Resetting the Evangelical Mindset on Nabeel Qureshi

Within the past few years, Nabeel Qureshi has taken the apologetic world by storm.  His book Seeking Allah Finding Jesus became a New York Times Best Seller.  Qureshi claims to a former Muslim and his book recounts the story of his conversion to Christianity.  According to his personal website:

Nabeel is a global speaker with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, and holds degrees in medicine (Eastern Virginia Medical School), Christian apologetics (Biola University), and religion (Duke University). Nabeel is pursuing a doctorate in New Testament studies at Oxford University….Raised as a devout Muslim in the United States, Nabeel grew up studying Islamic apologetics with his family and engaging Christians in religious discussions. After one such discussion with a Christian, the two became friends and began a years-long debate on the historical claims of Christianity and Islam.”

In Christian media and on the debate circuit, Qureshi presents himself as an orthodox Christian; his educational background is solid.  However, recent events should cause discerning Christians to reconsider promoting Qureshi as an apologetic resource.  They involve his participation in the ecumenical Reset 2016 event in Washington, DC and inconsistencies in his background story that have been brought to light by an Islamic apologist.

The Reset 2016 Conference, set to take place in July 2016, features the typical rogues gallery of cultural Christian speakers and artists, including: prosperity pastrix Christine Caine, Hillsong United, Roman Catholic Matt Maher, writer of spiritual erotica Ann Voskamp, revival prophet Ronnie Floyd, and circle-making prayer Mark Batterson.  Even the Pope of Rome is scheduled to speak.  The purported purpose of gathering to enact cultural shift in America by calling on the name of Jesus.  One has to wonder if a gathering that includes enemies of the cross can do that.  By throwing in with this lot, Qureshi raises suspicion about himself.

There is also suspicion about Qureshi’s conversion story.  Like many popular Muslim conversion stories, Qureshi’s involves a dream or vision. However, in recounting his vision to different media outlets, Qureshi has given slightly different accounts of it.  The following video was put together by Muslim Apologist, Yahya Snow.

Of course a Muslim apologist is profoundly interested in refuting Christianity and its apologists.  Still, readers should recall that it was originally a Muslim apologist who exposed inconsistencies in Ergun Caner’s Islamic background story.  While the inconsistencies in the dream stories cited above are slight, they are relevant given the vast evangelical fascination with stories of Muslim dreams and visions of Jesus.  Furthermore, Qureshi’s very Islamic credentials are in question.  Qureshi is a former Ahmadi.  According to Snow, the Ahmadi sect is not considered Muslim by Muslims in the same way Mormons are not considered Christians.  Christian apologist and expert on Islam James White concurs.

When considering the questionable associations of popular conference speakers and book-sellers, especially in a political environment in which there is a great fear of Islam and the moral decline of America, Christian consumers should be very careful about whom they patronize and promote.  Qureshi’s associations and backstory are suspicious.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Christians should remember that every brother and sister converted from complete lostness and spiritual deadness.  Rather than judge Christian speakers by their backstories, Christians should judge them by the ongoing demonstration of their faith.  No one’s dream or vision is more trustworthy than gospel presented in Holy Scripture.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

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Seth Dunn

Masters of Divinity in Christian Apologetics, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Member of the Evangelical Theological Society Certified Public Accountant