Romans 14:13-23 is a familiar reference most use in regards to drinking alcohol in front of someone that suffers from alcoholism, but I was reminded of this scripture again when I read pages 22-23 of Ex-Muslim by Naeem Fazal:
“It would be easy for me to walk away from Islam and never look back, but looking back is precisely what I must do if I am going to engage Muslims with the gospel. I need to remember my heritage, and I need to be conversant with the belief system my culture is founded upon. This knowledge enables me to have intelligent conversation and to keep the dialogue going toward truth.”
Muslims are offended by images of Christ on a tract. Naeem said he wouldn’t give a Muslim a tract because Muslims look at representational art as idolatry. Jesus is a sign of my faith. Naeem says they would think we are worshiping an idol if we gave them a tract. It reminded me of the above scripture in Romans how we shouldn’t cause someone to stumble on the way to the cross. There are many ways to talk to others about Christ, and I would never have thought about educating myself on other cultures or beliefs as a way of reaching others for the gospel. By understanding what offends, instead of learning in order to defend, doors previously closed to the gospel may open.
Especially when we take the time to get to know the people and speak from a place of love. Over and over again, Naeem reminds us that we need to get to know people on a personal level. People aren’t a project or a ministry. They have histories and Jesus loves them.
Perhaps I need to contact a missionary friend and make a visit to him in Phoenix, to spend some time with foreign students? I have so much to learn before the launch of Cataclysm in 2015.