[The following titles may be helpful in understanding a religion which seems more strange than Hinduism or Buddhism -- even though it claims (wrongly) to have roots in the Bible (see The Agenda of Islam). E. Fox]
The Call of the Minaret - by Kenneth Cragg
A superb introduction to Islam by a devout Christian who loves the people he wants to convert. His assessment of Islam has the approval of Islamic scholars, but he does not softpedal the differences between Christianity and Islam. Cragg wrote this book in the 1950's, but even then Islam had a reputation for violence and terrorism.
That reputation goes right back to Mohammed himself, and the conquest of Arabia, and then the whole of North Africa, up into Spain and France, and a pincer movement from the east into the Balkans. A major reason the Balkans are "Balkanized" is the presence of the Muslim population amidst the Christian Orthodox and Roman Catholic population.
Miracle of Miracles -- by Mina Nevisa (ISBN
#1-883928-46-X Available from )
The autobiography of a woman who, in the early 1980's, fled for her life from Iran when she was seventeen because she had become a Christian. It is an astonishing first hand testimony on the nature of Islam, and of the power of Jesus Christ to make all things new. It would be hard to find a more authentic portrait of Islam -- from an Iranian who loves her country and people deeply, who hopes to return there with her husband (who fled with her) to tell their people about Jesus.
Mina had not heard from her father for twenty years because he had declared her no longer his daughter -- until he was miraculously (that is the only word one can use...) converted himself, led by the Spirit of God to someone who knew how to contact Mina, and called her -- twenty years later.
Mina Nevisa makes the telling point that long before Mohammed, Arabic peoples had a deep and wonderful family tradition, upon which Islam was stamped by violence. In our approach to Muslims, we can appeal to that underlying fact of much of current Islamic culture. We need to distinguish between Islam and Muslim people (just as we must distinguish between homosexuality and homosexual persons, between behavior and personhood ). On that basis we can engage in graceful discussion, dialogue, and evangelism with these people, affirm their family tradition, and point to Jesus and His kingdom as the fulfillment of that.
As among homosexual persons, there are many Muslims who are open to seeking something better -- if we will show it to them.
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