Palestinian Muslims Coming to Christ, Invitation

This entry is an excerpt from my dissertation that begins a new series in which I highlight my doctoral research, which was an investigation of the process of West Bank Palestinian Muslims coming to faith in Christ. The goal of the research was to find out what these people thought were important and helpful in persuading them to trust Christ.

I interviewed 24 converts, and their conversion-story summaries will be provided as individual blog entries for this series. These stories also will be supplemented with other entries that explain my research process and important findings.

Feel free to interact in the comments or download my dissertation as a free PDF here.

The following information is ©2014 University of Pretoria and Craig Dunning and, if used elsewhere, should be cited as:

Dunning, CA (2014) Palestinian Muslims converting to Christianity: effective evangelistic methods in the West Bank. Pretoria, South Africa: University of Pretoria, PhD thesis, pp. 1-2.

Preface

I like stories. I like to hear them and I like to tell them. One of the things I enjoy most in meeting new people is hearing their stories. Where are they from? What was life like in their childhood? And, if they are Christians, I want to hear the story of how they came to faith in Jesus. I am always thankful to hear a testimony of God’s saving grace, but I am a missionary/pastor, and that makes me also want to know how the good news of Jesus Christ was delivered. That is the focus of this project, finding out how people heard the Gospel. What were the challenges they faced in believing? What solved those challenges? What moved them from unbelief to belief?

I’m not interested for the sake of marketing another method. Honestly, I’m quite disheartened at the marketing madness of the Western church, which seems so hungry for the next fad in marketing the gospel. It is very discouraging for me to receive email advertisements of crafted sermon series that have been used in this or that church and “caused a 50% increase in attendance.” This project is not about finding the next wave of methodology. I agree with Scott McKnight, who said, “Conversion can’t be reduced to a formula anymore than love can be set out as an equation” (2002:77).

Certainly conversion involves methodological considerations, but this project is primarily about hearing individuals tell the story of how they actually heard the gospel and learning what we can from their experiences.

Because I like stories, and this report is actually the story of how the gospel is being effectively shared among Muslims in the West Bank, I have chosen a more personal, narrative format to report my findings.

Without shame I will use the personal pronoun “I” in telling the story of my research. The process of decision making will be detailed and personal, often elaborating on the various possible methodological choices, and how and why I made certain choices; why I did it this way and not that way, as well as stories of things that were said or done that confirmed my decisions along the way. This story will include much about the personal aspects of how I went about my research, and, when necessary, in an appropriate way that protects my respondents, I will share portions of their stories.

The researcher and the nature of the project are appropriately represented in this narrative style of presentation, which is well supported in the literature (Weiss 1994:193-210; Newman 2006:498-500; Emerson, Fretz &Shaw 1995:169-210). It also accurately reflects my research findings, which is the main thrust of the project.

Please join me as I tell the story of how the greatest story ever told is being told in the West Bank.

Sources Cited:

Emerson RM, Fretz RI and Shaw LL. (1995) Writing ethnographic fieldnotes. University Of Chicago Press.

McKnight S. (2002) Turning to Jesus: the sociology of conversion in the gospels: Westminster John Knox Press.

Neuman WL. (2006) Social research methods: quantitative and qualitative approaches. Allyn & Bacon.

Weiss RS. (1995) Learning from strangers: the art and method of qualitative interview studies. Free Press.

NEXT: Palestinian Muslims Coming to Christ, Demographic Issues

Download my dissertation as a free PDF here.

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