Earlier this week Moslems around the world celebrated the feast of Eid al-Fitr, an important religious holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. During Ramadan, Moslems set aside time to seek their god by abstaining from earthly pleasures. Moslems pursue the cleansing of their souls through fasting from sunrise to sunset, and refrain from bad habits (I guess blowing up stuff and killing folks doesn’t count as bad habits for some). At the beginning of Ramadan, I wrote on these pages asking for prayer for Moslems around the world that God would move in the lives of millions of Moslems to introduce His Son, Jesus Christ, as their Lord and Savior. This Ramadan, the Moslem world is in great chaos. Christians are being driven from their homes and are being martyred daily throughout the Middle East and parts of Africa. Fighting between Islamists in Gaza and Israelis threatens to engulf that region in a larger and more dangerous war.
In addition to writing for Mere Comments, one of the great privileges in my life is to correspond with and disciple new Christian believers from around the world who were formerly Moslems. As I wrote on these pages at the beginning of Ramadan, today there are areas of the Moslem world that never had one church before, but now there are dozens that started in the past several years. Unbeknownst to most Christians, missiologists estimate that more Moslems have become Christ-followers in the recent past than in the previous 13 centuries. During this year’s Ramadan, I have exchanged email correspondence with numerous new Christians from the Moslem world. (Although I have changed the names to protect both their security and privacy, the cities and countries cited are correct.) Among the new Christians, there was Farhad and Daniyal from Teheran, Iran; Aahil from Islamabad, Pakistan; Aaban from Al Sulaymaniah, Iraq; Rehan from Rabat, Morocco; Rayyan from Shiraz, Iran; Usman, Bilal, and Zaroon from Dhaka, Bangladesh; Zeeshan from Qusantinah, Algeria (incidentally, the most beautiful city you have never heard of); Hamza from Kabul, Afghanistan; Arisha from Kuwait City, Kuwait; Imran from Tunis, Tunisia; Ali from Sanaa, Yemen; Shahzaib from Doha, Qatar; Ashaz from Khartoum, Sudan; and Ibrahim and Waqas from Jakarta, Indonesia. We can rejoice that God is pouring out His Holy Spirit throughout the Moslem world. As St. Paul taught us in his epistle to the Romans, where evil doth abound, grace even more doth abound.
One of my observations in corresponding with these new Christian believers is how much their hearts and minds parallel what St. Paul wrote about the Jews of his generation in Romans 10:2, “For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.” As we learn from 1 John 4:8, the God of the Holy Bible is love, an impossibility for Allah. In fact, among Allah’s 99 attributes, love is not one of them. The Koran never says that Allah loves all mankind, much less sinners. But the God of the Bible is loving and merciful, and ready to forgive anyone who will come humbly and in repentance to God through His Son, Jesus Christ. And Moslems are drawn by the love and forgiveness offered by Isa Ibn Maryam, the al-Masih (the Messiah).
We rejoice with the angels in Heaven over each lost sinner who comes to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. I urge you to please remember in prayer our new brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ from Moslem backgrounds. As one can expect, the formerly-Moslem Christian believers will be severely persecuted. But despite great persecution, imprisonment, and martyrdom, with many others losing their homes and loved ones, my prayer for them is that these new Christians will boldly serve our Lord Jesus without fear. They have truly counted the cost, and know the pearl of great price of their newfound faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless each of them richly.