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Joel Rosenberg-Muslims Trusting Jesus Christ

April 11, 2009

You can read more of this fascinating testimony from Joel Rosenberg at http://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com

After criss-crossing the Islamic world over the last several years and interviewing more than 150 pastors and ministry leaders operating deep inside the most difficult countries for Inside The Revolution, I can report that in Iran, more than 1 million Shia Muslims have turned to Christ since 1979. In Pakistan, there are now more than 2.5 million followers of Jesus Christ. In Sudan, there are now more than 5 million followers of Christ. Not every country has seen millions leave Islam to become adherents of the New Testament teachings of Jesus. In Syria, there are between 4,000 and 5,000 believers, but this is up from almost none in 1967. In Saudi Arabia, there are about 100,000 followers of Jesus now, up from almost none in 1967. But overall, the trend has been dramatic and largely unreported.

In 1993, a Saudi sheikh by the name of Salman Al-Odeh delivered a sermon entitled “Christian Missionaries Sweeping the Islamic World.” He argued that “in Spain [Christians] have the biggest center of missionaries to Africa. They are trained really well, and their efforts lead many Moroccans to convert.” He then cited the World Christian Encyclopedia—which he described as a “dangerous survey”—and warned his fellow Muslims that “the number of Christians in Africa was 9 million only in 1900 AD, or . . . 9 percent of the whole population. In the year 1980 they became 200 million! . . . They jumped from 9 to 200 million in 80 years [and the survey’s authors] expected them to reach 390 million in the year 2000, or 48 percent of the whole population of Africa.”

During a lull in the conversation with an Iraqi in the car whom I had known for several years, I asked the meek-looking and mild-mannered Pastor Shakir how he had become a Christ follower and a pastor.

“Were you raised in a Christian home?” I asked through our translator.

“No,” he replied quietly. “I was raised a Muslim.”

“Really!” I said, a bit startled. “What did you do before becoming a pastor?”

“I was a jihad cell commander.”

I gulped. You don’t say, I thought. He certainly had my full attention now. “Please, tell me your story,” I said eagerly, pulling out my notebook. Shakir graciously agreed.

He explained that he was born in 1975 to a devout Sunni Muslim family and that as he grew up he became deeply religious. Even at an early age, he loved going to the mosque regularly, and by the age of seventeen, he had joined a secret Radical Islamic movement. He studied hard and learned quickly, and before long he was teaching the Qur’an in various mosques.

“My leaders then sent me to a military training camp where I was trained to use light weapons—pistols, machine guns, and RPGs [rocket propelled grenades]—against the infidels,” he told me. “I was so excited because I wanted to do jihad for God. I was fully convinced that the Shias and the Christians were blasphemers and that if I killed them I would be blessed.”

After successfully completing “Terrorism 101,” Shakir was made a jihad cell commander and was ordered to quietly recruit other jihadists. “I soon had a group of my own followers,” he explained. “I would put them through this military training and then help them get jobs in different government offices and other shops and businesses so they could spy for me and be in position to do great damage when we launched the overthrow of Saddam and his regime.”

One day, one of Shakir’s Radical Muslim disciples came to him and said that someone was distributing Bibles to everyone in the machine shop where he worked. The disciple was very angry and told Shakir that he had cursed out everyone in the shop, collected all the Bibles, and promptly destroyed them. All but one.

“He brought one Bible—a New Testament—to me and said I should read it and see how to react to it and counter it,” Shakir explained. He said he praised his disciple for acting quickly and decisively. Then he sent the disciple away and took the Bible home, and that night he began to read the Gospel according to Matthew.

“I read the book very fervently to find all the blasphemies and corruption,” Shakir said. “But I discovered the words started affecting my mind, and my heart started changing. These were powerful words, not human words. They seemed to me like God’s words. But I thought, ‘How could this be?’”

Shakir became deeply troubled. He kept reading through Matthew but was ashamed of himself because rather than finding fault with these Christian Scriptures, he found himself completely intrigued. He had so many questions. But whom could he ask? He couldn’t very well start discussing the life and teachings of Jesus with the members of the terrorist cell group he was leading. He couldn’t very well ask questions of the terrorist leaders above him. He didn’t dare seek out any Christians. So night after night he kept reading the Gospels, searching for answers. The more he did, the more troubled and anxious he became.

“After reading the Bible in a deep way, I began comparing it with the Qur’an,” he told me. “I was so confused, and in my confusion, I began pleading with God, ‘Please show me Yourself.’ I begged God, ‘Please, show me the right way—is it the Qur’an or the Bible?’”

Go to the BLOG address above to read the rest.

PTL

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