“In the City of God, we are all immigrants and refugees…” a friend recently posted this in response to the current travel ban to the US (United States) that the Trump administration has enacted. The ban targets Muslim countries that are tied to terrorism. Many are crying foul because this goes against what the US has historically stood for—a nation of immigrants. However, Trump is trying to protect US citizens from radical Islamic terrorists who don’t want to be Americans as much as they want to kill us. I certainly don’t want that, and the thought of it makes me suspicious of Muslims. Yet, as a Christian, Jesus calls me to overcome fear with love, and to pray for my enemies. This challenges me, as do these two Christian men I met recently: one lives in a Muslim country, and the other ministers to Muslims. Both encourage Christians to pray for Muslims, and look for opportunities to share the gospel in the midst of this current cultural clash. Here is what they have to say about it:
Recently, Christian author Ammon* from Egypt, flew to the US to speak at a Christian festival on how life as a believer is like living in a Muslim country. Ammon’s family is one of a minority of Christians living in Cairo. In his country, you’re either born into a Christian family, or you are a Muslim. Even though Ammon was born into a Christian family, his faith became his own as a teenager when he investigated the truth claims of Christ, and realized Jesus is Lord of all, despite Islam’s claim to the opposite.
Unfortunately, there is no evangelism allowed in Cairo since it is against the law. Children born into Christian families are given a cross tattoo on their wrists for identification. He says this can bring persecution to the Christians, so many hide the tattoo (since some have been shot at for having it).
This isn’t a very peaceful coexistence, and it is because of how these faiths perceive reality. How one defines peace is vastly different for certain Muslims. For instance, some sects see acts of violence as peaceful, Ammon explained, if they are done in the name of Allah. For example, burning down a Christian church is considered peaceful since this is done for Allah. This is how some claim to be a “peaceful religion” since they see these acts as honoring Allah. Yet, not all sects of Muslims conduct violence. The Sunni Sect is the worst one, however, and is the sect that ISIS belongs to, which conducts terrorism.
The Sunnis regularly lie in the name of Allah. “Some befriend you, even claiming to be a Christian, but they aren’t,” Ammon said. Some believe that the end justifies the means, as long as it is a noble and honorable end to establish the Islamic caliphate. “Anything is permitted,” he added.
Unlike America with its separation of Church and State, Muslim countries teach the Koran in school. Because of that, Muslims are more literate of what is in the Koran than Americans know what is in the Bible. This is a lifestyle for Muslims, and one that will continue in the US for these immigrants.
Regarding letting the more Muslims into the US, Ammon said he sees the immigration of some Muslims as a possible “Trojan Horse,” yet doesn’t think we should stop them from coming. As a Christian, Ammon encourages us to be praying for Muslims instead.
Prayer works! Many Muslims are coming to faith in Christ because there are hundreds who are having dreams of Jesus, and becoming Christians because of it. This is the subject of a book written by Tom Doyle called, “Dreams and Visions: is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World?” Tom recently spoke at my church, and was very excited to share that more Muslims have come to the Lord in the last decade than in the previous 1,400 years! There are as many as two-million believers in Iran now—the fastest growing Christian group per capita in the world! He said that at least one-third of these converted Muslims had dreams of Jesus before becoming Christians.
I’ve been reading Tom’s book to my son who recently asked me why Jesus doesn’t show up in his dreams? Tom said that 86% of Muslims do not know even one Christian. They don’t have access to a Bible, and have been taught that the New Testament has been corrupted. So, I told my son that Jesus is showing up in these people’s dreams probably because no one else is reaching them to share the gospel. Jesus doesn’t have to show up in my son’s dreams because Josh already believes. He’s showing up in Muslim’s dreams as a divine act of mercy and grace!
“We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people. For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true. And you know of our concern for you from the way we lived when we were with you.” 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5
“Once these Muslims are saved, many of them are willing to suffer and die for Christ,” Tom said. He went on to explain that the gospel never comes in quietly. “It bursts onto the scene!” he said.
This happened recently at a Christian church planted in Syria, pastored by a man Tom believes is like a modern-day Apostle Paul for Syria—Fareed. He is bringing many Muslims to a saving knowledge of Christ. Even ones who seem threatening. A known terrorist attended his church, and when Fareed gave an invitation to accept Christ, this terrorist went up. Fareed was not sure if he was coming up to kill him or not, but was overjoyed (and relieved) when instead the terrorist accepted Christ!
“Many Muslims are sick of hate and are hungry for love,” Tom explained. Click To Tweet He encourages Christians to not fear Muslims, and reminds believers that we must share Christ, trusting that Jesus Christ is Lord over the Middle East.
Tom is Vice President and Director of the Middle Eastern Branch of Strategic Partnerships for e3 Partners, a Dallas-based ministry. He also is involved in a ministry called “8 Thirty 8”, after Romans 8:38. Every day at 8:38 PM, this ministry asks Christians to pray for the safety of those serving Christ in church plants in the Middle East, and for Muslims who are finding faith in Jesus.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” Rom. 8:38.
As I continue to read Tom’s book to my son, and the world around us seems to become angrier, I have to ask myself if I’m willing to lay aside my fears, and pray for Muslims? Yes… may I be an example to my children as I pray the Lord gives me His heart for Muslims. And if given the opportunity, may I get the chance to share the gospel.
“…And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.” 1 Pet. 3:15.
*Not his real name for security reasons.
All scripture verses in this blog are the NLT version.
~ © Lisa Quintana, blogger