Conference speakers to focus on reaching Muslimsby C. Walter Overman
Nabeel Qureshi was a devout Muslim until he met a Christian who could defend the gospel and authority of the Bible.
His encounter with this Christian set in motion a personal journey to discover the truth about Jesus Christ and the Bible. After several years of intense research and study, he concluded that the Bible is the infallible Word of God and that Jesus Christ is the true Son of God.
The former devout Muslim is now a Christian author, apologist and director of Creed 2:6 Ministries, an organization committed to reaching Muslims with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Qureshi will speak during the evening session of the annual statewide evangelism conference Feb. 25 at Pleasant Garden Baptist Church. The conference will focus on equipping believers to better love, relate to and share the gospel with Muslims.
“It is our biblical command to love our Muslim neighbors and to reach them with the Word of God and with the hope of the gospel,” Qureshi said.
Qureshi said too many Christians fail to put this principle into practice because of unfounded fears and misconceptions.
“There are a lot of things people don’t know about Islam and about Muslims and Islamic culture that prevent them from engaging,” he said. “I think we can easily overcome those barriers and I hope that’s what we do at this conference.”
Fear and Persecution
Nik Ripken, an expert on the persecuted church and author of The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected, will also speak during the evening session. Ripken’s interviews with more than 600 Christians in 72 countries indicate that faithfully proclaiming the gospel will lead to persecution, regardless of the country.
“What we have been able to do is look at how Almighty God and Satan are at battle globally. Whether it has a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Hindu, a post-modern face – whatever lostness looks like there is only one God and there is Satan in opposition to him,” Ripken said. “We have a global view of how this spiritual battle is being waged.”
In the United States, that spiritual battle often manifests itself for Christians in the form of fear. For Muslims who come to faith in Jesus, the result is often persecution.
Ripken said it is not uncommon for Muslims in the United States who come to faith in Jesus to endure persecution from Muslim friends and family on a level that surprises many Americans.
“What we see is Muslims coming to Jesus as if they were still in the Middle East,” he said. “Their persecution in America is as quick as if they never left their home country.”
Ripken said young Muslims who come to faith in the United States are sometimes forced by their families to return to their native country or are disowned altogether.
The key to helping alleviate persecution is to disciple former Muslims as if they live in a Muslim country, which means discipling them in house churches and avoiding public announcements of their conversion.
But first, Christians in the United States must develop a sense of urgency to reach Muslims with the gospel.
“See past the Islam and see Muslims as people who are victims,” Ripken said. “They are captured by Islam and we don’t give them a second choice.”
Fear is often the biggest barrier between Christians and a faithful witness to Muslims. Ripken said that Christians must recognize fear as a tool of Satan, and that by sharing the gospel they can use fear to their advantage.
“If you are a follower of Jesus Christ you have no right to be afraid of Muslims, even if you are in Afghanistan or Pakistan,” he said. “You can either use fear as a tool against Satan or you can allow Satan to use fear as a tool against the gospel.”
Ripken is praying that conference participants will leave with an understanding of what is at stake for Muslim converts and a renewed sense of Jesus’ call on their lives.
“I want them to take away that we are asking Muslims to be willing to die for Jesus at the point of conversion, where most of us are not willing to die for Jesus when we’ve lived in a Christian world all of our lives.”
For more information about the conference visit www.ncbaptist.org/cultureach