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What does God see when he looks at Muslim people?

Harry Morin, AGTS Alumnus and Missionary

On Monday, July 22, AGTS alumnus Harry Morin, an appointed AG missionary working with the Center for Ministry to Muslims, opened the first of 5 sessions in the course "Introduction to Islam," offered at the annual Assemblies of God (AG) School of Missions, held at Central Bible College, Springfield, Mo. Nearly 35 students, the majority of which are AG missionaries to Muslim regions, will gather for the class. The same number will attend a subsequent class, "Approaches to Islam," taught by Phil Parshall, July 29-August 2.

"Introduction to Islam" is designed to provide an overview of the history of Islam and the Muslim world's broad diversity of beliefs and practices in order to help the Christian understand the difficulties and possibilities of evangelism in Muslim communities. The course outline includes topics such as "The Islamic Point of View," "Muslim Objections to Christians," "Christian Responses to Muslims," "Sharing the Gospel with a Monotheist at the Wall," "Growing Tensions and Growing Opportunities."

The following was written by Harry Morin to illustrate the need to educate Christians about the Muslim faith and people. To learn more about the Islamic faith or ministry to Muslims, visit the Center for Ministry to Muslims on the web at http://www.cmmequip.org.

What does God see when he looks at Muslim people?

Terrorism, fanatical fundamentalism, suicide bombings, black-veiled women, holy wars, Arab sheikhs—these are a few of the common words and images that come to the mind of most Westerners when they look at Muslims. But did you ever wonder, “What does God see when He looks at Muslim people?”

In many cases, God sees hungry hearts that are bound by the fear of evil spirits and haunted by the uncertainty of eternity. God sees a growing swell of young people in third-world poverty, frustrated by unemployment, and hatefully resentful of the luxuries of the extravagant West.

He sees men groping for meaning and direction in a dark existence. He sees women aching for some measure of self-worth in the eyes of both community and heaven. God sees worried fathers struggling to maintain a respectable livelihood and fearful mothers struggling to arrange the next meal.

God sees countless Muslims in a sea of hopelessness and trapped by a fatalistic worldview that offers no way of escape from the miseries of life. He sees millions of innocent Muslims victimized by the whims of politics and the excessive demands of the radical few. God sees lost souls that are either depraved by the onslaught of evil or deceived by a religious righteousness that eclipses the righteousness in Christ.

Surely God hears the cry of desperation of Muslim souls. But for centuries, with few exceptions, the Church ignored the spiritual plight of Muslims. It was far more expedient to write them off as cursed of God, impossible to reach, and unworthy of Christian sweat and tears.

Acclaimed historians insisted there was no need to be concerned about Islam. They said it was a barbaric and rigid religion that was born in the desert and that would die in the desert. They assured the Christian world that in time, Islam would simply fade away in the glory and splendor of Western civilization.

But the night of ignorance has passed and we have woken up to the reality that Islam is now the fastest growing religion in many parts of the world and embraces a global community of 1.2 billion people. We have recently been shaken out of our disillusionment to realize that Islam is here to stay, and that it is a dynamic force that must be reckoned with.

In a spirit of repentance for both ignoring and hating Muslim people, the Church has resolved to break down the walls of antipathy and invite the Holy Spirit to transform Christian attitudes and inspire Christian outreach. In the last 20 years, evangelical Christians have promoted prayer emphasis for unreached people groups around the world—animists, Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims. In miraculous fashion, God has honored those prayers. Christians around the world are now beginning to see Muslim people in the light of the love of God. And in that light comes a compelling urgency to share the gospel message to the uttermost parts of the world, including those regions where countless Muslim towns and villages have yet to receive an adequate witness of Christ.

As never before, Muslims begin to share dreams and visions of Jesus, healings and supernatural miracles that have opened their hearts to the biblical message of God’s love in Christ. As a result of economic turmoil, natural disasters, sociopolitical upheavals, and technological advancements, Muslim people all over the world have become dissatisfied, restless, and inquisitive. This is an era of openness unlike any other in the past, and the opportunities for Christian witnesses abound.

Not only is God opening up new fields of opportunity, He is also raising up laborers to reap the harvest. But laborers need to be trained. With the help of the Holy Spirit, this is where the cosponsored AGTS-CMM courses on Islam come in. We recognize from experience that with a passion for souls, there must also be a passion for relevancy. For the message to be viable, it must relate to the felt needs of Muslim people in a language and manner they can understand. We must embrace the servanthood of Christ and provide the message in a way that is both meaningful and relevant. That means that we are going to have to strive to understand Muslim people, along with their worldview and culture. With God’s help, these courses on Islam will address these vital issues. The hearts of many Muslim people remain miserable and empty. We want to see that void filled with the beauty of Christ.

Updated: Thursday, August 7, 2003 2:28 PM

 

 
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