Monday, June 22, 2015

Muslim thousands turn to Christ

More Muslims have come to faith in Christ in the 13 years since 9/11 than in the entire previous 14 centuries of Islamic history, according to missionaries in the Islamic world. They say many Muslims are questioning their faith.

In his book A Wind in the House of Islam,* David Garrison says we are living in the midst of the greatest turning of Muslims to Christ in history. Because converts to Christianity can face the death penalty, it is impossible to know how many new believers in Christ there are in the Islamic world, but he estimates there are currently between two and seven million.

The book, the result of two-and-a-half years of research, involved travelling more than 250,000 miles to conduct interviews with more than 1,000 people.

Whereas Muslims once came to faith in Christ one at a time, he claims to have found 69 movements - a movement is defined as a group of more than 1,000 baptised believers or 100 new churches within a Muslim community - started in the first 12 years of this century. This compares with virtually no movements of converts to Christianity in the first 12 centuries of Islam.

The converts he met included many senior religious leaders. In 2011 he met with 20 leaders from a fundamentalist Muslim people group. Nineteen of them had been baptised. Seventeen of them were imams. Three were women.

He asked why they had not left their community to form a church. One of the women said: "When God wanted to reach men, He became a man. If God had wanted to reach hyenas, He would have become a hyena. If we want to reach our own people, we've got to stay in our community to reach them." They were willing to pay the price, even if it meant death, to bring others to Christ.

The following day he met a sheikh who had led 400 other sheikhs to Christ; 300 of them had been baptised.

Lucinda Borkett-Jones, writing in Christian Today, quotes Garrison as saying that violence in Islam is not new. What is new is that when believers experience this violence they can turn to the internet or turn on the television and see the alternative: Christian evangelism in their own language. Bible translation, multimedia evengelism and the growth of international travel have facilitated the change.

One man found Christ after reading a translation of the Koran in his own language. He went on to see 33,000 people come to faith in Christ by encouraging them to read the Koran in their own language.

A group of converts in Central Asia tell each other: "If you're persecuted, just thank God you haven't been beaten; if you've been beaten, thank God you haven't been thrown into prison; if you're in prison, thank God you haven't been killed; if you've been killed, thank God that you're with Jesus in heaven."

Christians need to stop fearing Muslims, says Garrison. "This is not the day to fear, fight, hate or kill Muslims. This is the day of their salvation. If you want to be on God's side this day, be a part of what God is doing."

*A Wind in the House of Islam, by David Garrison. Monument, Colorado: WIGTake Resources, 2014.

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