December 12, 2017

Muslims in America

Bob Rutledge

According to Reasoning from the Scriptures with Muslims (Ron Rhodes, Harvest House Publishers, 2002), in 1990 only thirty mosques were located in the United States; now there are over three thousand, with roughly one new mosque opening every week. As you can see, the Muslim population in the United States and Canada is growing at an alarming rate. There are also nearly two hundred Islamic schools, over four hundred Islamic associations, and around one hundred Islamic publications. Most American cities have sizable Muslim communities. I have visited Muslims in Brooklyn, New York; Dearborn, Michigan; Schaumburg, Illinois; Houston, Texas; and Atlanta, Georgia. Several hundred thousand Muslims live in each of these cities. Because the number in Dearborn is so great, I put away my visitation list and just went from door to door.

Muslims come to America for a variety of reasons: jobs, education, a better way of life, and, of course, the freedom they find here. Their presence gives Christians a wonderful opportunity to reach Muslims from countries where it is difficult to go as a missionary. Here we can openly reach them. Some churches are doing well in this area, but overall the response of the Fundamental church has been weak. Here are some common responses from Christians when they see Muslims.

The Fear Response: “These People Scare Me.”

After seeing a Muslim lady walking past her home, one lady said, “From then on I made sure all my windows and doors were locked in the day and the night.” Many Christians are afraid they might be attacked if they approach Muslims. However, most Muslims I have met are peaceful and law abiding. When we witnessed to Muslims in England for twenty-six years, we found they were more likely to be respectful and invite us into their homes than were non-Muslims. Risks are involved in any type of visitation, but our Lord said, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). However, if you approach a Muslim in a respectful and kind way, he will respond similarly. Let us boldly proclaim the gospel to them.

The Angry Response: “I Hate Muslims.”

On a plane I met a professing Christian who had served with the Army during Desert Storm. He had no love for the Muslim people. Some Christians have an almost Jonah-like spirit, wishing the destruction of Muslims more than their salvation. If we try to witness with anger, they will reject our witness. When a Christian approaches them with love and understanding, they will listen and sometimes even accept the Lord as Savior.

The Why Me Response: “Let Someone Else Do This.”

Many Christians feel that the Muslims’ beliefs and culture are so different that they say, “I will let other Christians who know more about them witness to them. I’ll witness to people I know.” That response is a clear disobedience of Christ’s command. In Mark 16:15 Christ commands every Christian to give the gospel to everyone wherever we are. First Peter 3:15 tells us to be ready to give an answer to every man who asks the reason for our hope. According to John 3:36 those who are not saved will have the wrath of God on them forever.

The Defeated Response: “They Will Not Get Saved Anyway.”

This response shows a lack of faith and knowledge. Romans 1:16 declares that the gospel “is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” The gospel of forgiveness and eternal life made possible by the shed blood of Christ is a message which has God’s power to work in the hearts of all, even Muslims. And Muslims are being saved in large numbers. A booklet entitled Inside the Revival by Joel C. Rosenberg gives examples of Muslims who came to Christ. Although we cannot verify the statistics given, they present a trend.

Iran: In 1979 at the time of the Islamic Revolution, only about five hundred converts to Christianity were known. By 2000 Christians numbered 220,000. One Christian said, “You don’t have to run after people to share the gospel— they come up to you to ask about the Lord.”

Egypt: Senior pastors estimate there are more than 2.5 million Christians in their country, and many of these are converts.

Sudan: Since the year 2000 more than a million and a quarter have given their lives to Christ in Sudan. Morocco: The Morocco news media is up in arms about the number of Moroccans who have converted to Christ. Reports suggest the number of believers is between 20,000 and 40,000.

Iraq: Christian leaders profess that the hunger for Christ inside Iraq is at an all-time high. By the end of 2008 Iraqi Christians numbered more than 70,000.

West Bank (Holy Land): Nearly 1000 Muslims have come to Christ in the West Bank alone.

Syria: In 1967 there were almost no known born-again believers in Syria. Today around five thousand believers live there.

Uzbekistan: In Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, believers in Christ have grown from a handful to over 30,000.

Pakistan: Pakistan is seeing an increase of converts to Christ. Nearly 3 million people profess Christ.

The Lord is working among the Muslim people. The great need is for Christians who will respond not in fear, anger, or unbelief but with Christlike love, understanding, and boldness to proclaim the Word of God to them. “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them” (Matt. 9:36). Let us be moved with compassion for the Muslim people.

Effective Ways to Impact Muslims

Begin by praying regularly for the Muslim people—for their salvation and for the Holy Spirit’s working to draw them to Christ. Pray for missionaries and other believers seeking to lead them to salvation. Ask the Lord to give you a love for them and an open door to witness to them. You might gather others to pray with you. Only the Lord can open the eyes of those blinded by the false teachings of Islam. So pray! Souls depend on it.

Start a visitation program aimed at reaching Muslims. Find Muslim names in the local phone book and visit those addresses. Examples of such names are Ahmed, Ahmad, Abdullah, Ali, Azeem, Fazal, Hamid, Haque, Ibrahim, Islam, Khan, Mohammed, Muhammad, Nasir, Noor, Omar, Rashsed, Sheikh, Sharif, Uddin, and Yusuf. When you visit, simply go to the door and see whether the person would be open to hearing a gospel witness. Most of the time they will be receptive.

When you find those who seem open to listening, seek to start a Bible study with them, invite them to a special service (such as “Friend Sunday”) at your church, and keep up regular visits as long as the door is open.

With your pastor’s permission, put into the church tract rack good gospel tracts written with Muslims in mind. Some of these include

For My Muslim Friend, American Tract Society, 800.548.7228

Jesus and the Qur’an, Good News Publishers, 630.682.4300

World Religions, American Tract Society, 800.548.7228

Listen to What the Prophets Say, Gospel Fellowship Association, 864.609.5500

Can a Muslim Know for Sure? Gospel Fellowship Association, 864.609.5500

God’s Bridge to Eternal Life (in Arabic and in Persian), 586.725.5800

If there is a mosque or Islamic center in your area, visit there on a Friday (the Muslims’ holy day) and give out tracts as the Muslims go home. This distribution might open good contacts to follow up.

Consider special services at your church. Arrange for a special speaker to come to your church on a Wednesday or Sunday evening to teach and challenge Christians to evangelize Muslims. (Feel free to contact me; see my contact information at the end of this article.) Ask your pastor to consider having a special service for those from non-Christian backgrounds to see a Christian film or hear a gospel witness and enjoy refreshments.

Look for creative ways to make contacts with Muslims. Many Muslim ladies want to improve their English, so a Christian lady could advertise free English classes as a way to meet and witness to Muslim women. Put an ad in the newspaper for free Bibles in Arabic, Urdu, Turkish, Persian, Punjabi, or Hindi. Provide an address or e-mail address for obtaining the books. Insert in the Bibles a leaflet offering a free Bible study and gospel tracts. Visits to local hospitals might put you in contact with Muslims wanting prayer and a conversation. Visits to prisons will often result in contact with Muslims open to a gospel witness. A message using the Old Testament prophets may open Muslims’ hearts. Give Muslims your business. Going to restaurants or shops owned by Muslims may lead to witnessing opportunities. I know Muslims who own and work at pizza, Greek/Italian, and Indian or Asian restaurants. Eating a meal at such a restaurant may begin a friendship that leads to an open door to witness.

Yes, Muslims are coming to America and making it their home. Instead of saying, “Oh, no!” let us say, “Praise the Lord!” and see this as a great open door to reach out to them. Let us show them the love that Christ has put in our hearts for all people.

“For a great door and effectual is opened unto me and there are many adversaries” (1 Cor. 16:9). Who will walk through the door? Will you?

Bob Rutledge is director of Islamic Outreach for Gospel Fellowship Association in Greenville, South Carolina. For twenty-six years he and his wife, Mary, served as missionaries in England, where they targeted Muslims in their outreach. If you are interested in discussing outreach to Muslims with Bob, call him at 864.905.3306 or send him an e-mail at rrutledge@ gfamissions.org.


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