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 Post subject: Ministering to Muslims
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 6:55 pm 
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My wife and I have a weekly bible study group with muslim kids from our neighborhood. It's been going for about two years now, which represents a real surprise to us both. However, I am reaching a point where I am unsure how to proceed further in communicating the gospel message. Are there any resources available for successfully ministering to Muslims?


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 Post subject: Re: Ministering to Muslims
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:07 pm 
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Handmaids of the Lord
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Muslim kids? Without their parents? Are you serious? Well, if there is no impediment to these Bible study groups, I guess I could make a couple suggestions that I've come across (not my original ideas, necessarily). I don't know what you've covered, but here are some options:

If they have not embraced Christianity, and still consider themselves Muslims, then you could try incorporating The Gospel of John produced and/or distributed by Acts 17 Apologetics. It's in English (very old-school) and Arabic, with Biblical text and commentaries. It encourages the Muslim to compare what the Qur'an says about Jesus, God, salvation, etc., and what the Bible says. It takes the route of "revealing" to the Muslim that the Qur'an is more supportive of Christian truth than their scholars have interpreted it to be. It's not always useful to use the Qur'an to prove the Gospel, but some Muslims have admitted that they did come to the Christian faith via this route.

There is also a book called All That the Prophets Have Spoken. Based on the format of Jesus explaining himself on the road to Emmaus, the book attempts to help the Muslim see that all that was spoken by the prophets that they claim to revere points to Jesus being the Son of God and Savior of the World, not just a divinely appointed prophet.

The web site Answering-Islam.com is helpful in tackling theological issues with Muslims. Essays, Q&A, debates, etc.

You may want to check out Fr. Zakaria Boutros's site. He starts out each program with a question, and tries to answer the question using Muslim texts, comparing them with the love and beauty of the Gospel. For example, he may pose the question, "Is Islam inherently opposed to the arts?" Or he may ask, "Did Mohammed have deviant or perverse sexual practices?" Using their authentic texts, he asks them to look at what their religion actually teaches. With each episode, Muslims are exposed to the folly and lunacy. He has won many converts.

In using some of these resources I have made some occasional inroads, but I can't say that I've convinced any Muslim to leave Islam. I have seen the Deer in the Headlights Look when someone has discovered that they've read into the Qur'an things that aren't even in there (Ishmael being offered as a sacrifice, for example).

Overall, you can be an example of a good Christian to the Muslims you know. Many of them have it in their heads that all Westerners and all Christians are immoral, and we have to admit that we have ourselves to blame for some of that. When they find out that this isn't necessarily true, by way of your witness, you can soften hearts.

I hope this helps.

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 Post subject: Re: Ministering to Muslims
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:23 pm 
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Hey these are great ideas! I'll dig in.

We are surprised the parents of these kids allow them to come. Partly we think it is the kids really want to come, and it gives the parents a break for a few hours each week. The families are generally poor and don't have many toys or games for the kids. We give them lots of fun things to do at our house and regularly invest in making it better (computers, video games, trampolene, swing set, big screen TV, food and drinks). We also try to be very hospitable and helpful to their families. This seems to go a long way.


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 Post subject: Re: Ministering to Muslims
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:39 am 
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You in the west have home-court advantage.

So go convert muslims on your ground.


Let me tell you something, in Indonesia every time a celebrity (be it actor/actress, sportsman/woman, political figure etc) converts and becomes a "muallaf" it quickly makes into entertainment news show or even the newspaper. People talks about it, congratulate him/her etc. It (ie. the conversion) is something that is very meaningful and was appreciated. There have been high profile Christian-muslim conversions.

Why can't we have that in the west? Or at least in the "somewhat religious west" that we called "United State of America?" (since Europe had gone apostate)


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 Post subject: Re: Ministering to Muslims
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:44 am 
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How old are these children? Why are you unsure how to proceed? How far have you taken them? What are the obstacles or potential pitfalls? Are they well catechized in Islam, or are you more concerned about parental disapproval, or future questions?

Personally, I would avoid too much apologetics and just give them the straight gospel out of a catechism. If you teach them everything from a defensive posture, it may leave more questions in their mind than answers. Know the apologetics for yourself, be able to answer questions, and sure, arm them against some common objections. But don't over-do it. Apologetics can be included in catechesis, but it should not overshadow it, and it is certainly no replacement for it.


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 Post subject: Re: Ministering to Muslims
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:23 pm 
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I should have said up front: if they're children, stories about the Old Testament prophets are terrific, because you aren't likely to raise their parents' eyebrows. You'll also have the children's attention. The Nest animated video series offers short stories about Biblical characters. They're each about 20 - 30 minutes long. You can even get coloring/activity books to go with them. If you really feel like blowing a bundle of money, there are also videos about other "heroes" who espouse Christian virtues, or who have made great contributions to the human condition.

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 Post subject: Re: Ministering to Muslims
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:34 pm 
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We have about 10-12 kids each week and almost all are Muslim. They range in age from 5-16. Most are Turkish Russians who the US State Dept has sponsored to move to the US. A bunch of Turkish families live around us. There is also a Palestinian family who let their kids attend.

I use an illustrated children's bible. We went through many of the miracle stories of Jesus, and then the Easter story. Afterwards we read through most of the book of Acts. http://www.amazon.com/Illustrated-Bible ... 982&sr=8-2

I then got copies of the illustrated Genesis and Exodus. In addition to reading and discussing stories, we've watched several videos, notably of OT stories like the 10 Commandements. Now at year two, I am repeating some of the miracle stories of Jesus because we have had some turnover in the group. I know the long-time kids remember them because they tell me we read it before.

Many of them are now familiar with a number of Biblical themes. I try to communicate the spiritual truths without bashing them over the head. Once in a while they object to something, and I let them state their opinion.

This past week we talked about Jesus having the power to forgive sins, along with working miracles. A young girl asked me questions afterwards about obtaining God's forgiveness, and it is surprisingly hard to explain without using churchy words and western concepts. I actually have a lot of evangelizing experience (as a protestant), but talking with someone from another country and religious faith is a real challenge. Try it and see for yourself! ; )

The one child (so far) from the group who committed his life to Christ is from Costa Rica. He now attends a spanish speaking catholic church, but I didn't have anything to do with this directly.


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 Post subject: Re: Ministering to Muslims
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:35 pm 
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MySweetLord wrote:
I should have said up front: if they're children, stories about the Old Testament prophets are terrific, because you aren't likely to raise their parents' eyebrows. You'll also have the children's attention. The Nest animated video series offers short stories about Biblical characters. They're each about 20 - 30 minutes long. You can even get coloring/activity books to go with them. If you really feel like blowing a bundle of money, there are also videos about other "heroes" who espouse Christian virtues, or who have made great contributions to the human condition.


I'll check these out! Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Ministering to Muslims
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:01 pm 
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About the girl's question on God's forgiveness, I've heard a couple ideas that some people like to use. One is, of course, the visual of the young person being brought before a judge. The young person is guilty, and justice demands that the crime must be met with punishment. Then the judge takes off his robe and comes down from the bench, offering to serve the time or pay the fine himself, because the accused is his child. Justice demands a punishment, the judge has the right to mete it out, combined with unbelievable compassion.

I've heard of the visual of the two hands of God: one is for justice, and one is for mercy. They are both his to dispense as he sees fit.

The idea is that sin is an offense against an infinite God, by a finite creature. We have no way of paying off the debt ourselves. Since the offense is against God, it is his right to forgive if he finds the offender to be repentant. This is different from the Muslim concept of scales that weigh all of our good deeds and bad. If the weight of the good deeds outweighs the bad, then the Muslim enters Paradise. (It is also, unfortunately, one of the reasons why some Muslims throw their lives away in martyrdom missions. They are told that martyrdom outweighs all one's sins, regardless of their weight).

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 Post subject: Re: Ministering to Muslims
PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 12:00 pm 
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After considering the posts so far, and praying about this some more, I think I've got a couple of ideas for the next couple of weeks. First, I'm going to follow-up on the forgiveness theme by covering the parables of the lost sheep, coins, and prodigal son in Luke 15. Then next week I may shift over to Jesus' speech about being the good shepherd, in John 10.

A muslim convert to Christianity reminded me that the Holy Spirit has to open their minds to understand who Jesus is, as he did with Peter in Matthew 16 and the disciples on the road to Emmaus. What would really help is to have other people pray for these kids, that God would open their hearts and minds.

If anyone is interested, I would like to give periodic updates on the group and seek your prayers. I can shift this topic to another forum if more appropriate.

Thanks all


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 Post subject: Re: Ministering to Muslims
PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 12:44 pm 
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The San Juan Seminars have a Beginning Apologetics course on Islam.

BTW - this is a wonderful thing, in this time of lawsuits, you have made certain that your group is abiding by the guidelines of your Diocese?

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 Post subject: Re: Ministering to Muslims
PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 12:54 pm 
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kage_ar wrote:
The San Juan Seminars have a Beginning Apologetics course on Islam.

BTW - this is a wonderful thing, in this time of lawsuits, you have made certain that your group is abiding by the guidelines of your Diocese?


Good point. I took a child protection course required to work with kids at the school where our children go, but I'll ask about anything else suggested or required.

I checked out the San Juan Seminar website. A keyword search on Islam does not produce anything. Is there a specific item you know about?


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 Post subject: Re: Ministering to Muslims
PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:36 pm 
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Here it is -

http://www.amazon.com/Beginning-Apologe ... 1930084226

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 Post subject: Re: Ministering to Muslims
PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:54 pm 
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Handmaids of the Lord
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I have that. It's pretty good.

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 Post subject: Re: Ministering to Muslims
PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 5:52 am 
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kage_ar wrote:


Excellent. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Ministering to Muslims
PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:41 am 
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I made this thread a "sticky" so that you can update without having to track the thread down. God bless your ministry.

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 Post subject: Re: Ministering to Muslims
PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:47 pm 
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An update...

The Beginning Apologetics booklet is excellent. I am very impressed with it. Both my wife and I read through it, and will do so again.

This week went very well in one sense, but poorly in another. We read over John 10 and the good shepherd passages. They seemed to understand the metaphors very well. Then I went over the history and legends of St Nicholas, the first Santa Claus. They were very interested to hear he was a bishop in what is now Turkey. Most of the kids in our group are Turkish by ethnicity. Then we gave each of them a Christmas present. The whole lesson went very smoothly because the teenagers did not show this week. It was all kids 10 and under.

What went badly is my wife's health. She has a rare condition called Trigeminal Neuralgia, more commonly known as tic douloureux (sounds like "tick delaroo"). It causes severe pain on the side of her face and is caused by a nerve that emerges from the base of the brain. She was diagnosed two years ago, but has only had facial pain for limited periods of time. After about a year of dormancy, it started up again last night and continued on and off all day. There is medicine available to help, but it has a number of nasty side effects and the alternative is brain surgery. With only younger kids present I was still able to do the Bible study while my wife rested. Any prayers for my wife are greatly appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Ministering to Muslims
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:29 am 
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:pray: :pray: :pray:

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 Post subject: Re: Ministering to Muslims
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:30 am 
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:pray:

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 Post subject: Re: Ministering to Muslims
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:06 am 
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This is normally punished severely in other parts of the world; what an opportunity! I can only assume they might be of a Alevism community. It never hurts to learn about them. That's how the Mormons reeled me in when I was a youth.

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