This morning I participated in a panel discussion at Southern Seminary about the the growing Muslim population in America, and specifically in Louisville. A story published in our local paper, which covered a report from the University of Kentucky regarding the growth of mosques, spawned the discussion.
This is particularly important to us, because the largest mosque in Kentucky is under construction right next door to Sojourn’s East Campus. We had a healthy conversation about what this all means, how we as Christians should respond, and how we are to love our neighbors in a changing world.
Two books have been very helpful for me in this area: Breaking the Islam Code: Understanding the Soul Questions of Every Muslim by J.D. Greear, and The Gospel for Muslims: An Encouragement to Share Christ with Confidence by Thabiti Anyabwile.
Greear is a good friend, a great preacher, and has lived overseas ministering to Muslims. He has helped me see more clearly how the good news of the gospel confronts Islamic theology. In his book he advocates moving past our current simple formulas of forgiveness and death as the gospel, and articulate the gospel instead as cleansing, victory, and story.
Another North Carolina native, Anyabwile is a former Muslim, a faithful pastor, and also a great preacher. In an interview with Trevin Wax, he explains there are two big myths we believe that scare us away from sharing the gospel with Muslims:
First, many Christians tend to think every Muslim has memorized the Qur’an and is likely a radical. That’s the “super Muslim” myth. Second, many Christians think they need to be world class apologists, able to answer ever Muslim question or critique of Christianity. That’s the “I’m so inadequate” myth.
So what do you think? How should we love our Muslim neighbors? What has helped you?