There are a myriad of voices prescribing how we should react to the Muslim population living among us. The following are descriptions of seven different approaches to Muslims. These approaches are not necessarily prescriptions for how to approach Muslims. They are simply intended to be descriptions of the different approaches. These approaches are on a sliding scale beginning with an ultra-conservative reaction and ending with an uncritical embrace of Islam.
A political approach that views all Muslims with suspicion and sees them as a threat to our society. The primary solution in this approach is political might.
- Strength: Exposes the political Islamists who have designs for infiltrating and taking over Western Democracies.
- Weakness: Tends to portray all Muslims as a threat. Creates a paralyzing fear in reaching Muslims with the Gospel.
A confrontational approach aimed at exposing the contradictions and falsehoods in Islamic belief.
- Strength: Confronts Muslims with the contradictions and falsehoods in their religion. Also, helps others to see the faults in Islamic belief.
- Weakness: Can be perceived as a lack of love and concern for Muslims. May offend Muslims to the point where they no longer want to listen to the Gospel message.
A defensive approach which answers Muslim attacks on the Christian faith.
- Strength: Refutes and clears up Muslim attacks on the Bible and Christian doctrine. Helps to strengthen the confidence of Christians in the reliability of the Bible and soundness of Christian doctrine. Equips Christians with answers to Muslim objections.
- Weakness: Many apologetic arguments “go over the head” of the average Muslim person. May lead to answering questions that a Muslim friend is not asking.
This approach values building a relationship with a Muslim person so that a Muslim can see the love and care the Christian has for them, while at the same time opening the Muslim’s heart to Gospel witness.
- Strengths: Views Muslim people with dignity as people created in God’s image. Displays a genuine love and concern for Muslim people.
- Weakness: Many Christians in this situation become fearful of losing their Muslim friend if they share the Gospel with them, thus they never get around to introducing their Muslim friend to Christ.
An approach in which a Christian seeks to establish himself as an authoritative teacher of the Bible in the eyes of a Muslim friend.
- Strength: Demonstrates how the Gospel applies to all of life. Sets a goal for quickly introducing a Muslim friend to the teachings and life of Christ. Uses a Muslim cultural value of religious authority.
- Weakness: Can be difficult for a Western person to adapt this style of ministry.
The Messenger, The Message and The Community by Roland Muller
In this approach the Christian opens his/her home to demonstrate and share the love of Christ with Muslim friends.
- Strength: A highly tangible display of Christian love and charity. Invites the Muslim friend to see how the Gospel transforms a family. Provides the opportunity to share from the Bible and demonstrate prayer. Uses a very deeply appreciated Muslim cultural value.
- Weakness: Some may back away from sharing Scripture or prayer for fear of offending a Muslim guest.
Insider or Jesus Movements
An approach that mixes Muslim belief and religious practice with Christian doctrine.
- Strengths: Respects Muslim culture.
- Weakness: Confuses culture and theology. Misrepresents both the Gospel and Islamic belief creating a dangerous syncretism.