If I had the chance to teach Palestinian Christians and Muslims theology and apologetics, would I take it? Absolutely! That’s why I spent a week doing just that. It was one of the most strategic opportunities I’ve had.
I taught in the West Bank. Virtually everyone I spoke to was Palestinian - the majority of them were Christian, and just over 20% were Muslim. I partnered with an organization that provides a premium education and an immersive American-English experience. That’s why many Muslim families are eager to send their children there. For a Palestinian family, this program’s education system provides the potential for their child to eventually study abroad and have a better life.
Teaching Palestinians afforded me two excellent opportunities. First, I provided Arab Christians a better understanding of their faith and evidence for the truth of the Gospel. I taught on subjects like the validity of the Bible, answering the problem of evil, relativism, the resurrection of Jesus, evolution, stem cell research and cloning, and tactics in defending the faith. Because many of these believers are challenged by skeptics, atheists, and Muslims, these subjects helped provide a reasonable defense for their faith and bolster their confidence.
I pray my work there will have more than just immediate effects. It is these very Palestinian believers that will grow up and become teachers, bankers, doctors, and leaders in their community. My hope is that they will be salt and light. In a region with little hope for peace, they will be the peacemakers. They will have the potential to transform their culture for Christ. They will proclaim the Gospel.
The second great opportunity was to speak to Palestinian Muslims. Typically, it’s not possible to go to a Middle Eastern country and openly teach about Jesus, at least not without some serious pushback. But that’s what made this opportunity so special. I was able to present a case for the Christian worldview to Muslims. For example, I was able to explain the reasons we can trust the Bible. Because Muslims believe our Scriptures are corrupted, they reject the true account of Jesus and His Kingdom message from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Therefore, I spent over an hour explaining why we believe the Bible is the word of God and how textual criticism helps us know what the original documents said.
I was also eager to teach about how we know Jesus rose from the grave. That’s significant because Muslims deny the death and resurrection of Jesus and instead believe the Quran’s claim that He ascended into heaven after His ministry was complete. Therefore, I presented the historical evidence that Jesus died and rose again from the grave. Naturally, many Muslims had significant reservations and responded with questions. These questions were welcomed, of course, because it allowed me to continue to clarify the truth while specifically addressing their skepticism.
It was exciting to have multiple opportunities a day, for an entire week, to make a case for the Christian worldview to Muslims. Both topics provided natural segues to the Gospel. After giving evidence for the resurrection, for example, I drew the following conclusion: If a dead man rose, then dead men rise. If Jesus was resurrected, then we will be resurrected as well (Rom. 8:11). After our death, we will come to life again, face God, and be held accountable for what we’ve done. If we’re found to be guilty of crimes against God (which, obviously, we all are), then we will either be either punished or pardoned. If, during our lifetime, we accepted God’s pardon through Christ, then God will forgive us...Otherwise, we will remain guilty and pay for the crimes ourselves. When it came to the trustworthiness of the Bible, I provided a similar Gospel presentation.
I am grateful to God for this opportunity. I’m praying that I was able to plant many seeds and water those that were planted by other Christian workers before me.