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Clarification of CAMEL theology approach to evangelism


I am writing in response to the Aug. 16 letter written by David Mills regarding the CAMEL method of pre-evangelism used by some IMB missionaries. I have observed this way of leading Muslims to a point of interest in reading or hearing the gospel in several countries of Asia, and very recently again have talked with a number of missionaries as well as local evangelists who are using some form of this approach.

I share the concerns that Mr. Mills stated regarding such matters as a witness giving the impression that he believes the Quran, or is himself a Muslim. However, these certainly are not integral parts of this approach to pre-evangelism of Muslims, nor are they, in my experience, a typical part of the practice of IMB personnel or nationals using the method. I personally am not in favor of making such statements or giving such impressions.

My experience is that those using this method simply point out to the Muslim that the Quran, which the Muslim honors, says good things about Jesus (Isa), and says that the Muslim therefore should read the gospel (Injil.) The witness then typically asks the Muslim if he would therefore like to read or hear the gospel, and then this step of pre-evangelism ends and evangelism begins.

Interestingly, those whom I have observed usually start the conversation by making sure the Muslim knows that the witness is a Christian, before ever saying anything about what the Quran says.

The Quran is not referred to again as its purpose in this witness has been achieved. Those who come to Christ from this beginning point usually have put their Quran away (if they had one) for good, and are people of the Bible. Very, very few – none in most settings – continue to go to the mosque, or call themselves Muslims, or carry out Muslim rituals.

Instead, they clearly become followers of our Lord.

It is also good to point out that Muslims and Christians using the same word for God does not mean that the two understandings of God are the same. It simply means that the language being used has one word for God, used by followers of both faiths, just as the English word “God” is used by English-speaking followers of most religions, even though the understanding of God varies greatly.

When Christians use whatever word they use for God in their language, even when that word is “Allah,” they refer to the triune Father, Son, and Spirit.

Helping a Muslim to see that his own book tells him that he should be interested in Christ is often an effective way of opening the door to a gospel witness.

It is a proven method that has opened the door to Truth to untold numbers of Muslims in many parts of the world, and continues to do so today.