About Daniel Shayesteh

Dr Daniel was born into a Muslim family in Northern Iran. He became a radical Muslim leader and teacher of Islam in the militant Free Islamic Revolutionary Movement, closely supporting Ayatollah Khomeini. However, after falling out of favor with Khomeini’s political group, he escaped to Turkey where there began an amazing journey to faith in Jesus Christ.

Daniel's mission is to help others understand and lovingly respond to those who do not know Christ. He is also deeply concerned for the future of Western societies, their loss of confidence in Judeo-Christian values, and their persistent naivete about the implications of the world-wide Islamic revival.

Christ and the Relational Problems of our Generation (Part 2)

How can we manifest the truth about our faith in Christ to individuals in our contemporary generation who do not have the mind of Christ and are lost and incapacitated by the beliefs and ideologies they have adopted? Many are unable to or too busy to evaluate the values underpinning their own beliefs and ideas. Nor do they anticipate the outcomes of their actions which are shaped by those beliefs.  Only Christ can help them to pause and see what they have been missing and how they have been exposing their own lives and the lives of their communities to progressive moral bankruptcy. It is therefore urgent for us to reveal the mind and heart of Christ to them and become explicit in shining the Christ-light on all matters of life, but particularly the spiritual. 

Perhaps one of the most effective and legitimate tools in this light-shining endeavor is a creative conversation. Even though a person may be aware that Christ stands in opposition to many parts of their beliefs, they may not have experienced the challenge and stimulation of such a conversation. The revelation of Christ will fully engage a person’s mind, heart and conscience in such a conversation. The Holy Spirit often harnesses a person’s competence and capacity to discover the truth individually without the bias of pre-suppositions. Christ will help them to allow their consciences to become vocal about the truth since their freedom is closely linked to the awareness and declaration of their conscience about right and wrong. Christ wants them to experience a true testimony within themselves about the belief they hold which can give them peace. He knows that they will not be able to have a comfortable testimony in themselves unless they follow His model. 

This manner of creating awareness in people is inventive and productive because of the work of God in the Creation of humanity. The Gospel states that since God has created people in His own image, their conscience therefore bears witness to the principles which sprang from God’s image into their lives against their own conflicting thoughts, accusations or even excuses. 

14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) (Romans 2: 14 – 15 NKJV) 

In other words, so long as we are prepared to introduce Christ to them and can get them into a dynamic conversation with us and help them to discover their own conflicting moral stands, they have inherent capacity to discover the Christ-light and be enlightened., Even a person’s own conflicting thoughts, when exposed by discussion and challenge can demonstrate the human capacity to differentiate between truth and falsehood. We can challenge a person, if we have confidence in Christ, to prove the authenticity of their belief to us if they desire us to follow their path. In being asked to verbally expound their beliefs, a person is forced to formulate and justify them which can expose the inadequacies and inconsistencies. Certainly, they will give their hearts to Christ if they continue to discuss with us.

How do we get people into a dialogue with us? What are the fundamental tools that bring a Christian and a non-Christian together for an open and creative dialogue? 

Each person in the world understandably desires to have the best of everything in life. For us Christians, this is a strong God-inspired tool that focuses our attention on the very nature of what is the best. Other people may not know what is truly the best. Nevertheless, their claim to have the best or their desire to search for the best is a powerful instinct to motivate them for a conversation. In my interactions with people over the years I have come face to face with individuals who claim their belief to be the best among all. My response to them has often been “I would love to have your belief if you can prove its greatness to me.” My rational appeal has encouraged some of them to evaluate their assertion and to prove the accuracy of their claims as we have exchanged emails in a logical dialogue. This has opened the space for us to discuss the approaches of our respective beliefs about life in comparison with the values of Christ. Praise God, this has resulted in some of them putting their trust in Christ. 

When it comes to us, as the followers of Christ, our tool is the identity we have in Christ. He calls us as His light for the world. His light in us has established us as His heavenly examples to shine among people, drawing their attention, edifying them and illuminating their hearts and minds for everything in life. The very reason for Christ shining through us is to make us wise, enabling us to share our wisdom with others, teaching and convincing them to allow Christ to shine through them too. The light and wisdom of Christ is closely linked to the teaching of the whole Bible. The prophet Daniel prophesied:

And those who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the sky; and those who turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever and ever. (Daniel 12:3, MKJV)

This verse is a prophesy about Christ and His followers. The true followers of Christ are called wise and asked to make the manifold wisdom of God known to people. 

8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,    (Ephesians 3: 8-11 NKJV)

The manifold wisdom of God is about the entirety of life - spiritual, social, moral, political, economic. The light of Christ is to fashion our minds and hearts with the beauties of Christ’s mind and heart about every aspect and stage of life so that we can teach people and prepare and mature them to teach others in a similar way. That’s why His Gospel calls us His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). An ambassador knows his/her sender and can reveal and represent his values. For example, in a discussion about leadership we need to know why the leadership of Christ transcends the model of their leadership and how it unites people in family and society for a harmonious, creative and productive life. What principles are there in the leadership model of Christ which inspire people to understand and believe that their contribution for the success of others will result in their own success?

This is the kind of disciple Christ desires us to become, helping others to think deeply about life and grasp bigger pictures for enlightening others. He has commanded us to make disciples (Matthew 28:19) so that not only do they put into practice all that He taught but also teach others to do so. Therefore, as His ambassadors we are responsible to reveal His teaching about all things to individuals and nations on earth under His caring, loving and generous leadership: things about God, about His character, how relevant He is to the life of people, what kind of leadership model He has, how people deal with each other under His leadership, what life will look like without Him, what His concerns are about individuals and nations, what initiatives He has taken to draw people’s attention to reconciliation and a long-lasting peace and why people need to leave other models behind and follow His model.

Jesus not only revealed to us God and His plans with His manifold wisdom but also laid an unshakable foundation for teaching people to overcome all kinds of relational hindrances. This was to help people reach reconciliation and to live in peace. He taught us so that we could allow Him to use us as His examples to teach others. We need to honor Him by becoming His faithful disciples, His salt and light in a world that suffers from relational problems.