How can we radically change the conversation between Islam and Christianity?
It’s actually pretty simple. And it’s nothing new–Jesus did the exact same thing 2,000 years ago. In John 4, the Samaritan woman at the well recognized Jesus as a prophet and immediately wanted to ask Jesus a religious question: “Where should we worship God? At Jerusalem as the Jews believe? At Mt. Gerizim as the Samaritans believe?” It’s the classic setup for a debate. Whose religion is right?
Jesus, however, refuses to enter the discussion. In fact, he elevates the conversation to another plane altogether: “The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.”
So how can we implement Jesus’ way? Read on, friends, and see the simple diagram that has transformed everything.
1. For 1400 years, the debate has looked like this: Christianity v. Islam. Jesus v. Muhammad. Bible v. Qur’an. I know of many missionaries who tell Muslims that they need to become Christians. I’ve had many Muslims tell me that I’d be a great Muslim and that I should convert.
2. But what if there’s something far bigger than “Christianity v. Islam”? And what if THAT idea was actually what Jesus talked about all the time? Interestingly, Jesus never asked a single person to become a “Christian.” Paul was a Jew until the day he died. Both Jesus and Paul had a concern greater than religious identity. They spoke of the Kingdom of God. Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand. Change the way you think and believe in the Good News” (Mark 1.15)
3. The Kingdom is the conversation. What is the straight path into the Kingdom of God? How do we enter into a personal, transformational relationship with the King, living as citizens submitted to His good will? Here’s what I try to say to every Muslim I meet: “Listen, I know there’s been a lot of bad blood and misunderstanding between Christians and Muslims over the years. But we actually have quite a bit in common. And I believe that both you and me desire to love and honor the one true God. I promise I will never ask you to become a Christian. And please, don’t ask me to become a Muslim. But I also promise that I will do all that I can to help us both discover the true straight path into the Kingdom of God. And I believe that the true access to that Kingdom is through the sacrifice of Jesus the Messiah.”