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Theological Musings of a Former Muslim: 4

by Melissa Chang |

Islam, Muslim Contextualization

Jesus Loves You

Last week we ran the testimony of a former Muslim who turned to Christ. Now in a new series, we have decided to share the theological details of his conversion, quoting both the Qur’an and the Bible. We ourselves do not claim to be experts in either, but we do feel it could be of great value for others to see the scriptural issues and conclusions that “Sam” went through during this process.

 Here is his discovery of…

THE LOVE OF JESUS

Before I met my new Christian friends, I had strong feelings against Christians because I heard such bad reports about them. Yet when I observed the pastor’s character, his way of life, and his attitude toward Muslims, I knew that the accusations I had heard against Christians certainly did not apply to him. This made me think. Was his love greater than that of the Muslims? Had the Messiah Jesus done more for him than my prophet had done for me? I was confused for I held the opinion that apart from Muslims, anyone else, including the Christians who believe that God is the Messiah, is an unbeliever ( Kafir ) and is rejected by God. As the Qur’an says:

They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the third of three; when there is no God save the One God. If they desist not from so saying a painful doom will fall on those of them who disbelieve. (Sura al-Ma’ida 5:72,73)

I remembered also how I thought that because I was a Muslim who had submitted myself to God, I was holier than Christians. But as I became more aware of my own sinfulness, I realized that the pastor was the one who had submitted himself to God, for his character proved it. I could tell that his love came from Jesus Christ.

Like a magnet the love of Jesus attracted me. I thought that if Jesus were my master too, how I would love him! Yet, when the idea of becoming a Christian crossed my mind, I rejected it as an evil thought from Satan – for I was a Muslim.

Next week: THE CLAIMS OF JESUS

To see the full series click here.

Photo by kyz

Theological Musings of a Former Muslim: 3

by Melissa Chang |

Islam, Muslim Contextualization

wonder

Last week we ran the testimony of a former Muslim who turned to Christ. Now in a new series, we have decided to share the theological details of his conversion, quoting both the Qur’an and the Bible. We ourselves do not claim to be experts in either, but we do feel it could be of great value for others to see the scriptural issues and conclusions that “Sam” went through during this process.

 Here is his discovery of…

THE AUTHORITY OF THE BIBLE IN THE QUR’AN

I noticed also that the Qur’an refers especially to the Torah and the Gospel, exhorting me to believe in them because they are “guidance and light” (Sura al-Ma’ida 5:46). Another verse in particular came to my mind often:

 “And if thou art in doubt (Muhammad) concerning that which We reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scripture before thee…” (Sura Yunis 10:94)

When I read this verse, I remembered the Christians and their booklet. According to Islam, Christians also are ahl ul-kitab (the People of the Book). If the Qur’an encouraged Muhammad to share his doubts with Christians, then why not me? Yet it was difficult for me to approach Christians. I had so little contact with them. Besides, my family would hardly approve!

Not far from my home there is a Christian Church.  I decided to go there secretly. When we arrived the pastor of that church received me and began to share the gospel. After some discussion the Pastor suggested that I read the Bible with a prayer for understanding . I obeyed his suggestion and I continued my reading of the Bible.

An awareness of my own sin never left me. It gnawed at my heart continually. After few days, I felt again a strong desire to see the pastor. I had to share my difficulties and doubts. The Pastor encouraged me and answered my questions about Christian beliefs and practices. Most of his answers satisfied me.

I returned home with a copy of the whole Gospel which my friend had given to me. Although I was very glad to have it, I was afraid that someone at home might see it. So I put the Gospel in a plastic bag and hid it under a stone in the forest. I often went to out of the home to read it, especially St John’s Gospel. One verse, the words of Jesus, gave me some consolation:

 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” John 14:1

The words “believe also in me” impressed me greatly at that time. Although I was anxious and troubled, this verse comforted me.

Next week: THE LOVE OF JESUS

To see the full series click here.

Photo by paul (dex) busy @ work

Theological Musings of a Former Muslim: 2

by Melissa Chang |

Islam

Last week we ran the testimony of a former Muslim who turned to Christ. Now in a new series, we have decided to share the theological details of his conversion, quoting both the Qur’an and the Bible. We ourselves do not claim to be experts in either, but we do feel it could be of great value for others to see the scriptural issues and conclusions that “Sam” went through during this process.

 Here is his discovery of…

The Uniqueness of Jesus in the Qur’an

trail flowersI had very much interest to collect and study the Biblical books. At the same time I continued  all the practices of Islam. I could not   forget the name “Jesus” when I repeated it every evening in my recitation of the Qur’an! So I decided to make a study of Jesus in the Qur’an and in other Muslim books. I had learned Arabic in my very childhood, so I could read and understand the meanings of Qur’an.  I found that ‘Isa has a very important place both in the Qur’an and in the Hadith – or Muslim tradition. In the Qur’an it seemed to me, ‘Isa was even more important than my prophet Muhammad. Some of my Muslim friends came to know that I was reading the Bible and Bible related books. They gently suggested that I concentrate more on Muhammad. Still I continued to wonder about those Qur’anic passages which referred to Jesus, to His unique birth, and to His marvelous deeds.

 “(And remember) when the angels said: O Mary! Lo! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a word from Him, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, illustrious in the world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (unto Allah).

 He will speak unto mankind in his cradle and in his manhood, and he is of the righteousness.

 She said: My Lord! How can I have a child when no mortal hath touched me? He said: So (it will be). Allah createth what He will. If He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is.

And He will teach him the Scripture and wisdom, and the Torah and the Gospel.

 And will make him a messenger unto the Children of Israel, (saying): Lo! I come unto you with a sign from your Lord. Lo! I fashion for you out of clay the likeness of a bird, and I breathe into it and it is a bird, by Allah’s leave. I heal him who was born blind, and the leper, and I raise the dead, by Allah’s leave. And I announce unto you what ye eat and what ye store up in your houses. Lo! herein verily is a portent for you, if ye are to be believers.

And (I come) confirming that which was before me of the Torah, and to make lawful some of that which was forbidden unto you. I come unto you with a sign from your Lord, so keep your duty to Allah and obey me.” (Sura Al Imran 3:45-50)

Tune in next week to see “Sam’s” discovery of THE AUTHORITY OF THE BIBLE IN THE QUR’AN.

To see the full series click here.

Photo by sburke2478

Theological Musings of a Former Muslim: 1

by Melissa Chang |

Uncategorized

qur'an

Last week we ran the testimony of a former Muslim who turned to Christ. Now in a new series, we have decided to share the theological details of his conversion, quoting both the Qur’an and the Bible. We ourselves do not claim to be experts in either, but we do feel it could be of great value for others to see the scriptural issues and conclusions that “Sam” went through during this process.

As told in last’s week’s autobiography, “Sam” was raised in a very strict religious Muslim home. His father was, in fact, a respected Muslim leader. “Sam” practiced Islam and learned Arabic to study the Qur’an.  Then one day he ran into a group of Christians preaching. He ended up with a New Testament and a Way of Salvation tract.  In our new series, we will now post his account of his theological struggle.

Tune in the next few weeks to learn about his theological journey through the following topics.

2 -The Uniqueness of Jesus in the Qur’an

3 -The Authority of the Bible in the Qur’an

4 -The Love of Jesus

5 -The Claims of Jesus

6 -The Sinlessness of Jesus in the Qur’an

7 -The Term “Son of God”

8 -The Death and Resurrection of Jesus

9 -The Coming of Muhammad

10 -Final Conclusions

Living Testimony of a Former Muslim

by Melissa Chang |

Islam, Muslim Contextualization, Stories from the Field

 petals

MY CHILDHOOD

I was born on a Tuesday in December of 1967. My father was a Mullah (a Muslim religious leader) in a small village in South India. Everyone in the village respected my family because we were strictly religious. My father’s special duty was to read from the Qur’an in Arabic to our Muslim neighbors. Yet he did not forget to teach his own children.

At the age of five I went to the nearby Madrasa (Muslim religious school) to learn Arabic, so that I could study the Qur’an.

HEARING THE GOSPEL OF JESUS

One Saturday, the market day in my village, when I was going home from school, I saw a large crowd in the market place. I went over and found a group of Christians there. They were telling the crowd about their faith stories from the life of Jesus and selling Christian booklets. I bought two of the booklets.

 1. The New Testament in my language

2.  The Way of Salvation 

I kept my booklet although I despised Christians. When I reached home, I sat down in a quiet place and started to read these books.  As I read, I wondered if the Jesus of this booklet was the same ‘Isa whom I knew about as a prophet. To my mind, the Jesus of this booklet was different from the Jesus of the Qur’an. Now I read that this Jesus could forgive sins. This very forgiveness of Jesus had changed (transformed) many sinners, and it made me love Jesus.

In fact, I considered my heart to be in a worse condition, full of a sinful nature. How could I find freedom from this spiritual disease? The booklet offered the cure. I rejected it because I had been taught that God alone forgave sins – not Jesus, the prophet.

Nevertheless, I could not free myself from the strong argument in the booklet. I became uncomfortably aware of my own sinfulness. What would become of me when I died? I could not escape death or the Day of Judgment. I made up my mind to find out more about Jesus with the help of a correspondence course advertised in this booklet.

DESIRE TO KNOW THE TRUTH

I had very much interest to collect and study the Biblical books.  At the same time I continued all the practices of Islam. I could not forget the name “Jesus” when I repeated it every evening in my recitation of the Qur’an! So I decided to make a study of Jesus in the Qur’an and in other Muslim books. I had learned Arabic in my very childhood, so I could read and understand the meanings of Qur’an.

I found that ‘Isa has a very important place both in the Qur’an and in the Hadith – or Muslim tradition. In the Qur’an it seemed to me that ‘Isa was even more important than my prophet Muhammad. Some of my Muslim friends came to know that I was reading Bible and Bible related books. They gently suggested that I concentrate more on Muhammad. Still I continued to wonder about those Qur’anic passages which referred to Jesus, to His unique birth, and to His marvelous deeds.

Not far from my home there is a Christian Church.  I decided to go there secretly. When we arrived, the pastor of that church received me and began to share the gospel. After some discussion the Pastor suggested that I read the Bible with a prayer for understanding.  I obeyed his suggestion and I continued my reading of the Bible.

An awareness of my own sin never left me. It gnawed at my heart continually. After few days, I felt again a strong desire to see the pastor. I had to share my difficulties and doubts. The Pastor encouraged me and answered my questions about Christian beliefs and practices. Most of his answers satisfied me .

I returned home with a copy of the whole Gospel which my friend had given to me. Although I was very glad to have it, I was afraid that someone at home might see it. So I put the Gospel in a plastic bag and hid it under a stone in the forest. I often went out of the home to read it, especially St John’s Gospel. One verse, the words of Jesus, gave me some consolation:

 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” John 14:1

The words “believe also in me” impressed me greatly at that time. Although I was anxious and troubled, this verse comforted me.

Like a magnet the love of Jesus attracted me. I thought that if Jesus were my master too, how I would love him! Yet, when the idea of becoming a Christian crossed my mind, I rejected it as an evil thought from Satan – for I was a Muslim.

FINDING THE LIGHT

I continued to read the Holy Bible with care and attention. In it I found treasure such as I had never dreamed of – it has the power to speak to those who really want to find God’s revelation and guidance. It showed me my real self, my sinful and guilty heart, and showed me also that I was spiritually blind. It asked me to bring all my sins and problems to God in the name of Jesus the Messiah. He came to this world searching for me! He died for my sins and rose again; He went up to heaven, and He will come again. I became convinced that the Holy Bible is indeed the Word of God.

The Holy Bible brought the answers to the problems which worried me. Its living word was able to satisfy my soul. What I had never found before in my religious experience, I now discovered. I became sure that the Holy Bible faithfully and accurately recorded the works and teaching of Jesus – this mystery of God’s eternal Word coming into our world as man. Now I became convinced of the truth of His death, resurrection, ascension, and second coming, which before I had not understood and had even hated.

No doubt, many Muslim friends will continue to think that the Holy Bible is corrupt and abrogated by the Qur’an.

Yet let him – especially if he is conscious of God’s holiness and his own sins – give serious thought to its message. Then let him, as I have done, draw his own conclusions.

A GREAT DECISION

On January 26, 1985 I surrendered to Jesus the Messiah. I confessed all my sins and accepted Him as my personal Savior and Lord, and by baptism in 1986 I was united to Him and His fellowship.  I could feel divine power entering into me.  I rose from my knees a changed man with peace in my soul, joy in my heart, and assurance in my mind. And today I still have that same joy, hope and assurance. Although I could not explain it, in my heart I believed that all my sins were washed away through the precious blood of Jesus Christ, that I had received power for a new life of love, and that the Lord Jesus Himself was reigning in my heart.

But the same day I was sent out of my own home. I could not see my mother, one who I was extremely close to. My father died when I was at the age of 5. Till now the door of my own home is closed before me.

IN HIS SERVICE

I had five years of systematical Bible training from two Bible colleges in India and graduated in the year 1989.  Soon the opportunity came to work with a Christian organization in the area. This gave me a chance to go to different parts of India to tell the Good News. I continued to do this for about one year. During that time I learned more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus. I am grateful to the Lord and to my friends in this team who gave me the opportunity to work with them. They helped me during difficult times.

My present concern is to bring the Good News of God’s light to my own people wherever they are, especially in my own area. May they accept the invitation of Jesus Christ which He gives to all to know the great Salvation of God.

I did not choose Him, but He chose me.  To God be the glory forever and ever.  Amen.

Photo by The Big Quack

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