Can a Muslim become a Christian?

Feb 20, 2007 | | 2 comments

I experienced a stark reminder yesterday that all Christ followers do not believe what I believe. I was connecting with someone who I met at church a couple of years ago, but I had not seen in a while. He and I chatted about church. He’s in the process of looking for another church to attend and my family has visited a couple of other churches too. I told him about one that we had enjoyed visiting. But when I mentioned that the pastor was a former Muslim, he said that there was no way he would ever go there. He couldn’t ever trust a Muslim.

I was flabbergasted! From the beginning of knowing about this church and its pastor, I thought it was very cool to be this close to a man who made such a radical life change (he left his family and his homeland) to follow Jesus. He can never go home again! Not knowing quite what to say to my friend, I asked him if he believed that God was unable to reach someone who is Muslim? He only said that he would never trust one of them. I asked him whether God could reach a Hindu, and he replied that he didn’t have any particular mindset about them… only the Muslims. He said he believes that they are the “root of all evil in this world.” I challenged him about that. He said, “I’m just being honest.”

I sincerely thanked him for being honest. I believe that honesty is the only beginning place from which we can find healing in Christ. If we are not honest about where we are, God cannot influence our lives. Jesus said that the truth would set us free. (Although I’m taking that quote out of context, I believe it is true). We cannot move forward if we are less than candid about our starting place. Having said that, personal honesty is still just a starting place. God loves us where we are, but he loves us too much to leave us there.

I challenged my brother to reconsider his (honest) position on the matter. If God cannot reach someone because they are Muslim, then none of us stand a chance. We are all on equal ground before him. None of us “deserve” his favor.

Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Colossians 3:11

I disagree with my brother’s position wholeheartedly. I believe that our only hope is in the sovereign, undeserved grace of God. I feel passionately about this. My passion is not against my brother. My passion is for my desire to see the healing peace of God in this world. My passion is for partnering with Jesus to bring a little bit of heaven into this hellish world that we live in.

whoever is not against us is for us. I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward. And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. Mark 9:40-42

I remember a story about the ten Boom family in the Netherlands during WWII. There was a scene in The Hiding Place in which Corrie’s father, Willem, who was a Christian, sewed a star of David on his sleeve to confuse the Nazi oppressors. He said that if we all wear them, they won’t be able to tell who’s a Jew and who is not. I like that.

I don’t want to hide terrorists from justice. At the same time, I vehemently oppose generalizations that reduce the problem to “us and them”. I understand the basis of the mistrust. I understand that there is a people group who by and large hate Christians. I understand that they mean to harm us and will do so at any cost. I do not believe that all Muslims fit this mold. Call me a fool, but I believe that God can and wants to touch the hearts of Muslims and Christians.

I pray for the shalom of God in this world beginning with me.

Posted in: church, Current Events, spirituality

2 Responses

  1. I am reminded of the experience of Jonah and Ninevah. The Ninevites were wicked and enemies of the people of God, yet the Lord loved them enough to send a racist prophet to preach to them and bring them to repentance. God is sovereign and by no means conforms to our expectations about who he should call into the kingdom (or who he shouldn’t). As Paul quotes in Romans 9, God says, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

    I think this gentleman needs to make some Muslim friends. Maybe that would be one means for God to break the racism that he (probably inadvertently) holds. They are as all of us were at one time: dead in transgression and sin, followers of the ruler of the kingdom of the air. Like the rest, we were objects of God’s wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

    Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.

    It sounds like you did a great job of listening carefully and correcting gently.

  2. I remember an idea from a Southern youth ministries professor (Dan Alewine)that what is generally true of a group is often not true of individual members of that group. He also wrote that groups often act in ways that individual members of that group would not act alone.

    There are militant Muslims. But individually the militants are simply fellow people, not group members. The sci-fi movie starring Lou Gossett (I forget the name) illustrates that individuals can break barriers but groups build them.

    I think that we can help any person come to know the love of God through Christ, but it begins with our seeing them as individuals and not simply members of a group.

    I agree that you did a great job with this brother. A seed planted that will bear fruit in time.

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