"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Books from Arab Christians

More books I've read . . .

To My Muslim Friends by Anis Behnam

From the introduction,

As a Christian who grew up in Egypt and had many Muslim friends whose friendship I really cherished, I must state that during the 28 years I lived in Egypt, I have never been insulted or prejudiced against by any Muslim.

While it is proper or even essential to have strong convictions, it is improper to speak in a derogatory way against other people's religion. It is acceptable for a Christian preacher to teach the tenets of the faith and to refute any teaching that contradicts the Bible, but it is not acceptable to use derogatory language on TV for example. It is understandable that a Muslim Imam would exhort his listeners to hold firmly to the teachings of the Qu'ran, but it is not right to describe Christians as infidels when his words are carried by a microphone and are heard by Christians. Such actions by either side will not gain the speaker new converts. It will only result in hatred and can even lead the fanatic and the less stable into erratic behavior, including criminal acts.

The Bible gives us good examples of how to preach to people of other religions. We are not to attack them or insult them, but simply present the Good News. When the Apostle Paul went to Ephesus and spent three years there, he preached the good news of salvation, but did not attack the pagan religion, nor did he speak against the false goddess Diana. ... But he always presented the truth and prayed for the salvation of the people to whom he presented the good news of salvation.

It is my wish to follow the same principle. To present what I believe and the reader examine what I say, and then decide for himself. God does not force anyone to embrace a religion against his will. This is just not God's way. Furthermore, I will do so with a spirit of love. This is why I called it "To my Muslim Friends" because friendship enables us to discuss matters in a friendly way and prevents us from hurting each other's feelings. I also wrote this because of my appreciation for the many Muslim friends whose moral character I admire, and who have been faithful in their friendship. With some of them, I have enjoyed friendly discussions of important religious issues. The purpose of this booklet is to discuss the main biblical doctrines which are often misunderstood by the sincere Muslim, or that seem to him to be blasphemy.

"Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:8)

The Crescent Through the Eyes of the Cross and the e-mail addendum by Nabeel Jabbour offer insights from an Arab Christian who lived in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. It explains to western Christians the baggage they bring when they try to present the Gospel to Muslims. The author shows us how our message, the messenger (us) and the receiver (the one to whom we are witnessing) have problems when we present the Gospel. Also the author shows us how we have put "western wrappings" around the Gospel. By seeking to stand in the shoes of the many Muslims he has talked with over the years, the author seeks to show us how we look and our message looks through Muslim eyes. This is a tremendous book, very challenging. It made me feel as if my Arab Muslim friend wrote half of it because the author so completely conveyed the Muslim perspective on many issues including Israel and the Palestinians! One of the best books I have read on this subject! The author has a love for Muslims and this is conveyed by his desire to show us how to be effective witnesses. The author also challenges us to look at the Bible through Middle Eastern/Arab lenses instead of our western ones. GREAT book. Highly recommend. Would like to read it again myself.

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