Being Friends with Muslims

Here’s an article written by a Summit Church member and friend Ben DeVan that appeared in the Huffington Post recently about a new way for Muslims and Christians interacting together in the United States. Ben also interviewed my friend Abdullah Antepli, the Muslim chaplain at Duke.

Neither Abdullah nor I have any interest in saying that “we all really believe the same things” or “your way to God is as good as mine.” Both of us think the other is dead wrong and that these issues are of the gravest importance. That said, we can disagree and still care about each other and get along in our society.

Abdullah and I were in a “debate” recently at UNC before about 700 students. We were very clear about where we saw the other in error, but I think respectful. Shortly after that, Abdullah was in another public discussion with another Christian spokesperson of a more liberal variety at another college campus. He told me later, “I do not think that guy was very Christian.: I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “I believe more of the Bible than he did. He always seemed embarrassed or apologetic about what the Bible says…” Then Abdullah said, “You know, right now the Christian world feels like they have only 2 options. 1. Believe exactly what the Bible says and have a judgmental, hateful, intolerant spirit toward Muslims. Or, 2. Have a kind spirit toward Muslims and compromise their Christian beliefs. Because many will not do #2, they think their only option is #1. What they need to see are people who believe, unashamedly, what the Bible teaches about salvation and the exclusivity of Christ—who really want us to come to know their Jesus—but have a kind, loving, generous spirit toward Muslims.”

Amen.

To Abdullah and my Muslim friends in the RDU area, we wish you well! And that you come to know Jesus. But we cherish your right to tell us we are wrong even as you live in our neighborhoods and build mosques in our cities.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to befriend Muslims and talk to them about Christ in a way that resonates with them, my Breaking the Islam Code might be a helpful resource for you.

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J.D. Greear, Ph.D., is the President of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastors the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Tagged by Outreach magazine as one of the fastest growing churches in America, the Summit has grown in the past 8 years from 400 to over 5,000 each weekend. The Summit Church is deeply involved in global church planting, having undertaken the mission to plant 1000 churches in the next 40 years. J.D. has authored Breaking the Islam Code and the upcoming Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary.