Economic and political realities have brought a mission field to our doorstep in the UK. We have to live with the resulting security threat, but those who are confident of God’s sovereignty can see the situation as a gospel opportunity. Our Muslim neighbours present a great challenge and to meet it we need as much understanding and knowledge of their mindset as possible.
The basic premise of this book is the entirely reasonable proposition that to love your neighbour you need to know him. Thus it is packed with information culled from a wide range of sources.
The amount of material presented is a little overwhelming but it is helpfully summarised in eleven information sheets at the end of the book.
The book demonstrates that Islam is far from monolithic – and to view it as such will only produce grave misunderstanding. Do you know the difference between a Sunni and a Shi’ite? And did you know that within these two major streams there are many subgroups?
Islam is just as fragmented as Christianity, and there are severe tensions within the Muslim community. The book will help you to appreciate these divisions.
How may we present the gospel to Muslims? Valuable and wide ranging practical advice is given that will help us avoid unnecessary offence and adopt the cultural sensitivity that is essential. The author, however, is careful generally not to let such considerations compromise the authoritative message of the Scriptures but advocates a thoughtful approach to the presentation of the truth.
A few of his suggestions might cause concern. It is well known that to speak of Christ as the Son of God is offensive to Muslims. His advice, therefore, is that this term should be avoided, at least in the early stages of any contact.
The author points out that Jesus did not refer to himself as the Son of God but rather as the Son of Man, and is introduced as the ‘Word’ in John’s Gospel. But this does rather lose sight of the fact that John summarises his message thus: ‘these [things] are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that, believing, you might have life…’ Certainly we need much wisdom in this area.
The greatest commandment includes the clause that we are to love our neighbours, and to love them we must know them. That is where this book comes into its own.