I was not sure what to expect when I picked up Thabiti Anyabwile’s The Gospel For Muslims. I think I expected apologetics. I wanted ammunition for good Christian – Muslim arguments. That expectation had always kept me from reading the book, actually. I didn’t feel it would be very practical. I live and serve in rural Missouri. There are no Muslims in my town, and any passing through probably don’t stop. I assumed that this book might be practical for someone else, but not for me.

I was wrong. Oh, was I ever wrong.

Let me say from the start that this is not an apologetics book. Anyabwile makes that clear from the introduction. The Gospel is the Gospel, thus there does not need to be a special presentation for this group or that group.

I once had the privilege to hear Anyabwile preach. His gentle demeanor impressed me, especially how it stands in sharp contrast to his own claims of once being an angry, racist, hateful man. He discusses his past a bit in this book. He refers to his anger, his conversion to Islam, and his conversion to Christianity. If nothing else, he is perfectly qualified to speak to the issue of evangelism to Muslims and is a testimony worth remembering.

Part one of this book focuses on the Gospel message itself: Who is God,? What is sin? Who is Jesus and what did He do? With each point, there is common ground, but Anyabwile is careful to point out the irreconcilable differences. These are the points that must be made.

The second part of the book is about the witness. Here, Anyabwile emphasizes those things that we too often forget. He reminds the witness to lean on the Holy Spirit, use the Bible, practice hospitality, and yes, even be ready to suffer for the name of Jesus.

Though the book contains very practical insight for sharing the Gospel with Muslims, I found that it is equally relevant for sharing the Gospel with any religious person. Far too often, I view witnessing to a person of another faith as a necessary battle. The only method considered is well-rehearsed arguments and counter-arguments. Too often, what is left out is the Gospel itself, both in word and spirit. This book reminds me that I need to focus more on presenting the Good News of Christ than I do on winning an argument and that by a Gospel-centered life, I can have opportunities for such conversations.

The information is helpful, but the gentle, humble spirit of Thabiti Anyabwile’s teaching is essential. I recommend this book side by side with J. Mack Stiles’ Marks of the Messenger, as must reads for evangelism.