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Sabtu, 28 November 2009

Is the Gospel on Fire in the Muslim World?

A number of news sites -- including faithtelegraph.com -- there are more and more headlines touting "revival" in the Middle East. Surprised by the word "revival"? Perhaps you aren't aware that, yes, there are in fact Christian churches in the Middle East that exist and can be "revived" by a move of God. Indeed, in Erbil, a "Kurdsman Church" was officially recognized by the government. This was apparently a "historic breakthrough." Moreover, some missionaries are projecting 10,000 churches in Iran next year!

As often seems to be the case when there is a new move of God in a new part of the world, signs and wonders abound. Muslims turning to Christ report having dreams in which "Jesus" appeared to them. Does that seem far fetched? Consider the Apostle Paul, who came to Christ through a vision (of sorts) or the Emperor Constantine who saw a cross before him, resulting in the transformation of the Roman Empire into a Christian nation. God is not above (or below) using dreams and visions to reach unbelievers in extreme (or even nonextreme) circumstances.

Whatever the case may be, the transformations are apparently stunning. Former Muslims have contrasted their previous desire to kill for their faith with the incredible love they now have through Christ. One man even recalls wanting to kill his wife because she did not cover her hair! (Tough marriage.)

So what, if anything, has changed? There have obviously been big political changes in the Middle East in recent year (e.g., the Iraq War). Those closest to the events in question, however, attribute this phenomon to, interestingly, prayer. Who'd have thought?

To take just one example of a Christian church on fire in the Muslim World, consider Dubai. Yes, Dubai, home of some of the world's most luxurious hotels and tallest buildings, is also the home of the biggest Christian church.

More than 75% of the Country is Muslim, and Islam is the official religion. In addition, it is illegal to share the gospel with Muslims. Moreover, printing the Bible or other evangelistic materials is not permitted, and there are harsh penalties for converting people from Islam.

Still, relative to other Muslim countires, Dubai is remarkably tolerant of the Christian Church. Like everything else in Dubai, Kings Revival Church is huge: 7,000 members, 24 pastors and 14 services, including 4 in English. It probably comes as no surprise that King's Revival is the largest evangelical church in the Middle East.

The church apparently does not balk at the restrictions on sharing the gospel, taking the attitude of being open to whatever God has for them in the circumstances they are in. And God reportedly has a lot for them: There are reports of remarkable miracles -- cancers being cured, the blind seeing. And the church supports charity and 170 pastors in the Middle East and throughout Asia. It seems likely that Kings Revival and other local churches in the Arab world are responsible for increasing reports of "revival."

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