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It took nine years for Muslim Abdu Murray to realize that God’s greatest ethic—love—was demonstrated by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for sin.
Along his journey out of Islam and during his study of the Bible, Murray nearly surrendered to Jesus two times when the Holy Spirit and the Word of God deeply stirred him.
Studying comparative religions at a secular university in a liberal city, Murray was an evangelist for Islam when two Christians gave him a Gideon Bible.
The words of John the Baptist in Luke 3:7-8 cut Murray like a spiritual knife.
“I had been asking the question why are you a Christian, and people would answer in a word: tradition.
“I would respond by saying that’s not good enough,” Murray says.
John’s words to Jews, “Do not begin to think to yourselves that you have Abraham as your father. God can raise up children from stones” convicted Murray to his core.
“John the Baptist was saying relying on your tradition won’t save you,” says Murray.
In all his years as an evangelist for Islam, nobody asked Murray why he was a Muslim.
“The answer was tradition,” says Murray who, a few years later, almost became a Christian after a second revelation shook his Muslim indoctrination.
He weighed the words of the Bible against the Quran which, Murray believed, were intended to correct errors in Scripture.
Incrementally and over time, Murray stopped finding fault with the Bible.
“I was trying instead to find out how the Bible matches up with the Quran,” Murray says.
He accepted friends’ invitations to a church in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Murray was studying law.
“I remember everything about that church service. Everything the pastor was saying hit a little too close to the mark, and it was incredibly annoying,” Murray recalls.
The pastor concluded by saying, “God has been leaning on the door you whole life, and you’ve been leaning back. If you would just stop leaning, God would flood every room in your home. Is that you?”
Convicted and bothered by the message, Murray left the church with the woman who was his girlfriend at the time, and the two friends who invited him.
Walking through the parking lot, Murray felt a force pushing him to the ground.
“I actually had to hold myself up by putting my hands on my knees, and I closed my eyes. I don’t know if it was a vision but, whatever it was, I had a picture in my head of two building-sized books crushing me,” says Murray, who believes they were the Bible and the Quran.
“I was trying to make them agree, and they would not,” Murray recalls as tears streamed down his self-described Lebanese, Middle Eastern, macho-man face, while his now wife, Nicole, cried too.
That day Murray realized he was a fence sitter who, while hating his position, resisted Jesus for awhile longer.
A couple weeks later while reading the Bible for truth about the life of Jesus, Murray also considered the Arabic phrase “Allahu Akbar,” which translates into English as “God is great or greatest.”
“It occurred to me that God, the greatest possible being, would express the greatest possible ethic: love. What is the greatest possible way to express the greatest possible love? It’s self-sacrifice,” says Murray.
In his studies of world religions, Murray found none of them claim to have a god who self sacrifices.
Based on Murray’s understanding of Islam and the Quran, he says there’s no need for Allah to sacrifice himself. In Hinduism, there’s no such thing as self-sacrifice either.
“Then I remembered where I read it: Romans 5:8. ‘For God demonstrates His love for us in that, while we were sinners, Christ died for us,’” says Murray, who understood the greatest possible being, ethic and way in the words of the apostle Paul.
“When I realized that, I gave my life to Him,” says Murray, who today serves Jesus through the ministry he founded, “Embrace The Truth.”(Embrace the Truth Ministry – Embrace the Truth by Abdu Murray)
An author of numerous books that defend the Christian faith, Murray travels the world telling people that Jesus is worthy of whatever the costs associated with following Him.
At Colorado State University, Murray recently told mostly Gen Z college students in the liberal city of Fort Collins that Jesus can be trusted because He rose from the dead as promised before His death.
“I would say that Jesus’ relevancy is greater than ever in an information-saturated culture,” Abdu told students at a gathering organized by the Christian group Ratio Christi.
“So here we have your generation inundated with information from everybody saying trust me, ‘I’m a good singer, pretty actress, athlete, politician or scientist.’
“Some are trustworthy; some are not,” Murray told students, whose viewpoints are increasingly censored or canceled by arbiters of spiritual and cultural conversations. Watch and listen to Murray’s message to students here: https://youtu.be/U_npiPmWYsA.
Murray says if Christ rose from the dead as a matter of fact, then He has credibility.
“Jesus said, ‘I’m going to die for your sins.’ Then He rises from the dead.
“Everything He said is trustworthy. When He tells you things you need to hear, not things you want to hear—like you’re a sinner in need of a Savior—that’s good news.”
Steve Rees is a former general assignment reporter who, with one other journalist, first wrote about the national men’s movement Promise Keepers from his home in Colorado. Rees and Promise Keepers founder Bill McCartney attended the Boulder Vineyard. Today Rees writes in his free time.