Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Camel's Secret...Should Christian's Be Telling It?

Today I received a notice that Kevin Greeson, author of the Camel Training Manual, will be in an area church next week speaking on the International Mission Board's strategy of converting Muslim's as set forth by this manual.

Here is published information about the strategy that Greeson advocates:
For centuries, Christians have feared, hated, or simply avoided Muslims. In his new book, Greeson shows us how we can love them as God loves them and bring them to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Greeson's Camel Training treats Muslims with respect and invites them to confront their own sacred writings as a bridge to the good news found in the Bible.

The book's title comes from an old Arab proverb, "Allah has one hundred names. Man knows 99 of these names, but only the camel knows the one-hundredth name." Today, Muslims are learning the secret of the camel, the one-hundredth name of Allah is 'Isa al-Masih (Jesus Christ).

In his gripping new book, Kevin Greeson gives a first-hand account of how hundreds of thousands of Muslims have come to Christ in a single Church Planting Movement. Greeson reveals how more than 10,000 new churches have been started and 400,000 Muslim men and women have shift their allegiance from Mohammed to Jesus in what has become the largest turning of Muslims to Christ in history
Greeson's Camel Training Manual tells us the true inside story of this contemporary movement that continues to build momentum to this day. Greeson then proceeds to show us how we, too, can learn to ride the camel and reveal his life-giving secret to our own Muslim neighbors.

What emerges is a truly indigenous pattern of Christianity among Muslims. These passionate new followers of Jesus submit themselves to the authority of the Injil (New Testament), worshiping in Isa Jamaats (Jesus Groups), while calling themselves Isahiin (those belonging to Jesus).

In a day when threats of terror and war are pitting Christians and Muslims against one another at a level unprecedented since the Crusades, Greeson shows us another way. We learn that God is already at work in restless Muslim seekers filling their hearts with spiritual hunger and thirst for His Word. Camel Training teaches us how to find these hidden friends of the gospel and how to draw them into saving faith with Jesus Christ.
I have not read this manual. But I have read Greeson's Camel Tracks...Discover the Camel's Secrets, which is a tract based on the "camel method." I am perplexed, conflicted and alarmed by what I have read. Perplexed because so many reputable Christian leaders and missiologists have evaluated this material and commend it without apparent qualification. Conflicted because while I deeply appreciate the missional determination of this approach (as I understand it) I have serious concerns about apparent compromises with foundational truths of biblical Christianity (please note the word, "apparent"). I am alarmed because, if my concerns are well-based then this approach may well be sewing seeds that will sprout into full blown enemies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Hear me out. I am trying to be cautious, because I have not yet read the manual and out of deference for those who have that are touting it highly. If my concerns are unfounded, I will be delighted to have that demonstrated. Malcolm Yarnell, of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, issued a brief warning about some who have employed the camel method in biblically illegitimate ways (see his white paper entitled, "The Heart of A Baptist," p. 13). Beyond this, every other treatment of this approach that I have seen is overwhelming positive, even exuberant.

Here are my concerns. In the effort to be appropriately contextual I a fearful that the camel method (as employed in "Camel Tracks") gives away biblical ground that is essential to the saving message of Jesus Christ. For example, Greeson begins the tract with these words,
I am grateful to King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, Islamic Foundation, and others who are translating the Arabic Koran into all languages of the world. I feel blessed as I read the Koran in my mother tongue (1).
He further writes,
As I was reading the Koran in my mother tongue, I came upon a passage that flooded my heart with hope. You too can experience this same hope after you seize the truth of Surah Al- Imran 3:42-55. It hurts my heart to know that not everyone has eyes to see this truth. I pray that Allah will open your eyes to recognize truth.
I recognize that there are some people groups that have no other name for God than "Allah." But I find it disconcerting that a Christian should express a prayer to "Allah" in the context of quoting the Koran. Maybe I am simply being too restrictive in my thinking at this point. But I am harder pressed to sanction a Christian speaking of feeling "blessed" to read the Koran in general and to have one's heart "flooded with hope" by one particular text of the Koran. Yet, this kind of disposition is evidently central to the Camel method.

Is this the same as Paul quoting a Cretan prophet (Titus 1:12) or Greek poet (Acts 17:28) to buttress his point? It feels different to me. Paul does not attach any blessing to nor anchor the hope that floods his heart on sayings that come from sources other than Scripture. If the Koran is treated as authoritative at the threshhold of the Christian life, on what basis do we then later convince MBBs (Muslim background believers) to reject it out of submission to the sole authority of the Bible?

In the exegesis of the crucial Koranic passage, Greeson argues that it refers to Jesus Christ as the only Savior and Messiah of sinners. I have not read the Koran and could not begin to discuss it's text with any degree of authority, but it seems highly doubtful that this reading of its text is legitimate. Furthermore, if it is legitimate, then is our evangelism of Muslims to go like this: "You have misunderstood your holy book. Here is the correct understanding of it. Allah [and Mohammed?] have always wanted you to know Jesus Christ as Savior"?

One more sample from the tract of why I have some serious questions about this approach: Greeson argues that Muslims who come rightly to understand Surah Al- Imran 3:42-55 from the Koran become "Pakka" (or "Complete") Muslims (3). The impression is given that this is what true Islam has always been aiming to accomplish, but what most Muslims have simply failed to attain. But is that accurate?

I applaud Greeson's cultural sensitivity and thoughtful determination to contextualize the Gospel message for Muslims. Certainly the Arabic name for Jesus ('Isa) and even God (Allah) can and should be used. But nowhere in the tract do I remember seeing the claim that 'Isa is Allah.

Well, there you have it. I am perplexed, conflicted and alarmed. Am I missing something? Am I simply too long enslaved to my own cultural captivity that I can't see the legitimacy of this approach? Should I be concerned? Or should I join the chorus of those who are applauding this method of evangelizing Muslims? These are far more than academic questions to me. The church that I pastor has focused on Muslims in unreached people groups for the last 11 years and we have sent two families to take Gospel to them. I am open to any insights you can give.

60 comments:

Gary said...

I saw this presentation some time last year. I had a lot of the documentation that was given at the presentation at the time but I am sure that I discarded it by now. I had a very unsettling feeling listening to the presentation. It seemed as though he presented the gospel from the Koran and buttressed all of his arguments from the Koran. There was a converted Muslim in attendance that evening and he still clung to the Koran like I do my Bible. I guess I was likewise left unsettled… I think that method leaves a door open that could be dangerous, namely that the Koran contains the word of God; that God actually inspired some parts of the Koran. It seems like that is what I would have trouble with, it seems like a capitulation.

I haven't re-read any of the documentation provided on this page as of late...

Tolpel said...

Tom,

As Emir Caner once said, "Your assessment is correct!" I served with the IMB for two years working with Muslims in Southeast Asia and there are many disturbing materials and trends being endorsed and propagated by the IMB, unfortunately, this happens to be only one of them. It is disheartening that many of our brethren serving overseas have become so absorbed with contextualization that they are willing to blurr the lines in this way. It is a precarious situation to use non-truth to bring someone to the truth. Missionaries are always looking for "bridges" to the gospel, but should we choose bridges that we have to go back and deconstruct? And what happens when those bridges don't get deconstructed?

Micah said...

Typo: 4th (non-quoted) paragraph down, "Here me out..." should be "Hear me out..."

Still reading. :)

Micah said...

Tom,

You write:

Furthermore, if it is legitimate, then is our evangelism of Muslims to go like this: "You have misunderstood your holy book. Here is the correct understanding of it. Allah [and Mohammed?] have always wanted you to know Jesus Christ as Savior"?

While I've not studied the book, or the tract, this part reminded me somewhat of Paul's relating of the altar to "the Unknown God" to the God of Scripture.

Acts 17: 23"For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, 'TO AN UNKNOWN GOD ' Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you."

I'm not sure the method is a direct correlation, and I note that Paul's message doesn't really state that they really know God and are worshiping him improperly, rather that they know of him... and have rejected.

What are your thoughts on this connection?

Gordan said...

When we're done here, then we can bring the same strategy to Salt Lake and tell the Mormons, "Joseph Smith was merely trying to preach evangelical salvation by grace thru faith, and you've just missed it; but here is a place in the Book of Mormon where it supports my contention (and, by the way, I am always so richly blessed as I meditate on the Book of Mormon, praise gods.)"

Kurt Strassner said...

Just a note...I think the "what others are saying" link is about David Garrison's book, not Greeson's.

Pastor John said...

Tom,
I feel your anxiety. Earlier this year I was still in seminary and we discussed the CAMEL method of evangelism in my Missiology class. All of the concerns you brought up in your blog were also voiced in class. I have not had the time to read Greeson’s works, but there were several things brought up in my class that made me feel better about it.

First, the term “Allah” is a generic term for God in Arabic. Christians living in the Middle East called God “Allah” long before Muhammad started Islam. Thus, it would be legitimate for modern Arabic speakers to refer to the Christian God as “Allah.”

Second, in my class, it was stated that most people who use the CAMEL method use it as a bridge to help the person they are witnessing to listen to & trust the Biblical witness concerning Jesus. So, those who use the CAMEL method do not typically base their entire argument on what the Koran has to say about Jesus.

Again, I haven’t read Greeson’s books, but it does sound like a solid witnessing rubric when used properly.

Debbie said...

I agree with your assessment Tom. It's as if they are incorporating the Muslim religion into Christianity and that disturbs me greatly. The truth is that the Koran is a lie yet it is being espoused as truth. That is never good.

irreverend fox said...

since neither of us have read the manuel all we can do is speculate...but is this not similar to Pauls' approach in Athens or his intruction in 1 Corinthians 9?

Doug said...

Paul quoted them to show their error. He then quoted the Scripture to show them the truth. This appears (I said appears) to be quoting them to show them that they had the truth all along. I thought faith came by hearing the word about Christ.

kradzo said...

Acting like a Muslim and worshiping in Mosques with them, or accepting the Koran as scripture goes too far with contextualization - period.

FBCW said...

I am no expert on the method – yes I have the book and no I haven’t completely read it.

I have been in a strategy meeting of sorts that involved going into a Muslim area where open aired sharing will net you a quick death.

It is based on passages in the Koran that, if honestly looked at by the reader, open the door wide for considering Jesus (Isa).

You basically use their error to allow you to witness Jesus in truth. Bait and switch? Too close to call in my book.

Tom said...

Micah:

Thanks for the help. I wondered about Paul's use of the idol to the unknown god, but I am not convinced that it fits the camel tract. Islam professes to know the true God. They believe that he is revealed in the Koran. Paul makes his appeal to their admitted ignorance. Greeson appeals to their source of authority, claiming that when it is accurately interpreted, it leads to fatih in Christ. Thanks for your thoughts.

redeemedbrother said...

Tom,

I am a former IMB missionary to Muslims in South Asia. I read Greeson's book and was trained in the Camel Method during my time in SA. While I agree with some of the basic concepts that fuels Greeson's method of evangelism, many well-intentioned brothers get stuck on "the bridge" and never get to the Scriptures. The idea of using passages like the Surah 3 text is to begin at a non-offensive point of conversation and then move to the gospel.

Greeson states that the Koran should be quoted in passages where it asserts that Muslims (one who submits to God...or Allah) must read the Torah and Gospels, that Jesus is more than a prophet...he is actually presented on a Messianic level, and that Mohammed is a fallable human (12). We would use about two or three of these passages to begin a conversation with Imams in mosques or Muslims on the street. We would then quickly ask if they would like to begin studying the "Before Books" with us and set up a time to come back and study the Bible with them. Depending on the argumentative nature of the person, other issues would come up such as the inerrancy of the Bible. Generally, we would only spend about twenty minutes in such a conversation.

The problem I had with this method was that it almost seemed like we were trying to "sneak the gospel" in through a back door. While I understand the attempt at contextualization, I wonder if a presuppositional approach is not more effective. William Saal's book Reaching Muslims for Christ seems to be the most biblical approach to Muslim evangelism that I have found. It gives a more holistic approach to Muslim evangelism and overview for this issue than Greeson's, which is proposing one specific approach.

The positive that I see in Greeson's book is that he provides us with a method for beginning an evangelistic relationship with men who have been taught from infancy that Christians are from Satan. I can't count how many times I had to tell people that I was not an American who was there to map their city to be bombed. While there may be some flaws in his method, at least he is attempting to follow Paul's example in Acts 17. Many theologically sound IMB missionaries are utilizing a version of this method while more are sitting around utilizing "friendship evangelism" to wait around on furlough.

Tom said...

Pastor John:

The two explanations you give are helpful, and address the concerns I raised. What I find troubling is that the tract does not seem to make that second qualification. In the hands of a thoughtful evangelist, I can see how some of the ideas in the tract can be useful to build a bridge from Islam to the Gospel. But the tract itself seems to go to far.

Tom said...

Irreverend:

I have not read the manual, but I have read the tract. I based my comments on that. If you read the tract, I would be interested in your thoughts on it. Thanks.

Tom said...

Redeemedbrother:

Thanks. Your perspective adds some very helpful insights.

DoGLover said...

The debate about whether Allah is God misunderstood or a wholly different god has churned among MBBs for some time. Likewise, the debate about how to use the Koran as a bridge to the gospel has long been contested by missionaries. Obviously, it's a dangerous path to tread, but then any approach to people who embrace a religion that advocates violence to achieve its ends has its risks.

Without knowing more about the book, I can't really comment on its merits. As a former IMB field personnel/m/missionary, I have seen some approaches that worked better than others. Sometimes it boils down to an individual's wisdom and sensitivity to the Spirit. The zeal to gain a convert can impair one's judgment. You are wise to question the book's premises and wiser still to keep an open mind until you have explored it further.

Meanwhile, I'm going to check my Koran (in my heart language) in the morning. I keep it next to my Book of Mormon.

GeneMBridges said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
GeneMBridges said...

The use of "Allah" for God is off. The biblical God has a proper covenant name. "Allah" is not, by definition, equivalent, because the actual assertion of Islam is that Allah is the proper name of God, not simply a title, that is, a generic equivalent.

See here: http://www.answering-islam.org/
Shamoun/god.htm

This is by no means Paul in Athens. In Athens, he was talking about "an unknown god." He then when to the Aeropagus. In Athens, Stoicism was the dominant philosophical school of the time, although there were some others. The point is, he was basically arguing the identity of the Unmoved Mover whose name and personal reality were unknown, not identifying a particular god in their pantheon with Yahveh. The analogy with Allah fails, IMO, at the critical point of comparison, for Paul did not say "Zeus (a proper name) is Yahveh" That would, of course, have been heresy.

The Bible, not the Koran, should lay out the boundaries of our apologetic. There's a reason that Van Til, for example, spent the first part of his magnum opus with a presentation of Christian theology, before laying out his apologetic methodology.

To use the Koran as a "bridge" to Muslims in the fashion I'm seeing here is exactly backwards. Islam is a Christian heresy. To use it as a bridge to Christian by saying that the Koran points a person to Christ is wrongheaded. It's the equivalent of using the Gospel of Peter or the Gospel of Judas or the Gospel of Thomas to lead a Gnostic to Christ.

On the other hand, our M above me has rightly pointed to particular Surahs. But these are to be used in an apologetic to get the Muslim to do what Mohammed said he should do-namely inquire of the Jews and Christians. In so doing, it is evident that that person will find that there is a massive contradiction between what Jews and Christians stated about God and Christ and what Mohammed does. In other words, by the Koran's own standard, Mohammed was a false prophet. Ergo, the Koran is a false religion.

Likewise, if they dispute Christianity, then they should be pointed to the Koran which says they should not dispute the people of the Book. Also, Islam teaches the Bible is corrupted, but the Koran tells them to look to those who had the Book (our Scriptures) before them. But if the Bible had been corrupted then why would Muhammad send his followers to verify his teachings from a corrupted text? The point being that you are offering, in both instances, an internal critique of their faith.

The Koran says that "Allah" has revealed himself in the Bible. Thus, you can use those surahs pointing them to the Bible to do things like use . Here, “Allah” tells us that if future revelation contradicts previous revelation, then it has not come from God. Now then, does the Koran contradict previous revelation? If it does, then according to the Koran's own terms it cannot be what it claims to be.

It seems to me that, if what I'm reading here is true, then Mr. Greenson is shooting himself in the foot by saying the Koran (a book which if true is false because of claims like these) can lead a Muslim to Christ. It can by way of an internal critique to show its falsity, not by playing up its veracity. The claim that it leads a person to Christ is thus undermined by the falsity of the Koran. An internal critique and Gleeson's methodology appear to tug in two logically antithetical directions. I find myself (and you heard it here, brethren) agreeing with Emir Caner.

Jeff Fuller said...

I haven't witnessed to Muslims overseas but I have witnessed to many here in the States and I don't see how affirming their FALSE holy book is of any benefit to sharing the gospel with them.

Of greater concern to me is how this "camel method" does little to establish a biblical view of the Character of God... instead it refers to a blasphemous work of fiction (the Koran) to try to explain the gospel. What's next... are we going to try to reach Satanists by using the Satanic Bible? Rubbish!

If you want to reach Muslims, try instead using God's moral law to show them the exceeding sinfulness of their sins. Then bring them to the cross of Christ and explain how God poured out His wrath of Christ so that sinners can be saved.

-- Jeff Fuller
www.reformedevangelist.com

DOGpreacher said...

Faith comes by hearing,& hearing by the some of the good parts of the KORAN?

I don't think so.

When will we be faithful to preach the pure Gospel?

Your right on concerning the Name, Gene...Thanks!

Nice post Tom.

GeneMBridges said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
GeneMBridges said...

To use the Koran as a "bridge" to Muslims in the fashion I'm seeing here is exactly backwards. Islam is a Christian heresy. To use it as a bridge to Christian by saying that the Koran points a person to Christ is wrongheaded. It's the equivalent of using the Gospel of Peter or the Gospel of Judas or the Gospel of Thomas to lead a Gnostic to Christ.

As I reread my comment above, it occurs this may not be clear to some folks here. Islam is a Christian heresy in that it borrows epistemological capital from Christianity and Judaism. It's doctrine of hell, for example, is derivative of our doctrine of hell. It's monotheism is derivative of Christianity/Judaism and possibly some Zoroasterianism. It can be therefore discounted, therefore, by way of an internal critique since it claims these doctrines are all direct revelations to Mohammed--but Mohammed clearly got his information about what we believe from distorted sources, assuming with charity he did not distort our beliefs willfully, and an apologetic pointing to the true gospel can proceed on this basis, because if it's true, it's a false religion. It's self-contradictory. Saying that the Koran points to Jesus and completes you as a Muslim is not a convertible claim with the claim that the Koran deriving some of its doctrines from Christianity/Judaism. The former is just plain false teaching and pandering to the self-interest of a sinner; the latter leads you to mount an internal critique where you can challenge the Muslim religion from its own platform and then mount a positive case for Christianity.

irreverend fox said...

Tom,

I have seen neither...I will be looking into how I can obtain at least the tract...

here's the tract that I have seen...

"For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it."

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 NASB

From the way Tom, FBCW, RedeemedBrother and others that I have spoken with describe this method, it seems to fall within these principles laid out here by St. Paul.

The reason this method might sound strange to many pastors in the states is that so few pastors or churches practice 1 Corinthians 9:19-23...which is why Christianity is dying in the west.

Tom said...

Irreverend fox:

You can get the tract on the hotlink I provided. Regarding Paul's words, he is describing his philosophy of ministry in how he was willing to live in order to gain a hearing for the Gospel among various groups. The issue (and context) is the exercise of Christian liberty, not epistemology. He is giving us the explanation of why he could circumcise Timothy or shave his head as part of a vow in Jerusalem at one time and then refuse to circumcise Titus and eat with Gentiles at other times. The application, it seems to me, would be to be willing to abide by Muslim dietary or dress codes in order to gain a hearing for the Gospel. The tract appeals to their book as a heart-warming, hope-giving message. This is what raises my questions.

That Jeremy Guy said...

Tom,

Sorry this is long, but it is vitally important to this discussion. I recently returned from a Mission trip to Niger. On this trip we used the Camel Method as part of our presentation of the gospel. We used the Camel method as a bridge between the Old and New Testament.

We began by sharing stories with them from the Old Testament that emphasized God’s punishment of evil and mercy upon those who cry out to him. For example, we told the story of God telling Moses to create the bronze serpent (all who looked to it were healed). Then we told them that we wanted to share with them about Jesus from the Koran. Here is where we used the Camel method. In the selected verses (Sura al-Imran) we discussed that Jesus was holy because he came directly from God and had not earthly father. Jesus had no sin and did nothing wrong. We discussed that Jesus had power over death and sickness. God gave Jesus the authority to heal the blind and sick and to raise the dead back to life. We discussed that Jesus knows the way to heaven. God terminated Jesus’ stay on earth and brought him to heaven. We would then ask them, ‘Does this mean that Jesus knows the way to heaven? They almost always answered ‘Yes.’ We then told them, ‘If they wanted to know how to get to my house, who would you ask? This child? No! You would ask someone who knows the way, you would ask me.”
Then we would discuss what the New Testament says about Jesus. We would share with them that the New Testament says that Jesus had no father, he healed the blind and sick, he raised the dead to life. Then we would tell them that Jesus told his followers that he had to go away but that is was good for him to go away. We shared with them that Jesus died on the cross for sin. We told them that they do not have to work for their salvation and that forgiveness was possible. It is only through faith in Jesus that a person receives forgiveness.

I had no problem with using the Camel method in this way. We simply used it as a bridge to the gospel. No Muslim can say that Jesus is not special, their own book tells them this. We used this section of their book as a springboard to tell them just HOW special he really is.

We spoke to Muslims who had never heard the gospel before. None of them made public professions of faith while we were there, but we saw the look in their eyes. A good number of them were floored! They had a ‘I want to believe this but it can’t be right’ type look on their face. Kind of like I had when I first read Romans 9 in context ;)

There is truth about Jesus in the Koran. I don’t think there is enough truth in it to bring a person to salvation, but it does contain truth about Christ. The Koran as a whole is an evil demonic book, but God can use all things to bring himself glory and he used this section of the Koran during our trip.

irreverend fox said...

Thanks Tom,

I'm reading your response AND listening to your introduction on Calvinism (your address to Liberty) on aomin.org…James White did and EXCELLENT job during his teaching and your introduction has been awesome as well!

Referring to their book as "a heart-warming, hope-giving message" sounds sort of like, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects..." Paul was obviously not as touchy-feely as this camel approach seems to be…but the approach and tact of Paul seems not altogether dissimilar either…both statements attempt to defuse initial resistance with compliments which when understood properly…are not lies but are truthful statements. They are both, it seems, bridge building statements. What are our IMB and NAMB missionaries supposed to say, “your book is demonic and full of lies! Now get over here and listen to the REAL truth of Allah!”

Ok, ok, I'll take a look at the hotlink and shut up until I'm more familiar with this issue,

thanks Tom!

Tony said...

I too have not read either the tract or book but in just listening, reading, the conversation above, it would seem that the issue may be that the area of the sufficiency of scripture. In sufficiency I am not just speaking about it’s sufficiency for life and practice but even in the practice of evangelism. Why do we need to go to the Koran unless we feel God is helpless to use His own words, of which the Koran are not? I am all for making sure we present the Gospel in words that having meaning to the hearer but does this mean we have to use the Koran. By using the Koran as the basis for the evangelism for Muslims are we telling them that if they become a believer the Koran is still good to read? Have we given them Christianity Plus, plus the Koran and all it’s teachings? Should we not trust in scripture as the message we deliver and not have to rely on others un-holy books.

In Acts 17 Paul makes sure that the listeners do not simply add the “Unknown god“ to their life but see Him as the only God. If we are not careful in evangelizing Muslims we can lead them to believe that even now we believe in the same God and they simply have to add Jesus to their God. But this issue is not simply a IMB problme as in general every Sunday pulpits around the country propagate a theology that is Christian Plus. The church seems to simply seek to have people take Christ as some form of life enhancement medication. So seeing this principle taken oversees is not all that surprising.

All this said I do pray for those missionaries we send through the IMB. I pray for their health and safety. I also pray that in the midst of doing what God has called them to do and that is evangelize to the ends of the earth but to also do it as God commands, through His Word. The church in the US is filled with unbelievers lets pray that we do not do the same in the mission fields of the world.

Pastor Steve said...

By the way, I am a different pastor steve than the one who has posted here before.

I have not read the book or the tract, so I am basing my opinion solely on what I have read here. But if the above discussion has accurately represented this material, I would have serious reservations about using this to witness to Muslims.

Certainly we can use the Qur'an apologetically, as Gene Bridges pointed out above, to highlight internal contradictions within Islam, but there are dangers with using the Qur'an as a bridge to Muslims. Aside from the problems stated elsewhere--i.e., this approach compromises the sufficiency of Scripture and imparts a holy status to a false book--the Camel method could bring reproach on the evangelist who tries to use it with a Muslim who actually knows what his Qur'an says about Jesus.

We can grant that the Qur'an says some true things about Jesus. We can grant the same for other false books like the Book of Mormon. However, if I remember correctly, the Qur'an also states that Jesus could not be God's Son (since a monotheistic god could not have a son), that Jesus did not actually die on the cross, and that Jesus absolutely could not be God (since there is no god but Allah).

If we use a sura to say, "See, your own holy book shows that Jesus is the Messiah!" we would have to hope that our Muslim friend doesn't know his Qur'an and that we could bait-and-switch over to the Bible as quickly as possible. If he does know his Qur'an, at best we could make a "convert" who believes Jesus is the Messiah but doesn't accept the Bible's central claims of his Deity, Sonship, and atoning work. At worst, we could (rightly) be accused of trying to misrepresent the Qur'an and of "shading the truth" on who it says Jesus is. If a Muslim sees that we are willing to selectively misrepresent the Qur'an and even lie to him to get him to convert, how will he ever trust our witness?

Better to go to what the Bible says about Jesus and let God do his regenerating work.

doitright said...

I recently spent several weeks in Muslim countries, interacting with the national leaders. The complaint that I heard was that we send our missionaries over to them with the latest missiological theory to try out and with plenty of money to implement it. The national leaders said they have no choice but to follow along because they are needed to do the actual “ministry.” Once the latest theory fails, the missionary heads back home with glowing reports and the nationals are left to “pick up the pieces” and to try to heal their churches.

I asked many leaders which of the latest contextualized theories worked. They said none worked. Example: They told of a test case where the “believers” do not know whether they are Christians or Muslims and that they had recently fully embraced only the Koran and repudiated the Bible. Yet this “church or Jesus-mosque” is being shown in the US as being the great success of contextualization. Example: They said that we Americans boast of great successes of Bible-teaching imams where the believers pray in the mosque five times a day to Isa, but that true MBBs reject the mosques because of so many demonic connotations connected with them.

The leaders I met with were too nice to say anything bad about us. They appreciate our sincere efforts at trying to reach Muslims. They said that they know how to effectively reach their own people but they have two problems: they must spend their time implementing the latest missiological theory and they do not have enough resources to implement the strategies they see working.

As I stated, the leaders were too gracious to say anything bad about us, but I came away with the conviction that we are arrogant. We think we know how to reach people of other cultures while we do not even know how to plant sound churches in our own culture.

Another impression was that we see missions as either a great anthropological experiment or we go the other direction and see missions as all spiritual warfare (prayer walks which bind territorial spirits). Missions has to do with planting Christ’s Body. It is not trying out someone’s dissertation.

Greeson has his theory. I don’t blame him for being excited about it. When I first went to these Muslim countries my American can-do-it spirit rose up and within hours of landing I was exasperated: Why don’t you try this? There has to be a way of reaching these people? What is the key to reaching Muslims? With American ingenuity we should be able to reach these countries in a short time.

After being with these humble leaders I realized that we need to listen to these guys. Some are having amazing results but they will not tell us because they are afraid we will move in and try to “improve” on it. There are great national leaders in these Muslim countries. We need to listen to them. We need to ask how we can help, but not with out latest missiological theory. We want to be bosses. Jesus has called us to be servants.

Jeff Fuller said...

I sent a copy of the PDF to a friend, Peter Hammond, who is from South Africa and regularly engages muslims in Africa. Here was his take on the "Camel Method":

Thank you for your E-mail of 22 November, along with the link to the Camel tract. I find it horrifying that any missionary could confuse the God of the Bible with the Allah of the Quran.

We have used the Quran as a springboard to evangelism, but it is the Bible alone which is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. This camel tract, saturated with Quranic Surah, and permeated with an Islamic worldview, is, I believe, ineffective for winning Muslims to Christ. The Nabi Isa (Prophet Jesus) proclaimed in the Quran, is a shadow of the King of kings and Lord of lords proclaimed in the Scriptures. Our Lord Jesus is far more than a prophet.

Even more important, the tribal deity, Moon god, Allah, of the Quran is hardly the Almighty God of the Bible. Anyone understanding the sources of the Quran, and the teachings of Islam concerning Allah would not want to call people to Allah, but rather would beseech them to turn from this idol of human making.

Effective evangelism needs to make use of the Law of God, which is the school master that leads us to Christ. People must understand the holiness of God, His eternal justice and wrath against sin, before they are ready for the Good News of Salvation in Christ.

I do not believe that any of the Reformers, or great missionaries of the 19th Century would have recognised this poor attempt in the camel tract as preaching the true Gospel. Throughout the Bible, we see the prophets and Apostles preaching against idols, which were destroyed as the people turned to Jehovah. There is no salvation without repentance and faith in the shed blood of Christ on the cross of Calvary.

scripturesearcher said...

Whenever Christians COMPROMISE
Biblical truths they always produce a HYBRID gospel that
soothes but fails to save!

Whenener Christians COMPROMISE Biblical truths they always produce a HYBRID gospel that
soothes but fails to save!

Should I repeat that?????
Should I repeat that?????
Should I repeat thaqt????

DoGLover said...

Gene

I always enjoy reading your insights. I appreciate your wisdom. You'll note that I did not defend anyone's use of the name Allah for God, nor of the Koran as a bridge to the gospel. I merely observed the existence of the debates. You are correct that Allah is not one of the biblical names of God. Some MBBs express their conversion as turning to a different God, while others think in terms of having their understanding of God changed radically when they were saved. I don't know enough about the Arabic language to know how close the name Allah parallels any of God's names in the Bible. I agree that the Muslim understanding falls greatly short of the truth.

As for the Koran-as-bridge idea, the Koran does teach that Isa was a prophet. Despite its general error to teach (or fail to teach) the full deity of Christ, it does provide a point of familiarity with which to begin an evangelistic conversation. By no means is it a sufficient means of revealing the Person of Christ and his gracious redemption of the lost. Perhaps "bridge" is too strong a word. "Steppingstone" might serve better. Jesus' conversation with the Samaritan woman comes to mind. He led from the known (We worship on this mountain) to the unknown (Jesus is Messiah) by way of her recognizing that Jesus is a prophet. You have rightly described the proper use of the Koran in light of the authority of Scripture.

In my evangelistic encounters with Muslims, I've found it very difficult to get them to listen to anything that conflicts with their views. Nothing calms them down like starting with their own holy book. 1) It catches them off guard. 2) It shows I know more than they think I do. 3) It shows I care enough about them to study their religion. 4) It shows I'm not afraid of their religion.) 5) It gives me greater credibility when I show them what the Koran says about Jesus. Finally, 6) it makes it easier for them to consider the real claims of Christ.

As long as one does not bog down in trying not to offend the Koran, it can be a useful tool in closing the gap between Muslims and the gospel. You are absolutely right when you say, "The Bible, not the Koran, should lay out the boundaries of our apologetic." Jeremy seems to have done a good job of beginning with the Koran and then moving to the New Testament.

Russ Reaves said...

I have witnessed to Muslims in America and in Kenya and West Africa. I have used with discretion some of the passages from the Quran that are cited in the Camel method, but I try to move away from the Quran as quickly as possible. Also, I do not refer to God as Allah. I do not object to the Muslim using that term, but I am careful to "define the terms." I do not believe that the Allah of the Quran has the same attributes as the God of the Bible. I ask the Muslims to which I witness the following question (can't remember where I learned this, but it is not original with me): "Do you believe that God/Allah can do anything He desires?" They always say "Yes." Then I say, "Can He become a man?" They say, "No." Then I say, "Well, then you don't believe He can do anything He desires." This traps them into circular reasoning, and though it seldom if ever leads to conversion, it plants a seed of doubt or curiosity in their minds that I have to trust the Holy Spirit to nurture.

I recall reading (forgive my forgetfulness of the source -- it's been a long time and I seldom use this is witnessing dialogues since it is highly offensive to Muslims) that Allah was the moon-god worshipped by Mohammed's family. It was one of many originally stored in the Kabah. But when Mohammed "cleansed" the Kabah, he removed all the idols except the "rock" that represented Allah. Maybe someone else can elaborate or dispel this as a myth. But if this is true, and I seem to recall it being from a reliable source, then we must distance ourselves from associating the God of the Bible from this outright pagan understanding of who God is.

I think the Camel method is not too different from most "anglo" witnessing methods. It is a flawed presentation of the gospel. But there are certain things we can draw from it which may be effective if we use discretion and discernment. I think most Muslims would pick up on the fact that with the Camel method, we are trying to slip them an evangelistic mickey.

bristopoly said...

Isn't the Gospel a calling away from one authority to another (i.e., Jesus as Lord and the centrality of the Bible as His Word)? If Christ and the Bible are so linked, then establishing a Jesus on some other "word" is really a false gospel. What good is it if a Muslim "accepts" Christ and still clings to the Koran as his source to know who the Lord is and what He says? A "bridge" that establishes the authority of another religion ultimately leads to sycretism, as scripturesearcher stated. Is that what we want? Even more people on the earth who have "Jesus" adapted to their indigenous religion?
The word "allah" was once a generic word for God as its Semitic cognates were (ilu, el, elohim, etc.), but it is clear that the "Allah" being referred to now is the one of the Koran, so it is not like Paul's allusion to the Aristotelian unknown God. Paul didn't establish the authority of Greek philosophy. He highlighted its insufficiency to know God. He stated that the people were religious, not that their religion had hope in it. He then proceeded to speak the revelation of Christ in the Gospel to where they thought he spoke of strange gods (note that: STRANGE gods, i.e., not familiar, not like their concepts of a god). He therefore started with their belief and moved away from it to what is foreign and even contradictory to their belief and their faith in a man-made/demonic authority (which always has some truth in order to deceive all the more) to a faith in God's authority as it has been revealed to the apostles (what we now have in the Scripture). People are trying to say this is the same thing, but this is clearly apples and oranges. Ditto on Tom's analysis of 1 Cor 9. That passage is so abused by missiologists both here and abroad, and to accuse pastors in America of not obeying it because they don't use secular humanism here to establish the person and work of Christ (which would be the equivalent here) is nothing short of absurd. As the old saying goes, "What you save them with is what you save them to." Customs can be compromised. Source of authority/Lordship cannot be.

bristopoly said...

As as post note: when we think Muslims won't listen because we don't use the Koran as the source of authority is to lack faith in the Spirit of God who uses His Word to supernaturally change men. We convince them of nothing. I find the need for such "methods" to be rather Semi-Pelagian, even if they are practiced by Monoergists.

redeemedbrother said...

Doglover,

Your post was a good summary the way that I see the usefulness of the K. You stated: "In my evangelistic encounters with Muslims, I've found it very difficult to get them to listen to anything that conflicts with their views. Nothing calms them down like starting with their own holy book. 1) It catches them off guard. 2) It shows I know more than they think I do. 3) It shows I care enough about them to study their religion. 4) It shows I'm not afraid of their religion.) 5) It gives me greater credibility when I show them what the Koran says about Jesus. Finally, 6) it makes it easier for them to consider the real claims of Christ.

As long as one does not bog down in trying not to offend the Koran, it can be a useful tool in closing the gap between Muslims and the gospel."

I absolutely believe Muslim evangelism begins and ends with Special Revelation. Only the Scriptures are sufficient for converting a totally depraved sinner, not a false revelation. From my training under Greeson, he is not advocating trying to win people to Christ through the K, but to use it as a beginning point. Obviously, we hold that a person will come to Christ through the Special Revelation of the Bible, not through partial truth through General Revelation. However, immediately jumping into the Bible when it has been supposedly corrupted gets us nowhere with Muslims. By spending 10 minutes removing such mindsets by appealing to their source of authority, one quickly removes these barriers to the gospel rather than beating his head up against the wall. The K teaches that the Bible has been corrupted, but it also teaches that the Bible CANNOT be corrupted (talking about contradictions!).

It is ONLY a beginning point, not the means for evangelism. That is its intended use. This method has actually been used by missionaries to Muslims for years. Greeson's method is simply another version of it. Again, William Saal's (see my above post) book is a great overview for believers wanting to share the only gospel of the one true God with those deceived by Islam.

GeneMBridges said...

I want to be clear, I'm not saying we should not reference the Koran. What I'm saying is that we should not point to the Koran and then point to Jesus the way this method seems to allege, because, given what the Koran actually says about Jesus, those propositions pull in logically antithetical directions. This strikes me as yet another attempt to place a model over dependency on the Word of God proper. That is to say, the Bible must set the parameters of our apologetic strategy.

Yes, Paul did go to Athens. Yes, Paul did talk about the UnKnown God, but that is not the same as saying, "Zeus anticipates God," or, worse, "Zeus is Yahve." These are not convertible propositions. I've done apologetics for many years now, and I've found that using these books (and this includes the Book of Mormon and others) is wonderful for an internal critique and, from an evidentialist perspective, by way of comparison and contrast. I prefer the internal critique, because this is more hospitible to leading to an apologetic confrontation based on the presuppositions of Islam, not the minutae, and, really, that's what we're after here, because it proceeds from a false view about God as well as distortions of the source material from which it borrows.

I asked Steve Hays from Triablogue to comment. He emailed Tom and I his response. I'd like to reproduce it here:

I share Tom's reservations. Just glancing at it, two basic problems
stand out:

i)The idea of using the Koranic Christology as a bridging device to get Muslims hooked on Biblical Christology is hardly a new idea. This has been tried before.

The basic problem is that it flies in the face of 1300 years of Koranic
scholarship and Muslim theology.

Islam is not parallel to Protestantism. It isn't simply a religion of the book. It's the Koran filtered through centuries of authoritative hermeneutical tradition.

To tell a Muslim that all their theologians and scholars have misread
the Koran for the last 1300 years--even if that were correct--is going to be a nonstarter for many or most Muslims.

ii)The question at issue is not what we call God. Arab Christians use
the name Allah because they speak Arabic, and that's the Arabic name
for God.

The question, though, is what this name *stands* for in the mind of the
worshipper. Is he using this name to denote a Muslim concept of God or
a Christian concept of God?

This ties into a popular myth according to which Islam is one of the three Abrahamic faiths, so that Allah is equivalent to Yahweh.

Of course, that isn't true. Allah is not Yahweh by another name.

Allah is simply an idolatrous concept of God, a God-substitute, along
the same lines as Baal, Dagon, or Zeus.

ajlin said...

The only time I have heard of this issue previous to this article was in a passing comment made by Dr. Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology here at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He expressed concerns very similar to those mentioned in this post.

Timmy said...

Tom,

This is an excellent post, one which I am grateful you brought up. I am sure the discussion is good as well, although due to the brevity of time I am not able to read all of it.

I am currently midway through a lengthy paper on evangelical inclusivism and saving faith. Just about an hour ago, I came across this quote by Clark Pinnock, the leading evangelical inclusivist:

“When Jews or Muslims, for example, praise God as the Creator of the world, it is obvious that they are referring to the same Being. There are not two almighty creators of heaven and earth, but only one. We may assume that they are intending to worship the one Creator God that we also serve."

(A Wideness in God's Mercy, 96-97).

This is a serious matter of high contextualization which goes beyond (in my opinion) what missionaries should be doing in an Islamic context. If you quote from the Qu'ran and use it as a legitimate and authoritative text to speak of Jesus (Isa), then you are positing the Muslim sacred writings on the same level as the Scriptures. Furthermore, the God of Mohammed is not the Father of Jesus as Timothy George put it.

We need to address this issue very carefully because it is not only critical to the gospel and Christian mission but also the identity and exclusivity of Jesus Christ.

Larry said...

Just having read this little bit I'm concerned as well. Allah is not the God of scripture, the only God who is. Therefore, Jesus Christ is not one of the names of Allah. This is not about having a 'complete' understanding of Allah but of rejecting Allah, a false god, and embracing Jesus Christ, the one true God. Dangerous stuff in my opinion.

Trey Atkins said...

Thanks for your humble approach to this topic and for not just blasting away on any and all who might practice the Camel method.

I don't like getting blasted. Though I no longer serve in a Muslim context, I did for four years and used the Camel method. My experience would lead my to be overwhelmingly postive in evaluation.

At the same time, it is what you make it to be. Is compromise possible? Is bad theology going to happen? Are contextualized methods going to go too far? Yes to all of these.

However, I think the approach I was taught and practiced is one of the best and most God used ways to help Muslims desire to read the Bible, consider the work of Christ and what it means to them.

I have trudged through the comments and found many to be quite interesting. It seems there has indeed been abuse of the method. However, at no time in my training or practice did I see or use a contextualized approach which compromised the integrity of the gospel or the Bible.

I would simply point out what the Koran said about two issues: Jesus and their responsibility to read part of the Bible. I would then use those teachings to see if a Bible reading group could begin for the sole purpose of discovering who Jesus is and what He did.

Blaurock said...

Dear Tom,
Thanks for your willingness to discuss this issue. I live in a muslim town (90%)and work with them every day. (since '92)
The Jehovah's Witness missionary who visits from Germany uses these methods. To me, this methodology is classically "cultic." I don't see the apostles using anything close to it. We have to trust that the Holy Spirit will open the eyes of the ones whose names are written in the book from eternity past. Otherwise we will justify things like "The True Forqan" and equating Jesus with Isa. I always identify the Koranic "Isa" as a contrived non-existent "jesus" described in 2 Cor.11.
I have talked to many who justify these methods, and I'm convinced that they are better salesmen than missionaries. Guile is guile. We know that we are putting words in that camel's mouth. Why lie and actually deceive men into truth?
The truly well studied muslim will hate us for the attempt. They know the differences. Those who find out later may actually become more rabid apostates from their supposed Camel conversion. A loving and truthful discourse about the true Christ and His work,without even consulting the Koran,will bring fruit that is borne of the Holy Spirit and allows the messenger to refrain from sleight of hand.
When I was saved, I John 1,2 hit me like a truck. The guy never had to consult Vatican II. I saw Catholicism as a lie and stumbling block, and cast it aside. When a muslim is convicted and convinced by the Holy Spirit, through the Word of God, no methodology dares to raise itself up for a comparison.
"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." (2 Cor.19:5)
We are to pull down strongholds, not climb onto them to be heard more clearly. Flesh forever wants to enter into the battle that only the Spirit can win.

Blaurock said...

2Cor.10:5

bristopoly said...

blaurock,

well said, brother. God bless your ministry!

klb said...

Hi, I just got back from serving with the IMB in the Middle East and we and others of our colleagues regularly use the camel method in an adapted form that was suitable to the people of our country. (99.6% of whom are Muslims) The method is not meant to glorify the Koran; it's not even supposed to be able to show a Muslim who Jesus really is from Koran. In fact, Greeson clearly states in the book that the point of all this is not to present the gospel from the Koran, he says clearly that he believes this is impossible. The camel method just gets you to talking about Jesus and the Bible in a way that prevents a Muslim from taking off into the usual arguments they know so well by heart to discredit the Gospel message. When my husband and I would visit with folks from our country, we found that we constantly ran into HUGE roadblocks on the points of the authority of the Bible and the importance of Jesus. With the Camel Method, we could use their own book to move them past these problems. (That's not to say they didn't still believe those same old arguments, but it sure allowed the conversations to get deeper into the truth when you didn't have to stop and spend 30 minutes listening to the same routine you've heard 1000 times about how the Bible is corrupted and how God had sex with Mary.) Now, there were things in the book that we didn't use in our country, even things that I myself was uncomfortable saying, but let's don't throw the baby out with the bathwater! As with any book/training program you get, you have to use what you can, and throw out those things that aren't practical for you.

As far as leaving the door open for MBB's to cling to their Koran's, I think we often don't give the people to whom we bring the Gospel enough credit. Do they or do they not have the same Holy Spirit living and active in their hearts that we do? From our experience, we saw and heard of MBB's who had heard the Camel method who clung to their Korans until they became involved in a local believing community when they were challenged to turn away from it's authority. We also heard of many who had never heard the Camel method who had the same problem. Fact is, it's gonna be a hard thing for them to release no matter if they've heard the Camel arguments or not. In our country, though, the few existing believing groups were successfully using the Camel arguments to get their friends and families into the Bible and none of them that we knew of were treating the Koran as authoritative.

Rick Thompson said...

tom,

if you will email me through my blog, i will send you a copy of the camel method so that you can read it for yourself. as has already been pointed out, the effectiveness of this method depends on the way you use it. most missionaries in muslim countries i have talked to use it cautiously or not at all.

Haqbigu said...

First, let me say that I'm grateful to Tom for raising this issue concerning the Camel.
Second, let me encourage those who haven't read the Camel to go to that link and read it.
I work overseas, and have read several versions of the Camel, and believe those promoting this method want to be careful and are open to revising their materials.

It also seems to me that there a number of brothers have failed to recognize that when they refer to the father of our Lord Jesus Christ as God, they have already departed from the biblical language of Yahweh or Jehovah or any of the other names of God in the Scriptures. How freely we English speakers use the word/name God, which is a translation which for many English speakers certainly does not mean the Triune God of the Bible. We have to explain to them what we mean by the word God. I'm curious to know which Arabic word they would propose to use for the God who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Is there another word available in the Arabic language, which is more suitable? If a Muslim background believer believes and confesses that Allah is the father of our Lord Jesus Christ who is also fully God and fully man, help me understand what the problem is?

Re: this sufficiency of Scripture and evangelism, it seems to me that a full and faithful appreciation for the sufficiency of Scripture does not rule out the use of other extra-biblical words, and even extra -biblical concepts as we attempt to make clear and plain the demands and claims of the gospel. Is it not possible to find points of contact in the common culture, and to talk about them, without granting any authority or redemptive power to those points of contact? The points of contact serve as bridges into a conversation in which the evangelist’s entire hope and confidence is in the gospel as revealed in the Scripture and the working of the Holy Spirit.

That seems not to violate a proper understanding of the sufficiency of Scripture. Or am I missing something?

Blaurock said...

The most known context of the word Allah is from the Koran, as the singular deity who called Muhammad to reveal his truth. Most muslims aren't Arabic so it isn't accurate to use this strongly tilted word to describe the Lord in these other non-Arabic cultures. The Koranic Allah is a demon in costume, and an abomination to our King. Thanking the Saudi King for a readable translation and plainly flirting with folly in saying that "satan will be concerned by those who understand it, as opposed to just reading it" gives missiology cause for blushing.

The author is plainly presenting the Koran as God's Word. He is lying. This is not "bridge building" but is "manure slinging."

The implied message is that God, the true God, is the one communicating in these koranic texts. The problem isn't in looking for points of contact in starting coversations, but in lying through your teeth to do so.

David Rogers said...

It looks like the Pope is taking notes on the Camel method.

Did everyone see the news of him praying with his shoes off and facing Mecca in the Blue Mosque of Istanbul? Interesting.

shoofly45 said...

I am coming in on the conversation late. However, I work closely with MBB's in South Asia and have seen the positive effects of the Camel method so I felt I should chime in.

Several posts seem to be critical of the camel method as "anglo" "Western missiological theory" etc etc etc.
In fact, Greeson did not come up with the Camel method on his own, as a dissertation or something. He merely recorded what MBBs in a South Asian country were doing effectively on their own. The Camel is a South Asian MBB methodology. So, for all the commentators who said that the locals know best how to reach their own people, I guess they do and this is it.

Second and last point. Most of those writing in have assumed that the Camel Method is making a link between the gospel and the Quran, finding the salvation somewhere in the Quran's verses. This is incorrect. All the Camel Method does is ask questions. You're not "exegeting" the Quran, or making a commentary on it, just asking thought provoking questions. The purpose is not to share the plan of salvation. It is to locate people in a group who are interested. These people make themselves known later, outside of the group, when it is safe. Then the gospel is shared. Please, everybody, read the book before you criticize it!

lojahw said...

I've started to read the Camel Tracks and have Greeson's book. I found things that I am uncomfortable using (such as the translation of Q 19:33 which disagrees with the standard English translations re: Jesus' death and ascension), but I think the ideas have value as a starting point for dialog. I particularly appreciated the reference to Isa saying "obey Me" (Q 43:63) as a jumping-off point to what did Isa command?

Someone here commented that the Qur'an teaches that the Bible was corrupted. I haven't found that reference (other than that it was misrepresented by certain people). Can you help me out?

Drew said...

lojahw, you may find this an interesting starting point: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tahrif

Fadi said...

Think about this, if the ONLY truth Muslims know is the Qoran, you just gotta use it. Worse people tell some truth some times. Can we quote bad people and bad books? We do it all the time. Or is it a lie just because it came out of there mouths?
If you go to someone that doesn't know you and have no reason to trust what you are telling them, why can't you bring along someone they ALREADY trust? That's when you use and quot the Qoran.
After you get them interested in the bible "Engeel" and Jesus "Isa" then you can shift to use the bible. After all, their own Qoran, which they already trust, is testifying with you.
Thanks for reading and thanks for all the postings

Darrell said...

Before you raise questions, why don't you read the original sources? You mention in your blog that you have not read Greeson's book, which is on my desk next to me, and that you have not read the Koran. How can you objectively make comments without having read the original sources that you have such objections to? Do some home work first brother. :-)

yaser shady said...

Appreciate your efforts, but:-
1- Muslims never said that God has 100 Names it's only 99 & the biggest one is among the 99 .
2- you mentioned that you do have documents that is not been checked by your self so I think you should check it first.
3- The main defference between the two religions is Christian says that Jesus is the son of god
& god himself for the sacrifice purpose. while it's a big mistake (as muslims believe)the reason is that god dose'nt have to go in such stages just for sacrifice the sin of humans , He just forgives if he wants to,as mentioned in Quran"that jesus and his mother -the saint- were human that eats food".so no reason to mix between God's holy Characterstics & Humans attributes.
4- All Human nature believe in a super power (GOD)the difference is in the belief of the Details which can be learned from messengers whom God have sent to people.
Again appreciate your efforts but you need to read about Muslim religions first before starting compairing the switching between the two relgions for both sides.
Best regards.

Mike said...

I am struck by how many people have responded that have not read the book. The book is not theoretical proposition for how to witness to Muslims.

I know the national referred to in the book as Simon and his story of imprisonment.

This feels a little like Paul going to Jerusalem to resolve the question of circumcision. The believers are real and they cling on to the Koran only as a tool to get to the Gospel.

The CAMEL method doesn't contextualize the Gospel for Muslims. It is a way to get a Muslim's attention.

I certainly do not believe that the Koran is inspired of God, but why would one be suprized that God has used it to His glory? That is not something new. Pharoah, wanting to prevent a slave revolt and exodus attempts to kill all the male children, yet God has Pharoah raise the one who would actually lead the slaves out of Egypt. So why would it be so hard to believe that the Koran could be used to lead a Muslim out of Islam?

ABClay said...

What's the big deal anyways? All we have to do it get them to recite a prayer and they are in. It doesn't matter how much truth they understand...

Let's get them...Hook or Crook.

"Just pray this prayer with me...."

Grace and Peace...

ABClay

Brian said...

Anyone who has read any one of the Surahs can see that an evangelical Christian can not believe the flaws throughout the Qur'an can be found holy or truthful. However I must keep my heart open to the Muslim nation searching for ways, methods of reaching this people group for Christ. The Lord has more over never proved to be a conventional God, He is an unconventional God with ways that are beyond my understanding and true I do not believe the Qur'an to be inspired by the Lord but why fight any method that brings glory to the King, only an unwise man would allow pride and doctrine to come before the glory of the Lord. Test me and know my thoughts, search me and know my heart.