Episode 49

December 05, 2023


A Short Guide to Islam with Beth Peltola

Hosted by

Erik Rasmussen
A Short Guide to Islam with Beth Peltola
The Concerning Him Podcast
A Short Guide to Islam with Beth Peltola

Dec 05 2023 | 00:51:09


Show Notes

Emmaus alumna, Beth (Grove) Peltola, joins the podcast to discuss how the Lord guided her work with Muslims in Britain and her recent book "A Short Guide to Islam."

Purchase the book: https://www.bhpublishinggroup.com/product/a-short-guide-to-islam-2/
Listen to The First Steps of God podcast: https://www.onetruthproject.org/podcast

Concerning Him - https://concerninghim.com/
Concerning Him Podcast - https://concerninghim.com/podcast/

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:03] Speaker A: Welcome back to another episode of the Concerning Him podcast, brought to you by Emmaus Bible College. My name is Eric Rasmussen. For more information about Emmaus, please visit Emmaus.edu. For more information about Concerning Him, or to listen to other podcasts like this one, to listen to sermons from the Emmaus Bible College Chapel, or to read different articles, please visit today we've got a great episode. I'm joined by Beth Peltala. I believe that's how I pronounce her last name, but she does correct me pretty early on in the interview. She was Beth Grove. She's an Emmaus alum. She went by Beth Grove when she was here at Emmaus. And she's currently living in Britain, has been living in Britain for about the last 20 years, serving as a missionary to Muslims, to those in the Islamic faith. She just recently released a new book called A Short Guide to Islam. It's a great little book here, about 200 pages that really seeks to serve as a guide to the Islamic faith, understanding the Islamic faith. But she also devotes quite a bit of time to understanding our own faith, understanding the Christian faith and Christian doctrine, talking through the deity of Christ or the Trinity, different things like that. And it's a great conversation today. I get to ask her about some of those things, especially why did she spend so much time talking about Christian doctrine in a book that's supposed to help us understand Muslim doctrine or Islamic doctrine? Either way, it's a wonderful conversation. I know you'll enjoy it. Thanks for tuning in today. We're here with Beth Peltula. Is that correct? You were just coaching me almost. Pelta okay. [00:01:42] Speaker B: Something like that. Something like that. I don't get it. [00:01:44] Speaker A: Right. Formerly Beth Grove, when you were a student here at Emmaus, is that correct? Yeah. Yes, we're here with Beth. We're excited to have her, excited to talk about the new book. When did this come out? Sometime in the last month, is that correct? [00:01:59] Speaker B: Yeah, 6 November in America and 20th November in the UK and the rest of the world. [00:02:04] Speaker A: Okay, so we got the earlier release here. Wonderful. Well, just to get started today with the podcast, I would love just to hear your story. I know that you are passionate about bringing the gospel to those to Muslims, to those part of the Islam faith, and how did the Lord work in your life from where you were to having this passion and doing this with your life? [00:02:32] Speaker B: Well, it all started in America, this whole journey into Islam. And my book, if you open up on the acknowledgements, it starts with to Mr. Fleming, who was my missions teacher in America at Emma's Bible School and or Bible college. We call all our Bible colleges in Britain tend to be Bible schools, but I think in America they're still Bible colleges. So I always get that mixed up because my second Bible school was it was a bible School in Britain. But regardless, back to the book. I open up addressing it to Mr. Fleming or acknowledging Mr. Fleming because he was the one who got me on this journey to study Islam and spend my days in the homes of Muslims overseas in Britain primarily, and in a few other parts of the world as well. But I had thought I was always going back to Africa as a missionary. That's where I was born, that's where I was raised. And my heart was to go back to Africa, be a missionary there, hopefully in the medical profession. And the Lord shut every single door. And the only door that remained open when I was 18 years old, when I really committed my life to the Lord, was to go to Emmaus Bible College. And so it was at Emmaus I got involved with the Missionary Fellowship and had some real mission minded friends there. And my last year that I was at Emmaus, mr. Fleming kept telling me, Ken Fleming, he kept saying, Go back to Britain. You've got a British passport. You want to be a missionary, go back to Britain. There are many Muslims in Britain, and the Church is struggling to respond to this massive influx of Muslims into the Continent through sort of the open borders between Europe and Muslims will make their way into the south of Europe and come right through the Continent and often are aiming for Britain. So he said, Go to Britain and go serve among the Muslim peoples there. And I resisted for four years at Emmaus. I said no. I'm going back to Africa. That's why I've come to Bible school. Once I graduate from here, I am not even going back to Britain. I'm going straight home to Africa. And he said, I think the Lord wants you in Britain. And I remember my last semester at Emmaus, I sat in Mr. Fleming, Ken Fleming's office and in tears, like so often, going, I don't know where the Lord wants me. And in his grandfather Leeway, he says, Beth, the Lord wants you to go to London and work with Muslims in London. And I'm like, no. So I then thought, well, maybe I could stay in America and do an apprenticeship in America and then from there find where the Lord wants me. And I called Immigration Services and they said, once you graduate from Emmaus, you have three weeks to get out. The went great. So then I went to Canada and I went for a friend's wedding. Julie Sanchez is her name now. She was Julie Boubaker. And I went for her wedding in Canada, was two months in Canada. And the Lord then got me back on a plane going to England, landed at Heathrow, had cried almost the whole way over. And that began my mission life in London to work among refugees, primarily from Turkey, Kurdish refugees from Turkey, and working with a wonderful church plant that had been started by some Brethren missionaries who had come from the States, and they were kicked out of Turkey, landed in London because they were too successful, I guess. They were seeing people saved back in Turkey. They were kicked out of Turkey, landed in London. And I joined that team when I came when I was 22 years old. I was a bit of a Jonah. I didn't end up in a whale's belly, thankfully, but the Lord just shut every door because I was resisting, and I'm so thankful he made it that I had no choice. That was his graciousness to me, actually shutting every door. I tried to push, he's like, no ways you're going back to London. Ken Fleming knew all the time, you're going back to London. [00:06:39] Speaker A: That's wonderful. Oh, wow. And you've gone on to receive further higher Bible education, is that correct? [00:06:48] Speaker B: Yes. So I went to London School of Theology. I'm getting confused with the school and the colleges, london School of Theology. And when I was 27, I realized I'd been speaking with both refugees to Britain. I'd traveled to parts of the Muslim world, iran, Turkey, Tajikistan, in that first decade of mission. And I had also started working and debating the faith, not by choice, but just by sheer thrown into the deep end with Muslim missionaries to Britain. So if I went with friends to do Evangelism on the streets of London, or we went to places, there's a place in the heart of London called Speaker's Corner. I don't know if you've ever heard of it. And it's a hodgepodge of just all sorts of religions, political views, religious views, and people coming together from multiple countries and even around Britain. And it's a place where you exchange ideas. And the Muslims have really taken that over on a Sunday afternoon. And I had, by my mid 20s, had joined an evangelism team down there. And I had never been taught to debate the faith or anything. Even at Emmaus, we might have learned apologetics, but I'd never been trained in debating and how to defend the faith and how to ask questions of other religions. And so I was sort of thrown in the deep end and started talking to Muslims from all around the world, from Saudi Arabia, from Pakistan, and then Muslims who lived in Britain. And so as we were learning to answer all the questions they were throwing at us, I just had to realize that what they were telling me about Islam either. It did align with what I was reading in the Quran, because there were some pretty radical Muslims down there and some of the things they were saying about jihad and they wanted to make Britain Islamic and they wanted to bring Sharia law, Islamic law, into Britain. I thought, oh, okay, yeah, I'm reading that in the text of Islam. But then there was a whole other kind of Muslim I was meeting at University campuses or my friends, my refugee friends who were just genuinely lovely Muslims who had come to Britain for a new life and they wouldn't hurt anyone. And they were sharing stories with me like Muhammad was the best husband you could ever have. And if you marry my Muslim brother, that's the one thing you get when you're single working with Muslims. My uncle is single, my brother is single, my cousin is single. And Betty, they'll be good husbands if you marry them. And they began to talk to me about how wonderful Muhammad was. He was the best feminist and he was a great husband to his wives. And I was reading the Quran at the time, and I was reading Islamic history. I thought, Hang on a minute. This is not lining up all these romanticized claims they're saying about Muhammad. It is not lining up with what I'm reading in their own texts. So then I thought, I need to know more. And I'd heard about a Christian Islamic scholar, or scholar of Islam who was teaching at London School theology. And that's why I applied for an Ma, went for the Ma. And got my ma specifically in looking at women and men in Islam, the theology of men and women in Islam, the roles of men and women in Islam, and latterly how that bears on the character of Allah, the god of Islam and what he says about men and women and so on, how does that bear on his character and what that means for Muslim society? And as a Christian woman, how I can then share all of that with my Muslim friends. What I saw in the text of Islam, from the sayings of Muhammad to the biographies of Muhammad to Islamic law to the Quran itself is very different to the romanticized versions that either my Muslim friends were telling me or Muslim missionaries were giving me. These booklets of the life of Muhammad and how he treated his women and his wives and so on. And these romantic versions are not based on the actual literature of Islam. And so that's why I did that Ma. It was at a Christian college. But my whole thesis, it was just a thesis you're marked on your thesis. So it's not quite a PhD, but in Britain you sort of are marked on some of the colleges you're marked on your thesis. And the thesis was focused on the study of Muslims themselves. So what do modern progressive Muslims say? What do traditional, very more radicalized Muslims say? And of course, traditional and radical don't always go together. But what do those different groups of Muslims say? Let's look at what they're saying and then form sort of a conclusion of what the Islamic texts say. [00:11:48] Speaker A: I'm pretty fascinated to ask you more about that disconnect because I've heard that before of the difference between the radical Muslim and the kind of nice, friendly one that you would meet and who says, no, we just want to get along and respecting differences and things like that. But before we get there, I'm fascinated by this idea of you're in the States and that the missionary opportunity for you is not a third world country, it's not the Middle East, it's not Turkey, it's not Africa. But the mission field for Muslims is in Britain. Could you talk to me some of that? You've talked some about them just kind of coming through the continent over to Britain. Why are they coming to Britain? What is the appeal there? Since you left Emmaus and first moved to Britain, has there been an increase or a decrease in the Islamic faith in Britain? [00:12:51] Speaker B: It's interesting. I was just part of a think tank just earlier this week and as we were discussing the situation of Islam in Britain, we tackle all sorts of things in the think tank, but one of the things we talk about is Islam. And one of the researchers was saying how within a decade our big huge cities London, Birmingham and others, will be majority. And that's where all our policies are made, that's where the governing of the land comes from, these big cities. So one of the reasons that Muslims have come is one we've got the Europe has sort of an open border policy, not technically, but that's how it's worked out. And because of the free movement of people, especially when we were part of the European Union, then Muslims would come into, say, Italy or Cyprus and then they'd come all the way up from those islands and from the mainland, come up through Europe and come into Britain. The idea is that you can get benefits very easy because we're mostly socialist governments. You can get helped if you come into the country, especially you have children. If any child arrives, they have to be cared for. And so there's all sorts of politics wrapped up in that and people have different opinions about how we should do that and what the politics are. But it's pretty easy to come in sort of in that way into the continent and into Britain. But what's more, a lot of our doctors are Pakistani Muslims, Indian Muslims. India now has more Muslims than almost any other country in the world. People don't realize that. Indonesia. So we have a lot of Indonesian Muslims, Malaysian Muslims, we have a lot of Pakistani and Indian who are by and large Muslim. They've gone into become surgical doctors or for example, our PhD programs. Many are Muslims. So a lot of students are here and will stay on. A lot of people coming in for the medical profession and stay on. We didn't have enough nurses and doctors, so a big recruitment from overseas and so a lot of Muslims came in that way and going into quite high jobs and so on, finances. A lot of Muslims are in the financial world, so it's quite interesting. And a lot of politicians, a lot of Muslims are politicians. You see the same happening in some elements of American politics as well. And so there was just through legal means and through refugee means also. We had a lot of people come over in the 1960s or so, and then those families have established. But instead of, like sort of your normal, secular British family, which is made up of multiple cultures, but that British family will have maybe two children, one child. And your Muslim family still today will have four or five children. And then if your refugees are coming in, they also will have four or five children because there's benefits. So it's not too difficult to have five children because you will have benefits for the five children and so on. So I think we fostered an environment where it's very attractive to come here. And they are legitimate reasons. The Kurdish people I worked with, they had, some of them, the first group that came in, not so much now, but the first group that came in, they had legitimate reasons to be here. But then once the fathers were here and so on, then the whole families came and set up home here in Britain. So we just have huge growing communities. And of course, if a Muslim family has five kids and a Christian family has two kids, then Christianity is going to kind of get lower and lower, at least by birth rate, not necessarily through conversion, except also Muslims. People are converting to Islam if they have a romantic vision as well, if they're given this romantic vision of Islam that doesn't align very well with its texts and so on. So there's all sorts of reasons why there's this mass movement of people and why there's a lot of Muslims in Britain, and that reflects all across Europe and also in America and other parts of the world. So, for example, I don't know if you knew, I'm sure it hit the American news, it certainly did hit ours. But there was a massive influx of Muslim refugees or immigrants, at least into the Continent, and Germany welcomed sort of a million Muslims almost. You know, right there. You've got a mission field on your doorstep, we reckon, in Britain, if the numbers keep going the way they are, if Christianity keeps declining and Islam keeps rising, at least through birth rate, Britain, within 100 years, we're a Muslim land. If we don't get the gospel out there, we're a Muslim land. [00:17:47] Speaker A: Fascinating. And would you say and you said there's some legitimate reasons and I don't know if you could put a percentage on it, but are the majority of people coming maybe for nefarious reasons? They are coming to we want to take over Britain. We want to get Muslim people into lawmaking decisions and into important parts of society. And we want to intentionally take over this area, this western area. Or is this, hey, it's easy to move there, it's easy to immigrate there. And this is just kind of happening. [00:18:21] Speaker B: It's both. You wouldn't be able to put a percentage on it. It's both. And that would reflect world over that you would have some people come here. I've got one dear friend who came here quite Islamic, back in the homeland and I've gone to their mountain villages, back in their homeland and gone to their funerals, which are very Islamic and sort of they have the Quran read and so on. But when they got here, loved the new life, got rid of any hijabs, adapted to British culture. Came to church with me for many years and unfortunately have never fully committed. But they have a slightly Christianized Islam. That was not my intention, but that's because it's very hard for them to totally leave behind the Islamic culture behind, or at least the religion behind. And so I still pray that they will completely leave it and hold on to Christ, because that's what needs to happen. But regardless, even at that halfway point, they are very drawn to the very secular, free society that we have here, and then they're very drawn to my community because we're Christians. And so there's things in our morality, in our family values and so on, that they find very attractive and appealing. So they don't want to go the total secular route. They are drawn to Christianity. I remember one friend, it was at the was it the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen before she died. We had some wonderful jubilees before she died. And in her community, my friend's community, Muslim community, none of them were celebrating it. None of them were even turning on the TV to watch the speeches or to watch the wonderful events that were happening. And she was telling off her community. She goes, Britain gave you a home, they gave you freedom. Your life is not in danger anymore. You can be here and live a free society. They even give you benefits, and you can't even celebrate the Queen. It was really interesting. She was just telling off her own people. So you've got that? [00:20:23] Speaker A: Okay, yeah. [00:20:24] Speaker B: Then you've got others who come. Some are Muslim missionaries. We'll talk about them in a second. But the ones who are not, who are genuinely moving here, either for a better life or for a refugee reason, like they're genuine refugees, some of them will just come in, and because it's such a struggle, it's such a culture shock. I mean, my first language is English, and Britain was a culture shock. So if my first language is not English, how much more of a culture shock? So they've come in, and so what happens is they then move into their little enclave, their own little society, and if Christians aren't in that society, living among them, they're never going to hear the Gospel. And so all they see is secular Britain or secular America or secular Germany, and they never see anything alternative. And so they just move into their little Muslim enclave and they stay there, or their traditional village enclave, which may have a bit of Islam or may not. So that's the other thing that happens. And then you start building these ghetto groups, not for any bad reason, but just culture shock and aversion to the extremes of secular society. That's why Christians in the Western world have to stand up, have to be going into those communities, living among them, inviting them over, opening our churches, opening our homes, because then that will stop them going into these ghettos where they can be Islamized, and they can then begin, oh, we've got to make Britain. Kind of the thing that they ran land, that the culture they ran from. They start wanting to make Britain. That because it's something that's familiar. So that's one thing that happens. The other kind of person you get is your Muslim missionary. And there are many Muslim missionaries to the country. And under Islamic law, if you're a Muslim and you have moved to another land, you're no longer in the house of Islam, you're in the Dal al Harb, which is the house of well, it's the house of war. It's outside of Islam. So once you move outside of the house of Islam, you have to share Islam. You are there. You have to be a witness for Islam. And so if they really are serious about their faith, they will start wanting to see people come into Islam and they will want to make their new country Islamic. So you've got the ones coming here as missionaries. I've come here as a missionary, but I want people to come to Christ. They sometimes come as missionary and they want people to go to Islam. And that looks very different if people turn to Christ. It's very different to turning to. [00:22:48] Speaker A: And so today, the main reason I wanted to have you on is this new book that you just published, a Short Guide to Islam. I've got it here. Short Guide to Islam a Biblical Response to the Faith for Muslim Neighbors. Maybe you could start us off. There's some fascinating things there. But why write the book? What was your main goal in publishing this book? [00:23:09] Speaker B: By the way, Emmaus is mentioned in here, but not by name. [00:23:12] Speaker A: Yes, the small college in the Mississippi. I was assuming that was us. [00:23:18] Speaker B: It is, but just for I think some people get nervous and for know, I know this is going public, but still, that's fine. You can say, hey, that's us. [00:23:31] Speaker A: I took a pen and just wrote Emmaus. [00:23:35] Speaker B: Yeah. People, if they did research, they'll put two and two together. This is a book I wished I had had when I started out a mission. In fact, it was a book I wished I had when I was at Emmaus. So when I was 20 years old. I'd been at Emmaus two years, and I was one of those students that struggled learning things. I had a few learning difficulties when I was younger and I did struggle to learn, but it was when I was at Emmaus that my mind opened up, partly because I was learning the word of God. And oh. It's know? And we had bible teachers just loved the word of God. And they weren't just interested in us passing our exams. They wanted us to grow in the Lord. And I think for them, it was their priority, actually. Are you growing in the Lord? That was their priority. And they just wanted us to get to know the word of God and to be passionate about it and to go out as Christian citizens among the world, america and the rest of the world. And was when I was 20 years old, I had started passing exams at Emmaus, but I never got into that top tier of students. When they get acknowledged every year, I just switched off. And like, that was never me. All my best friends did, but never me. But anyway, that's fine. But at 20 years old, two things happened. The first was that Ken Fleming, my missions teacher, who's I call him Uncle Fleming still to this day. Uncle Fleming. I'm going to call him that from now on because that's how I see him. Okay, not professor anymore. He's my uncle. So Uncle Fleming, Uncle Ken, he started doing a course on Islam. Now, he didn't know a huge amount of Islam, but he was communicating with us as much as he knew, and he'd obviously done some studies and reading. He was especially concerned about the Islamic world, and he wanted us to go out and be missionaries in the Muslim world if the Lord so led. And so that was the first thing. So that was like, OOH, what is this religion? This is interesting. The second thing that happened, he sent us to a local mosque. It's within an hour's drive of Emmaus. It's one of the first mosques ever actually built in America, I found out. And the imams there are missionaries to America. He wants the Islamic community to grow in that part of the world. It might have even been in Davenport or somewhere around that area. Anyway, we went to this mosque and we were there for a few hours, and some of my friends were very confident talking to the imam. He's the leader of the mosque, the religious leader of the mosque. And then our group leaders just said, okay, guys, have you got any questions? And I'm like, oh, question, I need to ask a question. I'm petrified, like, I'm in a mosque, I'm not feeling comfortable at all. And so up to them. The imam had been very kind, very gracious, guided us through the mask, making Islam look attractive. And so then I had to ask a question, and the only question that came into my mind, and I can only say it had to have been the Lord that put it there, because it made a real impact on my life. The only thing I could think to ask was, what do you think of Satan? Him? And it was just, okay, fascinating random question. I don't think we focus on Satan in Adamaeus, but whatever. I'm pretty sure we're taught how not to go the way of Satan. But whatever reason, that's the question that came into my head. It's the only thing I could think of. What do you do with Satan? What do you think of Satan? Or something like that. What's your opinion of Satan? His whole demeanor changed. He went from this charming, confident Muslim imam telling us all about Islam, and he looked absolutely petrified. I cannot forget it. It is like his eyes widen. He starts looking over his shoulder as if something's watching him. It was very OD. And I remember just looking at him as a 20 year old thinking, okay, I never want to meet Satan. I don't want to meet the demonic realm. But I'm not afraid like this guy is. I'm growing in my faith. I've got a long ways to go, I've got a lot of healing still to do, just in my own walk with God and life and so on. But I'm not petrified like this guy. This imam is petrified. And that really made an impact on me, and I'll never forget it. It was after that I thought, okay, I need to start learning about this religion, about Islam. And from then, the friends that God gave me were very interested in going to the Muslim world. We started reading up on Islam and I started trying to read books. Adamaus, there wasn't a huge section on Islam at Emmaus, and so I was like, oh, okay, there's not much here. I'll be very honest with you, and I do mention it in the book, but I didn't find all of the books very helpful. And so I thought after I've started writing book, I have written another one called Questions to Ask Your Muslim Friends. But that was the first one and I'll talk about that in a minute. But this one thought, this is the book I wished I'd had at Emmaus. This is the book that I wished I'd had before I went to the mission field. It's a book written for all Christians, whether you're working with Muslims or not. It's a book that gives all sorts of different aspects of Islam. But what it does, and I always do this when I write, do a comparison between Islam and Christianity. It's always a comparison between the two faiths. So introduce something to do with the Trinity, something to do with Jesus the crucifixion, then compare that to Islam. What does Islam say about that? We look at Islamic mission, we look at Islamic history a little bit. Even the history of Muhammad. And then theological differences and a few mission ideas. So one of the things I was coming across when I was still at Emmaus, and it wasn't Emmaus teaching, it was what was popular at the time coming out of America from mission schools in America. And the idea was to try find as much common ground with Muslims as you could, to try say that we're all Abrahamic. I have a whole chapter to show that we're not Abrahamic, as in we're not all Abrahamic. If you belong to Christ, you're Abrahamic, but we're not all Abrahamic. And Islam is not Abrahamic. But back then, everyone was teaching that. So I learned, oh, all the books said it's Abrahamic, and all the books said it's very similar. And all the books said that we can find lots of common ground with Islam. And I have since found out, no, we can't. We can find lots of common ground with Muslims, but not with Islam. And that's what this book that's a key distinction in this book. How do we find common ground with people, the people of Islam, they're made in God's image like we are. God died for them like he died for us. And that's where we find common ground relating to them as human beings made in the image of God. But we don't find common ground with Islam. And for the last 2030 years of mission that I've been working among Muslims, and I say I started working among Muslims at Emmaus Bible School when I started getting to know also local students who were also Muslims from other universities. But as I was learning about their faith, I began to realize I've got no affinity religiously with these Muslim friends. Their religion is totally foreign to me. But as people, now, that's a whole nother story. And that's what the kind of line this book tries to walk relating to Muslims as people, but being very clear on our distinctions. And it's where we're different. That's where the gospel conversations lie. Because if we're the same, we've got nothing to offer. Yeah, you've been witnessed. But if we're totally different and we are poles apart, then that's where the gospel conversations lie. And that's really at the heart of this book. [00:31:20] Speaker A: And you mentioned it some in the book. And I was also thinking about what the conversation I'm used to is. Look at all these similarities, look at all these ways. And now let's just focus on some of these minute details, right? But kind of what you've seen me point out, if the minute details are who is Jesus Christ? That's not a minute detail. That's a massive detail, like life or death detail. Amen. [00:31:44] Speaker B: Your eternal life is kind of. [00:31:48] Speaker A: What'S fascinating to me in this short guide to Islam, this book, that's a short guide to Islam, you actually spend a decent amount of time defending Christian doctrines like you spend some time defending this is the Trinity. There's Biblical evidence for the Trinity just because that word's not used. So what was the motivation there behind spending so much time defending Christian doctrine in a book that's supposed to be a short guide to Islam? [00:32:13] Speaker B: Yeah, I do that in all my writing. [00:32:15] Speaker A: Which might annoy you. No, I thought it was wonderful. I loved it. I just want to hear your thoughts. [00:32:22] Speaker B: Because again, it does come out of some personal experience, just my own experience of mission, but also what the Lord has taught me and what I know. So first of all, all the books I was reading at Emmaus, again, not Emmaus opinion, just the books that were available at the time, right, was like, I don't see much Christian doctrine here. I see a lot about Islam. It's all teaching me about Islam. But how do I respond to that biblically? So there's a lot about what Muslims believe and they can be helpful books. We do need books that just lay out simply what Muslims believe that's helpful. But I didn't find enough Christian literature that was helping me Biblically engage. And so I just thought, okay, that's a whole area that's still even today, by and large, not entirely, but by and large missing in the material that we have for Christians to use when it comes to looking at Islam. The other thing I learned was how can we, any of us, and I'm someone who researches Islam every week, that's my role, that's what I have to do. But I will never know everything about Islam. I cannot. We have a floor to ceiling bookshelf filled with, by and large books on Islam and books from Islamic sources. I will never, ever be able to read them all. I can dip into them for research, but I'll never be able to read them all. So first of all, I will never learn the religion of Islam. And then every Muslim I meet has a slight different perspective, a slight different interpretation of their religion, depending on what book they go to inside Islamic literature and what verses of the Quran, the holy book of Islam they align themselves with. So every Muslim I'm meeting has different opinions. So I can never learn this vast view of Islam or this vast religion, Islam. Even Muslims themselves rely on their own imam or their Islamic law teacher to interpret the Quran because even they cannot understand it, or at least not in its details. So it's a vast religion. It's very overwhelming when you start researching it as a Christian. There can be a demonic thing that you have sometimes have to tackle and you also face demons when you're in Muslim homes. We've had to deal with that in our mission life. So this whole aspect spiritual, this huge religion that we can't get ahead around. But the one thing we as Christians that we want to be dedicated to for life is the word of god, the Bible. And what I say, one thing I say very clearly in the book is this you don't actually need to know anything about Islam to share your faith with a Muslim. But you do need to know the word of God. You do need to know the Lord Jesus personally as God and Savior. When you know the Lord Jesus as God and Savior, then you're ready to engage Islam. And my point is, there are so many Christians out there who feel like, well, I'm not going to tackle Islam. I'm not going to share my faith with a Muslim. When I go speak at conferences in different parts of the world, the first question almost every single time I get is, well, I don't know about anything about Islam. I've got Muslim neighbors and yeah, we share a few things, we give each other meals and we talk about God answering prayers that God is love. And they said, but my Muslim friend just says, you know what, allah answers their prayers and Allah is love. So they're like, we can't get anywhere. I said, Ah, that's because you've got to start with what you know to be true. What do you know to be true? That Jesus is God and Saviour and he died on the cross. You say that to a Muslim, boom, you're in a conversation. Because the Quran categorically denies that Jesus is God and Jesus dies on a cross. And then the Trinity, you can start talking about God and talk about your Heavenly Father, then talk about the Son and the Holy Spirit. Boom, you're in a conversation. Because Muslims go. Allah is one god, not three. And that's a Quranic verse. So boom, you're in a conversation. Talk about the Holy Spirit. Indwelling us, you're in a conversation. So why I focus so much on biblical theology is because it's in knowing Biblical theology, knowing our Lord, knowing the King of Kings, the Father of the heavens and earth, the Holy Spirit, and speaking specifically about the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, then you start having conversations with Muslims. But if you talk about God generally, and I was taught when I first came to Britain, not by the mission team I was at, but I would go to Christian conferences with Christians who were reaching Muslims. They would always say, talk about God, talk about the Spirit. Because Muslims believe in a spirit that Allah is kind of spirit. They get that, well, I got nowhere because I was using Islamic terms, Islamic ideas, when I suddenly realized, hang on, let's just focus on Jesus, let's focus on our Heavenly Father. Let's focus on the Holy Spirit. When I speak with Muslims, I speak very specifically using trinitarian terms. Then I have gospel conversations every single time, almost without well, almost without fail, I should say not every time, but almost every time. So that's why I spend a lot of time on this and another reason for that. I'm being a bit long winded. [00:37:32] Speaker A: My apologies. [00:37:34] Speaker B: I'm very excited. [00:37:36] Speaker A: It's wonderful. Keep going, please. [00:37:38] Speaker B: One of the other reasons is because there is, and I'm going to put this public because it needs to be known publicly and it is already known publicly. And there are some books, good books being written on it. There has been a trend in missions and I would say when I first started out, I might have been part of a 20 30% group of Christians who loved the Word of God coming out of Emmaus. You can't but help love the word of God and who saw that we must hold on to the historical faith. We don't compromise our faith. I was immersed into the Islamic world very quickly. By the time I was 22, 23, I was living among Muslim communities, staying in their homes once a week minimum. And that was my life. And I then was going to conferences run by Christians from Britain and America primarily, and a little bit Europe. And these Western missionaries were teaching that Allah and Jehovah are the same God. That there was translations coming out of our huge translation agencies that are both British and American based that were taking father and son out of the Bible for Muslim lands. I could not get my head around that. Even as 20 year old, I was like, whoa, that means we're taking basically an Islamized gospel into Muslim lands. Some of those Bibles still exist today and some of it is still within our translation agencies. These are evangelical missions and they are going in Allah Jehovah is the same. They're going in that. And Muslims just strayed a little bit. They're going into missions and saying that we're all Abrahamic Islam and Christianity and also taking father and son out of the Bible for the Muslim world. And even as a 20 something year old, I was like, no ways. And so one of the reasons I focus so much on biblical theology and everything I write is always a comparative. Start with the Bible. Start with what you know. Everyone who's a Christian wants to know the Word of God. Once you know the Word of God, you're then able to recognize the counterfeit. You don't even have to know about Islam. The moment a Muslim friend says one thing about their theology, you're like pretty sure that's different from the Word of God. You're able to be wise and you're able to cut through some of the very clever way that Islam says things that seems to align, but it actually doesn't when you know the Word of God. And that's why with this book, we start with the Word of God and then we compare the counterfeit against it as a way of approaching Islam. Whether we're researchers in Islam like me, or whether we know a tiny little bit about Islam. Start with the word of God and you can have any gospel conversation with a Muslim. If you start with the word of God and you know the word of God. [00:40:31] Speaker A: I probably should ask this at the beginning, but you kind of walk through the pillars of the faith, of the Islamic faith. Could you in just a couple minutes maybe for those of us that just have no clue what are kind of the core tenets or that the core worldview or the core answers that Islam is trying to provide in the faith. [00:40:52] Speaker B: Yes. So it will differ slightly depending on which Muslim you talk to. But generally speaking, traditional Islam as presented in most of their literature and all the books behind me, which are Islamic, they will often use what we would say are biblical terms. But that's where the similarities end. Okay, so for example, you would have some of their beliefs and the core beliefs of Islam, God, and some see same as us. Oh, Betty, you believe in God, you're like us. I'm like so you believe in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that Jesus died for your sin and he's God, and you know, we have the same God, Betty. So Jesus died for your sins and he is God come to us. Oh, no, it's great when you just like again, start with biblical theology. So god. They believe in God. Don't think it's our god. Woo poles apart. Then angels and demons, again, different. They have a very different view of the spirit world. We believe in the name of Jesus, the demons flee and that there's angels and celestial beings and there is the demonic realm. They believe in jin. And Jun is. So for example, I've got my mug here. This mug, I might say Mushala as I drink it because this mug could be a jin. It could be an inanimate it could be sort of an inanimate object, but it could be a jin. Or I say Mushala when I pick up my phone, because my phone could be a spirit being or my husband could be a jinn. It could be a spirit masquerading as a human. So there's all sorts of ritualistic prayers you can say to protect you from the jinn. And jinn can be bad, it can be good. So it's a little bit of a muddled view. There's a lot of fear of the jinn world. Or we would say demons. So you've got that and then you've got a God, you've got angels and demons or jin, the spirit realm, belief in prophets and say, oh, Betty, I believe in all your prophets and say, oh, so you believe that all the prophets prophesied about Jesus and that again, the Messiah is God come to us again. And so you just keep sort of helping how they've borrowed a word without the meaning. So their prophets are very different. They also have many more prophets than we have in the Bible. And so they have stories in the Quran that have borrowed from biblical sources and from heretical Christian sources and Jewish traditions and then Arab traditions. And so their prophets are a mishmash of borrowings from these different traditions. But not mainstream Christianity, not mainstream Bible or as in the story of Moses. They've borrowed in Moses and even the burning bush story. But the core, the heart of the biblical story is missing. Exodus three. The heart of the story is that Moses approaches the burning bush. It's holy ground. He takes off his shoes and there is God speaking to him and he gives him his personal name. I am who I am. I am Jehovah. My name to be remembered forever in the Quranic story. I am Allah. And it's like, whoa, hang on. And the whole part of God's name and who God is, all of that is missing and it replaces Jehovah with a total different God. Fascinating to see that. So that's one of the closer stories. But it's not the same. They believe in, not really. There's a big healthy debate within Christianity with free will, predestination and so on God's will. They believe in Allah inshallah God's will, but don't think it's like Christianity. For them it's fatalism. So what Allah wills happens, but in a very fatalistic way, okay? It's not sort of the healthy debates we have within Christianity. It's all fatalism. So it's very, very different. And then end times. They believe in eschatology. So those are some of the core beliefs every Muslim has to sign up to. And then you have to sign up to the five pillars. You have to pray if you're really traditional, if you're Sunni Muslim, mainstream Islam five times a day, if you're Shia Islam like Iranians, three times a day, you have to fast. And you fast every single year. And every year you fast as a way to atone for your sins and to receive blessing from Allah. You have to go on a pilgrimage once in a lifetime. And then you have to give arm Zakat, and it's a certain amount of money you have to give. And then you also have to say the Shahada, which is the statement of faith, there is no God but Allah. And then they'll say, and Muhammad is his prophet. Once you said that, that makes you a Muslim. So that's the first thing, the Shahada. And then from there and of course it's Allah. It's not Yahweh, it's not our Lord, it's a total different Lord. [00:45:49] Speaker A: Thank you. I think that's really helpful. I enjoyed the book. Often when I have somebody on the podcast and they've got a book, if it's 200 pages or left less, I could typically sit down and read it in one sitting. And what I would say this book was very dense. There is a lot in here, you break it up into different sections really well and you call it a short guide. And in a lot of ways it really seems and maybe I'm misinterpreting this, but it really seems to function as a short guide where it actually is a smaller book. Put this in your bag or anything. Oh, I need to reference this and kind of jumping around. Is that right? [00:46:29] Speaker B: So that is certainly one way it's been written to just do that. And if you notice, each chapter is almost a standalone. Almost, yes, not quite, but almost a standalone. There is sections, of course, and then sort of standalone chapters. And at the end of each chapter there's five questions that people it's written for. Home groups or little groups of Christians study groups. I'm praying. It's written for bible schools like Emir's bible school? Maybe it can know every student has to read it. No. [00:47:02] Speaker A: Well, I will talk to John Rush, our librarian, and make sure it is in the library. [00:47:06] Speaker B: It is. I've sent copies. [00:47:09] Speaker A: Wonderful. Wonderful. [00:47:10] Speaker B: But it is written as a reference. People are saying, I had one guy who is ahead of a American mission. He's a big evangelist in America and he got it. And he said over his break, he hasn't got much time. He says, Beth, I read a chapter over my coffee. [00:47:25] Speaker A: Oh, that's good. [00:47:27] Speaker B: Yeah. And so it can be read in one sitting or yes. I have crammed a lot in a small space, but I've kept the chapters, most of them maybe one or two not, but most of them are only four to eight pages because of it's. So much intense theology from both Islam and Christianity and history. It's a lot to take in. I've been doing this 30 years, so now it's just kind of in my head. But it's taken 30 years. [00:47:55] Speaker A: Well, it's a wonderful book. I'll put in the description of the podcast, a link for people to purchase the book if they're interested. You mentioned before we started recording that you guys also do a podcast. Do you want to talk about that? [00:48:07] Speaker B: Well, we do a dinky little podcast that we need to pick up again, and we will in the new year. It's not so much about Islam, but we are really going in the new year. Once we start again, we are really going to start talking about Islam. [00:48:20] Speaker A: Okay. What's the name of the podcast? [00:48:23] Speaker B: The first steps of God. [00:48:25] Speaker A: Okay. [00:48:25] Speaker B: The first steps of God. Now there's a reason for it. First of all, Muslims go. The first steps of God. God doesn't walk. Oh yes he does. His name is Jesus and it connects us to the historical faith. So the guys who I do it with, the Blackhams, Paul Blackham and his son, they are researchers and theologians and they come from a different church denomination to me. So that's really interesting as well. But they know history. They understand Islamic and Christian history. One of the things we have in Britain and maybe in America, but we certainly have it in Britain. What has happened with a lot of evangelical Christians, and actually Christians in general, we've tended to see our own history through secular eyes. We view all of our own history negatively. And so one of the reasons we called it the First Steps of God was actually to sort of reclaim back our history to a correct view of it. We're not saying everything that happened was good. What we're saying is it is not what the secular world says. And God has been working powerfully and supernaturally through all the centuries, and we need to reclaim some of that back. So that's one of the reasons as well, the First Steps of God, but also as a hey, christians do believe God came to Earth and has walked with us through history. So that's part of the reason why we've named it that. [00:49:51] Speaker A: Okay, that's wonderful. And where can people find the podcast? [00:49:54] Speaker B: On our website, onetruthproject.org. So I'm part of the One Truth Project, and we are all about providing a biblical response to Islam. So you can find all the links on our website and also just for the book, if you type in when you're online, SHORTGuide to Islam.com, that takes you to the publishing house and they have links to all the different platforms you can buy the book from. [00:50:22] Speaker A: Wonderful. [00:50:22] Speaker B: From the book. Yeah. [00:50:23] Speaker A: Wonderful. Well, thank you for coming on, Beth. It was great to meet you. It was great to have this conversation. There's a ton more questions I could ask you, but I think we'd end up with like a five hour long podcast. [00:50:34] Speaker B: It was a delight to be here and to be with you and to chat. So thanks for having me. [00:50:39] Speaker A: Well, thank you very much. [00:50:41] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:50:46] Speaker A: Thank you for listening to Concerning Him, an emeas podcast. Ministries like Concerning Him are possible because of the generous contributions from our partners around the world. For more information about partnering with us, please visit Emmaus.edu partner.

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