Terrorists the focus of evangelism?

By May 5, 2010

USA (MNN) — A Pakistani-American is believed to be responsible for a thwarted bombing attempt in New York's Times Square. The suspect, 30-year-old Faisal Shahzad, will be charged with an act of terrorism and the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Tuesday.

While the attempt to kill Americans was foiled, many believe there will be more attempts. How should Christians react?

The mission sending organization Pioneers has established a ministry called Encountering the World of Islam (EWI) to address questions like that. Keith Swartley heads up the program. He says, "When believers like you and [me] hear the news, we see an opportunity to express the love of Christ — to respond to the kind of violence that we see in the world. I think what we're looking for are ways in which we can encourage one another to do the good works that demonstrates the hope that we have in Christ."

However, most Christians have no idea where to begin. That's why Pioneers started EWI. Swartley says it's a book and a 12-week course featuring speakers who are "motivating Christians to share the love of Christ with Muslims. Then the students also get to experience reaching out to Muslims themselves."

The most-recent attempted attack was carried out by someone who had living in the United States for some time. Swartley says Christians can't sit back and wait. We need to reach out lovingly. "When they have the opportunity to meet Christians who with gentleness and love express the grace of the Gospel, I think it's a great opportunity for us to see some of those Muslims who have a lot of anger and pent up frustration to experience the love of Christ."

Swartley says friendship is the key to evangelism. "Just that normal interaction over a meal can provide a tremendous opportunity for understanding and breaking down these stereotypes that we often hold of Muslim and Muslims often hold of us."

You can find an EWI course near you by clicking here. Tomorrow, we'll focus on how EWI is used outside the United States.

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