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08. GOOD NEWS FOR MUSLIMS
0 - INTRODUCTION
QUESTIONS OF DISPUTE: Whoever comes to discuss the Gospel of Jesus Christ with Muslims will soon find out that there are three important issues of dispute. All three of these matters can easily bring the discussion to a standstill. From the standpoint of Islam these are:
1. The Bible: The Torah, Psalms and Gospels are not trustworthy, since they have been falsified by Jews and Christians.
2. The cross: The Good News of salvation from the punishment of hell through the atoning death of Christ on the cross for our sins is such a Christian falsification, for according to the Koran Christ was never really crucified. Beyond that, no soul that is burdened with guilt can be burdened by the burden of another. In other words, substitution is not possible.
3. The Trinity: The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not one triune God, but a further falsification of Christians. God can only be one, as the Koran teaches. He is not Father and not Son and not Spirit.
How can one talk with Muslims about these insurmountable dogmatic hindrances in such a way that the conversation does not get bogged down in futile argument at the very beginning? The following practical suggestions are meant to help the Christian overcome such deadlocks hindering spiritual conversation with Muslims. For each of the three questions of dispute, listed above, five different helps will be given, each corresponding to one of the five following conversational situations.
SITUATIONS: There are different types of Muslims, of which we will exemplarily consider: proselytizing, resistant, open minded, despondent and former Muslims. In discussing faith with them, diverse situations can arise in which different challenges take on pressing importance. In conversations with Muslims we cannot always have the same goal. The following list of challenges reflects fundamental types of situations encountered in conversations with Muslims.
1. Answering Koranic arguments supporting Islam. This challenge is important in discussions with proselytizing Muslims, who are themselves active in Muslim outreach, calling Christians to Islam.
2. Refuting Koranic arguments against the Gospel. In discussions with resistant Muslims, answers are particularly helpful that use the Koran itself to refute Koranic arguments against the Gospel.
3. Uncovering Koranic arguments for the Gospel. From former Muslims, who today are Christians, we can learn how to offer arguments for the Gospel from the Koran to open minded Muslims.
4. Introducing Biblical arguments for the Gospel. Each of us should be prepared to offer the message of the Gospel e.g. to despondent Muslims in such a way that they can obtain access to the core of the Biblical message and thus be able to apprehend its truths by faith.
5. Offering Koranic arguments against Islam. Former Muslims stand in danger of reverting back to Islam. For them, special arguments related to the Koran can be important in helping them not to abandon their Christian faith.
As indicated, we will reflect upon each of the three questions of dispute, mentioned earlier, as they relate to these five conversational situations. The result will be fifteen subjects as listed in the overview at the end of this introduction.
ARRANGEMENT: In order to remain as clear and precise as possible, each of the 15 subjects in this series, with few exceptions, will contain the following sections:
1. Challenge: Here we will sketch the starting point of each encounter, as well as the resulting questions that we want to deal with in the respective subject.
2. Answer: This will usually be the longest section in each of the 15 subjects of this series. Here we will offer helpful suggestions answering the respective challenge.
3. Sad news: Under this heading we will give the negative summary of why it is no longer possible for a Muslim to hold to the arguments he brings against the gospel.
4. Good news: Here we will sum up the Muslim's new spiritual perspectives arising from the answers we offer.
5. Additional information: In some instances we will offer information to deepen and enlarge the understanding of the respective subject.
6. Testimony: Here we will be quite practical. From the concrete experiences of former Muslims the reader will be able see why they left Islam and are following Jesus today.
7. Prayer: In order to not just talk about faith, but also to practice it, we have formulated for each subject a short prayer that a Muslim can pray.
8. Questions: To stimulate the reader's own thinking, we ask questions related to the respective subject. Such questions can be employed in conversations with Muslims.
9. For memorization: Muslims are accustomed not only to read their holy scriptures, but also to memorize them. In this section we offer Bible verses that relate to the respective subject. When memorized, they can become a root for spiritual growth.
As a follow up to the 15 subjects we offer, in an appendix, helpful rules to follow in conversations with Muslims.
1. Bible 1 – Is the Koran infallible?
2. Bible 2 – Has the Bible been falsified?
3. Bible 3 – Did Moses prophesy the coming of Muhammad?
4. Bible 4 – Why can you trust the Bible?
5. Bible 5 – Why don't Muslims trust the Bible?
6. Cross 1 – Who goes to hell?
7. Cross 2 – Has Christ been crucified?
8. Cross 3 – How was Abraham's son redeemed?
9. Cross 4 – Why did Jesus die for your sins?
10. Cross 5 – Why does the Koran deny the cross?
11. Trinity 1 – Why Muhammad and not Christ?
12. Trinity 2 – Is the Trinity a lie?
13. Trinity 3 – Is Christ like Adam?
14. Trinity 4 – How can God be triune?
15. Trinity 5 – Why does the Koran deny the Trinity?
Appendix: Golden rules for conversations with Muslims