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Reply To: How should we deal with the topic of the Crusades, both in our own thinking and in engagement with Muslims?

Jamila White

This question is all too familiar. I worked in the ER as a medical scribe for 3.5 years. During this time, I worked with an ER physician that was a Pakistani Muslim, devout Muslim he might add. One night after a long shift, he inquired about my Christian apologetics book. This then turned into an unforeseen opportunity to witness to him. He began by stating that no Christian has ever been able to answer his questions or inquiries about issues, such as the Crusades. I felt intimidated initially, but the Holy Spirit stepped right in. When the topic of the Crusades came up, I brought up that anyone can profess with their lips that they are a Christian. I made mention of the early followers of Christ were known as a Jewish sect that were often referred to as followers of “the Way” or disciples of Christ. It was not until the Acts when the disciples of Christ were called “Christians.” This simply meant to be Christ-like. I also added that there have been many professed “Christians” that have cherry picked scriptures to justify their selfish and oftentimes, demonic interests. I brought up the example of slave masters in America and the Islands using certain scriptures to justify the slavery of a certain tribe from West Africa. The Bible in its entirety was often kept from slaves and slaves would be beat or killed if they were found to try to get a hold of a Bible to read for themselves or have someone read it to them. In sum, the physician began to understand that someone who is truly born again would not commit these acts of violence. I ended that part of the conversation with making note that the Crusades are a reflection of the sinful nature of human kind and the need for a Lord and Savior, but not reflect Jesus Christ himself.

The basic principle that ought to be applied when dealing with this topic in relation to engagement with Muslims, is to encourage them not to judge the tenets of the Christian faith on the basis of acts in history committed by people who hid under the guise of Christianity. One must then explain what it truly means to be born again. Oftentimes, Muslims I have encountered stated they had more of a problem with the followers of Christ than Christ himself. In this case, we are to always approach Muslims with the same love that we demonstrate or should demonstrate toward other believers. Hear their perspective and offer the true history with scriptures to support. Above all, this is to be done in love for the soul of the person and not to simply win an argument over the Crusades. There is underlying curiosity many Muslims have about the Christian faith. Do not allow the enemy to use topics such as this to cause division and hinder you from showing the love of Christ.