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Guidelines on Muslim evangelism strategies

分類:穆宣策略指引
發佈於:2017-06-03, 週六

Guidelines on Muslim evangelism strategies

(This English version is prepared only as a reference to non-Chinese speakers. In case of discrepancies between the English and Chinese versions, the Chinese version shall prevail.)

To church leaders, seminary teachers, and mission organization co-workers

As a group of mission workers, we expect more and more believers embark on cross-cultural missions to bring the Gospel to the 1.7 billion Muslims. It brings us great joy to see the Lord sending out workers into His harvest field among the unreached Muslim groups. All who dedicate their lives to this end are valuable; they put down everything, leave their homes, and stay in different and challenging environments. It is not easy to identify with a culture and behold the truth while witnessing Christ's divinity and humanity!

The term “Muslim”, as understood by the Muslim communities worldwide, is a person who believes in Islam, submits to Allah based on the teachings of Islam, and acknowledges Muhammad as the last and the greatest prophet. This is particularly reflected in the Muslim creed (Shahada): “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger”. Shahada, the Muslim creed, is an inevitable part of declaration of faith. In recent years, some Christians understand “Muslim” in a purely cultural and non-religious meaning, and some Christians believe that Islam and Christianity are very similar and come from the same God, thus creating some contextualized Muslim evangelism strategies that have raised concern and worry, for example, (1) self-identification of Christians as Muslims who worship Jesus, (2) adopting the worship of Jesus in a mosque as the ultimate strategy, or (3) stating that the Quran has divine inspiration, or even (4) removing and replacing the words about Jesus as the Son of God in the Bible. The trends of development and related actions give cause for concern that those in the Body of Christ who participate in such strategies are deviating from biblical truth even if unintended, which causes various deviations and controversies and brings about a crisis in our faith.

In fact, anti-Christian beliefs are inherent in the core doctrines of Islam. So, on the relationship between Christianity and Islam as well as any Muslim evangelism strategies, we believe Christians must build their convictions based on truth. In view of this, we try to put forward a set of simple guidelines for mutually keeping watch and reminding one another, and helping those concerned with Muslim evangelism carry out evangelism based on biblical methodology.

To facilitate partnership and cooperation in mission with others in the Body of Christ, we welcome and look forward to the adoption of these guidelines by various churches, seminaries, mission organizations, and fellow colleagues in Christ, or their referencing of the contents of these guidelines in the development of similar guidelines themselves.

Committee on drafting of guidelines on Muslim evangelism strategies

May 2017

Guidelines on Muslim evangelism strategies[1]

29 May 2017

1.Statements of our position regarding the Islamic faith[2]

1.1  The Quran is not the word of God[3]. The Bible is the inspired word of the triune God[4], and is the only authority of our beliefs, values and practices.

1.2  Muhammad is not a prophet of God.

1.3  Islam is not the true way that may lead its believers and followers to heaven or to a relationship with the true God, or to salvation, or to forgiveness of sins.

2.Expression of core beliefs

We believe Christians should not give the false impression that the core beliefs of Christians and Muslims are the same, and must distinguish the differences between these core beliefs in the following aspects:

2.1  The attributes of God[5]

2.2  The identity of Jesus[6]

2.3  The status of the Quran[7]

2.4  The identity of Muhammad[8]

2.5  God’s work of redemption[9]

3.Participation in Muslim religious practices

We believe[10]:

3.1  Christian evangelists should not declare that they convert to Islam in order to win Muslims to Jesus Christ.

3.2  Christian evangelists should not participate, nor should they teach converts to continue participating, in the Muslim worship and other rituals at any mosque or other places. [11]

3.3  Christian evangelists should not recite, nor should they teach converts to continue reciting, the Muslim creed (Shahada).[12]

3.4  If Christians participate in Muslim practices like fasting during Ramadan and avoiding pork and alcohol that are not directly contrary to the Bible, their motive and goal should be for the edification of people, including communicating that it is not for earning salvific merit with God.

4.Self-identification

We believe:

4.1  Christian evangelists should not identify themselves as Muslims.

4.2  Christian evangelists should not teach converts to continue identifying themselves as Muslims in terms of faith commitment. [13]

4.3  The identity of Christian evangelists and converts should be consistent with the identity of churches and Christians around the world and throughout the ages, including acceptance of baptism.

5.Bible Translations

5.1  We reject Bible translations in any language that remove or replace the words about Jesus Christ as the Son of God or God as Father.[14]

6.Integrity

6.1  We reject any deception and will never preach anything unbiblical and what we do not believe whatever the purpose.



[1] We are committed to work in ways that communicate respect for culture and mores as far as they are biblical and do not affirm adherence to Islam. Besides the statements of faith, most of the issues relate to what means are permissible without conveying meaning that is not intended and unbiblical. Just because a person has been genuinely saved, it does not follow that the means employed are desirable, reproducible, or to be emulated. Any number of conversions of Muslims by a strategy does not necessarily mean that the strategy is biblically permissible or that it is sustainable.

[2] The Quran claims to be a revelation from the same God that Christians worship and calls Muhammad the last and the greatest prophet. But the Quran considers that Christians believe that God and Jesus (called Isa in the Quran) and Mary are three gods and Jesus is the Son of God conceived in a physical manner, and thus objects to Jesus as the Son of God, and considers Jesus only as a prophet of God and the word and spirit of God; and records that Jesus was not crucified but was taken up to God Himself. The Quran claims that the Bible, the Torah and the Gospel that the Jews and Christians read, are the scriptures of God that they can follow. But what the Quran says is often very different from the Bible. Topics with significant differences include the attributes and deeds of God, the identity and deeds of Jesus, the concept of revelation, many records (e.g. more than 20 prophets in the Old and New Testaments) and teachings (e.g. how to obtain atonement and enter heaven, the meaning of worship, fasting, and giving, the description of heaven, the position of men and women and marriage, the law governing the state, Jihad). For the relations between Islam and Christianity, one may refer to www.ysljdj.org; www.answeringislam.info/Chinese.

[3] Muslims believe the name of God to be Allah.

[4] We believe that the one true God is the triune God that all major Christian denominations believe in. The “God” mentioned in this document refers to Him.

[5] There are major differences between the attributes of the God whom Christians worship and those of Allah whom Muslims worship.

[6] Jesus of the Bible is not the same as Isa of the Quran.

[7] The Quran is not the word of God and does not have equal nor higher authority than the Bible. We do not use the Quran in a manner that gives it authority.

[8] Muhammad is not a prophet of God.

[9] Islam does not teach about God’s work of redemption.

[10] Christian evangelists have the responsibility to teach converts that there is a cost to follow Christ, and should as far as possible walk together with the converts to face the challenges.

[11] This is not to say that converts early in their conversion might not continue to participate in the Muslim worship temporarily. It is to say that Christian evangelists should not teach or encourage such participation.

[12] According to Muslim understanding, a public recital of the Shahada is a declaration as a Muslim, who submits to Allah and considers Muhammad as the greatest prophet. This is not to say that converts early in their conversion might not continue to recite the Shahada temporarily. It is to say that Christian evangelists should not teach or encourage such participation.

[13] This is not to say that converts early in their conversion might not continue to identify themselves as Muslims temporarily. It is to say that Christian evangelists should not teach or encourage such participation.

[14] In the spring of 2012, Wycliffe Bible Translators (WBT) and SIL International invited an independent committee of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) to conduct an independent external review on how they translated the words "God the Father" and "Son of God". The purpose of this review is to provide a report on acceptable methods for WBT/SIL’s translation of the Divine Familial Terms, in particular in the Muslim context, and on how to implement the recommendations. This report was published on April 2013: www.worldea.org/images/wimg/files/2013_0429-Final%20Report%20of%20the%20WEA%20Independent%20Bible%20Translation%20Review%20Panel.pdf. In December 2016, another more detailed document on the translation of the “Divine Familial Terms” was written to guide biblical translators and other translators to make technical decisions. The article also set out a series of rigorous selection and testing processes, in order to properly translate "God the Father" and "Son of God" in the Muslim context. www.worldea.org/pdf/DFTTP%20-%20December%202016.pdf?utm_source=iContact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=WEA%20Media%20Releases&utm_content=Wycliffe+%2F+SIL+Translation+Guidelines. Based on the above guidance report and document, we are not in favor of translation that obscures the divine Father and Son relationship.

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