A Few years ago, I had an interesting opportunity to visit the Grand Mosque in Bahrain. The Al Fateh Mosque is one of the most beautiful structures in all the world. Literally, marble flown in from Italy, Lights fashioned in Paris, rugs from Persia, it's an absolutely wonderful building to take in.
I was meeting a Muslim Friend at the Mosque, and we were going to talk about the similarities of the Christian Faith and the Muslim Faith, but were were also going to outline some important differences.
Of course when we talk to people of a different faith than the one we claim is truth, there's always a bit of a poker game going on. To try and be cordial while still holding to truth is an interesting skill. Most of us just think "well, we're right, they're wrong and that's that." But when you start really discussing the issues, there are some great places to share life together.
His first shot across the bow, "How do you read your Great Commission?
Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
Most of my life, I was taught this verse meant that we need to go out and ask people to say a prayer, sign a card, or give their heart over to Jesus. But of late, I've been wondering what the word disciple really meant.
The Encyclopedia says, "A disciple is a follower and student of a mentor, teacher, or other figure." So if Jesus was referring to making disciples, he was actually telling the disciples to simply follow. He referred to this in John 10 where he said, "I am the way the truth and the life..." The way actually refers to a method of behavior.
I stumbled across a video I thought was interesting in describing this problem. David Platt is a well regarded pastor in Birmingham Alabama. He gave 2 minutes to discuss this problem like this.
When I revealed to my Muslim friend the fact that I believed the Great Commission was to help people follow God, he looked at me with great interest. "You mean you aren't trying to convert me?"
"Well, if by conversion you mean I'm asking you to dance a little mantra, then...No."
His eyes grew wide and he said, "Andy, there's something different about you. We need to continue this conversation."
I started talking through this concept today at KIVU. As we mentor and train students in the fullness of the gospel, how might this change the worldivew of our day?
Feel free to chime in at your leisure.