Yesterday I shared three takeaways from the book The Gospel for Muslims by Thabiti Anyabwile. It’s a thin book (yay for books that don’t overwhelm!) with two sections. The first section covers the basics of the gospel and how Muslims’ beliefs compare, and the second is filled with practical tips for how to share the gospel with Muslims (chapter titles like “Be Filled with the Spirit,” “Trust the Bible,” “Be Hospitable,” and more).
I didn’t realize until I picked up the book that Thabiti converted to Christianity as a sophomore in college. Get a copy for yourself to learn why he became convinced that Islam couldn’t be true and how God finally drew him to Himself. It’s intriguing!
Thanks to one of Thabiti’s practical suggestions, I’m going to be baking all week. I invited the woman in the hijab from across the street over for tea, and she said yes! Thabiti shares that only women have the opportunity to reach Muslim women for Christ (they can’t interact with men), and he suggests spoiling them like crazy when they come for tea. So I’m planning to do just that.
Sharing the gospel with Muslims really wasn’t on my radar until I moved to New York to marry Trevor. Suddenly I had not just one Muslim neighbor, but two. (This is a big deal for a girl who grew up surrounded by cornfields!)
“The Gospel for Muslims” is a thin book (yay for books that don’t overwhelm!) with two sections. The first section covers the basics of the gospel and how Muslims’ beliefs compare. The second section is filled with practical tips for how to share the gospel with Muslims (chapter titles like “Be Filled with the Spirit,” “Trust the Bible,” “Be Hospitable,” and more).
You may not be surrounded by Muslim neighbors, but maybe you go to school with a Muslim or work with one—or will one day. So I want to share three takeaways I’ve gotten from this book so far that I think will help you, too.
It’s okay to feel afraid to share the gospel with Muslims.
You’re not alone. Even Thabiti, who converted from Islam to Christianity in college, shares of a time he was scared heading into a public debate with a Muslim. Here’s the thing: We don’t have to conjure boldness up from deep within us. Boldness comes from being filled with the Spirit of God. “In the book of Acts,” Thabiti shares, “the activity most frequently associated with the Spirit’s filling is speaking with boldness.” Here are just a couple examples:
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31).
Don’t keep silent when you are afraid. Pray that the Holy Spirit would fill you and give you the boldness you don’t have in order to be a witness for Him.
You have everything you need to share the gospel with Muslims.
You are equipped, even if you don’t feel like you are. The same message that saved you—the gospel—is the message that can profoundly transform your Muslim neighbors and friends. Seriously. Thabiti got me with this zinger on page thirteen: “In my experience, Christians know the gospel. They simply lack confidence in its power.” Ouch.
Share the gospel with Muslims. You don’t have to share it perfectly, without stumbling. You’re not responsible for whether they believe it; it’s simply your job to share with them the good news of Christ’s perfect life, death, and resurrection on their behalf.
Don’t try to minimize truths about God that you know your Muslim neighbor or friend won’t like.
For example, Muslims do not believe in the Trinity. The chief confession of Islam is, “There is only one God, and Muhammad is his messenger,” so they have a problem with one God in three persons. But rather than seeking to downplay this truth, Thabiti encourages us to “go there.” Why?
For one reason, we don’t get to create a God we understand. God says His “name” (singular) is “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). Also, Thabiti explains, “We must cling to the Trinity because apart from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, there is no possibility of eternal salvation. . . . The Father chose us (Eph. 1:4–6), the Son offered the only sacrifice without blemish that is able to purify us and satisfy the Father (Eph. 1:7), and the Spirit seals us and produces in us new birth” (Eph. 1:14).
Share who God is without feeling the need to apologize or “cover” for Him. God is not an idea; He is a Person—be true to who He is and what He shares to be true.
I’d love to hear. Do you know any Muslims?
Thanks to one of Thabiti’s practical suggestions in The Gospel for Muslims, I’m going to be baking all week. I invited the woman in the hijab from across the street over for tea, and she said yes! Thabiti shares that only women have the opportunity to reach Muslim women for Christ (they can’t interact with men), and he suggests spoiling them like crazy when they come for tea. So I’m planning to do just that.
Trevor and I chose to write our own wedding vows. Listen in as we share them with each other (he goes first, and then I do my best not to bawl my way through mine).
Now that you’ve watched them, I thought you might like to hear the “story behind the vows.” Why’d I choose these words rather than others?
I’m glad you asked. Let’s take it line by line:
Trevor Jon, I can’t imagine another imperfect man more perfect for me.
Some vows I’ve heard set a man so high he’s bound to crash and fall. I wanted to begin by remembering that no one—other than God—is perfect. Down with too-high expectations for Trevor; and, at the same time, up with appreciation for him! I’m amazed at how beautifully he complements me. Only God could have arranged such a match.
Thank you, thank you for choosing me. It will be my greatest honor to seek to bless you every day for the rest of our short lives this side of eternity.
Some vows I’ve heard set a man so high he’s bound to crash and fall. I wanted to begin by remembering that no one—other than God—is perfect.
It’s not every day a guy asks you to marry him. May I never get over the wonder that he chose me.
With God’s help, I will seek to be satisfied in His love each day before I seek comfort in your love. After Him, I will prioritize our relationship above all other relationships.
As the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl, I know full well that my default position is to fashion Trevor
into a “little g” god. The only way I will keep from doing this is by keeping the “Big G” God first. I need to prioritize Trevor without idolizing Trevor.
By God’s power, I will have eyes for you and you alone, and I will do whatever it takes to remain exclusively faithful to you—both physically and emotionally.
Like I said, this has been a problem area for me in the past, and I’m not naïve enough to think I’ll never struggle with wandering eyes and a wandering heart again. Over a decade of working in women’s ministry has taught me that emotional affairs are just as wrong and dangerous as physical affairs. I am committed to guarding my eyes, which will help me guard my heart ( Prov. 4:23–25).
By God’s power, I will joyfully submit to your leadership—as unto Him—in all areas of life.
I purposefully paired “joyfully” and “submit” together as most people (including myself for many years!) have a prickly, incorrect view of submission. If Jesus—”for the joy set before him“—submitted to His Father when it meant humiliating, excruciating death, how can I not joyfully submit to the Father’s beautiful design for a husband and his wife?
By God’s grace, I will always seek to outdo you in showing honor . . .
This comes from Romans 12:10, which was our theme verse while we were dating. In fact, I wrote a post about it here (though at the time I didn’t let readers know I was the girl I was writing about).
. . . and I will respect you in the way I talk about you with others.
Far too often my words have torn down rather than built up. I especially need to be on guard while hanging out with other women, as we so easily fall into this subtle, slippery sin.
With God’s help, I will daily choose contentment and gratitude over complaining and bitterness, and I will do everything in my power to never take you for granted.
With God’s help, I will hold no part of myself back from you—and at the same time, I will do everything I can not to overwhelm you.
Brutally open, honest communication is amazingly hard for me. Trevor has been helping me grow in this area. At the same time, I want to be wise about what and when and how much I share with him. I could easily overwhelm anyone!
And because of His immense grace toward me, I promise to never, ever divorce you, regardless of the circumstances.
By God’s power, I intend to do everything I can to give the world a right impression of God’s faithful, steadfast love toward His people.
Divorce has become so “normal” in our world, but it flies in the face of everything marriage ultimately points to. Marriage is a “great mystery” that gives the world a tiny picture of God’s never-giving up, covenant love for His bride. By God’s power, I intend to do everything I can to give the world a right impression of God’s faithful, steadfast love toward His people.
How about you? If you were getting married soon, what would be important for you to include in your vows?
PS: At our second wedding reception, we were asked why we chose the vows we chose. This is what we had to say: