Posts by: Staff Writer

Outreach – Go!

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Jesus’ last command to his followers was to go into all the world and make disciples. In previous centuries that often meant leaving a “Christian” country and traveling a great distance to bring the gospel light to people who had no access to it.

 But now a remarkable thing – almost a miracle – has happened: people are coming in throngs from all over the world to America and the West. We now have access to them in our own country. We believe that God brought them here to bless them with safety, prosperity, liberty, and the gospel. (Bible, Acts 17) As a result, you can bring the gospel across the world without leaving America! Sometimes you might go with a team on a short trip to where many immigrants are; but often a mission field is simply in your own neighborhood or across town.

In this video, Dr. Cynthia speaks to us from where she is on outreach – a public walking street with people from around the globe. She encourages us to look for places like this nearby where we live. Find out what language and religious groups live or visit there. Take appropriate materials, perhaps with small gifts, and go to them! (Materials are available for free download in a variety of languages on our website. Another video will cover this in more detail.)

Dr. C has been doing outreach for over 40 years. She tells us that she knows it can be difficult getting started and sticking with it. So she will be doing a series of short videos with helpful hints and encouragement to make it easier. Today she reminds us that Christians don’t need a special call to share the gospel because Jesus commanded his followers to do that. You need a special call NOT share it. If you don’t feel called, as has been said, “Put your ear to the Bible and listen!”

The Jonah Factor

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In both the Bible and the Quran there are books named after the Prophet Jonah (Yunas in Arabic). God told Jonah to do something undesirable and nearly unthinkable: go to his nation’s sworn enemies and preach repentance to them. Assyria was known for being aggressive and violent. As you may have heard, Prophet Jonah took a boat the opposite direction. But after a dramatic turn of events, Jonah did go to Nineveh, Assyria’s capital.

In this video, Dr. asks Christians if they have a similar reaction to reaching out to Muslims? God had compassion on the Assyrians because they did not “know their right hand from their left.” They did eventually attack and destroy the Northern Kingdom of Israel, but due to Jonah’s obedience, Nineveh did repent. God did not destroy Nineveh at that time, and Nineveh likewise delayed in attacking Israel.

What difference might it make if you reach out to those who have threatened your country or your people?

The Abraham Dilemma

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Some Christians fear reaching out to Muslims either because they are “the enemies of God,” or that in loving them they curse Abraham, and will so bring curses upon themselves. We call this “The Abraham Dilemma.” In this video Dr. Cynthia address the issue to help Christians overcome it.

Beware the Hero Holdout

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Working with Muslims we have many adventures. We also see the Lord work in a fantastic way! In order to inspire people to reach out to Muslims, we share some of these stories. But this can lead to problem. People can get the idea that we are more special than they are, and that we can do things that they can’t. So they give up before trying.

In this video, Dr. Cynthia dresses up with a silly crown to convince us that everyone is special and called by God. She shares with us that Bible heroes like David who did great things were considered insignificant. I Samuel 16 & 17)

Sexual Harassment in Muslim Countries – with Former Muslim Christina

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Sexual harassment of women is routine in Muslim countries, explains former Muslim Christina. Women grow to expect it. It is degrading and turns women into sex objects. This makes it difficult to balance women’s rights with safety and respect of men’s weakness regarding sexual desire.

In Islam, it is the woman’s fault if a man lusts after her. In the Bible Jesus tells us the opposite. He says that if a man looks at a woman lustfully he is guilty of sexual sin, zinna. (Matthew 5:28)

Three Objectives for Muslim Ministry

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We believe that any interaction with a Muslim, and indeed anyone should fall into one of three categories:

  1. Build Bridges
  2. Share Truth
  3. Challenge Falsehood

BUILD BRIDGES: In this video Dr. Cynthia shares with us two types of bridges – to a person and to the gospel.

SHARE TRUTH: Sharing Truth should ultimately mean sharing the gospel of salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice in our place on the cross. But it can also be simply sharing a small bit of salt, a bit of truth from the Bible, as we share life with others.

CHALLENGE FALSEHOOD: Finally, although most of us are not comfortable with it, there comes a time when we should challenge the falsehoods that people believe. To truly believe the gospel and become a Christian, people need to be convinced that it is true, and that beliefs they previously held are false. This is especially true if someone is leaving a religion like Islam, which means that one’s whole life and support system will change.

Usually, we prefer to build, share, and challenge in that order; but in some settings, for example a debate, the order may be scrambled. We call this method PALM Project: Pursuing And Loving Muslims, for Jesus.

In our other videos you will find more information and many examples to help you reach out and Build Bridges, Share Truth, and Challenge Falsehood.

Why do Christians Need to Reach out to Muslims?

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Dr. Cynthia tells Christians in this video that they need to open their eyes to the Muslim and other immigrants around them. We need to reach out to them with the gospel, in word and in deed.         Why? She gives us three important reasons:

  1. Jesus told us to in what is called “The Great Commission.” If we are truly Christians we will follow the main two commands that Jesus gave us before he left earth: to Love and to Share his message.
    • “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’”  Matthew 28:18-20
  2. The Bible tells us that God moves people around to make it easier for them to get to know him. 
    • “…he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” Acts 17:26, 27
    • In the West now, Christians don’t need to go overseas, learn a foreign language, risk getting killed or even getting parasites to share Jesus with people from around the world. God sent them to us to make it easy for us. If we fail to obey Jesus by reaching out when it is this convenient, how will we be able to face our master in heaven?
  3. If the gospel does not change the immigrants, the immigrants will change the West. Since immigration law changed in 1965, immigrants have been flooding into America from countries that are not familiar with the gospel and the God of Love. They bring worldviews very different from that of Christians. Their worldviews differ even that of those who are not Christians, but were raised in the West and hold some Christian values.
    • Without realizing it, the very reasons that Muslims and others come to the West will change as their worldviews become incorporated there.

What Should Americans Know About Muslims? – with Former Muslim Christina

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In this video, Dr. Cynthia interviews Christina, an Arab woman from the Middle East who now lives in the West. As a Christian who was once a Muslim, Christian is in a good position to understand the differences in Western and Muslim cultures and advise Christians on what to expect when they reach out to connect with Muslims.

Christina makes 5 important points for us to keep in mind:

  1. Immoral: People who come to the West from Muslim countries think that we are immoral. They get this idea from Hollywood and politics. In their culture there are three tabus, three subjects that they must not talk about: religion, sex, and politics. She says there is a “red line” that they do not want to cross. The West freely discusses all three of these. That makes it seem to them that we have no boundaries, that anything goes. And so we are immoral.
  2. Brainwashed: Since childhood Muslims have been told over and over that Islam is true and the only way. They are right. The West is wrong. She says that to them it is as solid a fact as science and mathematics. It was drilled into them every day of school for 12 or more years. It is very difficult for Muslims to think outside of this worldview.
  3. Distrust: Muslims don’t trust us – or anyone – or even God. Christina says that even their Prophet Mohammed did not trust God to take him to heaven. She says that they invented the word “Islamophobia” as a reflection of their own distrust: they don’t trust us, so they think we don’t trust them either. If they get to know that you are reliable, this may change.
  4. Afraid of Surprises: Muslims don’t want surprises, not even good ones. They prefer to stay in the comfortable darkness than to come out and be hurt again.
  5. No hope: Muslims have learned to live with no hope. They have been hurt and disappointed many times. If you say, “God loves you,” they won’t believe it. Their culture exaggerates expressions of love to the point that they are meaningless. For example, if you meet a casual acquaintance you might say, “I miss you so much ‘you bury me,’” meaning I would die for you.

What Are Apologetics and Polemics?

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Many Christians now are interested in apologetics. Others don’t know what the term means. Does it mean we are apologizing for being Christians? Absolutely not!
Even fewer know what polemics are, although many practice it.

In this video we explain that simply put:

  • Apologetics – is defending your beliefs
  • Polemics – is finding problems with other people’s beliefs

Apologetics differ depending on who is attacking your faith. For example, if you are defending the Christian faith from atheists you will present different material than if you are defending against Muslim attacks. So, it is good to learn defenses which are specific to the kind of people you are having discussions with.

Polemics also differ depending on to whom you are speaking. The challenges you would give atheists are not necessary for Muslims. Finding fault with Islam and other religions usually requires a bit of study to understand what they believe. First, learn how it differs from your beliefs. Then, look into things they believe that contradict what you believe and find reasonable ways you can question those or challenge them.

Many people who are brave enough to share their faith only want to talk about God’s love and the gospel. Sometimes that is enough to bring a person to Christ. But now, with people from so many backgrounds living in the West, we need to both explain the gospel in a way that makes sense to them, defend it against their stumbling blocks. Beyond that as Brother E who trained Dr. C says that when we are reaching Muslims,

“Sooner or later we need to expose Islam and challenge them. It is so difficult for Muslims to leave Islam that they must be totally convinced that it is wrong before they have the courage.”

As we often explain, our activities with Muslims, and anyone, fall into three categories:

  1. Building Bridges
  2. Sharing Truth
  3. Challenging Falsehood

Our videos and study guides show you in detail how to do these things. We prefer to do them in that order: build, share, and then challenge. If you have a good bridge, or relationship with someone, you can say almost anything without causing trouble if you say it in love. But there are a few settings where the order changes, such as in a debate or online.

Whatever the setting however, be sure to pray before you do any of these. Remember, when you are arguing to defend the Christian faith or challenge Islam that God loves everyone. He loves them despite the foolish or evil things that they believe. We need to represent God well, as his ambassadors, regardless of the setting we are in.

How to Make Your Personal Apologetic Testimony (PAT)

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FREE Resource

Download FREE PDF Version: How to Make Your Personal Apologetic Testimony Workpage

Introduction

In this video, Dr. Cynthia teaches a workshop on How to Make a Personal Apologetic Testimony, a PAT. We think that after The Path of the Prophets gospel method for Muslims, this could be the most important thing that we share with you. It presents a very simple and practical way to explain the reasons for what you believe.

Apologetics defend a faith – they are the reasons for belief. A PAT, or Personal Apologetic Testimony, is just that, It is your personal testimony of why you believe what you believe. It provides a framework for the reasons that support your faith.

In our post-Christian culture, a testimony of how good the gospel makes us feel is not enough to convince others. Our feeling is only a part of the story. We need to give strong reasons for our beliefs – reasons that are “objective.” This means that they are outside our personal experience. These reasons can be more convincing to other people, because they are not based on our personal feelings..

Apologetics and polemics (criticizing other faiths) have become popular in Christian circles, especially those looking at Islam. This is good. Christians find an abundance of evidence that supports their belief that Christianity is true and Islam is false.

But Dr. C is concerned that believers may become overwhelmed with information from many sources. It won’t automatically be organized in their heads. They may become confused. This confusion can keep them from effectively using what they have learned.

Making a PAT is a way for Christians to turn what they have learned into a powerful tool. They can practice using this tool (“get it down pat”) and become confident with it.

Parts of a PAT, Personal Apologetic Testimony

It is easy to make a PAT. All it takes is a little thought and organization. Once you have done it, you will be more confident and powerful in sharing your faith.

A PAT has three parts: personal, apologetic, and testimony.

  1. Personal – To open your PAT you share a little about yourself. This helps you connect with your listeners. It also provides a basis for why certain reasons appeal to you.
  2. Apologetic – Here you list the 2 or 3 top reasons that you believe (1 or 4 are options too).
  3. Testimony – You briefly conclude, with a phrase that says why you believe these.

Personal

We explained above that a testimony based solely on your personal experience is not enough. But you can use who you are to make your reasons powerful.

For example, Dr. Cynthia has a science background. Knowing that helps people understand why certain reasons for the existence of God work well with her.

But you don’t need to be a doctor. One of two sentences about you and your experience could be enough to give your reasons context. For example, for an average Christian interested in Islam you could say,

“I’ve been studying Islam and Christianity for several years. Here are the reasons that I am still Christian.”

Apologetic: Reasons we Believe

We all have reasons for what we believe. They may not be good reasons, but they are reasons. For example, you might believe something only because you were raised with it, without examining it or other ideas. For most of the Muslim world this is the case. But many in the West also simply believe what they were raised with, whether it be atheism or nominal Christianity. Or we may be confused about what to believe.

If we only believe something because our parents or culture told us to, when we are challenged by situations or other beliefs we may become confused.  A deeper belief will be thought out and have reasons.

The reasons that we believe God exists are different from the reasons that we believe in Christianity and not Islam, or not Buddhism. This means that we could have different PATs for different situations. For example, Dr. C has different PATs for atheism and Islam.

We encourage everyone to look for truth. In other videos we talk about ways to find it. We also encourage you to think logically. Believe based on what, after consideration, honestly makes best sense to you.

Personalizing Reasons

True facts are objective: that means that they are not based on personal opinion. However, the facts that appeal most to each of us are based on our opinions, which in turn are based who we are, our experiences and personalities.

For your PAT we encourage you to think about what reasons you find most convincing. Choose 3 of them. Then let’s put them into a PAT!

The Testimony

Usually we think of a “testimony” as the story of how a person came to believe in Christ. But in the context of a PAT, the testimony is simply the conclusion of why these reasons work for you.

In psychology we learn that people argue about whether something is true, but they can’t argue with how it makes you feel. So, in the testimony part of the PAT, you are not claiming that the reasons you present are true. They could argue with that. You are stating that the reasons convince you. They can’t argue that.

Preference: An optional part of your testimony is including your preference. This is where you can add your feeling (pathos). But this should not be the main part of your PAT.  If you include this you would say something like,

“I do believe that the reasons supporting Christianity are stronger than Islam. But if they were just equal, I actually prefer that God is love and women are not sex slaves in heaven.”

They can’t fault you for having a preference. Everyone has preferences whether they admit it or not. For many people their preference is simply to do what is easy, to go along with their family or culture.

The key to stating a preference is to keep it in the right order and perspective. It is subjective, meaning related to you not them. Your objective reasons need to be foremost, because you don’t want them to say that your belief is just about your feelings.

One more thing: consider who you are talking with. Some people have more head needs than heart needs. Others have greater heart needs. For example, if talking to Muslim women who have been abused you might emphasize the love of God more.

Conclusion: We like to conclude with a one sentence testimony that states something like,

“And so, I believe that the weight of the evidence favors Christianity over Islam.”

or

“To me, these reasons are more convincing than the reasons to believe Islam.”

Every faith can make good points. In a PAT we don’t get sidetracked into an argument that says they have no good points, or no evidence.

In the PAT you are claiming that the reasons you present are convincing to you. They can’t argue with that.

They might not agree with you, but they can not argue that you find the evidence convincing. That is the message that they will take away. If you have connected well through the Personal part of your PAT, they will take your PAT seriously.

FREE Resource

Download FREE PDF Version: How to Make Your Personal Apologetic Testimony Workpage

Did Jesus die on the cross? Part 1 with Mike Licona

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Did Jesus die on the Cross? Part 1 is a video clip where expert on the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, Dr. Mike Licona, discusses the evidence that Jesus died on the cross. One of the top four disagreements that Muslims have with Christians is whether or not Jesus died on the cross. In this clip Licona explains that the death of Jesus on the cross is one of the best attested facts of the ancient world, and mentions non-biblical sources. If Jesus did not die on the cross, Mike says, God deceived the Christians, who were called Muslims in the Qur’an.

Did Jesus die on the cross? Part 2 with Mike Licona

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Did Jesus die on the Cross? Part 2 is a video clip where expert on the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, Dr. Mike Licona, continues his discussion on the evidence that Jesus died on the cross. One of the top four disagreements that Muslims have with Christians is whether or not Jesus died on the cross. The Bible says that Jesus died on the cross. The Qur’an tells us Jesus is a great prophet, but says he did not die on the cross. Can we determine which is historically true?

Historically, we can show that Jesus actually did predict he would be taken by authorities, be killed, and rise again. In Mark 8:31-33 Peter rebukes Jesus for saying this, then Jesus rebukes him back saying, “Get behind me Satan!” For historians, even for those who are not believers, this would be accepted as something that really happened by the “Criterion of Embarrassment.” Invented claims flatter the cause. Jesus’ and Peter’s conflict is not something that would be made up because this event is not flattering to the cause. Dr. Licona gives two other reasons as well.

So, if Jesus did not die and resurrect as he predicted, he is not a great prophet, which the Qur’an calls him. If he did, then the Qur’an is wrong.

Did Jesus only appear to die? With Mike Licona

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Did Jesus only appear to die? In this video clip Dr. Cynthia directly asks Dr. Licona for his opinion of the possibility that Jesus did not die on the cross, but that Jesus only appeared to die on the cross. This is not a significant issue for non-Muslims. They readily accept that Jesus not only appeared to die on the cross, Jesus actually did die on the cross. Not so for Muslims.

The standard Muslim interpretation of the Qur’an is that Jesus only appeared to die on the cross (Surah 4:157). Most feel Allah cast his image upon someone else, possibly Judas, and that Jesus was taken to heaven directly from the cross, before death. So, in contrast to the secular world, which accepts that Jesus died on the cross but doubts the resurrection, Muslims accept a resurrection of sorts to heaven, but deny that Jesus died on the cross, saying that it only appeared to them at the time that he did.

Dr. Cynthia points out that if it is true that Jesus only appeared to die on the cross, and it was not until the time of Mohammed that Allah clarified the misunderstanding, we are left with the fact that God would have deceived his true followers (indeed, Christians are called Muslims in the Qur’an) for six hundred years. That would make Allah a deceiver, which, as Dr. C points out, is exactly what the Qur’an calls him as well (Surah3:54). If Jesus did not die on the cross, then Jesus is a false prophet and God is a deceiver.

Muslims are there left either with a god that deceives his sincere followers by making the believe that Jesus died when he only appeared to die on the cross, or that the truth actually is found in the Bible, and confirmed by historians, that Jesus did die on the cross.