Do we understand the Muslims we see everywhere in our culture today? When we see them in the grocery store, department store, malls, etc., what is our natural tendency? We avoid contact and certainly are both fearful and hesitant to talk with them. The Church Without Walls model of witnessing to Muslims gives us a practical usable strategy of understanding and a guide for practicing our responsibility and privilege of sharing the Gospel of the Kingdom. Dr. Anees Zaka, founder of Church Without Walls, says of Ian Coulter’s book, it is a step-by-step process for doing (this ministry).
Ian Coulter’s how-to book, Meetings for Better Understanding, is biblically written and because it is a common sense approach to spreading, sharing, or telling the good news, it works not only among the Muslims, but it works with anyone with whom God would have us witness. It will help us know what to say and how to say it to build relationships for better understanding whether it is one-on-one or in groups or larger settings. One suggestion for us is when we see someone with a burka or hijab on her head, let that be a reminder of the challenge God has set before us and do not turn away. Although that particular occasion may not be the time or place, God may give the right time and setting to us as we obey him.
Coulter’s book as well as similar books by Dr. Zaka come into view as we understand that as Christians we are not only responsible to know the truth, who is Christ himself, as he said to Pontius Pilate, we are also to share him with others. On the one hand we can and should be concerned about the growing number of Muslims locally and globally. But on the other hand, can we not see this as God providing opportunities to reach out to them?
In light of this growing concern of the spread of Islam, the stark reality of what happened on September 11, 2001 brought home to us the intent of Muslim terrorists when they hijacked three airliners, caused mass destruction, and over 3,000 people died as a result of their war on the U.S. Even now we are witnessing a wide spread controversy regarding the building of a Mosque Museum near “ground zero” where the twin towers, destroyed by two of the airliners, once stood.
As Christians we believe there is only one living and true God and this God exists in three persons; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We believe Jesus Christ is the only truth, life, and way to God. Any religion not built on this truth has to be considered wrong, even false. Does this get us off the hook? We would like to think so. Does the Bible not remind us that God’s good news of the Kingdom belongs to those from every tongue, nation, tribe, and people? Does not the Apostle Paul ask and answer, “how shall they hear without a preacher and how shall they preach…?”
Several years ago, being challenged to write a book on world mission strategy including a chapter on Islam, I became better acquainted with Dr. Zaka and the ministry of Church Without Walls, of which Coulter was later a part. I realized their philosophy of ministry was biblical, strategic, and just plain common sense. How can you witness to someone without dialogue and conversation and how much better if the dialogue grows out of a relationship? Having written on similar concerns, it was encouraging to receive a note of appreciation from Ian Coulter as well as to be quoted in chapter three of his book.