It isn’t something that has been written about in the popular Christian leadership magazines in the West. There aren’t conference topics on the subject at gatherings for church leaders in the US, Canada, Britain or Australia. But things are changing.
Now churches have to think about the reality of protecting people who are interested in learning about Jesus Christ, reading the bible, attending the church and hearing the gospel preached. With the recent move by the Canadian government to introduce an Islamophobia law, there is increased unwillingness of Western governments to protect the rights of those leaving Islam and converting to other religions.
Imagine the scenario of an Iranian Shia woman who is witnessed to by a Christian woman, and becomes a believer herself. According to all three schools of Sharia, that formerly Muslim woman is now under threat for her life. Other Muslims have, in their minds, the responsibility to execute that apostate from Islam.
Although some churches in the West have had scenarios when they have had to protect a seeker or a new convert from they violent pressures of family and community, most of these instances are isolated. However, if laws are made and shirk, or apostasy from Islam is rendered an Islamophobic, blasphemous act, then enquirers into the gospel will do so under suspicion and threat.
I think of the Iranian Shia widow who has attended my church a number of times, with great appreciation for the love our church has shown to her, as well as the gospel of Jesus Christ which she hears preached. She is not a believer in Christ, but even her enquiries could come at a cost.
So pastors and congregants must be prepared to sacrifice in order to protect those who are exploring Christianity. We must love them so that they can find security in our fellowship, as they seek Jesus, God the Son, the only saviour for the world.