Christians seeking to introduce others to the Savior must walk a fine line. They must connect with their audience but not distort scriptural essentials of the gospel. This is especially challenging when reaching out to Muslims, who are frequently indoctrinated with erroneous ideas about who Jesus is. For example, when many Muslims hear the biblical title “Son of God,” they believe this means that Christians think God had sexual relations with Mary.
Missionaries and Christian scholars disagree over whether a particular approach to the “Son of God” title will overcome this inaccurate perception and win a hearing for the gospel. (See the Christianity Today article “The Son and the Crescent,” by Collin Hansen.) The approach, used by growing numbers of missionaries working in various Muslim areas, dispenses with that particular title, replacing it with a formulation such as “Beloved Son who comes or originates from God.” They are seeing some impressive results, but sympathetic critics say they risk losing deeper meanings and nuances about our faith that God wants us to have. Who’s right? Is the sensitive term “Son of God” really all that essential? And, if it is, how should we best use it?
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