The Table Podcast
Fikret BocekDarrell L. BockDarrell L. Bock

Interacting with Muslims

In this episode, Dr. Darrell Bock and Fikret Bocek discuss how Christians can better understand Islam and engage with their Muslim friends and neighbors.

Timecodes
00:58
Fikret’s spiritual journey from Islam to Christianity
05:55
Fikret’s ministry in Turkey
11:23
Exploring different types of Muslims
17:32
The mixed nature of Islam’s cultures
20:23
How to get to know a Muslim
22:32
Misimpressions some Muslims have of Christians
27:40
How to help Muslims understand the Trinity
31:46
Muslims challenges in understanding a biblical view of humanity
34:15
Misimpressions some Christians have of Muslims
41:50
How to engage with a Muslim neighbor
Transcript
Dr. Darrell Bock
Welcome to the table, where we discuss issues of God and culture. And our topic today is Islam and interacting with Muslims. Our guest comes to us, not quite next door, he's in Turkey. Fikret Bocek is in Turkey and lives in Izmir, which is the biblical city of, and I'll let you fill in the blank.
Fikret Bocek
Smyrna.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Smyrna.
Fikret Bocek
Yes.
Dr. Darrell Bock
So we visited Fikret years ago and have seen his ministry and it's really an amazing story, both his own personal conversation, but then also the work that's being done there. Fikret, why don't you – I love the start of this story. My understanding is that your testimony starts with the movie "Ben Hur".
Fikret Bocek
Yes, yes. In 1987 I saw "Ben Hur" on Turkish National TV. There was one TV channel at that time and they showed one movie a week and that was Sunday mornings and it was "Ben Hur" that Sunday. And seeing Christ crucified at the end of the movie started my journey. I really, as a Muslim, I wanted to know whether Jesus really died on the cross or not. You know Muslims do not believe that Jesus was crucified.

Started asking questions. I went to a library first, I wanted to find a Bible, and it wasn't available. So and that took me to book stores and looking for Christians. I thought I could easily find a Christian who believed that Jesus was crucified but to my surprise as a Muslim I could not find a single Christian. I went all over in Istanbul. I even went to an orthodox, an Eastern Orthodox Church and rang the bell and they said, Turks are not allowed. They did not let me in.

I could not get any information and one day I met a couple in the middle, in the center of Istanbul near a mosque. And went to them and I knew they were lost. I helped them and they helped me. Basically I took them where they needed to go.
Dr. Darrell Bock
They were lost in Turkey and you were just lost.
Fikret Bocek
Yes. I was spiritually lost.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yes.
Fikret Bocek
And they were physically lost and I helped them and they ended up helping me and we were at a café. They had a book in their backpack and you know that was the book I was looking for but I wasn't sure if it was the book, because this book said The Niv on it.
Dr. Darrell Bock
The Niv.
Fikret Bocek
It said The Niv Study Bible. So I started asking them some questions and soon I realized that it was the Bible and the Bible that they believed in. I asked them if they truly believe in this book or not and they said they go to church on Sundays. They read the Bible every day and so that was the first time I met Christians. I was very excited because I had so many questions. I had so many questions about the cross. Did it really happen, or is it just in "Ben Hur"?

You know Muslims don't believe in it. And I did not believe in it, but I wanted to know why Christians believe. Could they show me any historical proof that he really died on the cross? And so we started with this and they actually opened the Bible and started showing me different passages. I was really amazed. I had no idea what passages they were showing me.

I was, as a Muslim, I was under the impression that the Bible, you know the Muslims call it Injil, if you're a Christian they believe that Christians believe in the Injil, which is the Gospel. It means the Gospel, or the Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They have no idea that there are other books after John. So from Acts to Revelation they don't know that it's part of the New Testament. The terminology that we use, I know sometimes some western missionaries come to Turkey and use the words like, you know when Paul says this and they talk about different epistles and for Muslims it's like, well how could a letter be a holy book?

You know, they start asking questions and, or a new testament, they don't know these words. And when you start quoting from the Old Testament then they're really surprised, because they don't even know that Christians also believe in the Old Testament. That the Old Testament is part of the Bible.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Interesting. So obviously you came to the Lord, you know pastor a church there. Talk a little bit about how long you've been in the pastorate and also talk a little bit about the situation in Turkey in terms of religious expression in the presence of Christianity.
Fikret Bocek
Yes. I was – I became a Christian in 1988. And since then we have more and more freedoms, but in '88, from '88 until about '95 we didn't have freedoms. There were arrests. I myself was arrested toward the end of 1988 and stayed in jail for several days. But nowadays we don't have those types of arrests or that sort of persecution.

I've been in ministry for about 15 years now, since 2001. We've been in this church, the protestant church of Smyrna. We've had over 120 Muslim conversions. And for us it's like a big mega number.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Talk about how many Christians there were in Turkey when you first came to the Lord. It's some real low number if I remember correctly.
Fikret Bocek
Yes. Well, there were, in the whole country of Turkey there were 80 Muslim converts.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Okay, now and Turkey is how large in terms of population?
Fikret Bocek
Eighty million now.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Okay. So that's a small percentage.
Fikret Bocek
It is very, very small. Yes.
Dr. Darrell Bock
So not very many and of course you've been involved in helping to do some discipleship and plant some churches, not just in Smyrna but around the country, so what's the situation now?
Fikret Bocek
Well, there are actually about 100 Muslim convert churches all throughout the country. From Mostly, almost half of them being I Istanbul. And the rest are spread throughout the country. I think Izmir is the second largest church existence and then Ankara and then other towns. Lately we're seeing more and more Iranian Muslim conversions. I can say that there are more Iranian refugees converting to Christ than Turkish Muslims converting to Christ.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Interesting.
Fikret Bocek
In Turkey.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah.
Fikret Bocek
So, it is for the Turks it's very, it's a very slow process. We are working with several other churches, church plants, one in Ankara, one in Antalya and a couple of them being in Izmir. Trying to help them as much as we can, travel, do some training. Learn from them; teach them you know just deal with legal issues, biblical issues, and so on and on. Yes.
Dr. Darrell Bock
So, I take it Turkey must be absorbing many refugees from the conflict in the Middle East area.
Fikret Bocek
That's right, yes. Especially, well we had many refugees already coming from Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan and since 2011 and 2012 the refugees started coming from Syria. There are millions of refugees now. If I'm not mistaken I think there are about 3 million of them in Turkey at this time.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Oh wow. Well we just did recording of a podcast with someone who works with the refugee problem primarily in Lebanon and of course Lebanon is overflowing with refugees coming out of Syria. It's a major, major issue and what I'm hearing from you is what we heard from him which is that there really is almost an unprecedented opportunity for people who are on the move who are coming in and relocating. They're not just relocating physically, but in some cases they're reassessing the whole entire direction of their lives.
Fikret Bocek
That's true, yes. Yes. People who would never even touch the Bible, are not only touching it but reading it in Arabic, in Farsi, and we're seeing how repentant they are. Their lives are transformed.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Well, okay. What we want to spend the bulk of our time in the podcast talking about to interact with Muslims. Someone who was like you at one point and any advice and understanding you can give us as we think about this. Let me start with a big question and then kind of work in.

You know I think an impression that exists in the west is that Islam is one thing and Muslims are all of one type. So help us sort through that and I think I will begin by asking you this question. I know that there are many different sects or parties in Islam. Which background did you come out of and then secondly tell us a little bit about kind of the different kinds of Muslims that exist.
Fikret Bocek
Yes. I was a Sunni Muslim. I grew up as a Sunni Muslim as the majority of Turkey are Sunnis. In Iran the majority of Muslims are Shiite, although there are some Sunnis, but it's mostly Shiite. Iraq is mostly Shiite, but was ruled for years by the Sunnis. By Saddam Hussein himself was a Sunni Muslim. And Syria is an Alleviate which is more like a philosophical Islam, closer to Shiite Islam.

And the doctrines are different, the way they pray, Shiites and Muslims are very different. The mosques are different. If you look at what ISIS is doing they're, ISIS is a Sunni group. They are attacking Shiite mosques. And so there is this animosity that comes from about 14, about 1,200 years ago.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Now the origins of that difference have to do with who most faithfully represents the Islamic faith and who had the right to claim connections to Mohammed. Is that basically correct or have I oversimplified that?
Fikret Bocek
Yes, yes it is. It's basically who was supposed to take Mohammed's place? It was supposed to be Ali and they believe that Ali had to wait. He was, wait for his turn. Because of some political plays he could not take place. And finally he was killed. And when we have his followers separating from Islam forming their own faith basically Sunnis call Shiites non-Muslims but when Sunnis and Shiites get together they will not tell them that they are not Muslims. They will say that they accept each other, but there is – the relationship between them is hatred and hatred basically.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Interesting. And there's so there's an inherent division within Islam that's part of what is going on in the region. Is that fair to say?
Fikret Bocek
Absolutely yes.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah. And then of course with their other, those are the two main groups. The Sunnis and the Shiites, but then there are other groups as well. I think you mentioned the philosophically oriented group whose name I can't remember off the top of my head.
Fikret Bocek
The Alleviates.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, Alleviates, yeah. And so part of the point of going through this and spending a little time on it is to say that not all Muslims are the same. And they don't believe exactly the same thing. There's a spectrum of Islam out there.
Fikret Bocek
Yes. Yes. So sometimes you cannot even ask them if they're coming from Shiite background. You can't tell by looking at their face. So we as Christians have to come up with the ideas to share our faith with these Muslims, Shiite, Alleviate, or Sunni. Mostly, most people that we're meeting are Sunnis and then Alleviates then Shiites. Turkey has about 12 percent Alleviates, 12 percent of the population are Alleviates. So chances are we will be meeting them and they tend to be more open to the Gospel. They have adopted some biblical stories as their stories and so it's a great segue.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Interesting. Now Turkey's a pretty fascinating place. Went through a terrific revolution under Ataturk that was culturally transforming in many ways and the other feature of the country that I think is fascinating is, as you move from west to east the west is more European-ized if I can say it that way, maybe an oversimplification again. But as you move east it becomes less so and more if I can say overtly Muslim. Just in the, you walk the streets you can tell the difference by the way people dress, that kind of thing, at least more commonly.

Talk a little bit about the mixed nature of Islam in Turkey which is actually a microcosm in some ways of Islam in general.
Fikret Bocek
Yes. Like in Izmir right now you can go out. You can put a T shirt on, shorts on, boys and girls, girls don't have to cover their head, and you can walk around no problem. Almost anywhere in Izmir, some villages they don't like you wear shorts, but as you go about two hours, three hours inland you start seeing almost all ladies covered. This is becoming more and more so. It wasn't like that in about 15 years ago, but nowadays we're seeing more and more even in public p laces like, you know schools and government offices and such.

They even will tell you that they don't like you wear shorts or T shirts. You have to be like more modest or more conservative in the way you're dressed. So yes, Turkey is becoming more and more conservatively Islamic. Also as you go inland, like for example, yesterday Ramadan started. In Izmir you'll see many restaurants serving food. But if I go up inland a little bit, all restaurants are closed. If I go to this town called Konya, the Iconoyium, all restaurants are closed.

You will go hungry. You will have to go to a gas station to get some cookies.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Because Ramadan has a fast built into it. You fast from sunrise to sunset.
Fikret Bocek
That's true, yes.
Dr. Darrell Bock
So the idea is why should a restaurant be open, you're not supposed to be eating anyway.
Fikret Bocek
Yes, yes. You cannot even chew a gum in public, in some – in many towns actually, not in some towns.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Well, all this is of course very fascinating. Of course for most people here it's a completely different world, completely different way of relating. Let me ask you one question. We've got about two and a half minutes left on this segment. As you begin to think about getting to know a Muslim or whatever what are some of the first steps you should have or should you become aware of? I like to say when you're getting to know anybody, it doesn't matter who it is, getting a spiritual GPS on someone's actually pretty important to know how to have a conversation with them.

What kind of spiritual GPS readings should a person get as they're getting to know someone of the Muslim faith?
Fikret Bocek
What we try to do is, as we talk to Muslims even though Sunni Islam is you know it's just like a Sunni, we say it's just one name. SuniIslam, but every town has their own customs and traditions. Everyone's different. So the best thing is to start talking with them and see how conservative they are and see if they're even willing to talk to a Christian. You know some people don't even want to talk to Christians. As soon as they find out that you're a believer, you're a Christian they don't want to have anything to do with it.

So I think what we do is we try to start a conversation and I know that most of our conversation with our leading goes to whether the Bible is corrupted or not. And our main goal and that's what we're finding with Sunnis, the Alleviates and the Shiites is – our main goal is for Muslims to start reading the Bible without prejudice. And we somehow we find a way from whatever background they're coming, we find a way to just help them read the Bible without even thinking that it's corrupted.
Dr. Darrell Bock
So there are two kind of categories that I want to work through, Fikret. One is misimpressions that Muslims have about the Christian faith. You've already alluded to a couple of them. They aren't aware of the New Testament as a whole; they tend to think about the Gospels in particular. That kind of thing. They also, I remember this from hearing your testimony before, they think that anyone who lives in the West is a Christian and so thinks of them the same way. We'll talk about that in just a second.

And then the second category that I want to the reverse. What misimpressions might people from the West have about Muslims that need attention that you need to be aware of and what are the stumbling blocks in conversation that westerners might have about Islam that they don't want to stumble over while they're interacting about the contents of the Islamic faith.

Let's start first with the misimpressions that Muslims have about Christians and let's start with the one that I already mentioned which is that everybody's a Christian in the west.
Fikret Bocek
Yes. So they look at movies. They look at tourists that are traveling, going to beaches. The Russians and the French and the Greeks and so on and they're, of course you know, we as Turkish speakers understand what other Turks are saying about these tourists. They're not calling them Russians, they're not calling them Americans, or French, they're calling them Christians. So they're all west of Turkey. So they're Christians.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Oh, wow.
Fikret Bocek
So if you say you're an American automatically they'll say you're a Christian.
Dr. Darrell Bock
And so just as Christians tend to think of Muslims as kind of being all one stripe, if I can say it that way, the reverse is also true with obviously can lead to all kinds of miscommunication.
Fikret Bocek
Absolutely. Yes.
Dr. Darrell Bock
What other impressions do most Muslims have about Christianity that people need to be aware of as they're interacting with Muslims?
Fikret Bocek
Yes. I think one helpful historical point that we as Christians need to know and westerners need to know is Nicene Council, what happened in the Nicene Council. Believe me, even a _____, even an elementary school student Muslim person knows from their perspective what happened at Nicene Council. They will say that Christians got together to change the Bible. And they corrupted the Bible at the Nicene Council.

And it would really be great if more and more Christians knew their history about what exactly happened at the Nicene Council, so we can talk to Muslims about the facts. One thing that you will hear if you get into talk with them, they say that Christians put 80 some Bibles on a table and shook them and 76 fell and 4 remained and it was Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Now, we ask Christians when we hear this, will laugh at this, but Muslims talk about this story as if this is how the Bible was corrupted.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Interesting.
Fikret Bocek
They say that yes the Quran says believe in the Bible, in the book that Christians believe in, but the books, not the books that Nicene Council choose but the book that the Bible mentions. I mean the books that the Quran mentions that were before Nicene council basically. So basically that's rewriting of…
Dr. Darrell Bock
At several levels interestingly. I just, I'm gonna state the obvious for you, but what people don't remember is that Nicaea is in Turkey. So this is a part of your national history I would take it that this gets discussed. Might not be the case for Muslims in other parts of the world but certainly in your part of the world that would be the case. And of course the Council at Nicaea didn't discuss the books of the Bible at all.

That's an interesting feature and it was strictly a discussion, a technical discussion, a philosophical discussion to some degree as well, as theological. What terminology do you use to describe the Son's relationship to the Father as part of the trinity and I take it that another issue that comes up regularly in talking with Muslims, I know I've had it come it up in the conversations I've had, is the issue of the Trinity and the idea of the one God versus for many Muslims what Christians believe is in multiple gods, which of course is against the idea of their being one God as they see it. And so you're off and running in a conversation when you get into the Trinity with Muslims. Fair?
Fikret Bocek
Yes, yes. Yeah, Trinity is a major issue; especially the deity of Christ is a major issue. So I suggest that we do not start right there. We want – my whole goal in Muslim evangelism and by the way it's a long path. I have never seen a Muslim convert in the first day. I know some western missionaries come here and do quick sharing their faith, maybe like a you know 5 minute, 10 minute here and they're hoping that many Muslims will convert that day, but and they're soon realizing that that's not happening.

It takes months for Muslims to convert. And my goal is to help them to put the Bible in their hands and defend the Word of God, show them, prove to them that this really is God's word and help them to open it and start reading it. You know virtually every conversation with a Muslim comes down to this one issue. And that is authority. Whether you're talking about Mohammed, scriptures, Jesus, Jihad, you can't resolve the discussion with an appeal to an authoritative source.

But a Muslim will scoff if you use, you know if you open the scriptures, use the scriptures to support your view and say you know they'll say your Bible has been corrupted. So since the Quran is the unadulterated Word of God; the Bible is only true where it agrees with it. So, you know countering by rejecting the Quran just doesn't really help. So I try to go to the Quran and tell them that look, you know the Quran has verses. There are – the Quran says that the words of God cannot be changed or corrupted. And there are some suras that mention that and I tell them about sura 6:34, sura 6:115.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Suras are authoritative chapters of the Quran, right?
Fikret Bocek
That is right, yes. Yes. Sura 10:64 and so on and then tell them that the Quran says the Bible is the Word of God and that's the second point. And that the first one is the Quran says that the words of God cannot be changed, cannot be corrupted, then move onto that the Bible is the Word of God. You know since our goal is to help them start reading it and whenever we get to that, whenever they open it and start reading it without thinking that it's a corrupt book, then things start happening in their lives.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, they become open to listening to what it says.
Fikret Bocek
Yes, yes. So –
Dr. Darrell Bock
You go from there.
Fikret Bocek
Yeah.
Dr. Darrell Bock
And I take it that part of, you know one of the things that I've come across; at least in some of the exchanges I've had, some of these exchanges have been over email. Is that there's almost an offense to the idea that God could take on humanity. That he could lower himself to the point of becoming a human being.
Fikret Bocek
Yes.
Dr. Darrell Bock
That the average, how can I say this, the average common elements of human life that reflect the messiness of life in the world, are almost an offense to some Muslims. The idea that God needs rest or that God takes in food and expels it, if you want to think of it that way. Very, very offensive to Muslims generally speaking.
Fikret Bocek
Yes. Yeah, they do not believe that. They call it the, that you make men equal to God by saying that Jesus or a human being is God. And that is punishable by death in the Islamic law. So they never attribute human elements like human hands or a face or like a human body to Allah. But the Quran does have some definitions of Allah with you know like Allah's hands over you type of explanation.

You know when we bring that up it only takes us to more argument and more into a debate type of a situation. And our goal should never be to win an argument or win a debate. We're trying to win this person to Christ. So, but we do see that the topic gets to the Deity of Christ and it would be best if it gets to that after they read some, you know the Word of God and – but before that it usually goes into an argument.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Interesting. So we've kind of dealt with some of the ideas that Muslims have about Christians. Let's flip it. What kind of ideas do Christians have about Muslims that they need to be aware of as they have these conversations?
Fikret Bocek
I think most Christians see Muslims as just a one unit. Like they're Muslims and there are actually many Muslims that are out there that have no idea what Islam teaches. They'll call themselves Muslims and if they have a question they'll ask somebody who knows about the Quran or the Hadith which is the more, like the customs and the traditions of Mohammed and Islam and the Caliphs.

Secular Muslims practicing Muslims, practicing but not knowing what they're practicing or why they're practicing, they're just doing it because it's just a tradition. And there are also Muslims that really know and believe in the Quran and believe in the Hadith and there are very, very few of them. And I would say ISIS truly represents the true teachings of the Quran and the Hadith. They are not doing anything that would be against the Quran. Everything they are doing is mandated or ordered or stated in the Quran or in the Hadith.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Interesting.
Fikret Bocek
And many Muslims will say, oh that is not real Islam. That is not true Islam, and you know when I ask them so well why are you saying that? The Quran explicitly teaches what they are doing. You know, yeah. So I would say many Muslims in Turkey are more humanistic than Islamic.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Interesting.
Fikret Bocek
So approaching them you have to know a bit more about teachings of humanism and so on and approach them that way.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, we had a – we hosted a meeting here, this was a couple of years ago that was actually organized by our state department and we brought together – these were Iranian governmental officials to meet with, they met with me and with a teacher at SMU Perkins which already tells you a lot because you know our schools are different enough in our own Christian perspective. And the man who was responsible for teaching Islam at Perkins and who had been a missionary in that part of the world was the SMU representative and I was the representative here from Dallas.

And we're in the room, I think it was seven or eight government officials, one translator and when ISIS came up they all went that's not us. And not just that's not us. I mean it wasn't just a matter of a fact that's not us; I mean viscerally their blood pressure changed. That's not us, that's not Islam. Very, very insistent on where they are and the impression it made on me was I'm not interested in historically who's right about that claim.

The very feelings and the very sense that that existed told me that when I'm interacting with a Muslim knowing kind of where they are on the spectrum of Islam is actually pretty important in interacting with them and getting a sense of what their values and their approach to their own expression of religion actually would be. That I could very badly misread someone if I wasn't aware of that question.
Fikret Bocek
Absolutely. Yes. Yeah, we have to know their background, we have to know when they say they are Muslim, are they really a kind of Muslim that believe in the claims of the Quran or are they a Muslim because their parents told them that, okay we are Muslims therefore you are a Muslim. If we know those we can approach them from different perspectives than, you know sometimes we can gain more time and more, we can go directly into, straight to the cross and tell them what Christ did for them on the cross.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Let me ask you this question. It may be a tricky question but I think you're – you've lived on both sides of – you've been in Turkey and of course you've studied in the States, so when someone meets a Muslim who's in the United States and who's come from a Muslim country, I'm not thinking about a black Muslim or something like that, the likelihood is. Well, let me ask it this way. Isn't the likelihood more likely that they are not a hard-line Muslim if I can say it that way and have come to the west because in some cases they wanted to leave the Muslim context that they're in? So they're more likely to be a cultural Muslim than a bookish Muslim, if I can say it that way. Would that be an expectation to have? Obviously you'd need to nail it down but would that be an expectation to have?
Fikret Bocek
Absolutely. Most Iranians, most Turks that are say in the United States don't really care much about Islam. Some Iranians, some Turks may be practicing but even then they left Turkey, they left Iran and they left other countries so they can live in a country they call Christian. So they can live there comfortably, they can work, they can earn their living. In some other countries you know I have met some Saudi Muslims, Jordanian Muslims that are practicing but very open to listening to what we had to say, back when I lived in Escondido, San Diego, California area.

The Muslims in the states are more open to whatever Christians have to say. But they do have defense walls, defensive walls. What they've learned in the past about, you know what their imams, what their grandparents, what their parents told them about what Christians teach. We just need to break those walls.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Okay, so we're running out of time. I can see we've got a whole 'nother podcast we need to be able to have to dive into this a little more, but let me ask you this question. What advice would you give as someone is encountering, let's say I've met a Muslim. They've moved in next door. And I've gotten to know them. I find out that they're Muslim and I don't know much about Islam, et cetera, what kind of advice would you give them in terms of interaction and the things to be aware of as they seek to get to know them and have the possibility perhaps of talking to them about their faith?
Fikret Bocek
Yes. You know Muslims are people. Human beings, they get hungry, they fall in love, they love movies, they love friendships, so when we go in and bring, we tell them here's the Bible, I want you to read it and let's argue or let's talk about that. You know do not approach them like that. Muslim evangelism isn't about winning an argument but leading Muslims to Christ with the Gospel. So friendship is important.

I'm not saying, you know, use friendship evangelism, but remember that evangelism is leading Muslims to Christ. So as we are approaching them we should get to know them. Get to know their families, care for them. Visit them in their homes, invite them to our homes and let them see how we live. Let them see our environment and then start telling them about Christ. You know sometimes discussions with them may get heated and intense at times and that's okay. Sometimes some Muslims will tell you but your Bible has been changed and corrupted and so on. And that's okay.

But the purpose of Muslim evangelism is not to show why you are right and why Islam is wrong, it is to communicate the truth of the Gospel. This message when you're communicating the truth of the Gospel the message may be offensive to them, and let the message be offensive and let's, you know separate yourself. You should never be offensive. You tell them what the message is, they may not like it and they'll, the discussion will get heated and the argument will look like you're arguing or fighting, but then you can still go out and eat together and still be friends.

You know I've seen so many westerners argue with Muslims and not get back to the same person again. So we need to share the Gospel, or preach Christ in such a way that will not offend them and continue seeking them and meeting with them.
Dr. Darrell Bock
You know hospitality's a very important value in the Middle East and it's also a great bringer-down of walls. So that is a very, very important element. Well, believe it or not we're out of time. And like I said we've only gotten started. I'm sure we'll come back, Fikret and talk more about this.

I thank you for being a part of The Table podcast and helping us get oriented to thinking about how to interact with our Muslim neighbors and we thank you for being a part of The Table and hope you'll be back again with us soon.
Fikret Bocek
Well, thank you for having me and I would love to see you in Turkey, maybe we can have one of these Table Talks here.
Dr. Darrell Bock
That would be great.
Fikret Bocek
Great. God Bless.
Dr. Darrell Bock
God Bless. Thanks Fikret.
Darrell L. Bock
Darrell L. Bock Dr. Bock is senior research professor of New Testament and executive director for cultural engagement at Dallas Theological Seminary. He has authored or edited more than 30 books, including Jesus according to Scripture: Restoring the Portrait from the Gospels, Jesus in Context: Background Readings for Gospel Study, Studying the Historical Jesus: A Guide to Sources and Methods, Jesus the Messiah: Tracing the Promises, Expectations, and Coming of Israel’s King, Who Is Jesus?: Linking the Historical Jesus with the Christ of Faith, and Key Events in the Life of the Historical Jesus: A Collaborative Exploration of Context and Coherence.
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Theology
Aug 15, 2017
Kevin VanHoozerKevin VanHoozerDarrell L. BockDarrell L. Bock
The Pastor as Public Theologian In this episode, Drs. Darrell Bock and Kevin Vanhoozer discuss the pastor as public theologian, focusing on the minister’s identity and mission.