I wonder how you view people from another faith or a cult? I think as Christians we can often see them in an unhelpful way, while also being a bit ignorant of their beliefs and practices. We can view them as “the enemy”, and yet in truth the vast majority are people with a genuine desire to connect with God.
I totally believe Jesus is the only way to God but it’s my experience that people in other faiths and belief systems do feel some sense of spiritual fulfilment. We may think they are simply living up to rules and regulations, but they see it as a way of life that often affects their culture and the decisions they make.
It's not enough for us to know that it's roughly two thirds of the way through and highlighted in pink... know your Bible!
Know and live out your own faith well
In talking with people of other faiths, many Christians will be put to shame as we realise how committed we are, or aren’t, to our own faith. When we engage in conversation we’re often found with a serious lack of knowledge about what we believe and where in the Bible that verse is. It’s not enough for us to know that it’s roughly two thirds of the way through and highlighted in pink! (By the way, a quick note on that, don’t use your journaled Bible when sharing with Muslims and don’t put it on the floor – this shows a disrespect for your holy book.) Let me encourage you to know your own faith, what you believe and why you believe it. Know your Bible, read it cover to cover and memorise the scripture.
I remember chatting to some Muslims and at that time I was in an extended time of prayer and fasting. They were seriously impressed and their level of respect for me increased as they saw I was serious about my own faith. Be as intent to live out your own faith as you are to share with other faiths.
Let’s be as determined to be gentle and respectful as we are to always give an answer.
Think carefully about the types of questions that you are going to be asked by people from other faiths. This isn’t so that you can gain “one-up-manship” but rather so that you can give thoughtful answers to the questions you are asked. I’m very fond of 1 Peter 3:15 which encourages us to ‘always be prepared to give an answer to everyone…’ – but it also encourages us to do this with ‘gentleness and respect’. Let’s be as determined to be gentle and respectful as we are to always give an answer. Why not find out what you can agree on before you get to what you disagree on? Maybe then the strength of our relationship will be a better platform to share from.
Testimonies are powerful, so make sure you share your own personal story. Talk about what your life was like before you became a Christian, how you became a Christian and why you did so. Talk about your journey with God since that time. The important thing to emphasise is relationship with God through Jesus and what He did. It’s not about how good we are but more about God’s grace.
Testimonies are powerful, so make sure you share your own personal story
Offer to pray for them
This isn’t always possible but sometimes there is an appropriate opportunity and it can be appreciated. And if you do pray for them, be sensitive – I’ve heard people praying like the person is not in the room! And as much as you are used to laying on hands in church when praying for people, it’s not best practice when praying for people in a one-on-one context.
I would tend to pray to God thanking Him that He wants everyone to know Him – on the basis that this is actually a verse from the Bible; it’s a great prayer. I would ask God to reveal himself to the person as they seek Him.
Share the gospel over time
As with any conversion, it’s a process, so when you share your faith, see it as a journey. When a person from another belief system becomes a Christian it is a massive commitment and they will likely feel very vulnerable, not least facing the possibility they may be even ostracised from their own family. It’s crucial therefore to introduce them to lots of Christians who will encourage them in their faith, as well as you meeting with them. We are asking them to doubt what they have believed in for many years, and even change their identity! Let’s not underestimate the choice they face.
Instead of telling you how to get somewhere when you asked them, they would grab hold of your hand and wouldn’t let go until you got there.
I love John 14:6 where Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me” – in particular the statement “I am the way”. This is what a Jewish person in Bible times would say when they were asked for directions. Instead of telling you how to get somewhere when you asked them, they would grab hold of your hand and wouldn’t let go until you got there.
Jesus didn’t come to give a set of directions – he came to hold our hand and lead us personally to God the Father.
If you would like to learn more about this subject, you can buy my booklet, “Faithbook – a guide to sharing your faith with other faiths”. It’s available at revmarkgreenwood.com in my shop.