Can a Muslim possibly convert to faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? Some might doubt.
“Why do we put restrictions on the Gospel?” challenges Rev. Karim Baidaoui, missionary-at-large for the LCMS Texas District. “Look at Paul. He was the notorious Osama Bin Laden of the New Testament! He bragged about pulling children and mothers out of their homes, putting them before the Sanhedrin. But God can transform!”
Rev. Karim has personal experience to draw upon. The son of a devout Muslim father and a Jewish mother, Rev. Karim grew up faithfully studying the Quran, the Muslims’ holy book.
“But there is no peace in Islam,” said Rev. Karim. “There is no assurance of salvation. The term ‘love’ is literally absent in the Quran. I fasted; I prayed five times per day. I worked and worked, because I couldn’t be sure I had done enough.”
Rev. Karim began reading the Bible as a challenge to himself to find error. “But as I read, I realized that…Jesus died for me, so that I would not have to die. God helped me understand His grace.”
Lives transformed by God’s grace
Fadi Khairallah (director for MELM, the Lutheran Hour Ministries office in Beirut, Lebanon) has witnessed this same transformation.
“We at MELM cannot witness to Muslims face-to-face, as this is both illegal and unsecure for the person witnessing,” Khairallah said. So, MELM relies primarily on radio broadcasting to share the Good News. When listeners call for more information, the office sends them materials in the Arabic language.
“I come from a Muslim background, but some of the criminal acts that were committed [by Muslims] in God’s name repelled me. I became an atheist who did not believe in any religion,” wrote one listener. “Your program showed me a different way, a way revealed by the cross of Jesus. As you said, ‘God is love.’”
The rise of radical Islam in the Arab world is a significant challenge to spreading the Gospel, a challenge that Americans in particular often feel unprepared to answer. But soon, a powerful tool of the Holy Spirit will be available from LHF, in partnership with Lutheran Hour Ministries: Luther’s Small Catechism in the Arabic language.
”The catechism goes right next to the Bible”
The Small Catechism was first translated into Arabic in 1982 by MELM staff, but only a few copies remain. As requests for Arabic Lutheran materials have steadily increased in the United States, LHF approached Lutheran Hour Ministries about reprinting the book. (To reserve copies, call LHF at 800-554-0723.)
Rev. Karim is excited to share the catechism with the 28,000+ Arabic-speaking refugees who live in the Dallas area.
“The catechism goes right next to the Bible,” he enthused. “When you have questions about what the Bible means, you go right to the catechism. It has the pillars of the faith: the 10 Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, the Office of the Keys. In the Small Catechism, we see Christ. We see how God works salvation and breathes His peace.”
While former Muslims do find the peace they’re seeking in the Gospel, earthly peace doesn’t often follow.
“Persecution comes in different forms when Muslims convert,” Rev. Karim explained. “They are cut off from their community and their families, and they ask, ‘Where will I go?’
“I want them to see my family, my Lutheran church,” he concluded. “We have such a beautiful doctrine, and we are so confident about our faith. We have a great heritage! We need to be zealous in telling the world how sweet the Gospel is.”
To read extended interviews with Rev. Karim Baibaoui, click here.
To hear more about the benefit of Arabic Small Catechism, click here to read more by Fadi Khairallah, director of the Lutheran Hour Ministry’s Lebanon office.
Click here to read letters that have come to Fadi as a result of MELM’s radio programming.
Only with your help can this important work continue. Prayerfully consider how you can help support LHF projects.