How should one witness to a friend that was raised Roman Catholic and is starting to go towards Islam? I don’t know how to really witness to him, without him saying that I am preaching to him.
Question from Casas’ “What’s Next Class”
It blesses my heart to know that you are interested in leading your friend to Christ. May God bless you and your endeavors. Now, to begin with, notice my use of the word “leading” in the previous sentence. I believe that sheep need to be led, not driven. Be careful of the temptation to force Christ or your beliefs upon anyone. They will soon tire of pushing and many times religion becomes an “off limits” subject in your relationship. So, use some creative thinking and carefully find the right time to approach in as natural a way as possible.
Listen carefully to what he has to say about his spiritual journey without getting defensive or threatened. Your goal is to lead him to Christ, not to win an argument and especially not to “turn him off” by not listening to him openly or lovingly.
Let me share a few thoughts about Christianity, Islam and Roman Catholicism. The key here is the resurrection of Christ. What separates Christianity from all other religions in the world is the resurrection. All religions (with a few slight exceptions) have leaders who died in their cause but only Christianity has a Leader who was resurrected. As I understand it, there is some controversy in Islam as to the disposition of the Prophet Mohammad. Some traditions say that he died about 600 a.d. and was buried while others postulate that he was bodily assumed into Heaven. Here is where it gets personal: Jesus promised that if we believed in Him we can cheat death and live forever. He proved His promise by His own resurrection.
A man once approached the brilliant Frenchman, Talleyrand, seeking advice on how to start a new religion to supplant Christianity. Talleyrand told him that the first thing he needed to do was to go have himself crucified, and then resurrect back to life! The man left and never started his new religion.
By the way, Christianity stands apart from all the religions in the world by its grace system. All other religion has a works system of one sort or other by which people fulfill obligations in order to please God and earn eternal life. Christianity teaches that no one is good enough to earn eternal life, so God gives it away for free to all who will receive it by faith in Christ. Who would want to enter a system depending on their own good works for success when they can receive grace to stand before God not on the basis of their works, which may or may not be good enough, but instead by the work of Christ on the cross which is totally good enough.
Now, let me give you one more thought about your friend’s Roman Catholic background that may have some bearing on his leanings toward Islam. Catholicism focuses very little on the resurrection. The focus in this religion is on the sufferings of Christ on the cross. When you examine religious works by Catholic painters which span the centuries you will hardly ever find pictures of the resurrection; however you will find thousands of paintings of the death of Christ on the cross (and of the virgin Mary holding baby Jesus or ruling with God in Heaven). If you remember Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion, you watched two hours of blood and guts as Christ suffered and only 15 seconds of a flash of His resurrection. Mel Gibson has a strong Roman Catholic background. So, you can imagine that as your friend grew up he received little teaching or exposure to the facts surrounding the resurrection and its significance for us today.
The best way to lead someone to Christ is to show them something better than they already have or are planning to get. Therefore, focus your talks with your friend on the glories and beauties of Christ. Let him see the living water of Christ flowing through your own life and be attracted to the Christ in your life and your friend may soon want to experience the same strength, peace, and love you exhibit.
Certainly, my answer is not all encompassing, but I hope it gives you a few ideas on reaching your friend for Christ. God bless and good luck.