The sixth of a series of articles examining how we can respond to Muslims in the UK.
‘We believe in Jesus,’ says our Muslim friend. ‘So why don’t you Christians believe in Mohammed?’
It sounds so reasonable. It appeals to our sense of fairness. But actually it is a trick question.
The Apostle John, in his first letter, took great trouble to help us recognise the work of the Holy Spirit from counterfeit look-alikes. Here are some of the key tests he gave us:
‘If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.’ 1 John 4:15
This is the Jesus who ‘came in the flesh’ (1 John 4:2) and who laid down His life for us (1 John 3:16). To add further clarity, we are told: ‘No-one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also’ (1 John 2:23).
Now Muslims hold that Jesus is a prophet, in the tradition of Abraham, Moses and David. But they deny that He is the Son of God, they deny that God came in the flesh, and deny that He laid down his life. (Jesus, according to most Islamic teachers, did not die, but was taken up to heaven alive.) So while claiming to believe in Him, Muslims deny all that is unique about Jesus, and so miss the forgiveness, salvation and peace which can only be found in Him.
Which leaves us needing to find the right reply to our Muslim friend. Rarely will it be wise to attack or demean Mohammed. Much better to compliment your Muslim friends on their belief in Jesus, but then to ask whether they have ever studied his life. An offer to get hold of a film about him in their own language is often more helpful initially than an offer of a Bible. The film appeals to the heart, and it avoids controversies over why there are four Gospels, and whether the Bible has been corrupted. Suggest that you should meet again to talk about the film, once they have watched it.
Written by AWM UK’s former Ministry Team Co-ordinator and edited, with permission, for the website.
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