Toward Christlike Relationships with Muslims
30 Days has decided to actively participate in a worldwide affirmation of believers called “Grace and Truth: Toward Christlike Relationships with Muslims.”
We ask our prayer partners to seriously consider the statements in this text and to pray this for yourself, your congregation and the body of Christ. We encourage believers to repent concerning all un-Christlike attitudes toward Muslims which are unworthy of our crucified and risen King. [John 1:17]
We as believers need to search our hearts and pray through the following points. Again we encourage believers to repent concerning all un-Christlike attitudes toward Muslims which are unworthy of our crucified and risen King.
1. Be Faithful to God’s Grace and Truth – the Whole Truth
We seek to relate to Muslims on the basis of the core convictions of Christian faith, not by hiding or diminishing them. Relating to Muslims with respect, understanding and love includes bearing faithful witness to essential truths of the gospel. Jesus is Lord. Forgiveness, salvation and eternal life are free gifts of God’s grace available to any person through repentance and faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection. We seek to obey the whole will of God, with its implications for every part of our lives in this world (Matt 22:37, 39; 28:20; Micah 6:8).
2. Be Jesus-Centered in our Interaction
Our focus is Jesus because he is the essence of the gospel. (1 Cor 2:2). We affirm a Jesus-centered approach to Muslims because it highlights the treasure of the gospel. It does not confuse the good news with Christendom, patriotism or our civilization. Jesus is our model, and we seek to embody his life in all we say and do.
3. Be Truthful and Gracious in our Words and Witness
We seek to be accurate when we speak about Muslims and their faith. Overstatement, exaggeration and words taken out of context should not be found among followers of Jesus (Matt 12:36, Ex 20:16, Matt 7:12, Matt 22:39). We affirm that proclaiming the Good News is a higher priority than defending our culture.
4. Be Wise in our Words and Witness
God’s Word calls us to share our faith wisely. “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity” (Col 4:5, James 3:17-18). We need to embrace that which is impartial and sincere, neither glossing over vital truths nor telling only one side of a story.
5. Be Respectful and Bold in our Witness
In the spirit of the Prince of Peace, respectful witness focuses on giving a positive presentation of the gospel. It does not attack the other or avoid presenting truth. (1 Peter 3:15). Numerous biblical examples (i.e. Acts 4:31; 9:27-28; 13:46; 14:3; 17:30-31; 19:8) invite us to emulate the boldness of early believers in sharing the good news. In obedience to the Scripture, we seek to be both respectful and bold in our witness.
6. Be Prudent in our Google-ized World
In the past, when leaders in a religious community spoke, it was only heard by their own community. But today our words ricochet around the world. When we try to explain who we are, what we believe, what we do, and why we do it, our words may reach beyond our primary audience. After saying something controversial, an outspoken leader may try to clarify his statement. But the damage is already done. Prudence is required. (Prov 17:27).
7. Be Persistent in our Call for Religious Freedom
We affirm the right of religious freedom for every person and community. We defend the right of Muslims to express their faith respectfully among Christians and of Christians to express their faith respectfully among Muslims. Moreover, we affirm the right of Muslims and Christians alike to change religious beliefs, practices and/or affiliations according to their conscience (2 Cor 4:2). Thus we stand against all forms of religious persecution toward Muslims, Christians, or anyone else.
8. Be Peaceable and Uncompromising in our Dialogue
Dialogue between Muslims and Christians provides us with opportunities to understand Muslims, build relationships, engage in peacemaking and share our faith. We seek to share the gospel respectfully and boldly, without compromise – as Paul “reasoned with” people (dialegomai – Acts 17:2, 17).
9. Be Loving toward All
The world’s Muslims are our neighbors, as Jesus used the term (Luke 10:29-37). The command of God to his people stands for all time: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev 19:18; Luke 10:27b). Both peacemakers and those who love their enemies are described as “sons [or daughters] of God” (Matt 5:9, 44; Luke 6:35). They are called children of God because they are acting like their Father: the God of Peace (Phil 4:9; 1 Thess 5:23). Responding to enemies with self-giving, sacrificial love demonstrates the gospel (Rom 5:10; cf. Col 1:21).
The Conclusion of the Grace and Truth Affirmation
We have been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18, 19). The commission to “make disciples of all nations” has not been rescinded. Neither have the commands to demonstrate sacrificial love and to work toward peace. There is no separate gospel for wartime and peacetime. The message of God’s love in Christ is for all times, places and peoples. We affirm the nine biblical guidelines presented here for all followers of Christ, that we may remain faithful to him and become more fruitful in our relationships with Muslims.
We have prayed through the nine points. May God continue to help us to develop good attitudes toward Muslims.