Nick Chatrath has just released a new book called Reaching Muslims: A One stop guide. Rich Spear had a chance to catch up with him about his passion for telling Muslims about the true identity of Jesus, and why he is written this book.
RS:Hi Nick, it’s great to get a chance to speak to you today.
Before we get into talking about your book, why don’t you start by telling us a bit about yourself?
NC:Ok, well I love the outdoors! My wife Tan and I spent a few days in Zermatt, Switzerland, scaling parts of the Matterhorn. It wiped me out for 3 days! In terms of church life, I’m one of the elders of Emmanuel Church Oxford, which we planted 5 1/2 years ago.
RS: Ok great. So I understand that you are back at University in Oxford. What exactly is it that you are studying?
NC: I’m currently doing my Doctorate in Islamic Studies. I’m focussing on Muslim sources like Arabic texts from the 14th century.
RS: That sounds very interesting indeed. Can you put your finger on what got you interested in the subject in the first place?
NC: Tough question. When I first gave my life to Jesus aged 19, God put a desire to witness to others in my heart. I just thought, “What’s the biggest group of non-Christians on the planet?” Answer - Muslims, so it was a no-brainer that reaching out to Muslims is a priority for Christians. Over the years, as I have built personal and fruitful friendships with Muslims, my passion to reach them has grown. Gradually, I have studied Islam in more and more depth, and that only increased my interest. And now I live in Oxford, half a mile from four different mosques. So, lots of factors. As I said, a tough question. But a good question!
RS: That sounds very logical to me indeed.
So Nick, you've just written an excellent book; 'Reaching Muslims: A One-stop guide' ... and I must say I probably did only stop once in reading through it! Seriously though, what made you think about writing this book?
NC: In 2009, David Stroud, Mick Taylor and the Newfrontiers Theology Forum asked me to write a paper on Islam. I massively overshot the word limit so needed to rethink. The result? One became two: I wrote a paper (equipping UK church leaders) but then also wrote the book (aimed at the popular market, including all Christians, assuming zero knowledge of Islam).
RS: What do you hope that Christians will get from your book?
NC: I have been overwhelmed by feedback from some early readers of the book. Such as: “I live next door to some Muslims and the book has really helped me”.
So in answer to your question: Information about Muslims, inspiration to reach out to them for Jesus and tips on how to do that effectively.
RS: I think that it is really helpful indeed. I certainly found it very informative on a number of levels. Would you say that you feel that the Church in the West has been overly fearful, and as a result a bit too defensive on this issue?
NC: Yes. In places it has also been too aggressive. The heart of the book is to equip and inspire Christians to build open-hearted friendships with Muslims. Taking this approach avoids the triple error of acquiescing to the idea of the privatisation of religion, being too fearful and being too aggressive.
RS: As a (relatively!) young apologist I found the chapter that you did on ‘Hot Potato issues’ very interesting. Do you feel that as Christians we can sometimes go into dialogue with Muslims a little blind, without having thought through some key issues? How important do you think the intellectual debate is for a Muslim?
NC: Yes, very important! Many of the objections Muslims have about Christianity focus on who God is (Trinity; Jesus as God) and the Bible (is it contradictory? hasn’t it been corrupted over time? ). It’s good to do a bit of preparation and think through the issues before wading into the debate.
RS: Thanks for talking with us Nick. I trust that the book will continue to be well received by those that read it.
NC: Thank you!
To find out more about Nick, visit his blog.
To buy the book on Amazon, click here.