Any time someone places their faith and eternity in Jesus Christ’s hands is a moment worth celebrating. But is it possible to celebrate too soon?
George Houssney, founder and president of Horizons International, has had 50 years of ministry alongside Muslims. During that time, he has seen many Muslims convert to Christianity only to leave the faith between a year and three years later. It’s enough of a pattern that he felt the need to investigate.
After interviews, study, discussion, and reflection upon his own decades of experience, he came to a conclusion: “many Muslims become Christians religiously, but not spiritually.”
For many Muslim-to-Christian converts, Christianity isn’t as important as an alternative to Islam is. Many grow up in strict religious environments, partaking in regular rituals, worship, prayer, and study. Even if they become disillusioned with Islam itself, they may struggle to break free of their religious roots. Christianity allows them to continue being “religious”
Often, Houssney says, Christians are too excited to think twice. “They walk into a church, say ‘I want to become a Christian.’ The pastor comes and says, ‘Oh, that’s great. Let’s baptize you next week or next month.’ And those people have not understood the cross. They’ve not understood Christ and why he came to earth.”
Houssney once met a man who was going to be baptized the day after their meeting. After a lengthy conversation, he discovered that the man did not believe Jesus had died on the cross or been resurrected and still believed Mohammad was God’s prophet. When Houssney informed the man’s pastor, the pastor was shocked and postponed the baptism in favor of discipleship.
“We assume if they want to become Christians that they have understood what that means,” Houssney says. Instead, Christians need “to make sure they understand the cross, the redemptive work of Christ and what it does to them, giving up everything for Christ, surrendering their lives, not just adopting another religion.”
But why Christianity? Aren’t there other alternative religions Muslim converts could move to? That’s where the Gospel message comes in; Houssney says Christ’s mercy can be a double-edged sword if presented incorrectly.
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SOURCE: Mission Network News,
CALL TO ACTION
- Pray for Christians learning to work with Muslims interested in Jesus Christ.
- Ask God to move Muslims to consider the grace and burden of Christ’s message.
- Thank Him for discipleship programs designed to help new Christians understand their decision.