Muslims worldwide who come to faith in Christ consistently identify one of three factors leading to their conversion (or a combination of these three).
1. A copy of the Bible is placed in their hands.
When I first arrived in Southeast Asia, the only “win” I counted was a conversion. Because I wasn’t seeing a lot of those, I down-graded my “W’s” to sharing the Four Spiritual Laws. At our team meeting each month we would share how many people we had walked through the “plan of salvation.”
For Muslims, however, rather than defining your “W” as presenting a gospel formula, make it getting them to study the Bible with you.
A friend of mine, “Danny,” found this out after spending nearly two years debating with a Muslim friend, “Solomon.” Through the course of their friendship, Solomon told Danny that his arguments had not convinced him to be a Christian, but to be a better Muslim! Exasperated, Danny asked Solomon to read through the book of John, and Solomon obliged.
As Solomon read through the gospel, the words pierced his heart in a way that none of Danny’s arguments had. He read and re-read the Gospel of John, and soon came to faith in Jesus. What inspired this change was his exposure to the Word of God.
The Word of God is powerful. Let the Holy Spirit use the Bible to do the work of winning hearts to Christ. As Charles Spurgeon said, the Bible is like a caged lion. When it is attacked, we do not need to defend it; we simply need to let it loose.
2. They see the love in a Christian community.
The Muslim community, or ummah, is close-knit, but it is built on shame and reciprocity. Those who leave the ummah face ostracism, persecution, or even death. Christians can offer an alternative community, one founded on grace, acceptance, and forgiveness. Most Muslims have never seen this, even in their own families.
A great way to show this to Muslims is to invite them into your homes. Each year thousands of the best and brightest Muslims from around the world come to study in America. Did you know that most of these will never step foot in an American home during their entire educational career? This is a tragedy.
I recently had a debate with a Muslim scholar, and afterwards he was telling me about another debate he had recently with a religion professor from a more liberal university. “I did not like the liberal guy,” he said. When I asked why, he answered,
“I think I am more of a ‘Christian’ than he is. I believe more of the Bible than he does. Every time something was brought up from the Bible, he would apologetically explain it away. Your Christian world has two choices: the liberal professor, who doesn’t believe but is charitable, or the angry, hateful conservative. Many Christians won’t go toward liberalism, so they feel they have no choice but hatefulness. What they need is you. You believe every word of the Bible, but you have a generous spirit toward Muslims.”
As Francis Schaeffer famously said, “Love on display is the most effective apologetic.”
3. They are visited with a supernatural dream or vision.
I am naturally skeptical of supernatural dreams and visions. But I have seen too many Muslims come to faith as a result of dreams and visions to deny that it is a work of God. For whatever reason, God often uses supernatural dreams to push Muslims to investigate Jesus, to find a Christian, or to read the Bible.
This should humble us and remind us that the power for salvation comes from God alone. When we do not know what else to do, we ought to pray. Pray for your Muslim friends. Pray with them as well. Then stand back and give God a chance to work.