To know the only true God, honor and obey Him, and make Him known.
Must a Muslim “become a Christian” to enter into the kingdom of God?
To enter the kingdom of God, is it necessary to “become a Christian”? There is no mention of the phrase “become a Christian” in the Bible! The word “Christian” appears three times in the Bible:
Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28; 1 Peter 4:15-16
In all of these instances, it was used by non-believers as an expression of ridicule, making fun of those who were followers of Jesus Christ. Over time the term was adopted by believers as a positive, accepted self-description.
To a Muslim today, the word “Christian” carries a negative connotation. Most Muslims wrongly understand that it refers to someone who has any or all of the following characteristics: dresses immodestly, eats unclean foods, drinks alcoholic beverages, practices all kinds of immorality, ignorantly or consciously participates in polytheistic beliefs, and is involved in the West’s support of Zionism. They do not understand that many people who call themselves “Christians” are not true followers of Jesus Christ.
If a Muslim understands that he must become an immoral polytheist in order to be a Christian, has he understood the Gospel?
There are two basic ways to deal with this lack of communication. One is to carefully define our terms and be an example of a true follower of Jesus, sharing the Gospel clearly in word and deed. Another is to adopt terminology from the Bible that is already clearly understood and accepted by the target group, and be an example of a true follower of Jesus, clearly sharing the Gospel in word and deed.
God can and does use both methods. It is not an issue of one way being RIGHT and the other WRONG. In some instances, choosing a phrase that is directly from the Bible that does not require a lot of elaborate explanation, may make our witness to Muslims less complicated. It is unfortunate that some believers have vocally opposed other believers who have chosen to not use the phrase “become a Christian”. They have gone so far as to call them heretics!
What are some of the biblical words and phrases that describe someone who has true faith in Jesus?
Matthew 21:31; Luke 18:24; Acts 14:22
those who enter the kingdom of God
those who are poor (a recognition of spiritual impoverishment)
those who have total allegiance to Jesus Christ
those who receive the kingdom of God like a child
Luke 22:49, Revelation 17:14
followers of Jesus = those who were around Him / with Him = the called, the chosen, the faithful
those who are born again, those born of water and the Spirit
those who are of the Way
those who call on the name of Jesus Christ
the church of God
Acts 22:4; Acts 24:14
followers of the Way
the sect of the Nazarenes
bondservant/slave of Jesus Christ
Romans 6:22; 1 Peter 2:16
slaves of God
1 Timothy 4:12
Is it heresy if someone chooses to use biblical terminology to describe a true believer in Jesus? Is “become a Christian” the only acceptable phrase to describe someone who has placed saving faith in Jesus Christ? Must a Muslim “become a Christian”? Couldn’t they “enter the kingdom” or “become a follower of Jesus”?
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