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Father Zakaria talks about Muslim-Background Believers

September 12, 2011

This is the fourth blog in a series from a  Question & Answer session Bob Blincoe had with Father Zakaria Botros, a leader in the movement to win Muslims for Christ. To read the first 3, click here, here, and here

For Father Z, it's not about the differences in how we worship, but that we are worshiping Jesus as God's Son that really matters.

Bob: We believe in starting churches of Muslim Background Believers (MBBs). That is, we accept a cultural difference between historical churches and Muslims, and we promote the gathering of Muslims, after they believe and worship God through Jesus Christ, with like-minded people, based on the decision of the Jerusalem Council, Acts 15:19, “Let’s not make it difficult for the Ethne/Gentiles who are coming to faith.” What do you think of starting churches of Muslim-Background believers, with elders appointed from a Muslim background, elders who see their identity as people who are culturally Muslims?

Father Z: I want to say that there are MBBs in every Arab country. And this idea is a good idea; I know many MBBs in Arab countries and here in the West. I think this is very important because Christian churches are afraid to accept MBBs into their congregations. The churches are afraid of the Muslim governments. The churches will whisper to the MBBs, “Don’t make trouble for us; don’t come back.”

The only thing that I want to say is that we have to take care not to divide the body of Jesus Christ: “These are MBBs; those are Protestants; these are Catholics; those are Orthodox.” We need to be united. Yes, it may be that there are many denominations, but we have to be united in love, together, because we are the spiritual body of Jesus Christ. We are one. So it is good to make local churches of MBBs; only take care not to divide the body of Jesus Christ.

Bob: And this problem of unity is one we have yet to solve in our movement; we have not thought through how to make true our faith in the one body of Christ. I want to ask you ask you about using the Qur’an in order to bring Muslims to the truth of Jesus Christ. Some of us are open to using the Qur’anic references to Jesus and the Bible and to “people of the book” in order to find “common ground.” What is your opinion of this approach?

Father Z. It is good to take this approach. We have to start with what they know and what they will accept, and move them gradually to the full light. So I use that style and method. I take some quotations from the Qur’an or the hadith in order to reach that person. So, that is good.

Next: We ask Father Z, “Is it possible that Muslims, after coming to faith in Jesus Christ, and submitting to the Bible, will still refer to themselves as Muslims?”

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