“The Other Iranian Revolution”

That’s the title of an article in Christianity Today in which Matthias Pankau and Uwe Siemon-Netto report on an encouraging phenomenon among Moslems in Germany and, by implication, throughout the House of Islam. The title is an exaggeration, but the phenomenon to which it refers is worth knowing.

To quote from the article:

Some German clerics speak of a divinely scripted drama that includes countless reports of Muslims having visions of Jesus. According to Martens and others interviewed for this article, most of these appearances follow a pattern reported by converts throughout the Islamic world [emphasis added]: Muslims see a figure of light, sometimes bearing the features of Christ, sometimes not. But they instantly know who he is. He always makes it clear that he is Jesus of the Bible, not Isa of the Qur’an, and he directs them to specific pastors, priests, congregations, or house churches, where they later hear the gospel.

Thomas Schirrmacher, chair of the Theological Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance, comments on this pattern: “God sticks to the Reformation doctrine that faith comes by receiving the Word through Scripture and preaching. In these dreams, Jesus never engages in hocus-pocus, but sends these people to where the Word is faithfully proclaimed.” This is why Martens says he cannot dismiss such narratives: “As a confessional Lutheran, I am not given to Schwärmerei,” he says, using Luther’s derogatory term for religious enthusiasm. “But these reports of visions sound very convincing.”

I have for many years been hearing vague reports coming from American evangelicals of a mass phenomenon of Moslems in Islamic nations seeing Jesus Christ in dreams and consequently coming to faith in Christ. But it was all too vague: Having a vision or dream of a being calling himself “Jesus” is not enough for salvation. Salvation requires repentance from sins and true faith in Christ, and faith requires knowledge of Jesus and his teachings.

But this account has the ring of authenticity: Notice that the “figure of light” makes it clear that He is not Isa of the Koran, but the real Jesus of the Bible. And, best of all, He directs those whom He visits to specific persons and places where they can hear the real gospel, and be saved.

Another part of the article shows, as if further proof were needed, the wickedness of the liberal authorities:

Actual numbers are hard to determine because of the theologically liberal leadership of the regional Protestant bodies linked to the state. Their leaders tend to steer clear of mission, says Schirrmacher: “They worry that it might interfere with their interfaith dialogues.” Götz agrees: “I suspect that this is why the parish pastor around here, a woman, has never visited our congregation.”

Albrecht Hauser, a former missionary and retired dean of the Lutheran Church of Württemberg, adds, “We are aware of faithful Catholic priests doing likewise.” But, observes Schirrmacher, “The Catholics are just as hesitant to release statistics. They don’t want to jeopardize interfaith dialogues.”

I’ll tell you what real “interfaith dialogue” is: Christians preach the gospel, and some of the hearers come to faith in Christ.

Moslem conversions to Christianity apparently outnumber conversions the other way:

However, the number of baptisms of Persians and, to a lesser degree, other Muslims in Germany outweighs the conversion of Christians to Islam. “According to a report by the central archive of Germany’s Islamic organizations in Soest, approximately 500 Germans became Muslims in 2010,” says Schirrmacher. “Yet those were either German girls marrying Muslim immigrants or nominal ex-Christians hoping for good business opportunities in other Islamic countries. The conversion of Persians is of a totally different quality, usually following long instruction in the Christian faith.”

And traditionalists, take heart: former Moslems love catechism and liturgy:

In Gottfried Martens’s congregation, for instance, the catechumens from the Middle East spend four or more months studying the Bible, the church creeds, Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, the significance of the liturgy, and the hymns. “They are very attracted by the liturgy, which was absent in their previous faith,” Martens explains.

The article also nicely summarizes the fundamental difference between Islam and Christianity:

Martens, Venske, and Götz follow similar curricula; like Kahla, they carefully explain to converts the difference between the Allah of Islam and the God of Christianity. “Islam is like a rope ladder on which people try to reach God,” Kahla likes to say. “They manage to climb a few rungs, but with each sin, fall off the ladder and must start all over again. Christians, by contrast, need no ladder because Jesus comes down to earth for them. Christians have salvation. Muslims don’t

The article also puts a thumb in the eye of arrogant secularists:

Why is it that, of the 4 million Muslims living in Germany, Iranians are the most likely to turn to Christianity? The ministers interviewed attribute this fact in part to their high level of education. [Emphasis added.] They say that most of the Iranian refugees are businesspeople, physicians, scientists, engineers, lawyers, economists, teachers, and other professionals or students. In coming to Germany, they followed a centuries-old pattern of cultured Persians in a country where German-Persian professional organizations have existed since the 19th century.

“Iran is suffering from a big brain drain as a result of its fanatical religious policies,” observes Schirrmacher. Hans-Jürgen Kutzner, who ministers to 1,000 Persians on behalf of the state-related United Evangelical-Lutheran Churches in Germany, agrees: “As far as the university-educated elite in Iran is concerned, Islam has lost all moral integrity, especially among the young.”

The highly-intelligent are more likely to come to Christ? But of course!

On the one hand, we must not make too much with this. Islam remains a mortal threat to Europe, which is foolishly allowing millions of potential colonists into its heartland. But the fact remains: God is reaching people, even Moslems, with the soul-saving gospel of Jesus Christ.

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12 thoughts on ““The Other Iranian Revolution”

  1. The title is an exaggeration, but the phenomenon to which it refers is worth knowing.

    Exaggeration or not, the leaders/rulers of the Religion of Pieces seem to believe-and-fear its truth.

    Consider — Raymond Ibraham, writing on NRO in 2008, Islam’s ‘Public Enemy #1′ — “… The result? Mass conversions to Christianity — if clandestine ones. The very public conversion of high-profile Italian journalist Magdi Allam — who was baptized by Pope Benedict in Rome on Saturday — is only the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, Islamic cleric Ahmad al-Qatani stated on al-Jazeera TV a while back that some six million Muslims convert to Christianity annually, many of them persuaded by Botros’s public ministry. …”

    Regardless of the truth of the numbers expressed, if an Islamic cleric is willing to publicly state that every year six million Moslems convert to Christianity, the odds are that he *really* believes that the number is much higher than that.

  2. I have for many years been hearing vague reports coming from American evangelicals of a mass phenomenon of Moslems in Islamic nations seeing Jesus Christ in dreams and consequently coming to faith in Christ. But it was all too vague …

    But this account has the ring of authenticity: Notice that …

    Ah, but the reports I had read were of just the sort with that “ring of authenticity”.

  3. “The highly-intelligent are more likely to come to Christ? But of course!”

    It would be theologically disturbing if true.

    Intelligence is a Divine Gift. One who has this gift is Rich and if that rich man fails to acknowledge the gift then salvation is hard for him.

    While, the non-intelligent are poor in this respect and thus are espcially blessed.

    • My comment was partly [remember, partly] tongue in cheek: The secularists say that one must be stupid do believe in Christ, but here we see, in this population at least, the more intelligent coming to faith.

  4. There is also nothing wrong in the word ‘Isa’- it is correct and standard Arabic, Persian and Hindustani rendering of Yeshuwa of Hebrew. All the world languages do not call Him Jesus.
    In Hindustani, the Christians are called Isai too from Isa.

    • In this context, “Isa” is not just a word. It primarily stands for the false Islamic concept of Jesus: not God the Son, not crucified for our sins, not resurrected for our justification. This is the “Isa” who He is not.

    • Of course it is cause for celebration. Whenever a person is brought to repentance for his sins and faith in Christ, he is saved, and the angels rejoice.

      And the movement from contemporary Catholicism to modernism is also easy.

      • And the movement from contemporary Catholicism to modernism is also easy.

        And, considering that most Catholics who think themselves intellectuals promote some variant of leftism, the movement from “contemporary Catholicism” to full-bore leftism would seem to be especially easy.

        Whenever a person is brought to repentance for his sins and faith in Christ, he is saved, and the angels rejoice.

        Indeed.

        While I believe that Catholicism is mistaken, and even out-right wrong, about many important things, I will join the angels in rejoicing if a man converts from his God-hatred (even) to Catholicism.

    • I think what Iacobus says is worth considering. Could the impetus for what is mentioned in the article be a weakness of these people’s Islam more than anything else? Many elements of the religion are quite anti-modern, and Muslims who are unable to resolve their religion with beliefs that they have internalized could find Protestanism attractive. I think it would be interesting to see how many of these people subsequently dropped religion completely.

      Being a Muslim I obviously do not see this in a positive light and my natural reaction is skepticism. There is a lot of beauty and truth in Christianity, but I don’t see anything that would be attractive to a believing Muslim (especially Sunni). Liturgy is one of these admirable things, but I think it is made up for with the Salah (the mandatory congregational prayer).

      I don’t want to be excessively inquisitional simply because of my own affiliation but I think it’s worth taking the implication considered in the article (that this is a trend in Islam rather than amongst certain westernized demographics) with a generous helping of salt.

  5. “And, considering that most Catholics who think themselves intellectuals promote some variant of leftism, the movement from “contemporary Catholicism” to full-bore leftism would seem to be especially easy.”

    At least they are more honest than Protestants who insist that the liberalism of 200 hundred years ago is in essence conservatism.

    • Please bear in mind that at least some Protestants, mainly the confessional ones that Professor Roebuck referred to elsewhere on the Orthosphere, reject liberalism. J Gresham Machen, founder of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, wrote a book called Christianity and Liberalism in which he explicated the error of the liberal movement within Presbyterianism, showing how liberalism is, for all intents and purposes, a non-Christian religion.

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