust through love and good deeds you can share with them that you are simply a follower of Isa Almasih, which is Arabic for Jesus the Christ.
When they or a family member is sick, you can pray over and minister miraculous healing to them in the name of Isa Almasih. They will be open to this since they already believe that Isa can heal. You will minister to them as Jesus did and as he taught and commanded his disciples. The ensuing miracle which they have never before experienced will open their hearts to the understanding of who Jesus really is: Lord and Savior…
More Many Religionists in Indonesia are now being saved after experiencing miraculous healings in this way…
More Jesus is mentioned in the Quran, so you can even use the Quran for some support in sharing the gospel…