According to recent reports the fastest growing religion in the world is Islam. It is also leading the way in the western countries like the US. This presents a unique challenge for us a Christians; not only do we have a different religion but we have a very different culture to engage. As the Muslim population in our cities increase it is accompanied by the culture that envelopes Islam.
As Christians we are by in large pretty ignorant about Islam and its adherents. To make matters a bit more complex, many Christians are a bit unsettled by terrorist events and therefore increasingly xenophobic of their Muslim neighbors.
Acknowledging the xenophobia, cultural distance, and religious ignorance, John Klaassen aims to help Christians and whole churches understand more about he variety of Muslims living in the West, and to reach to them with the gospel. Klaassen is up for the task having served as a missionary and presently as Professor of Global Studies at Boyce College in KY.
In his short little book (100 pages), Engaging with Muslims I think Klaassen hits his mark. He helps us to better understand Muslims and then provides some basics for engaging them with the gospel.
He provides helpful intel on why and how to pursue a friendship with a Muslim. And then he walks you through how to not be a culturally insensitive American (I’m sure he was referring to Americans) when you spend time together. He provides practical social etiquette such as hand shaking, not eating all of your food when served, how to show gratitude, and other items. This was very informative for me and doubtless a resource I will come back to when given the opportunity in the future.
Klaassen wants you to do more than just have Muslim friends, he wants you to pursue gospel conversations that lead to gospel conversions. In this he reminds us that we are ultimately talking about souls. This should and must impact our heart. Further, he helps us to build the context of a Muslim’s thought about who God is and who we are. He provides simple examples and Scriptures to help relate the gospel to a person from a culture that is quite different than the one we live in. He maintains the text in a different context.
Some of the most powerful parts of this book were the stories from his Muslims friends that have now become his brothers and sisters in Christ. To read their words is to enter into the story. It’s powerful. The fact that Klaassen writes well about this topic is one thing, however, he has also applied it and has the fruit of it to encourage us with.
It’s a good book and one that I’ll recommend and hand out. Pick up discounted copies of Engaging with Muslims at Amazon.