Ordinary Muslims do not live in a vacuum; they’re immersed in a web of societal meaning and implication, part of an interacting whole.
The aim in mission to Muslims must be to give the unchanging gospel, as relevantly and comprehensibly as possible. It is a question of ‘preaching’ that gospel in power, from within the constructs of Muslim reality and beginning with Muslims’ needs.
How often have Muslims especially ‘rejected’ the emissaries’ culturally loaded presentation of Jesus Christ, rather than the Saviour Himself? Introducing the Jesus who can truly meet every need, who can miraculously change affairs in the everyday Muslim world, who judges, or accepts, or transforms their cultural habits to bring new wholeness to society, as well as to individuals – such must be the goal of those called to minister to today’s Muslim masses.
The channels for such sharing might be many. Dreams are one and they are strongly visible in the OT and considerably so in the NT. Where are the Josephs and Daniels of today to affirm and interpret God’s word to them?
National Christians and missionaries are exploring other channels of proclamation to Muslims with a folk-Islamic view of reality. Emphasis on the mediatorial role of Christ, the presentation of the ‘mystery’ of the gospel and other approaches – all are encouraged in an attempt to hold hands out to Muslims deeply influenced by an Islamic mystical tradition. The call, in such situations, is not to faith in Jesus via Western culture, but is much more direct.
Many channels can carry the Christian gospel to the centre of the folk-Islamic worldview. Their needs offer opportunities for the communication of a Christian gospel that speaks relevantly to them.
From private intercessory prayer to public healing in Christ’s name, power encounter offers a biblical point of contact in which the demonic is exposed and dealt with. The Holy Spirit who thus ‘comforts’ the child of God also bears witness to the truth.
In such strong meeting of needs, there needs to be no destruction of healthy worldview. Appeal will be made, however, not to the zodiac, but to the Lord of the heavens.
Ways in which folk-Islamic concepts and assumptions help keep up societal relationships will need to be carefully considered in any compassionate proclamation of Christ to ordinary Muslims. Is there recognition and room made for the expression of gifts of power resting on Christ’s new people from a folk-Islamic background?
Lest we be overwhelmed by some of this, we need to be reminded that the Lord of the harvest, including the part composed of ordinary Muslims, is the Holy Spirit. He graciously uses us, even though we may be steeped in a culture that, in many respects, must grieve Him.
- Can such ambassadors for Christ recognise as real the folk-Islamic genius of the ordinary Muslim’s worldview?
- Do they have the faith, patience and humility to trust Christ to produce the ensuing transformation of worldview at the deepest level of the Muslim’s life?
- Do they have the relationship with Christ to be able to provoke a power encounter in the experience of the ordinary Muslim?
As far as the Christ of that glorious gospel is concerned, the open invitation originally made in the towns of Galilee holds true for today’s Muslim masses. His sovereign, costly offer is addressed to them — “Come to me.”
Bill Musk suggests in our exploration of the unseen face of Islam to pray a model prayer such as this one —
Almighty God, who called Your Church to witness that You were in Christ reconciling people to Yourself — help us so to proclaim the good news of Your love, that all who hear it may be reconciled to You –through Him who died for us and rose again and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen
Acts 13:2; I Corinthians 1:23