What is a more effective way to engage with Muslims?

Thanks @KMac for inviting back @Abdu_Murray . And beautifully writing up about his winsome pastoral way of dealing with questioners. I totally agree about that.

Hi Abdu,

It was a wonderful opportunity for me to chat with you during RZIM Asia Founders in Hong Kong. In essence, you told me it is precisely because you love your family too much not to be rooted in the truth and share it with them. Such boldness and sincere love you demonstrated to me that weekend.

Since I came back to Indonesia from my studies 15 years ago, I have been reaching out to Muslims, by sowing seeds of His word and love, the few times I had the privilege to discuss extensively about the Quran and Jesus/Bible, I extended the invitation for them to accept our Savior at the end. Many politely considered it but came back more adamant than ever. They “reasoned” back with the Bible may be true, but Islam is beautiful to me and my family. I semi-expected this from watching your testimony and Nabeel’s that it wasn’t an easy decision due to the fear of family/community persecution for apostates.

So my question is, is there anything more we could do beyond this? The next time we have a quality moment to converse with Muslims, is there a more effective way to engage with them? I’m not trying to convert them overnight of course, but something to at least keep the subtle fire steadily lit while being nudged to go in the right direction.

Thanks Abdu in advance, look forward to your response. Thx Kathleen for this opportunity.


Hi Roy,

It was so good to spend some time chatting at Asia Founders and I hope to see you again soon!

When someone makes a comment like “Islam is beautiful,” this opens up an opportunity for you to see what they mean and whether “beauty” is a test for truth. [CAVEAT: I actually do believe that the existence of beauty as a part of reality can point to God’s existence]. For example, if you asked them, “What’s beautiful about it?” You might find that they really haven’t thought it through. Or maybe they have and now you have more information about their beliefs than you did before! Either way, you make progress.

Now, if what they say is inherently subjective, you can show them that beauty is often a subjective thing, which can’t possibly determine what is objectively true. I happen to think that Handel’s Messiah is an incomparably beautiful musical piece, but that doesn’t mean that it came from God. Beauty is a test many Muslims employ to show that Islam is somehow true or from God. But that test simply doesn’t work.

Now, having said all that, the pursuit of beauty does provide us with an opportunity to share the gospel. In my book, Grand Central Question, I show how Muslims want to believe that God is the greatest possible being (which is why they say “Allahu Akbar”, meaning “God is greater”). They often reject the ideas of the Trinity, incarnation of God in Christ, and the cross because Muslims believe these ideas insult God’s greatness. But the beautiful thing is that they actually demonstrate his greatness. I go into much more detail in the book, but here’s an example. If God is the greatest possible being (Muslims and Christians agree that he is), then he would naturally express the greatest possible ethic (which is love) in the greatest possible way (which is self-sacrifice). Even humans can do that. If God is greater than humans (and he is), then he would express love even better than we would. He would sacrifice not just for those who love him but for those who hate him. That’s exactly what Romans 5:8 says. That’s a glorious (and beautiful) affirmation of God’s greatness. What so many Muslims seek is found in the gospel message and nowhere else.

I hope this helps!