Winds of change sweep through Muslim countries, amid rising anti-Christian sentiments bringing many Muslims to Christ.
“Roughly two-and-a-half years after the revolutions in the Arab world, not a single country is yet plainly on course to become a stable, peaceful democracy,” reports The Economist magazine in a recent cover story. “The countries that were more hopeful—Tunisia, Libya and Yemen—have been struggling. A chaotic experiment with democracy in Egypt, the most populous of them, has landed an elected president
behind bars. Syria is awash with the blood of civil war.
“No wonder some have come to think the Arab Spring is doomed. The Middle East, they argue, is not ready to change. One reason is that it does not have democratic institutions, so people power will decay into anarchy or provoke the re-imposition of dictatorship. The other is that the region’s one cohesive force is Islam, which—it is argued—cannot accommodate democracy. The Middle East, they conclude, would be better off if the Arab Spring had never happened at all.”
For the first millennium of its existence, Islam expanded relentlessly, absorbing tens of millions of Christians, “while not a single un-coerced Muslim movement to Christ [took] place,” writes IMB strategist David Garrison. Regardless of daring efforts by Christian missionaries and believers, just one Evangelical movement was produced among Muslims that resulted in no less than 1,000 converts in 1800s.
In his imminent book, A Wind in the House of Islam, he interviewed in excess of 1,000 former Muslims who have decided to follow Christ. “Today, in more than 60 separate locations in at least 17 of the 49 countries where Islam holds sway, new communities of Muslim-background followers of Christ are emerging,” Garrison writes. “Each of these movements has seen at least 1,000 baptized believers and at least 100 new worshipping fellowships, all of whom have come to Christ over the past two decades. In some countries, the communities have grown to number tens of thousands of new Muslim-background followers of Christ,” he goes on.
“Though the total number of new Christ followers, perhaps as many as 1 million to 5 million, may be a statistically small drop in the vast sea of Islam, they are not insignificant. Not limited to a remote corner of the Muslim world, these new communities of believers are widespread, from West Africa’s Sahel to the teeming islands of Indonesia — and everywhere in between. … And these religious renegades are paying an incalculable price [in persecution and rejection] for their spiritual migration to Christ. Yet they continue to come. What began as a few scattered expressions of dissent is now emerging as substantial, and historically unprecedented, numbers of Muslim men and women wading against the current of their societies to follow Jesus Christ. And it is only beginning.”
Some of these movements to Christ have occurred in places that seem, on first glance, as most hostile towards the Gospel of Christ: Iran, Indonesia, Algeria, Central Asia, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Social, political and religious subjugation have brought about a thirst for true freedom. However social and political explanations are insufficient, rest assured that God has chosen, in His time and by His power, to answer the prayers of many centuries, to reveal Himself in Christ to Muslims yearning for a true encounter with Him. Not to overlook the countless stories, offered by Muslims themselves, of Christ appearing to them in dreams and visions, which can’t be explained by human values.
“These 21st-century movements are not isolated to one or two corners of the world,” Garrison says. They are taking place across the Muslim world: in sub-Saharan Africa, in the Persian world, in the Arab world, in Turkestan, in South Asia and in Southeast Asia. A revival is taking place, involving historic unprecedented move of God in the Muslim world.
If this be true, imagine the tragedy if Christians continue act in response to Muslims full of fear and hatred even worse lack of sympathy. At the very moment, the world witnesses the greatest turning of Muslims to Christ in history of mankind.