Millions of people think Jesus was a Muslim and billions think...
God is answering the prayers of many, as a growing number of Muslims are choosing to follow Jesus Christ, says Interserve's Eddie Foulkes
More Muslims are changing allegiance to Jesus than at any time in church history. This phenomenon, as previously reported in Premier Christianity magazine, has gone hand-in-hand with an unprecedented global movement of Christians praying with love for Muslims during their fasting month of Ramadan (which begins in the UK this Sunday evening).
Amazingly, God is answering these prayers as Muslim people continue to choose Christ in growing numbers across the world. Churches across Britain are welcoming in new believers from Muslim backgrounds.
Reverend Canon Phil Rawlings says a young Muslim recently walked into the city's cathedral and asked how he could become a Christian. He adds, "That same weekend a Saudi woman walked into a local church asking the same, and a young Somali lad who had befriended a Christian, was so impressed with him that he asked the same question".
Rev Phil, who is director of the Manchester Centre for the Study of Christianity and Islam, reports: “Since then I’ve come across a number of similar situations across the city, indeed across the country. It got me thinking, “How well prepared is the church for the harvest that God is bringing? For what may be a trickle at the moment, God willing will become a stream, then a river and even a flood.”
It is one thing for a Muslim to begin the journey of faith in Christ, but another to keep pressing on in this journey, year after lonely year. If they are rejected by their birth community without really finding a new community in Christ, they are left isolated and vulnerable. They need Christ’s followers to be new ‘family’ to them.
Hannah Shah, who is a Christian believer from a Muslim background and author of The Imam's Daughter has issued a powerful plea asking us, the Church, the family of God, to open our minds to understand and open our hearts to care for believers from Muslim backgrounds. “We need family, friends, community, we need relationships with God and humans," she says.
"We made a decision sometimes without realising how it would change our lives and what we were risking. We didn’t realise it could affect every part of our lives. And you the family of God we joined didn’t realise either, some of you weren’t ready for a convert from Islam."
“God was and continues to be our hope and reason for living. Who Jesus is and what Jesus did is the reason we keep believing, but you also all have a part to play. We need you to support us, to be our family, to love and accept us and help us to make a new life. We are all part of the family of God! And what a family that is!”
Dr Tim Green, who co-authored the Joining The Family course, which equips churches to be family to believers from Muslim backgrounds argues British churches "desperately need" what he calls "new infusions of spiritual energy and theological insight" that can come from Christians of other backgrounds.
"Already half the regular Christian worshippers in London are non-white. Already Iranian ex-Muslims are among the largest ethnic minorities in the Church of England, and already they are producing ordained ministers."
Dr Green adds that the example of his friend Rev Mohammad in Liverpool proves that 'Rev' and 'Mohammad' really can go together!
“Already Iranians and Afghans are being baptised in large numbers in Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia. Already in France North African believers of Muslim background in their thousands are strengthening the churches and its leadership. Already in the United States evangelists like the late Nabeel Qureshi have made a big impact for Christ. It’s happening already. Christians of Muslim background are contributing fresh life to our churches. And it’s just the start.”
Above all, what excites us is this: in our day, for the first time in history, believers of Muslim background are becoming a significant stream in the world Christian movement! But in a generation’s time, will the stream still be growing stronger? Will today’s believers be multiplying the message through their Muslim friends and families? And will each one of us, today, play our small part in this vision? Will we love, encourage and equip that precious believer of Muslim background whom Jesus has entrusted to us?
Eddie Foulkes is resource coordinator at Interserve.
Click here to obtain your copy of 30 days of prayer for the Muslim world
Joining The Family enables churches to be places of welcome for believers of Muslim backgrounds through providing resources, training and support to church leaders and those who disciple believers of Muslim backgrounds in the West. For more information visit joiningthefamily.org
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