When Abraham's 'Other' Descendants Come to Christ

Although it takes a back seat to rumors of war, a tsunami of faith is quietly overtaking the Muslim world. Islamic adherents are laying aside their allegiance to Muhammad to follow Jesus Christ, despite the social ostracism, persecution and possible martyrdom that converts to Christianity face. Propelled by dreams, visions and miracles, this wave of revival is bringing vast numbers of Muslims—some say millions—into God's kingdom.

Middle East expert Joel Rosenberg believes more Muslims have come to faith in Christ in the last 30 years than at any time in history. "The vast majority of those conversions have happened since 9/11," he notes. He relates some of their stories in his book, Inside the Revolution.

A few examples of this flock of converts:

--During an Easter service at Vatican City in 2007, Pope Benedict XVI baptized Magdi Allam—Italy's most prominent Muslim commentator—with six other people.

--A year later, ex-Sunni Muslim Emir Caner was elected president of Truett-McConnell College, which is affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention. Caner converted as a teenager in 1982.

--The same week of Caner's appointment, Mosab Hassan Yousef--son of an influential Hamas leader in the Palestinian West Bank of Israel--publicly embraced Christianity four years after his salvation. He now attends an evangelical church in San Diego.

One missionary to Iran, who asked to remain anonymous, says a "tremendous" number of Muslims there are seeing that "Islam as a religion has failed them personally, economically, spiritually and socially."

The Middle East director of an independent missions agency, whose name is anonymous for safety reasons, says his group planted 127 churches last year in the region, a significant upswing since the start of the decade. He says the news from the Middle East is awakening Christians in the West and showing them that, despite headline-grabbing terrorists, all is not lost.

"We've seen 1,000 Muslims come to Christ this year in Syria alone," he says. "All the partner ministries we work with say this is the new revival."

However, California pastor Hormoz Shariat, whose International Antioch Ministries broadcasts by satellite to the Middle East and Europe, cautions against fixing specific numbers to salvations because Iranian churches shy away from publicizing conversion counts. "It provokes the government [and] hurts the church in Iran," Shariat says. "But our network is growing fast. Every day we have stories of dreams and visions and miracles."

Al Janssen, communications director of Open Doors International, also discovered that dreams and visions of Christ were the starting points of the spiritual journeys of dozens of Muslim-background believers in the Middle East whom he interviewed for his 2007 book, Secret Believers. Then, after coming to Christ, they would become creative evangelists, he says.

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