Sharing our faith with Muslims requires Christians to know at least something about the religion Muhammad established 14 centuries ago.
Particularly enlightening are seven words that expose Islam’s view of the non-Muslim world and help us understand why Muhammad and his followers have consistently treated Christians with disdain.
Kafir. A kafir is “one who covers or conceals the known truth; an unbeliever.” In other words, a kafir is any non-Muslim.
Since kafirs reside outside the “world of Islam” and thus are in the “world of war,” they may be deceived, lied to, plotted against, enslaved, subjugated, mocked, tortured, driven from their homes, or killed.
Their key message: Islam is a religion of peace.
No doubt many of the world’s Muslims prefer peace to the sword, decrying the acts of Islamist terrorists as perversions of true Islam.
And to be fair, Islam is a religion of peace, as long as peace is defined in Muslim terms.
A case in point: dhimmitude.
He was born into the “T” tribe, known and feared as the Defenders of Islam on the Philippine island of Mindanao.
His father was an Imam, a Muslim spiritual leader.
And it was expected that he would follow in his father’s footsteps, joining his tribesmen in defending the religion Muhammad established 1400 years ago.
But then Mark went to trade school on the Island of Cebu to train in auto mechanics.
Apologetics simply is a reasonable defense of the Christian faith. The word is derived from the Greek noun apologia and means “a defense.” Apologia and its verb form apologeomai are used nearly 20 times in the New Testament, often in the classic legal sense, but more importantly to describe the call of God to all believers to defend the Christian faith with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15-16).
But how is sound doctrine applied practically? Put another way, what good is Christian apologetics?
Apologetics has at least four practical applications. We may use apologetics to:
Build. There is a positive case to be made for Christianity, and apologetics helps us get there.
The Bible, history, archaeology, and other sources help establish that a real person named Jesus burst onto the scene 2,000 years ago. He claimed deity, performed miracles, spoke the truth, modeled compassion, died on a Roman cross, was buried and rose physically on the third day. His coming to earth was the most important event in human history.
Further, apologetics helps us know who God is; who we are; why there is purpose in life; how we can be restored to a right relationship with our Creator; why we can face death without fear; and what God is doing about evil in the world.
So, how do Christian missionaries teach Muslims about Jesus when Islam denies His deity and death on the cross? And how do new converts from Islam to Christianity worship Jesus without inviting severe persecution?
One answer is Chrislam, the bringing together of Christianity and Islam. Proponents of Chrislam say that because the Qur’an mentions Jesus and affirms certain biblical teachings about Him, Christianity and Islam share at least some common ground.
They further argue that if Christians avoid the offensive term “Son of God” when referring to Jesus, and emphasize His role as prophet rather than divine Savior, Muslims are more open to the gospel. Once they come to faith in Christ, Muslims may continue to worship at a mosque, pray Muslim prayers, and even partake in a pilgrimage to Mecca.