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Ministry to Muslims ARIZONA UPDATE 2014

23 Oct

MINISTRY UPDATE!

MINISTRY TO MUSLIMS recently completed its fourth annual outreach trip to Phoenix, Arizona. For four days (October 16-19), we prayed together, trained together, witnessed together, learned together and worshipped together. I was part of it; this is what happened:

TRAINING
Wonderful speakers helped equip attendees for the outreach. Here is a partial list:

Speakers
Sam Shamoun:
Sam resides in Chicago and is well-known for his many debates and articles. A fellow apologist dubbed him “The Assyrian Encyclopedia”. Read his many articles at Answering-Islam.org here

Al Fadi: A passionate, Saudi Arabian-born Muslim who providentially lived with a Christian family during college. Al Fadi is now an author and speaker for reaching out and understanding Muslims. His website and book can be found at TheQuranDilemma.com

Anthony Rogers: Anthony became a Christian and was immediately drawn to evangelism and apologetics. He is currently pursuing a seminary degree and writes articles for Answering-Islam.org. View his YouTube channel here

Topics
-Do’s and Don’ts
-Facing the Islamic Challenge
-Answering Islamic Objections
-Why the Muslims?

THE DEBATESa rogers
There were also two moderated debates on Saturday between Anthony Rogers and ex-atheist Muslim-convert, Andrew Livingston. Andrew is a Muslim apologist and a writer for TAQWA Magazine. The two topics were, “What Did Jesus Say About Himself?” and “Was Muhammad a True Prophet?” More than 50 people listened intently. We had a wonderful time with Andrew; for example, we enjoyed some fine Middle Eastern Cuisine at Fattoush together and talked … Star Wars! I pray that Andrew truly experienced a taste of what a grace-filled and gospel-centered Christian community looks like up close. Check out Andrew’s articles at the TAQWA website

OUTREACH!
Outreach was the main purpose of our trip. We went to several strip malls and struck up conversations at local Muslim-owned shops in the area. About 15 people did this in key areas of the city for a large part of Thursday. On Friday, about 20 of us passed out Arabic/English copies of John’s Gospel at local mosques.

One Muslim man asked a MINISTRY TO MUSLIM team member this as he exited the mosque: “What kind of excuse are you guys going to have when you stand in front of God?” Even though we hear things like this often, it’s still an insight to the way a devout Muslim thinks. One man told us, “I say this with all sincerity and respect toward you guys, but what you are doing out here is the absolute worst crime you can commit – persuading people to commit the sin of shirk.” (Shirk is associating partners with Allah and Muslims believe Christians blaspheme this way when we ascribe deity to Jesus Christ.) Overall, we had some powerful conversations. One brother who was part of the team was a wheel-chair bound Egyptian Christian. It was a blessing to witness his compassion and wisdom for the people he spoke with – both in English and Arabic!

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Stoopid w/Anthony, Luis, Sam @the Arab Fest

Saturday and Sunday nights our team came out in full force to Arizona’s ARAB-AMERICAN FESTIVAL. We partnered with several local churches, a few from downtown Phoenix, another from Mesa and yet another from Tucson. Together, we were able to rent TWO vendor booths, where we took professional pictures for festival-goers at no charge. The booths were filled with gospel material in both Arabic and English, which we passed out everywhere we could to everyone who would take one. We distributed literally thousands of tracts and multiple-language Jesus movie DVDs.

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Hear Jamal on Mid-Eastern Christians!

GOSPEL PARTNERS 
I thank the Lord for moving in his people’s hearts to mobilize and unite for God’s glory and the sake of the gospel. Especially Pastor Jamal Bishara of First Arabic Baptist Church,  a Palestinian-born Christian who has been laboring for 30 years in this field. The Lord used him to bring together Christians from multiple denominations, multiple ethnicities and multiple nationalities. The congregation graciously let us use their campus for the event and were very generous all around. (Listen to Jamal’s interview on BPR by clicking the picture)

Will you prayerfully consider being part of the Phoenix trip in 2015, either by going or sending?

Contact George Saieg at 

http://www.ministrytomuslims.org/join-us.html

 

“Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” (Mathew 9:36-38, NASB)

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 ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Vocab Malone is an urban apologist and slam poet. Vocab holds a Master’s Degree from Phoenix Seminary and is  pursuing a D. Min at Talbot. Follow him on Twitter @VocabMalone
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Lots of Debate Feedback

11 Oct
There has been a significant amount of buzz about my last First Friday event, “Ask a Christian and an Atheist Debate”. Here are some of the links:

We did a debate review show.

 Several callers voiced their opinion on the debate (including an apologist and an atheist who were in attendance). We even spoke to Spencer Hawkins himself about his thoughts. DOWNLOAD IT HERE

A commentary by atheist Wade Austin Padgett.

I wish my atheists friends would talk more about the content of the debate instead of just methodology. For some reason, that’s been everyone’s focus even though I’ve written several follow up posts dealing with the textual and historical issues

Two follow up videos by the atheist debater, Spencer Hawkins.

The first video deals with my views on epistemology and the second video deals with a question he answered in the debate.
In the discussion we really didn’t get too deep into some of the points in his video. If we did, I may have said something like “we do have common ground but it is not neutral or bias-free. The common ground between us is this: we are both creatures in God’s universe”. Whenever I say there is common ground, I’m saying either:
A) these are things we agree on, or
B) it’s “common” to both of us because this is the situation we both find ourselves in.

I am NOT saying we can both justify the common ground between us. The common ground between us is not neutral, rather, the common ground belongs strictly to The Triune God. Only Christian Trinitarianism makes a claim of this kind that could even sustain the preconditions of intelligibility. Atheism, polytheism, and the like are ruled out; they don’t even claim to have the ability to sustain a complete program. The ones that do claim this are internally self-refuting. One example is Islam; the audio from this Backpack Radio episode is a demonstration.

William’s first overall video is true as far as it went, but I affirm the reality of God is prior. Sure, I may have been aware of my self first (as a toddler, for example). Even though I experience that first, the reality of God is logically prior even though chronologically my experience may have “felt” different. In reality, The Trinity is both logically and chronologically prior, though. Further, my own self consciousness immediately informs me of my creatureliness.

In classic Reformed epistemology, there is an integral and organic question about which comes first: knowledge of self or knowledge of God. It is how Calvin opens his Institutes. The whole discussion is a “pretty big deal”, if you will.  Calvin writes and thinks as if in the face of God (coram deo); I want to do the same and to that end, here are some quotes from his work (Inst. I.1.i) which I found useful:

“Without knowledge of God there is no knowledge of self.”

“No one can look upon himself without immediately turning his thoughts to the contemplation of God.”

“Man never achieves a clear knowledge of himself unless he has first looked upon God’s face, and then descends.”

One writer summarizes this, in his own words, as: “Know God. Know yourself. Know yourself to know your need of God. Know God to know you are not gods.”

This is a good starting place for me.

First Friday Debate

Nonetheless, William keeps asking me to lay out an entire framework in my own words in a Facebook post. I am not super fond of this expectation.  He is supplying nothing whatsoever in regards to this issue from his own framework, so I ask William, “When will you do this for your own worldview?” He must do this, as he does assert that he “knows stuff”; even a claim to not know is claim to a certain kind of knowledge. His video, despite claims to the contrary, does not give a justification for knowledge from within his own worldview.

Nor can he.

NOTE:
There was a blog post from a Christian apologist which was rather critical of me but the author has since removed it. The post seemed to be saying that unless one uses a classical apologetic method, they have no business debating an atheist in public.  Maybe. Overall, I was thankful for a rather thoughtful piece. I disagree with being called a fideist, though. Here is a helpful article on the distinction.

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 ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Vocab Malone is an urban apologist and slam poet. Vocab holds a Master’s Degree from Phoenix Seminary and is  pursuing further education at Talbot. 
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