From nucleus - winter 2004 - Cross and Crescent: Responding to the Challenge of Islam (Book Review) [pp38]
My medical school has a large Islamic community and my dad’s family are Muslims, so I was eager to see if Colin Chapman could provide some realistic, practical advice in reaching out to Muslims.
Cross and Crescent provides a solid foundation for anyone who wants to understand Islam better and share the good news of the gospel. Chapman has worked amongst Muslims for many years, so the book is authoritative and comprehensive. The first of five sections assesses the ‘challenge’ Islam poses to Christianity, as well as how to approach Muslims. ‘Hello, how are you?’ he suggests, making the important point that it is necessary to meet individuals first as people, not a religion in shoes. Indeed, throughout the book, the importance of relationship is stressed, and the author includes practical advice on visiting homes and mosques.
The second and biggest section looks at the essential beliefs of Muslims including the origin of the Qur’an and the life of Muhammad. It is very detailed, but practical throughout, and suggests passages in both the Bible and Qur’an that help prepare for evangelism by highlighting differences and similarities in our beliefs. The information may seem heavy, but demonstrates well the changes in Islam over the years.
Sections three and four look directly at how to answer common questions Muslims ask about Christianity, such as, ‘why do you worship three gods?’, ‘don’t you know your Bible is corrupted?’ and ‘what do you think of the Qur’an?’ Chapman addresses these with sensitivity, good scriptural knowledge and real practicality. He also offers fictional dialogue to show how to deal with the core problems simply.
The final section looks at key Christian beliefs and how best to communicate that people can only find salvation in Jesus. Again the emphasis is on being sympathetic to the way Muslims understand faith, prophets etc, and a small section at the end provides suggestions for churches who wish to establish outreach amongst Muslims.
The best thing about Cross and Crescent is its emphasis on approaching Muslims sensitively, without compromising the power of the gospel. It is probably the only book you will need to understand and reach out to them. It may be a bit heavy for reading on your own, unless you are really passionate about this area of evangelism, but it would be ideal for use in small groups. Read and you’ll be raring to reach out to Muslims!
St George’s Hospital Medical School, London