Muslim militants are committing unspeakable and barbaric atrocities. If America and its allies ever needed “boots on the ground”, that time may be now. This evil must be stopped for a host of reasons, including for the sake of Christians whose lives are threatened in Syria, Iraq and across much of the Islamic world.
Unfortunately, in this climate of fear, there are ‘Christian’ voices ready to write off the world’s 1.7 million Muslims as beyond the hope of salvation, unfit for redemption and pre-destined to be eternal enemies of God and His Gospel. To do so would be a grave error.
Scripture gives many reasons to expect a Gospel Awakening across the Islamic world.
1. God promised Abraham that the Arab world would know “the way of the Lord”. Abraham had at least eight sons, first Ishmael with Hagar, then Isaac with Sarah and finally six more sons with Ketura [Genesis 25:1]. While Christ would come through Isaac, God promised that all of Abraham’s “children” would know the “way of the Lord”, for “I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.” [Genesis 18:19]. Ishmael and the sons of Ketura are forefathers to the Arab world, and God’s promise is clear that they will know the way of the Lord. That divine promise can only be fulfilled if they know Him, who said “I am the way”.
2. God promised blessing to Ishmael. “As for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly….I will make him a great nation [Gen 17:20]. God promised His blessing on Ishmael. Is there any blessing apart from the knowledge of Jesus Christ? Later when Hagar and Ishmael were dying of thirst, God opened Hagar’s eyes, and “she saw a well of water”. If God cared enough to show them a spring of water to quench their physical thirst, is it not reasonable to expect God will also show Ishmael and his descendants the “living water”?
3. Bible prophecies about the Arab world. Imagine if Bible prophecy listed names of cities and towns across America with promises of joy and salvation. While neither New York, Chicago or Los Angeles are mentioned by name in the Bible, we still believe for God’s glory to be manifested in every town and village because of Christ’ finished work and because of John 3:16. When it comes to the Arab world, the Bible does mention cities and countries where God’s glory will be revealed. How did so many Christians overlook these prophesies? The Bible promises that “the wilderness and its cities lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar [Ishmael’s firstborn] inhabits will shout for joy [Isaiah 42:11]. Isaiah describes how Midian, Ephah, Kedar and Nebaioth [the Saudi Arabian peninsula] will bring offerings, “proclaim the praises of the Lord” and be accepted by the Lord [Isaiah 60:6-7]. In Psalms we read that Babylon, Philistia, Tyre and Ethiopia will speak favourably of Zion because of the one who was born there [Psalms 87:4-7]. Philistia [Gaza], will “shout in triumph because of” the Lord [Psalm 60:8]. Habakukk speaks of God’s glory coming from Teman, which is modern day Yemen [Habakukk 3: 3-6]. We cannot in the face of these and other similar Scriptures dismiss the Arab world as spiritually hopeless.
4. The Gospel will be preached among “all nations” [Matthew 24:14]. The Greek word for nations is ethnos, which is any group of people distinguished by culture and/or language. There are thousands of ethnicities where the majority, and in many cases close to 100 % of the people adhere to Islam. Are these people groups not included in Jesus’ prophetic word?
5. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit is “on all flesh”. Does “all” mean all?
6. God reconciled the world through Christ [2 Corinthians 5:19]. Are Muslims included in the ‘reconciliation”? Remember, the reconciliation occurred when “we were enemies” of God [Romans 5:10], and many Muslims are just that. Still Jesus “put away the sins of the world”. No, this is not universalism. The Bible makes a stark distinction between ”reconciliation” and “salvation”, for “ if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” [Romans 5:10]. It is clear –the reconciliation is an objective historical reality that occurred at the death of God’s Son, while salvation is another matter. To be saved we must receive Him. He is alive and His life saves us, because “He who has Jesus has life”. That’s the power of the Gospel, and Muslims are not excluded.
7. God has left a witness of Himself to Muslims. There are 97 references to Jesus Christ in Islam’s “holy” book, the Quaran; Jesus is born of a virgin, sinless, a healer, the Messiah, the word of God, and the judge of humanity. Many leaders of liberal ‘Christian’ denominations don’t believe these things. Make no mistake; there are huge dividing issues. Muslims don’t believe that Christ is the Son of God, God from God to show us God, or that He died on the cross and rose again. These are the most central issues and there is no room for compromise. In my book, My Muslim Friends – An Invitation To Christians And Muslims To Take Another Look At Jesus, I address how to talk to Muslims about these two absolutes of the Christian faith.
8. God’s loves the world. Christ died for the world. He commanded that we go into “all the world”. Should the Muslim world be excluded? The Biblical answer is clear; the blood of Christ is not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world [1 John 2:2].
I know personally some of the ugly reality of militant Islam. I have conducted more than 50 Gospel Festivals in areas where Muslims are in majority, often in cities where they make up more than 90% of the population, or even as high a 99%. In many Muslim areas, I was the first Christian preacher granted permission to conduct a meeting in a stadium or on an open field. I have had many death threats, been accused of working for the CIA, interrogated by police in Muslim cities, and have faced riots in connection with our outreaches. But I have also witnessed how Christ has shown himself alive with wonders and miracles among Muslims.
These are serious times. Journalists are beheaded. Demonic evil is manifesting and Christians are being killed by Muslims.
May America and its allies rise up and stop this evil. May the church also rise up to do what Christ asked, to give the Gospel to “every creature”, including Muslims.