A CMB’s story*
When a Muslim comes to Christ, especially through a vision or other spectacular revelation, do you really need to explain? Isn’t conversion all a heart issue anyway?
CMB was working in a factory in Northern India. His father was ill and there was trouble in the family, so the task of providing for his siblings and parents fell to him.
One day, he spoke with a co-worker about the heavy stress he was feeling from this responsibility.
“Why don’t you pray in the name of Jesus?” suggested his co-worker, a Christian of simple but bold faith.
CMB went home and did that. As he prayed in the name of Jesus in his home, he felt like a cool rain on a very hot Delhi day. He slept like a baby that night.
“What was that?!” he asked his co-worker the next day. “What happened to me?”
“That’s Jesus,” his worker answered.
CMB knew there was power here – this Jesus was real – but his mind needed to understand what was going on. He needed to sort out how the Son of God – something he’d always been told was utter blasphemy – could bring such peace.
His co-worker wasn’t able to explain much, but directed CMB to an evangelist.
That the man had just left Delhi for Chennai (formerly Madras), clear across the country, didn’t hold back CMB from his dogged pursuit of understanding the truth he’d experienced. He took a leave of absence from work and travelled two days by train to find the evangelist.
After wandering the city for two weeks without finding anyone to explain Christianity to him, he was waiting for the train to return home when he overheard people talking about Jesus in a tea stall next to him.
“I need help with my questions,” he told them, and they took him to the Christian bookstore they ran.
As they read John 4, things began to click into place. The Qur’an says Jesus was “the word of Allah and a spirit from him.” John 4:24 helped address his concerns about the issue of Jesus’s deity, and sent him on a path of more than a decade of study.
With CMB’s allegiance now on Jesus, his family rejected him. He went from Bible college to Bible college, seeking understanding, but no one ever dealt with his Muslim question from the Bible until he met Gordon and Gwenyth in 2003. Together, they spent hours discussing the truths of the Bible from the perspective of Christianity and Islam.
It was at CMB’s insistence that Gordon began the Gentle Answer project. Christians felt threatened by the accusations against the Bible, and with his Bible training, CMB wanted to fight the lies. Gordon reminded him of the peaceable witness of Christ. With Gordon’s scholarly knowledge and CMB’s cultural expertise, they became partners in painstakingly but peacefully dismantling Muslim arguments against the Bible.
The Gentle Answer to the Muslim Accusation of Biblical Falsification was published in English at the end of 2014 and is undergoing translation into Urdu.
*CMB=Christian from a Muslim background
Peaceable Witness Among Muslims
Gordon D. Nickel
The Story of the Great King (A parable of Immanuel in Islamic style)
MB Herald, Dec. 1, 2000
The Gentle Answer to the Muslim Accusation of Biblical Falsification
Journeys of the Muslim Nation and the Christian Church: Exploring the Mission of Two Communities
David W. Shenk
Christian. Muslim. Friend. Twelve Paths to Real Relationship
David W. Shenk
Woman to Woman: Sharing Jesus with a Muslim friend
Scholarly work on Islam and Christianity
Gabriel Said Reynolds: Professor of Islamic Studies and Theology, Notre Dame University
The Role of Intercession in Pakistani Islam: Towards a Christian Understanding
Timothy Allen Bergdahl
Fuller Theological Seminary, School of Intercultural Studies