In today’s society, we see a growing intolerance for opposing viewpoints. The mainstream media and predominantly woke culture wants to intimidate Christians into silence. Defending biblical values can lead to social isolation or difficulties at work, which is why so many decide to say nothing. Instead, we suffer quietly as our kids are inundated with demonic influences, and our communities are torn apart by rampant sin and uncontrolled self-interest.
In such a climate, how do we preach the Gospel and provide the message of hope, peace, and love to a world that so desperately needs it? I often grapple with this question as I interact with fellow parents, three teenagers at home, and an entire family of Muslims that does not accept Christ as their Lord and Savior.
In the field of apologetics, many noteworthy scholars have spent decades mastering the intellectual skill of defending the Bible in virtually any setting — whether it’s a college campus or outside an Islamic center. I genuinely admire their skill and tenacity against a very hostile audience, yet they never back down or capitulate to the opposition. However, that dynamic is not for everyone. It can be intimidating, and frankly, I am drawn to finding another way.
I recently met a born-again Christian woman who is married to a Muslim. When they were first married over a decade ago, she was not following the Lord, so religion was never an issue. Now that she regularly attends church and has a new passion for the Lord, she is eager to have her husband join her. He is a devout Muslim and well versed in the Muslim commentaries on Christianity, which provide him plenty of ammunition against her newfound faith in Christ. She took him to meet with a pastor who could answer his objections, but her husband did not budge an inch. Frustrated by the situation, she came to me for advice. I listened to how he compared Islam to Christianity, and I was convicted that trying to battle him intellectually was counterproductive.
Here are several overarching principles that apply to her situation and how to prayerfully consider sharing the Gospel in today’s world.
First and foremost, we must remember, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).We accept Christ because God called us to faith. None of us have the power to make anyone else believe. God does it. We remain obedient to His word while still realizing that “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). We do not stop believing the person can be saved, but if our words are not getting through, our actions may be more effective than arguments.
This takes us to the second principle. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12).We are commanded to preach the Gospel, but our character should reflect why we call others to believe in Him. Suppose we have patience in a heated disagreement or grant forgiveness in a conflict, even when it isn’t our fault. That behavior can spark an interest or curiosity well beyond a crafty rebuttal to their position. This is what I conveyed to my new friend. “Let your husband watch how Christ transforms you. Be the role model for your kids. Show them why Jesus is so wonderful compared to what their father offers.”
This leads to the third principle — using wisdom and discernment. Recently, my church asked if I could help develop their new local outreach to Muslim program. One participant told me how he felt totally overwhelmed when witnessing to a Muslim who was also very devout and proceeded to fire off many false criticisms of the Gospel. I have been in that situation numerous times, and though I am well versed in the rebuttals to those arguments, I often hear the Lord say, “Do not cast your pearls before swine.” I then politely conclude the discussion and change the subject.
Repeatedly sharing the Gospel with someone who ridicules Christ is like casting pearls before swine. There is no benefit to giving the message of salvation to someone who has no other purpose than to insult it and return to their evil ways. We can identify such people through discernment and must consciously be open to hearing from God, so we graciously bow out of the fight. It does not mean we concede to their false doctrine. Still, we should sense that continuing the discussion will only lead to further strife and risks the opportunity of reaching more open individuals who may be around listening or watching. Jesus taught the apostles how to handle rejection. It was to simply go elsewhere. “And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town” (Mathew 10:14).
In summary, our passion for sharing the free gift of salvation offered through faith in Christ should be tempered by the qualities we are granted through our new life in Him. We are to be wise as serpents and as innocent as doves. Preaching in a fallen world requires a delicate balance of humility, brotherly love, and discernment. We should be prayerful and wise to distinguish when He presents us with an open door or a door that only He can shut. Ultimately the choice is His. “In love, he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:3-6).
Hedieh Mirahmadi was a devout Muslim for two decades working in the field of national security before she experienced the redemptive power of Jesus Christ and has a new passion for sharing the Gospel. She dedicates herself full-time to Resurrect Ministry, an online resource that harnesses the power of the Internet to make salvation through Christ available to people of all nations, and her daily podcast LivingFearlessDevotional.com.