Bridging the Gap with Muslims
Main Point of Discussion: Yahweh and Allah are not the same God, but a discussion about the differences provides a great opportunity to share our faith.
Introducing the video:
The discussion we are having tonight is based on a recent event in Grand Junction, CO in which a high school student quit his high school choir after being asked to sing a song written in praise to Allah, the god of the Islamic faith. The story quickly entered the national spotlight, and it has subsequently stirred up a firestorm of controversy. The fact that Christians and Muslims disagree is not surprising, but how a Christian handles these disagreements and uses them to share the gospel is a topic not often discussed. Let’s watch the video coverage, and as you view it, think about how you might respond both as the student and as a Muslim.
The reaction to this story has been interesting. One of the main tenets we hold to (as Christians) is that Allah of the Koran and Yahweh of the Bible are not the same Being. Many Christians hail this kid James Harper as a hero, while many others believe he is doing it for the attention and media coverage. Either way, it definitely brings up the critical topic of how Christians should respond when their beliefs and convictions are challenged. Let’s take a look at what the Bible teaches and how we should use this information, then re-group for a final word.
Divide into Small Groups
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: Before we dive in, can you think of a time when you totally disagreed with a teacher or a school policy? How did you respond?
- ASK A FEW: What is your initial response to the way James Harper handled the situation with his choir?
- ASK A FEW: How would you respond in the same scenario?
- ASK A FEW: Do you agree with his conviction that singing a praise song to Allah is breaking the first of the 10 commandments (which says “You shall have no other gods before Me”)?
- ASK A FEW: What are other ways he could have responded?
- ASK A FEW: How do you think Muslims feel watching this video?
- ASK A FEW: Do you know if there is a clear distinction between the God of the Bible whose name is Jehovah (or Yahweh) and the God of the Koran named Allah? If so, what?
- ASK A FEW: When you put these passages together, what does the Bible teach about God? (Leaders – God exists as the Triune God: Three Persons as One essence. Also, that this God is a God of ultimate and perfect love…as demonstrated on the cross.)
Say: Let’s take a look at some specific passages from both the Bible and the Koran to see if there are any differences between Yahweh and Allah. Then we’ll talk about how this exercise can create open doors to share our faith. As we look at these passages, try to put together what the Bible is teaching about God’s nature, or personality, or identity.
Read the following passages from the Bible:
The Father is God:
God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:2)
The Son is God:
We look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. (Titus 2:13)
The Holy Spirit is God:
Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!” (Acts 5:3-4)
The unity of God:
Listen, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD is one. (Deuteronomy 6:4)
Nature of God:
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8)
Say: Now let’s look at what the Koran teaches about Allah. (We’ll assume you don’t have a copy of the Koran laying around, so we’ll include the passages and references below.)
Allah is not a father:
He is God the One, God the Eternal. He fathered no one nor was He fathered. No one is comparable to him. (Ikhlas 112: 1-4)
Say: Additionally, when we compare the nature of Yahweh and Allah in other areas, the distinctions become even more clear:
Fight in God’s cause against those who fight you, but do not overstep the limits: God does not love those who overstep the limits. Kill them wherever you encounter them, and drive them out from where they drove you out, for persecution is more serious than killing. (Baqara 2:190-191)
Read the following passage from the Bible:
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”
Say: So far we’ve laid out the obvious differences between Yahweh and Allah, but let’s look at one more.
Allah and truth:
The unbelievers schemed but God also schemed; God is the Best of Schemers. (Imran 3:54)
Read the following passages from the Bible:
Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:17)
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
Say: These are just a few of the distinctions between the God of the Koran and the God of the Bible. Now that we know there is a difference between the two, let’s focus on how we can share our faith with Muslims.
Tonight we looked at a difficult story revolving around a young man’s decision to try and honor the God of the Bible. Little did we know that in trying to understand his story, we would find a reminder from our God to share our faith with all those around us, including Muslims.
James Harper acted on his convictions in following Christ, even at a cost, which is a great reminder for us to act on Christ’s command to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18-20). One way we could do that is to be ready to discuss differences and similarities in our faith and pray for an opportunity to engage with a Muslim. Tonight we’ll take the first step in that direction.
If you hear nothing else we’ve talked about tonight, hear this! We don’t want you to go running around your school or your neighborhood trying to look like a spiritual know it all. That’s NOT why we shared this information with you tonight. We shared it with you so you could use it in a humble and loving fashion to help Muslims gain eternal life through Jesus Christ.
Let’s spend the last few minutes of our time together in prayer for the Muslim students in our community. Let’s thank God that these people are already people who consider faith important, but let’s ask God to use us in mighty ways to help them understand and embrace the truth.
Close in Prayer
Written by Lane Palmer
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.