What’s the combination to evangelistically unlock the soul of a Muslim? Must you have expert knowledge of Muhammad or the Koran to expose their errors? Must you have sophisticated arguments to persuade of the logical validity of the Trinity or the deity of Jesus?
In his book, The Gospel for Muslims (Moody), Thabiti Anyabwile fields the question, “How do you share the gospel with Muslims? I feel so unequipped.”
He responds: “It’s a fine question, but it has a fatal flaw It assumes that somehow Muslims require a different gospel or a special technique, that Muslims are somehow impervious to the gospel in a way that other sinners are not.” (p. 13).
Whittle Islam down, and you discover that pure and simple, it’s a religion of salvation by works. The teeter-totter must tilt toward righteousness. Praying five times per day, fasting during Ramadan, almsgiving, making a Mecca pilgrimage — these are all efforts to earn Allah’s favor.
On the Day of Judgment, a Muslim’s good works must outweigh his bad ones. Only then, may he enter Paradise. The Koran reads: “Then those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy, they will be successful. But those whose balance is light, will be those who have lost their souls; in hell they will abide” (Sura 23:102-103).
The seesaw must tip to the side of virtue. And here’s the gaping hole for the gospel. No Muslim can ever be very confident about his final destiny. He’s never good enough. In a transparent moment, most will admit that they’re haunted by gnawing fears of forever punishment. Self is a sorry savior. The weight of their sins is too heavy for their consciences to bear.
Just like burdened sinners everywhere, Muslims need a mighty Savior — someone to remove the awful load. We must present Jesus as the lone beast of burden: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). His divine shoulders are broad enough. His Golgotha sacrifice atoned enough. Faith in Him is good enough.
Thabiti writes of a Muslim woman who had come to believe in Christ as her saving Lamb:
“She was a very attractive professional woman in her midtwenties. It was clear she had attended the discussion on Islam at the invitation of a friend. Finally, the crowd dwindled, and she shyly and politely thanked me for the talk.”
“Then the look. I’ve seen the look a number of times before. In an instant, a once forbidden but now ineffable joy broke across her face. Tears streamed down but her face beamed brightly. Her eyes grew slightly wild with excitement. She told me that her family was from Iran. She now lived and worked in the United States with her parents. But she has a secret. In the last two weeks, she has heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and she now loves him as her Savior.”
“I don’t know how to tell my parents, or what will happen. But I have never been happier in my life. I can’t explain it. . . . More tears. More beaming” (pp. 17-18).