Friday, June 3, 2016

Book Review: Breaking the Islam Code

Breaking the Islam Code. J.D. Greear. 2010. Harvest House. 176 pages. [Source: Bought]

I definitely found this one to be an absorbing read. It is a book geared towards Christian readers primarily about how to share the gospel with Muslims. He has definite opinions on what to do and what not to do.

The introductory basics:
  • You can most effectively share Christ with Muslims when you are genuinely friends with them.
  • You must learn to listen to Muslims. Listening is how you will discover what is going on in their hearts, what is important to them, and where God is already at work in them. We must be people of “double listening.” We must listen to God’s unchanging message on one hand and the hearts of our Muslim friends on the other. Only then will we be able to craft the gospel message in a way that Muslims can understand it.
  • You must look for the Holy Spirit to do in the heart of your Muslim friends what you cannot do. Only the Holy Spirit can make blind eyes see; only he can make the gospel make sense to a Muslim. It is not some new insight you have or new angle I give you on sharing the gospel that will magically unlock your Muslim friend’s heart. The human heart, until God opens it, is hardened against him, darkened in its understanding, and does not even know to ask the right questions about God!
Conversion isn't so much a checklist or a method to follow through beginning to end. This book is not a step by step book on how to find a Muslim, and talk at a Muslim, bullet point by bullet point through a scripted gospel presentation. It is not your words, your arguments, or your defense that will "save" a Muslim.

Conversion--rebirth, or regeneration, or new birth, or being born again--is the sole work of the Holy Spirit. God has appointed the means, however, and those means include you and me in formal and informal situations witnessing with our words and our actions. The act of bringing dead bones to life--putting flesh on dead bones and breathing the breath of life--is something only God can do. But there is plenty that we can do. We can pray. We can believe. We can share ourselves, our lives. We can be willing to bear the cross of Christ and do hard things--out of love for God, out of love for others.
The first four chapters will help you get familiar with who Muslims are, how they think, and what is important to them, so you can know how to talk with them in a way that connects with them. In chapter 1 we’ll discuss how to create the right environment for a conversation about God; in chapter 2 we’ll analyze what moves and motivates Muslims; in chapter 3 I’ll give you a brief overview of what Muslims believe; and in chapter 4, we’ll discuss a lot of the misconceptions we have about Muslims and that Muslims have about us. In chapter 5, “The Muslim Salvation Code,” we’ll get into their theology and culture and identify the “questions” they are asking about God and salvation. In this chapter I’ll help you see how the soil of the Muslim heart has been uniquely prepared for the gospel. Chapter 6, “Re-coding the Gospel,” will help you present the gospel in a way that answers those questions. In chapter 7, “The Gospel Confronts the Ultimate Religion of Works,” I’m going to show you how Islam is, at its core, a religion of “works-righteousness.” I’ll show you how much of Jesus’ teaching in the gospels is directed at religious systems of works-righteousness, like Islam. We’ll look at what Jesus said and how he said it, and think about how to apply it to the works-righteousness of Muslims. In chapters 8 and 9, we’ll take a brief look at the primary objections that Muslims bring up whenever the gospel is presented. My goal in these chapters is not to address every Muslim objection to Christianity. My goal is to explain how you can turn many of the primary Muslim objections into opportunities to share the gospel. My goal is to help you keep the conversation on track and not get sidelined in arguments that lead nowhere profitable. In chapter 10, “The Challenge and the Hope,” I’ll conclude the book by considering what Jesus says is required of us, his witnesses, if we are to see Muslims come to Christ. I hope you’ll see that the fields really are white for harvest, that God is willing and able to save, and that all that is necessary now for the salvation of Muslims is a team of committed, believing laborers in their fields.
Greear shares his firsthand experiences with readers in this one. He provides stories of Muslims who have come to faith in Jesus Christ. He offers tips and suggestions as well. For example, he urges his readers to consider this: the goal of conversations should never be to win arguments or debates, to be the most persuasive, the most polished. The goal, he stresses, should be to encourage your Muslim acquaintance to read the Bible.
God’s Word brings a new birth into a new creation. That is why simply getting Muslims to read God’s Word is the most powerful tool in bringing them to Christ. The Word of God is the channel through which the life-giving power of Jesus flows.
Rather than meeting with a Muslim one-on-one, try reading the Bible together in a small group. If Muslims can come to Christ together, then they are not just leaving something (the ummah), they are coming into something (the church)! Because following Jesus often costs Muslims their families, giving them a community to come into can go a long way in alleviating fear. There’s an old proverb among missionaries to Muslims: “It is easier to ‘group Muslims and then win them’ than it is to ‘win them and then group them.’”
So instead of following a gospel-sharing script or tract or making a semi-polished gospel presentation where you share anything-and-everything all at once, he urges believers to instead invite Muslims to read the Bible with them, to to join a group or community of people who read the Bible. 

So another BIGGIE is prayer. 

Make prayer the foundation of your ministry to Muslims. Since it is power from God alone that enables Muslims to believe, prayer is our most effective weapon. There have been times when I felt like there was nothing else I could do for my Muslim friends, and so I just prayed. Not just for my Muslim friends, but with them. Thus, praying for them and with them and in front of them is powerful. The Christian’s intimate worship of God can have a powerful effect on the Muslim heart.
The book seeks to be practical, useful, and biblical.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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