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3 Stars Out Of 5
A starting place for reaching Muslims for Christ
November 13, 2013
As our church takes direct aim on reaching Muslims with the Gospel of Christ, I have recognized my own need to become better informed with the basic tenets of Islam. Respecting the ministry of R.C. Sproul, I purchased this volume hoping to gain more than I actually received. In its barely-one hundred pages, we find what seems to be an edited transcript of a dialogue between Sproul and a converted Muslim, Abdul Saleeb (a pseudonym). Their conversation is profitable to listen in to, but it is basic and lacking the depth and substance I had hoped for. There is nothing fundamentally flawed in this basic give-and-take, but it is little more than a comparative contrast between the cardinal doctrines that separate Christianity and Islam (the Scriptures, the Fatherhood of God, the Trinity, sin, salvation, the death of Christ, and the Deity of Christ). I believe that the reader would have been better served had Sproul debated a "practicing" Muslim rather than by relating a conversation between two men who are in total agreement. I say that because our ministry will not be with "converted" Muslims, but with those who differ in the major points that are only briefly touched upon in the book. It would have been far more helpful to have been exposed to a more impassioned apologetic for Islam in order that we might better understand the opponent we are up against. I expected more from Sproul, whose well-deserved reputation will result in sales of any book on which his name appears on the cover. Although I applaud the rationale of the book, it falls rather short of delivering what was expected. It is not until the final chapter that the subject of "radical Islam" is even broached. There are better volumes than this from which to gain a greater understanding of Islam from a biblical perspective, something every Christian will be forced to respond to in the days that lie before us. I would recommend "Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of the Cross" by Norman Geisler and (interestingly, this same) Abdul Saleeb.
This book was very helpful in laying out simply the doctrinal differences between Islam and Christianity. I loved how it had perspective from a Christian and from a former Muslim, who could thus speak from experience in the teachings of the religion. It also cleared up a sneaking suspicion I had that the media's portrayal of Islam as a "religion of peace" is propaganda rather than factual. I loved how it cited actual quotes from the Quran and Muslim scholars to support what we see in the news today. Nothing about studying Islam from secular sources will make sense until you give this concise, yet meaty, book a chance to illuminate it.
In this book, R.C. Sproul and Abdul Saleeb (pseudonym), a Muslim convert to Christianity, discuss the major doctrinal differences between Christianity and Islam. They demonstrate that these two religions have fundamentally different views on a number of doctrines, and they present a defense for the Christian view of each. The seven doctrines discussed in the book's first seven chapters are Scripture, the fatherhood of God, the Trinity, sin, salvation, the death of Christ, and the deity of Christ. The final chapter presents the roots of terrorism in the Qur'an and Muslim tradition. For all of these topics, the two authors deal well with the differences between Christianity and Islam. There is one additional area that would have benefited this book greatly, in my opinion. It lacked any significant historical introduction to Islam. While not essential for understanding the material in the book, it would have still helped the average reader, who is most likely unaware of the "who, when, where, how, and why?" of Islam's founding and continuance to the present day.