All things working together for good!
Romans 8:28 says, ‘And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose.’
Statistics show that, over the past 30-40 years, more Muslims have converted to Christianity than during the entire 14 centuries since Islam’s advance from western Arabia!
There is an important and decisive reason behind the growing numbers of Muslim converts — many more Muslims are exposed to the gospel and other ideas than ever before.
Winds of change
Radio has been the initial factor behind this phenomenal numerical growth of converts. In more recent years, radio outreach has been strongly augmented by other means of communication. Internet-based services and cell phone text-messaging are leading the way.
Several decades of oil wealth has dramatically transformed the Middle East, and especially the Arabian Peninsula. High levels of education, travel and the latest technology have brought the wide world to the doorstep of insular Muslim societies where it is impossible to meet a Christian or to buy a Bible.
Large families mean a youthful majority, largely unemployed, with time to surf the internet, listen to the radio and talk about new ideas. Over the last few years, Arabic web sites operated by Muslims who have turned agnostic or atheist have become popular.
They vehemently challenge the authenticity of the Koran and speak disparagingly of the life of Mohammed and Islamic versions of history. They call for freedom to express their views in local media and educational institutions.
Most are based in non-Islamic nations, such as Russia and France. Some, however, are based in Algeria, Tunisia and Syria.
Research confirms that a growing number of Muslims, especially among the educated and youth, are open to considering other beliefs. Few dare openly reject Islamic beliefs and practices, especially in places with death threats for defectors.
Large numbers, however, identify with a modernised Islam and question the relevancy of traditional Islamic beliefs. These reject most of Sharia law, especially regarding dress codes, women’s rights, marriage, divorce and inheritance.
Advocates of Islamic modernity are numerous in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Iran. In Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, it is life-threatening to question classic Islam. There, the women’s rights movement seems to be the leading force for change.
All in all, there is a growing quest for freedom of belief, thought and expression. For example, despite the fact that the Arabic Bible web site is blocked in Saudi Arabia, the highest number of downloads are from that country!
This means many Saudi Arabians are so desirous to read the forbidden Scriptures that they will pay the extra cost of a long distance phone connection to establish accounts outside their own country, bypassing the restriction.
Interestingly, it is Christ’s life and teachings which Muslims and agnostic former Muslims find most appealing. This so obviously contrasts to Mohammed’s lifestyle and Koranic teachings.
A Yemeni believer shared how his journey to faith in Christ started with doubting Islamic claims. This led him to embrace atheistic Communism. He says, ‘It was a Wednesday evening radio broadcast which forced me, three years ago, to search for and read the Christian gospel. I was struck by the refined and most unusual teachings of Issa [Jesus]’.
Just a few weeks ago, a Kuwaiti sent this Arabic text message in response to gospel broadcasts: ‘In God’s name, I want to tell you that I love you for all that you share with us!’
A young Saudi Arabian couple became Christians a few years ago. They first heard the gospel over the airwaves and now have fellowship with a small group of other Saudi believers.
Like other believers in the Arabian Gulf states and in countries like Yemen, Iran, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, they quietly point their friends and relatives to our Arabic and Farsi ministry web sites.
The husband recently shared exciting news with us. His sister and her husband have joined their small discipleship Bible study group. But that’s not all. His brother-in-law’s brother is also coming along with his wife!
Such events are multiplying, and it is heartwarming that converts reach out with wisdom and zeal to see their loved ones following the Lord Jesus. Yes, there is saving power in the gospel.
The source of that power is the almighty and omnipotent triune God of the Bible. His plan is focused on glorifying his Son and working out ‘all things’ for the good of his people.