Mistakes Christians Make When Trying to Reach a Muslim

For many years Christian Missiologists have known that culture plays an important part in Christian Witness. It is often taught that there are three different methods of evangelism based upon culture. They can be identified as follows:
E-1 Evangelism with people of the same culture, language and background for example: an African witnessing to another African.
E-2 Evangelism with people of a similar culture, for example: A British witnessing to an American.
E-3 Evangelism with people from a completely different culture, language and background for example: a Frenchman witnessing to an animist from the jungles of Africa.
Different methods are required in the three different categories. It is no wonder that many Westerners make some mistakes when trying to witness to Muslims since generally this form of witness fits within the third group. Islam is not only a religion but it is also a culture and a way of life. A Canadian who have learned western methods will often make mistakes in his/her witness to those of the Islamic faith.
Here are three mistakes commonly made when attempting to be a witness to a Muslim.
1. Not understanding the seriousness of religion in an Islamic context
For most in the western world a decision to follow Jesus Christ is very serious indeed, but if the person says yes it will have an only a limited effect on the persons immediate circumstances. Not so with a Muslim. The Koran teaches very strongly that any Muslim who converts to another religion, whether it is Christianity or some other belief system is guilty of apostasy and must be put to death. This is carried out in all Islamic Republics but since those living in the west cannot kill a person for switching religions the friends and family will use other very harsh means to keep the person a Muslim. This will include kidnapping and imprisonment, beatings, and total exclusion from the family.
Even approaching a person with the gospel puts the person into a very difficult position. They fear what others will say if they speak with a Christian and they also fear for their soul since they have been taught from birth that to become a Christian will send them to the sixth level of hell. (The seventh being the worst)
The Christian who witnesses must realize how serious a matter this is for the Muslim and their family. In witnessing to a Muslim you must be aware that the person you are working with, if they accept Christ, will probably be persecuted and could even be killed. Many Westerners simply do not realize how serious a change in religion can be in a Muslim context.
2. Not being willing to take on the responsibility of discipling a convert from Islam
A westerner spoke to a young man from the Middle East who lived in Nuremburg, Germany, about his newfound faith in Jesus. He told the westerner of his decision but was disappointed with the care and love given to him by the church. The westerner invited him to come to Salzburg, Austria where he lived and promise to get him a job, a car , an apartment and offer him great fellowship in a youth center. He came and was provided all that was promised. The westerner felt very proud of his efforts and felt really accomplished. He told him to come to the youth center on Friday and Saturday nights and the church on Sundays. In about two months he came and told the Westerner how disappointed he was in him. The gentle westerner was shocked because he had done much for him but he said that he came expecting the westerner to be his Guru (teacher). He wanted to follow him around everywhere he went but the westerner was not willing to do this.
For a Muslim his family and community provides each member with their health insurance, their job, their food, their fellowship, their mate, and practically everything else of importance in life. When we win a Muslim to Christianity then we need to be prepared to make the necessary sacrifice in the disciplining process. They need much more of our time and love because we have torn them from their support system and we must find a way to make this up. Many westerners are not willing to make the necessary sacrifices that are called for.
3. Not knowing anything about Islam
A typical Muslim will know more about Christianity than a Christian will know about Islam. Just as Christians are taught how to witness to others, many Muslims are being taught how to refute the Christians arguments thus making our witness ineffective. The more one builds up their knowledge of Islam the better the Christian can build good ideological bridges so as to find a good way to approach the Muslim. One very successful method is called the “Camel Method”. In Islam the Muslims are taught that there are 99 names of God known to man but in heaven there are 100, but the only creature on earth that knows the last name of God is the camel thus the upturned lips of the camel that resembles a smile. This method of witness helps with the building of a bridge by saying to a Muslim. “We know the 100th Name of God, it is Jesus Christ”. It builds upon what they know but takes them further on their road to belief in Jesus Christ.
Christians should not be afraid of witnessing to Muslims but rather should aggressively search out Muslims to talk with. The most important part of witness to Muslims is being led by the Holy Spirit. He will show you how best to approach the Muslim. I might add that the most effective means of helping a Muslim find Jesus Christ is still love. One Islamic leader stated at a large conference of Muslim clerics “Do not allow your people to have close contact with Christians because if you do the Christians will love your people into their faith.” This is still true today.

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