Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Islam's Public enemy #1

Here is a great article on a Coptic priest who is fluent in the bible and the koran. He is getting HUGE viewership on arabic television and is being used as a tool to bring people to Christ. We, as a church, need to be praying for this man and others like him.

Muslim conversions

Joel Rosenberg, author of EPICENTER, gives and update on the very large number of muslims who are coming to Christ through dreams and visions. It seems that since The Church hasn't done a great job of fufilling The Great Commission, Christ is actually doing it Himself and appearing to thousands of muslims. Most have never read a bible. Read more below:

(Washington, D.C., March 24, 2008) -- "I will build my church," Jesus said, "and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18) The lead story on Drudge over the weekend was the Pope baptizing a prominent Egyptian author who converted from Islam to Catholicism, and for good reason. It's a huge story in Italy and the Muslim world, especially coming as it did the week that Osama bin Laden accused the Pope of waging a "crusade" against Islam. But this particular baptism is just the tip of the iceberg. Despite unprecedented press coverage of Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Middle East since September 11, 2001, one big story is generally not being told by the mainstream media. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims are converting to evangelical Christianity and will be celebrating their first Easter this year, even amidst widespread persecution and the very real threat of death. I first began reporting this story in 2005 after interviewing some three dozen Arab and Iranian pastors and evangelical Christian leaders in the U.S. and the Middle East. Over the last three years, however, I have had the privilege of traveling to Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, the West Bank, Turkey, and Morocco. What's more, I have had the honor of meeting with and interviewing more than 200 Arab, Iranian, Kurdish, Sudanese and other pastors and Christian leaders. With more data, the trend lines are becoming even more clear and the story is even more exciting. The God of the Bible is moving powerfully in the Middle East to draw men, women and children to His heart and adopt them into His family in record numbers. More Muslims have come to faith in Jesus Christ over the last thirty years -- and specifically over the last seven to ten years -- than at any other time in human history. There is a revival going on among the ancient Catholic, Coptic, and Chaldean churches. Today, the Church is being truly resurrected in the lands of its birth. Consider the latest evidence: * AFGHANISTAN -- In Afghanistan, for example, there were only 17 known evangelical Christians in the country before al-Qaeda attacked the United States. Today, there are well over 10,000 Afghan followers of Christ and the number is growing steadily. Church leaders say Afghan Muslims are open to hearing the gospel message like never before. Dozens of baptisms occur every week. People are snatching up Bibles and other Christian books as fast as they can be printed or brought into the country. The Jesus film, a two hour docudrama on the life of Christ based on the Gospel of Luke, was even shown on television in one city before police shut down the entire TV station."God is moving so fast in Afghanistan, we're just trying to keep up," one Afghan Christian worker told me, requesting anonymity. "The greatest need now is leadership development. We need to train pastors to care for all these new believers." * UZBEKISTAN -- There were no known Muslim converts to Christ there in 1990. Now there are more than 30,000. * IRAQ -- As I shared on Fox & Friends on Easter morning, in Iraq, there were only a handful of Muslim converts to Christianity back in 1979 when Saddam Hussein took full control of that country. Yet today, there are more than 70,000 Iraqi Muslim background believers in Jesus (MBBs), approximately 50,000 who came to Christ as refugees in Jordan after the first Gulf War in 1990-91, and another 20,000 who have come to Christ since the fall of Saddam Hussein. John Moser, the executive director of The Joshua Fund, and I just returned from nine days traveling through five provinces in Iraq. We met with 19 Iraqi evangelical Christian leaders. I had the privilege of preaching in a church of more than 100 MBBs from Baghdad -- a church that didn't even exist in 2002 before liberation. We also had the privilege of meeting and interviewing numerous former Islamic jihadist terrorist who have come to Christ and are now pastors and church planters. * KAZAKHSTAN -- In Kazakhstan, there were only three known evangelical Christian believers before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Today there are more than 15,000 Kazakh Christians, and more than 100,000 Christians of all ethnicities. * EGYPT -- More than 1 million Egyptians have trusted Christ over the past decade or so, report Egyptian church leaders. The Egyptian Bible Society told me they used to sell about 3,000 copies of the Jesus film a year in the early 1990s. But in 2005 they sold 600,000 copies, plus 750,000 copies of the Bible on tape (in Arabic) and about a half million copies of the Arabic New Testament. "Egyptians are increasingly hungry for God's Word," an Egyptian Christian leader told me. Last Christmas, I had the privilege of visiting the largest Christian congregation in the Middle East, which meets in an enormous cave on the outskirts of Cairo. Some 10,000 believers worship there every weekend. A prayer conference the church held in May 2005 drew some 20,000 believers. * IRAN -- In 1979 when the Ayatollah Khomeini led the Islamic Revolution, there were only about 500 known Muslim converts to Christianity. Today, interviews with two dozen Iranian pastors and church leaders reveals that there are well over 1 million Shia Muslim converts to Christianity. * SUDAN -- Despite a ferocious civil war, genocide and widespread religious persecution, particularly in the Darfur region -- or perhaps because of such tragedies -- church leaders there tell me that more than 1 million Sudanese have made decisions to follow Jesus Christ just since 2001. Since the early 1990s, more than 5 million Sudanese have become followers of Jesus. Seminary classes to train desperately-needed new pastors are held mountain caves. Hundreds of churches have been planted, and thousands of small group Bible studies are being held in secret throughout the country. In December 2001, Sheikh Ahmad al Qataani, a leading Saudi cleric, appeared on a live interview on Aljazeera satellite television to confirm that, sure enough, Muslims were turning to Jesus in alarming numbers. "In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity," Al Qataani warned. "Every day, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity." Stunned, the interviewer interrupted the cleric. "Hold on! Let me clarify. Do we have six million converting from Islam to Christianity?" Al Qataani repeated his assertion. "Every year," the cleric confirmed, adding, "a tragedy has happened." One of the most dramatic developments is that many Muslims throughout the Middle East and even in the United States are seeing dreams and visions of Jesus. They are coming into churches explaining that they have already converted and now need a Bible and guidance on how to follow Jesus. This is in fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. The Hebrew Prophet Joel told us that "in the last days, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days....And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved." (Joel 2:28-32) In Epicenter: Why The Current Rumblings In the Middle East Will Change Your Future, I devoted an entire chapter to these dramatic trend lines and why Muslims are converting in record numbers. I am currently working on a new non-fiction book and documentary film called Inside The Revolution, to be release during Easter 2009, with much more detail on this subject, including first person accounts of former Muslim terrorists who have become the new Apostle Pauls of our time -- murderous religious zealots who had visions of Jesus Christ and are now pastors, evangelists, church planters and powerful Christian leaders. Other books I would highly recommend on this subject are Light Force: A Stirring Account of the Church Caught in the Middle East Crossfire by Brother Andrew and Al Janssen; and Secret Believers: What Happens When Muslims Believe In Christ. Is life easy for these Muslim converts? By no means. They face ostracism from their families. They face persecution from their communities. They face being fired by their employers. They face imprisonment by their governments. They face torture and even death at the hands of Muslim extremists. But they are coming to Christ anyway. They are becoming convinced that Jesus is, in fact, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that no one comes to the Father in heaven except through faith in Jesus' death on the cross and powerful resurrection from the dead. One of the reasons my wife and I began The Joshua Fund was to educate the Church around the world at what God of the Bible is doing in the epicenter. We want to mobilize a global movement of Christians praying for these dear brothers and sisters. We want to find ways to encourage and strengthen them. We want to provide them with Bibles and Christian literature, and with humanitarian relief supplies so they can love their neighbors and their enemies, as Jesus tells us to do. Their stories are typically being told by the mainstream media, but they are important stories nonetheless. Theirs are testimonies of the greatness of our great God.

Muslim population

If you are interested in a good book, pick up AMERICA ALONE by Mark Steyn. One of the points he makes is that the Islamic population is soon going to be the majority in many european countries. This is not because the religion is so popular, but simply the result of demographics. Native europeans are having less than two children per couple...which means they are headed for extinction. Muslim couples are having five children per couple. The simple math shows that they soon will be a majority in France, Spain, Great Britain and other western civilizations. America will be alone because we brought in latino workers for our labor jobs while Europe brought in Muslims from northern Africa and the middle east. When they do have a majority in these democratic countries, they will be able to vote in politicians, judges, and school board members and could very easily turn the entire society over to something that is drastically different than what we currently see. Chuck Missler has some comments about this here;

For the first time in history Muslims outnumber Catholics, according to statistics released by the Vatican. Muslims have overtaken Roman Catholics as the single largest religious group, in part because of high birth rates. Islam is the world's fastest growing religion, and it is second in size only to Christianity. According to the Vatican, Muslims make up about 19 percent of the world's population. Catholics make up about 17 percent. While the total of all Christian groups, including Catholics, Protestants, Anglicans, and Orthodox churches, make up 33 percent of the world's population - or about 2 billion people.Muslim populations are growing in Europe, Russia, South America and elsewhere throughout the world. High birth rates among Muslims, increased immigration, and new converts to Islam are all factors that some experts believe could radically transform the Western World.Nowhere is this perhaps more true than in Europe, where Islam is quickly becoming a significant part of the cultural and political landscape. There are between 9 and 15 million Muslims living throughout Europe today, and Islam has become the largest religious minority. Considering current population trends and the need for immigrant labor it is likely that the number of Muslims in Europe will continue to grow exponentially. The Muslim birth rate in Europe is three times higher than the non-Muslim one. If current trends continue, the Muslim population of Europe will nearly double by 2015, while the non-Muslim population will shrink by 3.5 percent. Bernard Lewis, a former history professor at Princeton and the respected author of more than a dozen books on the Middle East, is quoted as saying that "Europe will be Islamic by the end of the century."Meanwhile, church attendance has been falling all across Western Europe. In Great Britain, for example, only 6.3 percent of the population attends Christian services on a weekly basis. The group also projects that around 4,000 churches will close over the next 15 years. However while church attendance is on the decline, religious participation among Muslims has increased dramatically. According to the study, even though Muslims only comprise around three percent of the British population, in 35 years there will be twice as many Muslims in mosques on Friday as there are Christians in churches on Sunday. This trend can be seen throughout Europe. In France there are now more than 4,000 mosques, and new mosques and Muslim prayer centers have been popping up at an alarming rate. Meanwhile, it has been projected that Muslims will be the majority population in Germany by 2046.The Muslim population in Russia is also growing by leaps and bounds. Rising immigration and low birthrates among ethnic Russians have contributed to this trend. Russia's Muslim population has increased by 40 percent since 1989, to about 25 million. By 2015, Muslims will make up a majority of Russia's conscript army, and by 2020 they will constitute one-fifth of the population. Fifteen years ago, Russia had about 300 mosques, today there are approximately 8,000. Experts say that if current trends continue, nearly one third of Russia's population will be Muslim by the mid-century.A study conducted last year by the Population Research Institute examined birth rates around the globe and concluded that the Western world is facing a crisis. Virtually every Western nation has birth rates well below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman. The study also revealed that, for the most part, only Muslims have high birth rates. A spokesman for the organization said that if this trend continues "Muslims are going to inherit the Earth."

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Peace for Gaza?

The idea of peace between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza, which is currently run by Hamas, seems so far from reality that it almost borders on the absurd. Also, it seems fairly obvious that, unless Jesus intervenes directly, another generation of "death-lovers" are going to come of age in the Palestinian territory. Most of us American children grew up watching Romper Room. It was a fun show for pre-schoolers that introduced us to reading and writing and music. The Palestinian pre-schoolers are being taught about killing, death, revenge, and suicide bombing. In a broadcast yesterday, the Palestinian children were "entertained" with a puppet show that depicted the stabbing to death of President Bush and the promise to turn the White House into an Islamic mosque. You can read the article here;

Or you can watch the clip from MEMRI here;

And at this very time we have Washington diplomats, at the order of Pres. Bush, who are pressuring Israel to give these people their own state. Yet Hamas won't stop lobbing missiles into Israel for one single day. Truly, there will never be peace in Palestine until the one and only Prince of Peace shows up on the scene.

Monday, March 31, 2008


The situation in Iraq has been very difficult for the American people. Should we be there? Can we ever really "win"? What would victory really look like? Can we afford to be there? All of these questions, and more, are really dividing Americans as we head into the election year. There has been a lot of bad news from Iraq and there has been a lot of good news. It seems it depends on what day you look at. Personally I believe that Iraq will ultimately settle down and will be a beach-head of democracy in the Muslim-middle east. Why do I believe it...because the bible has a lot to say about Babylon (which is in Iraq) rising to the forefront of world affairs in the "last days". Below, I have attached some comments from Bud McFarland that I recently recieved. You might recognize his name as he was President Reagan's national security advisor.

Voices From Iraq
By ROBERT MCFARLANEMarch 26, 2008; Page A14
Ten days ago in Cairo, I participated in the fourth gathering of senior Iraqi religious leaders in a process designed to nurture political reconciliation, the missing element required for there to be any hope of a stable future for Iraq. This process was established by the Anglican priest Andrew White a little over a year ago.
Prior to last week's sessions the co-chairs of the process -- Sunni Sheikh Dr. Abdul Latif Humayeem (former personal Imam to Saddam Hussein), and Shiite Ayatollah Sayed Ammar Abou Ragheef (Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani's chief of staff) -- had been meeting every two weeks in an effort to define how best to bring the two major religious communities closer together. These meetings were profoundly important in producing the gains that did occur last week.
The meeting was notable because of the standing and influence of the participants, and because of the profound change in their apparent commitment to accelerating the pace of reconciliation among the religious communities.
In particular, I was very encouraged that Moqtada al-Sadr, Shiite leader of the Mahdi Army, chose to send an emissary. The active participation of his designee, Sheikh Salah al Obaidi, offers hope that the Sadrists may be considering participation in Iraq's political process and turning away from the violence to achieve their aims.
I was also immensely encouraged by the substance of what was actually said by the Sunni and Shiite leaders at this gathering. The evident change in tone, the absence of complaints about each other, and the acceptance of responsibility for shaping their country's future, were the first instances of realism and responsibility that I have witnessed. That tone is perhaps best captured by a simple excerpt from my notes taken at the meetings:
- Ayatollah Sayed Ammar Abou Ragheef (Shiite): "Today in Iraq we [religious leaders] are facing an ethical crisis, a human crisis called sectarianism that is responsible for profound inequity, injustice and suffering. Some say that it is the occupation that causes sectarianism, some say that the secular system we have lived under worked. But the truth is that factionalism has its origins in the Second Caliphate.
"It was then that the schism was created that endures to this day. Baghdad was partitioned by the Abbasids and division has been nurtured by Iraqis since that time. And the truth is that this schism was not nurtured by our ancestors on theological grounds; they advocated sectarianism as a culture.
"The only way that we will overcome this history is to move from sectarianism to the rule of law. Realistically there is little prospect of our being able to enact a just framework of law until we -- we clerics -- establish a climate of mutual trust and respect between our two communities. In my judgment, the only way we can establish such a climate is by creating a series of concrete, confidence-building projects in which Sunnis and Shiites work together to improve the welfare of both communities."
- Sheikh Dr. Abdul Latif Humayeem (Sunni): "We brought this [sectarian] crisis on ourselves. This shared cult of sectarianism bobby-traps our society. Throughout history we have nurtured factionalism -- first through differing interpretations of the Quran, then by making these differences sacred and inviolate. Then comes fanaticism and blind, unreasoned violence. It is urgent that we, the leaders of Iraq's religious communities, lead a move away from this depraved culture of sectarianism toward a culture of unity as an Iraqi nation."
- Sheikh Salah al Obeidi (Sadrist): "For the occupation to end we must stop sectarian violence. When the central government encourages sectarianism, it makes it more difficult to overcome. Further, for religious leaders to justify their position on the basis of having the exclusive support of God makes it harder still. Instead we must focus our attention on creating a basis for confidence among brothers of all sects.
"In order to rebuild the country, we must start with security -- an end to violence. We must also have a trained national army and police force. And this can only happen after we -- Sunnis and Shiites -- enter a genuine rapprochement."
The importance of the foregoing rhetoric lies in the power and standing of those involved. These are three of the most important political figures in Iraq today. Their edicts and counsel go out to millions of Iraqis every Friday at the mosques, and to members of the national government and parliament throughout the week. In short, if there is to be reconciliation in Iraq it must be led by these men. In the foregoing statements they are acknowledging that it is their responsibility to lead this process. The Maliki government has not done it, and in any event cannot do it alone. Neither can the paralyzed parliament. But clearly the most authoritative word in Iraq comes from its most respected institution, religion.
This is a very promising process and one deserving of our prayers -- especially at this special time of year for all religions.Mr. McFarlane was President Reagan's national security adviser.