Christians have been 'paralysed by fear' from sharing the Gospel with Muslims

Persecution is common in majority-Muslim contextsAP

Christians living in places where Islam is the dominant faith need help in building their confidence to share the Gospel with their Muslim neighbours, say mission experts.

The concern was raised at the Lausanne Global Consultation on Islam held in Accra, Ghana, this month. 

John Azumah, Lausanne Senior Associate for Islam and co-chair of the consultation, said there was work to be done in eliminating fear among Christian communities living in Islamic contexts.

He suggested mission to Muslims in the Majority World had become too specialist and that more needed to be done to equip ordinary Christians in sharing their faith.

"For a very long time, Christian witness to Muslims has been a specialised, clericalised, and professionalised task," said Mr Azumah.

"Mission to Muslims has been left to a number of specialists out of the 2.6 billion members of the global church."

Persecution is common in majority-Muslim countries, where barriers to religious freedom can include bans on public worship and proselytism. Often the Muslims themselves face serious consequences if they change their faith, including the death sentence, violent attacks, and being disowned by family.

The meeting in Accra brought together 40 scholars and practitioners from 20 countries, including several who were Muslims before converting to Christianity. 

They spent a week discussing how to best resource and equip the Majority World church in understanding Islam and engaging with Muslims.  

Delegates at the Accra consultation(Photo: Lausanne)

Morning devotionals emphasised the love and grace of God that Christians are called to share with their Muslim neighbours.

Mr Azumah continued: "Many Christians (lay and ordained) have been largely paralysed by fear, and in some cases, hatred, inspired mainly by militant Islam.

"We need to work at de-clericalising the task and de-escalating the fear and hatred, and inspire the 2.6 billion with the confidence to witness to Muslims and to do so in informed and loving ways."