Father Zakaria- Preach Jesus, not Religion
This is the fifth post in a series of Q&A sessions Bob had with Father Zakaria Botros when he last visited our office. To view previous posts, click here. Father Z is an outspoken leader in the movement to teach Muslims about Christ.
Bob: In the Qur’an we see that Jesus’ disciples are called “Muslims.” Is it possible that Muslims, after coming to faith in Jesus Christ, and submitting to the Bible, will still refer to themselves as Muslims?
Father Z: This is a good question. I encourage that in my ministry. Why? Because Muslims don’t care if any Muslim becomes an atheists, or denies Gods, or undermines Mohammad. They don’t care. But if any Muslim becomes a Christian, ah! No! They kill him. Why? Here is an example from the soccer clubs of Cairo. There are two main soccer clubs, “Al-Ahli” and the other, “Zamalik.” They don’t care if a member of one club changes to another club, but if one from Al-Ahli goes to Zamalik, then they want to kill him. These are the enemy clubs. Muslims look to Christianity as their enemy. Better to become an atheist! But don’t convert to Christianity. What do I do in order to avoid this? And how have we reached many Muslims with the gospel? I tell them, “Be as you are! Muslims! Or remain Buddhists! Or what you are!”/p
We are not preaching a religion, or Christianity. We are preaching a man. Jesus Christ. Preach Him, and he will lead you to the light.
Bob B: Muslims oppose the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, but in your book God is One, you refer to the Qur’an to support the Christian Trinitarian belief. This is what we were just talking about (using the Qur’an to lead to the truth).
Father Z: Yes. There is one verse in the Qur’an that says Jesus Christ is the Word of God and the Spirit of God (Sura 4:171). So, this is our key. God has a Word and has a Spirit. It is also true, as the Muslims say, that Jesus is a messenger from God, and this speaks of Jesus’ humanity. But then we have this reference in the Qur’an to Jesus as the Word of God and the Spirit of God, so you can use this verse.
Bob: Few of your Muslim listeners know their religion as well as you do.
Father Z: Even if the Muslim has no formal knowledge of Islam, he knows many things about the differences between Christianity and Islam. He knows that Christians are “infidels.” So I simplify my words, to tell the truth simply, so that any Muslim can come to the truth. Even the poor Muslims have satellite dishes on the roofs, and they can follow our lessons.
Next: We ask Father Z, “What are the most surprising, shocking teachings in Islam that make Muslims want out of Islam?”