Atrocities by the Islamic State (ISIS) are softening the hearts of Muslims to Christianity, and evangelistic techniques and technologies are proving effective, but locally-based missionaries say the main reason for the spike in conversions in the Middle East is simply that former Muslims are finding God is real.
In war-torn areas of Syria and Iraq where ISIS is fighting to establish a caliphate, Muslim refugees to neighboring countries, Internally Displaced People and people remaining at home are learning about Christ from native aid workers, podcasts and broadcasts.
Tent churches among refugees are sprouting like mushrooms. For people who have suffered such deep loss, seeing that they can pray to a personal God whom they can call Father has been the critical factor.
“You can see the tears in their eyes when we pray – that God would care,” said the director of one ministry working in the region. “It’s the connection that makes a huge difference.”
Muslims who were previously taught to pray by rote to Allah, who by Koranic definition was unknowable, can feel the difference of having a relationship with God through Christ.
“They see that God can give you strength, can heal you,” said the director. “They say that things have changed, that they have a peaceful attitude towards those ‘who have done this to my kids, wife, or husband – I can pray about it and give it to God.’”
Former Muslims, who once prayed five times a day as a duty, say they don’t quite know how to describe the difference.
“They say, ‘Now with our relationship with God, we see a huge difference; something has changed in our life,’” he said. “You can see it on their faces. They say, ‘Every time we pray, there’s a difference.’”
The soul-crushing loss of loved ones, home and country that people have suffered at the hands of ISIS has helped open Muslims to the gospel. Another ministry director said Syrian and Iraqi refugees are more open to the gospel than at any time in history because of atrocities by ISIS.
“Absolutely,” he said, “because ISIS is saying that the things they are doing come from the Koran.”
Tailoring evangelism to the Muslim worldview has also played a part, and one way of contextualizing the gospel for Muslims, ironically, involves the Hebrew Scripture. Middle Eastern Muslims are familiar with the blood sacrifice and prophets of the Old Testament, and Christian workers build bridges with those references.
They talk about why Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son, animal sacrifice, and the meaning of blood in ancient times, Moses and the saving blood smeared on doorposts in Egypt, and then Jesus’ shed blood.
“So we go from the Old Testament to the blood of Jesus that saves us; 99 percent of the people I know will use this method,” the ministry director said.
From Prophecy News Watch –