I don’t work with many Muslims in my ministry with Serve Our Youth Network, but I have had a few, believe it or not, come through our Bible discussion groups while they were in juvenile detention center. They are typically Bosnian or occasionally an American-born Black Muslim… not necessarily as devout as what we see in say a madrasah in the Middle East.
Nevertheless, this commentary by Chuck Colson peaked my interest. What brings Muslims to faith in Jesus Christ?
Colson references a questionnaire done by Dr. Dudley Woodbury, professor of Islamic Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary to find out the answer to that question. His survey of 750 Muslims who converted to Christianity shows five main reasons why they chose to place their faith in Jesus.
- The lifestyle of Christians. Former Muslims cited the love that Christians exhibited in their relationships with non-Christians and their treatment of women as equals.
- The power of God in answered prayers and healing. Experiences of God’s supernatural work—especially important to folk Muslims who have a characteristic concern for power and blessings—increased after their conversions, according to the survey. Often dreams about Jesus were reported.
- Dissatisfaction with the type of Islam they had experienced. Many expressed dissatisfaction with the Qur’an, emphasizing God’s punishment over his love. Others cited Islamic militancy and the failure of Islamic law to transform society.
- The spiritual truth in the Bible. Muslims are generally taught that the Torah, Psalms, and the Gospels are from God, but that they became corrupted. These Christian converts said, however, that the truth of God found in Scripture became compelling for them and key to their understanding of God’s character.
- Biblical teachings about the love of God. In the Qur’an, God’s love is conditional, but God’s love for all people was especially eye-opening for Muslims. These converts were moved by the love expressed through the life and teachings of Jesus. The next step for many Muslims was to become part of a fellowship of loving Christians.
It is easy to paint Muslims with the “would-be jihadist” brush. It quite another thing to reach out to them with the love of Christ. I believe that ultimately the only (lasting) way the war on terror will be won is through God through Christ changing hearts and transforming lives in the Islamic world. Muslims are turning to Jesus throughout the world even in places where it will cost them. We need to lift them up in prayer and support them anyway we can.
It may start with reaching out to Muslims next door.