Book Review of Muslims, Christians, and Jesus by Carl Medearis
Book read and reviewed by committee member Jay Kocsis
Nathan & Rachel gave this book to me [Jay] in 2015. I read it the first time in 2016 and again just recently in 2017 after struggling with myself to be faithful to do what Jesus taught about loving others who are and live differently from me. I was a missionary in Africa for some 12 years to participate in making disciples of all nations and teaching them to observe all that He commanded me. It did not stop when I came home but now have the world at my doorstep instead of crossing the seas but now going across the street or down the block.Nathan & Rachel do not agree with every point and sub point of Carl’s but he gives many helpful ideas and encouraging accounts of God’s working among the Muslims to bring them to faith in Jesus and disciple them.Carl Medearis served in ministry in the Middle East since on and off since 1983. He and his family had built many relationships with Muslims and ironically was teaching in Kansas City about loving Muslims when that fateful 911 attack in New York City occurred! As soon as possible they returned home to Beirut. Their deep relationships built up after so many years were now threatened. They returned to the United States and began to be deluged734 with requests to speak and answers issues on the Middle East. His answer to the issues in the Middle East was Jesus!In Carl’s book he has a number of sections he calls “A Story of Faith.” These stories were real events or encounters with another culture that Carl and his family learned many lessons about family, weddings, funerals and family businesses. We westerners are so individualistic in our thinking compared to the Middle Eastern concept of family or community.One interesting fact I found was in the name of Allah, the name of God in Arabic, simply means God. Not some foreign deity. Arab Christians have prayed to Allah during Mohammad’s time and still use it today. When the Bible is translated into Arabic the word Allah is what is used for God. It is not profitable telling Muslim friends they believe in the wrong God but directing to believe in God more fully in and through Jesus Christ!I will review my understanding of the Six Articles of Faith. First, there is God—one true God and there is no other. The Angels—the servants of God. The Holy Books—utmost respect for treating holy books—no underlining, writing in margins, even laying on the floor. The Prophets—belief in six Major Prophets-Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad—the last and final prophet regarded as the “seal of the prophets” according to them. The Day of Judgment-every man is evaluated for his deeds. Predestination—fate is predetermined by God, man has no control.Five pillars of Islam: the Testimony—There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the prophet of God. The Fast—observed primarily during Ramadan. Giving—generally each Muslim is required to give at least 2.5% of their assets to the poor. Prayer—required to pray at certain times each day, sunrise, shortly after noon, mid-afternoon, after sundown and after nightfall. Pilgrimage—All Muslims who are able are required to make a journey to Mecca. Knowing what these are will go a long way in building bridges with those you would develop friendships with.The Qur’an does say much about Jesus. There is much common ground that Muslims accept about Him.Is it safe to reach out to Muslims? Was it ever safe to share the Gospel with anyone when we first heard that Jesus saves? The early church began with difficulties. Look what happened to Saul before his conversions—he was out to imprison followers of the Way and wanted the death of early believers and he was among God fearing men. No matter where the Gospel has gone there is danger of misunderstanding and confronting evil. The Gospel is Good News and we all need it!“Christine Mallouhi, author, speaker and Christian member of a Muslim family, points out that ‘real Christians, Muslims, and Jews do not murder. Terrorists murder and terrorists do not discriminate for a terrorist’s religion is hate and terror’ (emphasis Added).” Muslims are wounded people, injured by the stigma attached to them because of radical movements.” They need to be loved and respond to that genuine love in a caring environment.This was very good reading for me to open my eyes to what Muslims believe and strive for. I did not fully understand that they truly want to follow God as they know how and I am trying to do the same but using only the Bible to lead me in to God’s truth. He reveals Himself to me and His heart and love for His creation through His written Word the Bible. As with Nathan & Rachel, I do not agree with everything in this book but it has renewed my willingness to encounter any Muslims more intelligently to introduce them to the One I am following.The short stories of faith have been a great encouragement to me seeing what God is doing among Muslims.I would encourage you to get a copy or ask me and I will loan you mine.