Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the world with a membership of over one billion worldwide and over five million in the United States. The growth of Islam within the United States is challenging the way many evangelicals witness to people. The growing complexity of relationships between the United States and the Arab world after the events of 9/11, and the growing tide of terrorism, warrant an exploration into what true Islam is. Even within the United States Government there is confusion regarding what true Islam really is and isn’t. The best example of this is in President George W. Bush’s speech when he said, “Islam is a religion of peace.”[i] Another example of this confusion is President Obama’s desire to reach out to Muslims in order to build relationships with them.[ii]
In his new book What Every Christian Needs To Know About The Qur’an, Dr. James White writes to help Christians “understand the Qur’an’s teachings as it impacts our interactions with Muslims and events throughout our world” (12). He wants to “draw out the Qur’an’s teachings on the key issues that separate Muslims and Christians and that form the basis of our dialogues and differences” (12). Dr. White does this by looking at the history surrounding Muhammad, the Qur’an itself, Allah, the Trinity, Jesus, the prophecies of Muhammad in the Bible, and the transmission and text of the Qur’an.
Dr. White has debated leading Muslim apologists the world over and is well-known for being an authority on the matter. I’ve waited for Dr. White to write a book on this topic for a long-time so when I saw on twitter he was writing on Islam, I knew for a fact I was going to read and review this book. My wait wasn’t in vain because this book is the real deal. It demonstrates not only a high degree of scholarship and knowledge, but also helps the Christian understand what Muslims actually teach. Since Islam is seemingly always in the news, I can think of no other topic that Christians should study than to learn what Muslims believe and teach. Furthermore, I echo what many are saying, namely that engaging biblically and thoughtfully with Islam will become increasingly important in the 21st century. Thankfully, Dr. White provided a model for how Christians can think biblically and seriously about Islam from a biblical worldview in What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Qur’an.
The Gospel of Luke was written for the purpose of people knowing for certain who Jesus is and what He has done. The first nine chapters of the Gospel of Luke are written so the readers of Luke will understand who Jesus is. Chapters ten through twenty four are answers to the question, “What has Jesus done?” The answer the book of Luke provides is that “Jesus has come to die, be buried and rise again” (Luke 24:19-27). The Muslim, while having difficulties with the Bible, needs to understand why Jesus came to die for sin, was buried, and rose again.
Witnessing to Muslims can present difficulties the Christian may not have experienced before. Christians should study the arguments from Scripture Muslims use to oppose Christianity. By studying the Scripture, Christians will be ready to engage the worldview of Muslims, thus alleviating some of the difficulty by being prepared to give an answer for the hope in Christ one has (1 Peter 3:15). When witnessing to Muslims it is vital to highlight the unity of the Bible as this emphasizes what Jesus has done throughout redemptive history. By stressing this aspect of Scripture, one will deal with the main objections Muslims have about the Bible and Jesus.
What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Qur’an will aid readers in several ways. First, in this reviewer’s assessment, while the scholarship of this book is top-notch it is not over the head of the average person, however, it will force them to think seriously about the issue and challenge them to open up a Bible. Second, this book will help Christians engage in meaningful and honest discussion with Muslims about what Islam teaches and why they believe its tenets. Christians will continue to need resources like this book, but this book in my estimation fills a huge need to help learn what Islam really teaches straight from its sacred text. Finally, and most importantly, the book engages the reader at the worldview level to help Christians understand not just what Muslim’s believe about a variety of topics, but also the mindset of the Islamic faith. When you factor in the combination of things I just mentioned, this book will prove to be a powerful boon to God’s people to help strengthen the Church in its task to be ready to give an answer to Islam with gentleness and respect.
Whether you are a Pastor or a layman, the increase of Islam may be alarming. Relying on the media or politicians to tell us what Islam teaches isn’t helping. Christians need to learn what Islam teaches from the Qur’an itself, and Dr. White has done just that and more by helping us understand the worldview and mindset of the Muslim people without attacking them. Through fair and accurate use of the Qur’an and other relevant documents, Dr. White teaches about Christ, salvation, the Trinity, the afterlife and several other vital topics. Whether you are brand new to the study of Islam or you’ve been studying it a long time, What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Qur’an has something for you. I can think of multiple uses for this book from small groups to individuals desiring what Islam really teaches. I encourage you to pick up What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an and begin to learn from this most through and comphrensive book because it will help you understand the issues of truth with clarity and grace in order to understand not just the challenge of Islam, but how to answer Muslim challenges with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus from the Word of God.
Author: James White
Publisher: Bethany House (2013)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Bethany House book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
[i] Bush, George, “Islam is Peace” says President: Remarks by the President as Islamic Center of Washington, D.C.,” September 17, 2002, accessed May 8th, 2013.http://www.whitehouse.gov/
[ii] Obama, Barack,“Remarks by the President at Cairo University”, June 4, 2009, accessed May 8th, 2013. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-by-the-President-at-Cairo-University-6-04-09/