Christians have a special duty as ambassadors of Christ to speak the truth. When we denigrate and demonize people of other faiths based on our own ignorance, we do far greater harm than good for the cause of Christ. If you heard someone speaking about Christianity using Westboro Baptist Church as an example of what we believe, you would dismiss them as ignorant and would probably not be interested in hearing more of what they have to say. Therefore, if we are going to speak about Islam and its impact on our culture, we must first seek a greater understanding of Islam than is currently found on most Facebook pages.
Labeling all Muslim people as terrorists who want to kill Americans is untrue and unhelpful to the cause of Christ. Those Christian voices in our culture today calling for a ban on all Muslim immigrants, many of whom are fleeing wars and famine and disease, do not speak for me or for a broad swath of followers of Christ. The same arguments used to denigrate these people could be used to denigrate Christianity. An uninformed reading of Scripture could lead a person to say that Christians believing in stoning adulterers, that we don’t allow women to speak in church, that God regularly commands his people to kill off whole nations, that God commands child sacrifice, and that Christians shouldn’t eat pork or clothing made from mixed fabrics.
Are some Muslims terrorists? Yes. Are some Christians racist bigots? Yes. Do Islam and Christianity agree? No. Is life found in and through Christ alone? Yes, but this knowledge should compel us to love our Muslim neighbors with a passion and an urgency. Do we love our Muslim neighbors (Jesus had a word or two about who is our neighbor) by kicking them all out of the country or labeling them all as terrorists? Is that what Christ would do? How do we advance God’s Kingdom–his rule and reign? Is it by name calling, war, or kicking people out of our country for their religious beliefs? The way of Christ is not the way of our world and the tools we use are not the tools with which our culture is so familiar. How can I love my Muslim neighbor? Is this not the question that should have primary importance in the life of a Christian?
A brief study of Islam (or even better–getting to know a few Muslims personally) will enable us to see that Islam is quite diverse. It is intellectually lazy to try to lump all Muslims into one pile; just as it would be to lump all Christians into one pile. Understanding more about Islam will better enable all of us to love our Muslim neighbors in the name of Christ.
Below you will find a number of resources for reading and study that have been helpful to me and that I recommend to you as you educate yourself on Islam. If you have questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Here you will find 24 separate lectures by Timothy Tennent on Islam. I can’t recommend anything better for you as a beginning place to gain a deep Christian perspective on Islam. These 24 lectures total approximately 16 hours. It should be required for anyone who wants to speak publicly about Islam. Click Here
2. Why study world missions? How can we build relationships with Muslim neighbors? In this 10 minute introductory video on Islam, Dr. Matthew Friedman shares stories and points of connection for living on mission to to Muslims. Click Here
3. A 55 minute video of a speech by Timothy Tennent focused on Christianity and Islam in a post 911 world. Not the most exciting speech, but informative for those who want to speak about the current cultural issues. Click Here
4. A short article that gives a Christian response to the growing fear and reaction to people of the Muslim faith. Click Here
5. An article by John Piper on a Christian response to Islam. Do not get lost in the opening few paragraphs. Make your way down to his 10 biblical responses to Islam. Click Here
6. A nice, brief introduction to Islam and interacting with your Muslim neighbors. Click Here