When Muslims meet Christians …
In the 1960s and 1970s, I knew Islam only from Karl May books and a few missionary reports from distant lands. There were only a handful of foreign classmates of Muslim faith in my class. Religion did not matter to us, we played soccer together. The public hardly spoke about Islam until the 1980s. We German speakers in Switzerland, Austria and Germany assumed that the guest workers eventually returned to their home countries. In the late 1980s, the term “guest worker” disappeared and “integration” became an issue – first in society and a little later in the churches and communities. For a long time, the number of migrant workers of Muslim faith was not recorded in Western countries because religion was a private matter for Europeans. In 1960 there were e.g. in Germany only about 20,000 Muslims. In 1980 there were already just over one million and today – after the wave of refugees in 2015/16 – more than 5 million Muslims (about 7% of the population) are expected in Germany, with about 600,000 in Austria (about 7% of the population) Population) and in Switzerland with about 400,000 (about 5% of the population). Nobody can avoid Islam and dealing with Muslims. Islam has reached the center of our society and we are challenged by the offensive and proselytizing faith of Muslims.
The majority of the refugees are Muslims
Through almost all news programs, Islam is perceived as a martial religion. For years, most wars have raged among the different Muslim groups in the Islamic world. Most of the victims of these religious-led wars are Muslims themselves. That’s also why Muslim refugees, at more than 90%, are the largest group of refugees arriving in our Western countries.
Persecution of Christians in Islamic countries
There is an unmistakable connection between Islam and the persecution of the church of Jesus. The most massive persecution of Christians is currently taking place in Muslim-influenced countries. It is more than tragic that the persecution of Christians takes place right down to the refugee routes and accommodations in the being.
What does the strengthening of Islam mean for us Christians? What dangers are there? What opportunities do churches and Christians have – more than ever before – to testify to Muslims the gospel of Jesus Christ? Yes, the world mission has arrived on our doorstep! And the Christians …?
Mission among Muslims only a misunderstanding?
On the occasion of the forthcoming anniversary of the Reformation, the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) announces that it no longer wishes to represent the unique selling point of the Christian faith. She explains: “The challenge is to speak of Christ, but in a way that does not invalidate or misrepresent the faith of others. Just as belonging to Christ is the only consolation in life and death for the Christian, so also for the followers of religion his specific faith. This may be recognized on both sides of the conversation. “(Justification and Freedom, p. 58)
Mission as a threat to peace?
Does the Christian missionary command threaten peace, given the growing number of Muslims? Yes, thinks the second largest Protestant church in Germany – and renounced the proselytizing of Muslims. In October 2015, in the midst of an unmanageable wave of refugees, the Church sends out a handout to all of its churches, which not only rejects any missionary attempts at Muslims, but also builds bridges between Muslims and Christians, to the coexistence and the interconnectedness between religions to promote. This position paper of the Rhenish church is strange even for the secular press. Already a few months before, the EKD issued a “dialoge” to promote the encounter between Christians and Muslims. The publications give the impression that there is more in common between Islam and Christianity than dividing. More and more voices from churches and free churches are tuning into this tone and downplaying the dangers of Islam.
The Muslim prayer call as a claim to power
Five times a day, the call of the muezzin sounds in the mosques of our cities. The content of the Islamic prayer call is a political demonstration of power. With the beginning of every call “Allahu Akbar“, i. “God is the greatest” emphasizes the claim of Allah concerning society. Everything has to submit to Allah, including the Western social systems. With the following creed “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet”, every Muslim denies the Christian creed at the same time. Jesus Christ is demoted by every Muslim several times a day to one envoy among many. Muhammad is not only the prophet of a personal piety in the self-image of Muslims, he was and is the political and military leader of the worldwide Muslim community in the understanding of Muslims throughout the world. Many Europeans do not understand this because they classify religion only as a private matter.
The Muslim prayer call as a provocation
Every mosque prayer call is a public provocation of the followers of Jesus Christ. So it is unbearable for Christians who take their faith seriously, even though the EKD Council President Heinrich Bedford-Strohm feels it “touching and enriching to be taken by the call of the muezzin into the worship of the Muslims“. Here, high-level Christian representatives promote Islamic propaganda. But: Those who no longer proselytize themselves are proselytized.
The spread of Islam as a judgment of God
Why was it possible for Islam to start its triumphal procession in the world from the 7th century onwards and to conquer almost all formerly Christian territories within a short time? Some of the reasons lay in the lack of mission of the Christians at the time and the crippling argument over minor issues. In the new impulse paper of the EKD on the topic “Reformation and Islam” the sola scriptura of the Reformation is openly corrected and relativized: “Thus, the biblical texts can not be understood in the same sense as introduced by the Reformers as an immediate word of God“. Is such a church and such a Christianity not long under the judgment of God? Perhaps the emergence and spread of Islam in Western Europe is a judicial action by God on Bible criticism that has manifested itself in churches and free churches for years, including in the judgments on ethical issues (homosexuality, gender, abortion)?
Islam is a post-Christian and an anti-Christian religion
Islam did not come into existence until the 7th century AD. Every child in the Islamic world learns that Christianity is a religion founded by Allah and that the Bible of the Christians has been falsified. Thus it is already taught to the children that in the original Bible of Allah, who have changed the Christians, the name of Muhammad and his coming already stood on the earth. Moreover, there are originally no three gods in the Bible: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For religious and non-religious Muslims it is clear: read the Koran, today’s Bible of the Christians is a fake!
Christians are seduced
Some Christians, who want to bring the Gospel to Muslims and read the Koran, are led by the mention of biblical names in the Koran to the opinion that the Koran and the Bible contain much in common. But is that true? Is this connection to statements in the Quran helpful for Christian mission? I think this is only possible at the expense of the truth.
In the Qur’an, Abraham has a crucial salvation-historical meaning, in the Koran he is the first Muslim who even built the Kaaba in Mecca and has already urgently asked Allah to send Muhammad as prophet. The Abraham of the Koran is not the Abraham of the Bible!
Jesus is called “Isa” in Islam and is a normal mortal man. He is explicitly rejected as the Son of God, his deity and his crucifixion are denied. Allah had saved Isa from the cross with a trick and Isa had announced Mohammed as the coming and greatest prophet. The Isa of the Koran is not the Jesus Christ of the Bible!
Sin is in the understanding of Muslims a misstep, which forgive Allah according to whim or punished. Sin in the Koran is something completely different from sin in the Bible!
And the Allah of the Koran is not the God of the Bible who has revealed himself to us as the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Holy Ghost. Muslims engage in idolatry and the Muslim faith is full of false doctrines as measured by the Bible.
The real obstacle to the conversion of Muslims
The main obstacle is not the Koran and the faith of Muslims, not the history of the Crusades or the attachment to the worldwide Muslim community. The greatest obstacle for Muslims to convert to Jesus Christ is the same as the obstacle of every human being, no matter in which people and in which religion a person grew up. Every human being is dead in his sins from birth! Every human being must realize that he is eternally lost without the Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who has given his life as atonement for us people on the cross of Golgotha. The conversion always involves the raising of the dead of a sinner. And only the living God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, can raise the dead by the Spirit of God. No one can save himself alone! No missionary can succeed in using human methods to give Muslims a special path to salvation.
Practical advice for dealing with Muslims
What followers of Jesus need in the 21st century in missionary work among Muslims is:
to live the sacrificial love of Jesus in the testimony to the Muslims;
to confess the personal faith in the encounter with Muslims in everyday life;
the renunciation of using the Koran in the testimony because it is an anti-Christian and anti-biblical book;
Courage, as the ambassador of Jesus, to call all Muslims to reconciliation with God and not to deny that Islam can not save a human being and that the Koran is not a revelation of the one true God;
the patience to study the message of the Bible together with Muslims;
the continuing prayer that by believing in Jesus Christ, Muslims are freed from the antichristian spirit of their religion and become missionaries of Jesus among their own peoples.
A good way to witness God’s grace and truth is the “Life” calendar, which we offer in 31 languages for personal evangelism.
Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Mission for South-Eastern Europe