Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How Much Do I Need to Know?

"Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never find him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save all who believe."  I Corinthians 1:21

Frequently I am asked in meetings or from a reader of this blog about what she should do, wear, say, or give at a wedding, funeral, holiday(whether it be a Christian or Muslim one), when invited to a Muslim home for a meal, or when they meet a Muslim woman in a store, etc.  Some Christian women, who have had minimal or no experience with Muslim women, can feel unsure and fearful of offending them. Our concerns are understandable. I have been there, too, and often still wonder about cultural matters. I’m sure that I do a lot of things wrong. One never stops learning or discovering that there are constant changes in cultures over the years. It helps to be a good observer, but not get overly concerned about doing everything perfectly. It is okay to not know everything about someone’s culture.

Then there are inquiries about how to present the gospel to a Muslim, how to pray, and how to respond to their beliefs about Islam or folklore. Everyone wants a silver bullet answer. No one wants to offend or get into an argument. I have discovered that there are no silver bullet answers and no one can ever exhaust understanding Islam, the Qur’an, the Hadith, or Islamic scholars’ interpretations. We could read book after book, browse numerous websites and not actually get much further ahead in our witness. We also could take many classes to gain more knowledge to be an effective witness for Christ. There comes a time when we say “that is enough for now.”

Besides accumulating more and more cultural and Islamic knowledge we discover there are also many voices out there informing us about the latest and most effective missiology trends.  New trends, research, codes and labels, dvds and books pop up every year. There are advocates and critics of these resources.  Then we need someone to settle all the disagreements which have arisen and can divide us. We could get overwhelmed and confused.

Satan wants us to get overwhelmed, confused, lose confidence, and finally decide it is all too much for us – especially for us Christian women. We sigh and say leave it to the experts. And who are they?? There are no experts when it comes to ministering among Muslims. We all can profit from a basic understanding of cultures, Islam, and missiology trends but what I have discovered is that, even more important than those matters, is to know God and our Scriptures well. I have determined to major on intimacy with God and to know Scriptures well and minor on cultures, Islam, and missiology trends. For me it works best to have things in that order. A deep rootedness in personally knowing the love of God and being able to express that Love will take us far, too. In the final end, it’s not knowledge which drives me but the privilege of making the mystery of Jesus Christ known to my beloved Muslim friends.

Dear heavenly Father, help someone get back on the right track who is reading this.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.