After hearing some great teaching during the past two days, at a conference with Phil Johnson and James White on the Atonement, I was ready to hit the streets and start witnessing. On the team tonight we had close to 30 people, as there were a number of people from out of state who had come to Brisbane for the conference.
I got up to preach first and started talking about the reality that death comes to everyone - both rich and poor, young and old - and so because of that, where one spends eternity is of utmost importance. But not long after beginning, a number of Muslim guys stopped to listen. I then started a dialogue with them in the open air to see whether they thought they were going to Heaven. They said they didn't know, as they said it's dependent on whether they've done enough good works. So I went through some of the Ten Commandments with them and showed them that they aren't good people in the sight of God. I then shared the news of the cross with them; that they can be forgiven of all their sins by repenting and trusting in the death of Jesus alone for their salvation.
The gentlemen responded by saying that Jesus didn't actually die, but rather Allah only made it appear to everyone living at the time that he died. The guys didn't seem to mind that if this was true, Allah would necessarily have to be a deceiver. So I pointed out to them the logical conclusions for believing that Allah is deceiver, and that is that they cannot know that the Qur'an or anything that Allah has revealed was not given simply in order to deceive them. At this they didn't know how to respond, but instead tried changing the topic of conversation.
After discussing a number of things with them, I quoted a verse in the Qur'an that mentions that there should be no compulsion in religion (2:256). They agreed that these verses are true. But then I asked them, "Is somebody free to leave the Islamic faith?" They responded, "No, if a person leaves Islam, they deserve to die." How is Islam then a religion of peace? So I used that to show another inconsistency within the Islamic faith, that on the surface level Islam may look peaceful and open, but there is actually no freedom, for a person will be put to death if they leave Islam.
To further support my case, I pulled out my Qur'an and went to the 9th Surah and the 29th verse and read it out, saying, "Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." (9:29, Yusuf Ali translation)
The Muslims guys tried to say that that verse simply refers to self-defense. I responded by saying that no where in the verse itself or in the context would allow anyone to reasonably make that case. I then read out verse 5 of the same Surah, which says: "But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful."(9:5. Yusuf Ali translation)
I made the point that to "lie in wait" in order to slay the Pagan is definitely not self-defense. But if a person "repents, and establishes regular prayers and practises regular charity" Muslims are commanded to spare them. That basically means, slay the unbeliever and even lie in wait for them, unless they become a Muslim. By that, it is clear that there is definitely compulsion in religion, commanded by the Qur'an. The Muslims guys agreed that the 9th Surah was one of the last revealed to Muhammad and therefore, one of the most important. However, they couldn't disagree with what the Qur'an clearly teaches.
At one stage of the discussion, the Muslims tried to argue that Islam is true because it is the religion that is currently growing the fastest. I responded by saying, "That may be true, but that is simply because of the high birth rate of Muslim families compared to non-Muslim families, and also the fact that people are forced to remain to be a Muslim. But more importantly, the more popular a belief is does not make it any more true. Almost everyone thought the world was flat a couple hundred years ago, but just because that was a popular belief did not make it any more true."
The discussion in the open air with Muslims lasted for about an hour and a half, and they had the gospel presented to them numerous times. During the discussion, a rather large crowd had gathered to listen in on our discussion.
About half way into our outreach, Alex (our regular non-theist heckler) had arrived and brought in about 10 of his 'athiest' buddies to heckle and discuss with us. So after the Muslim fellows left, Alex and I had a bit of a debate on the existence of God in the open air, and then the topic diverged onto Evolution.
David Gee, the former leader of the Sheffield evangelism team, was on the team this evening and had been discussing with Alex over the past year or so via the Apologetics Blog, specifically focussing on the topic of Evolution. So I tagged David Gee in, and he got up on the soap box and discussed with Alex and a number of the other Atheists on this topic. He made sure the gospel was preached as well.
Many one2one conversations were had all throughout the night by everyone on the team, and many gospel tracts went out as well. Praise God, and please keep in prayer all who heard the gospel tonight.