Christian Inroad into Moslem Nations

Part 2


Dr. John Hoole – May 31, 2015



Matthew 13:24-25 NKJV


24     Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field;

25     but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.


With what is happening around our globe, have you ever said, “It seems as if the ‘tares’ sown in the Master field are taking over.”  Yet there is a God in heaven who still cares about us, still sits on His throne, and still has a plan.


Last week, we began looking at what God is doing inside countries where Islam is the main religion.  Miraculous movements are sweeping through the Muslim world today.  The Spirit of God is moving in powerful ways.  As a result, hundreds  of thousands – even millions – of Muslims have turned to Christ.  Not only nominal Muslims that don’t participate in the rituals of Islam, but also Imams and Sheikhs who are steeped in Islam theology.  They are finding answers to their questions that have never been answered by their leaders.


Last week, I told you about an Assemblies of God missionary who’s home base is Istanbul, Turkey.  Dr. Braddy arranged to meet with him during one of our trips to Turkey.  This missionary has traveled through many of the countries in the Middle East.  He told us that Iranians are more open to the message of Christ than Americans.  He added that “the Iranians have seen what it is to live under Islamic radicalism, and the people have found it wanting.”


On a different trip, this time in the country of Jordan, we met with 2 Assemblies of God ladies at our hotel in the capital city of Amman.  They also have trekked into many of these countries and have seen what God is doing.


More and more Muslims are discovering that the violence evinced by some of their coreligionists is not an aberration but is inspired by the teachings of the Quran and some Imams.  Muslims are becoming disillusioned with Islam.  They find out that the mechanistic ritual of praying five times per day, reciting verses that they do not understand and indeed mean nothing and are increasingly used as instruments to control their minds.  They are starting to question the validity of the Quran.


As you will hear, in the next couple of week, this is not only happening in Iran, but throughout the Islamic world, and their clerics are bothered about what is happening.  Jesus is, these days, introducing Himself to Muslims.  The phenomenon is not limited to a few isolated locations.  It is not happening in just one or two African or Middle East nations.  There is not just one of several hundred people groups affected by this move.  He’s not simply visiting some lucky town.  Jesus is presenting Himself to Muslims everywhere.  Dozens of Islamic countries and countless Muslim cultures have been invaded by Jesus’ love.


3 Methods of Evangelism


There are three methods of evangelism taking place in Moslem countries.


                   •  Radio and Satellite TV


                   •  Personal Witnessing on the Ground


                   •  Dreams and Visions


The Air War


Radio is one powerful weapon in the evangelical air war.  Trans World Radio, for example broadcasts biblical programming in Arabic for 28 hours each week.  And they are targeting their signal to the Middle East and North Africa.  TWR receives, on average, 200,000 letters each year from listeners, seeking answers, requesting Arabic Bibles, requesting Bible correspondence courses, and sharing their stories of how they came to faith by listening to their radio.  Other radio ministries have had similar results.


Today, satellite television has become another breakthrough strategy to advance the gospel in the Muslim world.  You have probably never heard of Zakaria Botros.  But you need to know his story.  In 1989, he had been sent to prison for life.  With many people praying, authorities gave him an offer he could not refuse.  They would set him free, but he would have to leave Egypt and never return.  He agreed and moved to Melbourne, Australia, then to England in 1992.


He may not be in Egypt, but his message certainly is.  He is by far and away the most watched and most effective Arab evangelist operating in the Muslim world.  He is feisty, brilliant, opinionated, and provocative.  And his enemies simply want to silence him.  An Arabic newspaper has named Botros “Islam’s Public Enemy #1.”  An Al Qaeda web site has posted his photograph, and named him one of the “most wanted” infidels in the world.  The Islamic radicals have put a bounty on his head - $60 million.  Let me just put that in context.  The U.S. bounty on Osama bin Laden’s head was $25 million.


Why are the radicals so enraged by this Coptic pastor from Egypt who is now in his eighties?  Botros is waging an air war against them, and he is winning.  Using state-of-the-art technology to bypass the efforts to keep the gospel out, Botros is directly challenging the claims of Muhammad to be a prophet.  He challenges the claims of the Qur’an being the word of God.  He systematically deconstructs the Qur’an, verse by verse, citing contradictions and inconsistencies.  Then he goes on to teach from the Bible why Jesus loves Muslims, and why He is so ready to forgive them and adopt them into His family.


His 90-minute program is seen by an estimated 50 million Muslims every day.  And he is getting millions of hits on his multiple Web sites in multiple languages.  Though Botros is at an undisclosed location, part of his program is a live chat with those who call in either to challenge him or to inquire how to become a Christian.  And the more attention the Islamic clerics give him, the more people are aware of him.  Many Muslims may hate him, but for sure, they are watching.


Botros may be the most watch and best known evangelist to the Muslims, but he is by no means the only one.  At this time, there are no fewer than sixteen different Christian television channels operating on “Hot Bird” satellites run by European telecommunication company Eutelsat.


Hormoz Shariat is Iranian, and every night in prime time, he  broadcasts by satellite a live program in which he shares the gospel in his native Farsi.  Shariat draws an enormous audience in Iran – some 7 to 9 million every night.  He also is a pastor of a fast-growing congregation of former Iranian Muslims outside Iran.


What is interesting is that Shariat did not grow up hoping to be an evangelist.  He and his wife were Islamic activist to depose the Shah in 1979 and take over the U.S. embassy.  Sixty-six American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days (November 4, 1979, to January 21, 1981), after a group of Iranian students, belonging to the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's Line, who were supporting the Iranian Revolution, took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.


He didn’t want death to America too quickly, because He want to attend graduate school in the States.  But God was orchestrating their lives.  His wife was asked by an American friend to attend an evangelical church.  Something happened inside her.  She suddenly knew that Jesus was, in fact, the Messiah and only way of salvation.  She accepted Christ and encouraged her husband to attend church with her.  Before long, he too became a believer. They began experiencing true joy and peace they had not had in Islam.  Today, they are part of the evangelical air war into Iran.


In Iran, satellite TV is still technically illegal, but no one seems to care.  Millions of dishes can be seen throughout big cities like Tehran as well as small villages and mountain hamlets.  Right now, there are more satellite broadcasting penetrating Iran than any other country in the world.


One Iranian Christian who was a convert from Islam – Reza Safa, has an Oklahoma based organization that ministers to Iranians Muslims.  He pastors Fishermen’s House Church in Tulsa.  God called him to begin a TV broadcast into Iran.


On March 16, 2003, this ministry aired its first Christian satellite program  into Iran.  They piggy-back on the TBN network, broadcasting into Iran in the Farsi language.  On that Sunday morning, pastor Safa received a call at his desk as he was preparing to start the morning service in Tulsa.  The call was from an individual in Iran who had seen Safa’s program, Day of Salvation, which in Arabic is Ros e Nejat.  The man on the phone wanted to become a Christian.  And before long another call came in from someone else wanting to get saved.  And this continued all day long, people calling to make Jesus Lord of their lives. 


Calls and e-mails came in all that week from Iranians who were more than ready to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  They would get calls from Farsi-speaking people in Iran, Afghanistan, and in many other places.


•  Mohammad, who called and told a Nejat TV prayer partner that he and his family of 7 came to faith in Christ.


•  Ali, who was a drug addict for 12 years, before watching Nejat TV and giving his life to Christ.  Ali touched the TV set and the Lord instantly delivered him from his drug addiction.


•  Fatemeh, who accepted the Lord through Nejat TV immediately began telling family members about her newfound faith  So far 20 of them have come to Jesus Christ.


Recently, they received a call from a suicide bomber in Iran who was a member of a brigade of suicide bombers.  They had been organized and sponsored by the Iranian government.  According to the information they received from this caller, there are 10 thousand members of this organization who have signed their death warrant.  The caller said his mission was already scheduled to be in Iraq.  His targets”  American troops.


The caller said he kept watching  Nejat TV broadcasts.  One day he was so overwhelmed and convicted that he fell prostrate before the TV weeping and praying the prayer of salvation.  He then decided to abandon his mission.  Nejat TV is one of many satellite TV networks beaming into the country of Iran


Since 2006, Mohabat TV has been beaming Christian programs via satellite to the Middle East.  The broadcast even received parts of southern Asia, although their main focus is Iran.  Many of the viewers that call in claim that Islam has not delivered to their expectations.  So when they turn the channel on and see Mohabat TV, they hear a new message of Jesus, of forgiveness of love , of acceptance.


Nazanin Baghestani manages the phone call center operations.  He said, “Persians are really thirsty for the truth.  They want to know who is this God that we talk about, who is this Jesus?  Is He real or is He just a prophet?”  They take an average between 8,000 and 10,000 calls each month from Iran.  To answer all the calls, they have deployed Farsi-speaking Christian counselors in different time zones around the world.


Many other satellite TV programs are penetrating Iran – from the United States, UK and Australia.  Today there are no fewer than 16 different Christian television channels operating on the “Hot Bird” satellites, which is run by the European telecommunications company Eutelsat.  And they are broadcast in Arabic, Farsi, Turkish and other regional languages and dialects.


Not long ago, SAT-7 was broadcasting the JESUS film.  An elderly woman in Iran was watching in the Farsi language in the privacy of her apartment.


She had always been fascinated with the person of Jesus Christ, but knew little about Him.  She did not have a Bible.  And she did not know any Christians.  She had never been to church.  On that night, she wasn’t seeking out a film about Jesus.  She stumbled onto it while flipping through the channels of her satellite receiver.


As the story unfolds, she begins to respond to the love of Christ.  She was intrigued by His teachings, amazed by His compassion and miracle, and moved by His love and forgiveness even for His enemies, even for those who had condemned Him to death and nailed Him to the cross.  When she saw the depiction of Jesus rising from the dead, she found herself in tears.


At the end of the film, the narrator explained how a viewer could pray to become a follower of Christ.  In doing so, he read Revelation 3:20, in which Jesus says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.


Because she was totally unaware that Jesus was speaking metaphorically, saying that if a person opens their door and welcomes Him in, the woman thought, “I guess I had better open the door.”  So she got up from her chair, walked over to the front door of her apartment, and opened it.  She was suddenly blinded by a bolt of light emanating from a figure in the doorway.


“Who is it?” she asked.  “It is I,” Jesus said.  “Come in, my Lord,” she said, and Jesus entered her home.  For the next few minutes, Jesus spoke to her about Himself, told her He loved her and had forgiven her, and told her to get a Bible and begin reading it.  And then, as suddenly as He had appeared, He was gone.  The woman, startled but excited, looked back at the television screen and noticed there was a phone number she could call for more information.  She picked up the phone and dialed it immediately.  The call was routed from Iran to an overseas number through a secure system, that terminated at a secret call center.


“I just saw Jesus,” the elderly woman told a counselor who answered the phone.  “That’s great,” the counselor replied.  “Isn’t it a wonderful film?”  “No, no, you don’t understand, I just saw Jesus in person, in my home.  He appeared to me and told me I am now His follower.  Can you help me get a Bible and understand what I should do next?


We have looked at the Air War in some detail.  Now let’s investigate what is happening on the ground, within the borders of countries that are predominantly Muslim.


Ground War


While satellite TV may be the most efficient manner to evangelize the greatest number, any air war always needs to have boots on the ground.  We cannot underestimate the importance of personal evangelism.  Hope of transforming the Muslim world is not in technology but in human beings who have been revived.  Those spiritually transformed by faith in Jesus Christ and filled with the Power of the Holy Spirit are needed to disciple new converts.  The key is the personal touch.  Long-lasting change requires personal contact by believers showing the love of Christ.  There needs to be people on the ground who are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.


However, the method used on the ground is vastly different from the air.  While those on the air waves can deconstruct Islamic doctrine, those on the ground have to be more subtle.  They usually don’t challenge Islam, but rather show the love of Jesus Christ and how He loves all and is willing to forgive all who come to Him.




One Iranian Muslim woman was barren for many years.  Praying to Allah in the mosque was not working.  Knowing several Moslem converts to Christ, she asked them to pray for her to be healed.  They agreed and began reading her passages from the Bible  They specifically shared with her James 5:14-16, which says:


“Is anyone among you sick?  Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.  The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.


Then the believers prayed for the Muslim woman and anointed her with oil.  Soon she was pregnant, and she secretly prayed with her friends to become a follower of Christ.  She had a baby boy and named him Shah – the Persian word for “king,” saying “Jesus is the King. He healed me and gave me a son as a miracle.”


In Iran, another Iranian Christian said, “you don’t go after people with the gospel.  They are coming to you to ask you about the Lord.  One man, who happens to be a pastor gave this illustration.


He said, “I went to the doctor’s office because I was feeling very ill.  I asked the receptionist if I could see the doctor right away, but she was a veiled woman and a fanatical Muslim.  She had no intention of making life easier for an “infidel,” and she told me I would have to wait for two hours. He smiled and said ‘You will regret that,’ to the woman, but he sat down with other patients.  A few moments later the doctor walked by to pick up a file.  “Hello, Reverend,” he said to me.  I greeted him back.  Then everyone in the waiting room asked me, ‘Are you really a reverend?’  I said I was.  ‘How can I know Jesus?’ they asked.  I told them and five Muslims prayed with me in the waiting room to receive Christ as their Savior.  ‘See how you will regret making me wait?’ he tells the receptionist with a smile.’  She has never made me wait again.”


You quickly see that Jesus’ strategy of “love your neighbors” and “love your enemies” is the key to winning the hearts and minds of the Muslim people.  And, in this regards, Christians have this strategy all to themselves.  No one else in the Islamic world is teaching people to show love, mercy and compassion to those who hate them and want to destroy them.  No one in the Islamic world is offering forgiveness to those who have committed acts of evil against Islam.  Only the true followers of Jesus are doing these things.  And that is because only those who have been born again and truly transformed have the capacity to love their enemies this way.


A lone trucker drove his vehicle into a remote forest near the Turkmenistan border in northern Iran.  He wasn’t making a delivery or stopping to take a nap.  He was planning to commit suicide.  By accident he knocked a dashboard switch and the truck’s radio crackled to life.  A Christian broadcaster was talking about the gospel in the Farsi language.  Tears began to flow down his cheeks, and this driver surrendered to Christ.


Here is another story of the work of God.  More than 100 people were taking part in a chat room on the internet.  One person asked, “Is anyone interested to know why Jesus is God?  The comment was met with some derision, until someone asked why the question had been posted.  “Because Jesus has changed my life,” came the answer.


The two web surfers kept in touch.  Two weeks later they met at a park in Tehran.  The inquirer turned out to be an Islamic scholar, seeking to know Christ.  You can take all sorts of people from all walks of life – from prostitute to truck driver to university lecturers, and you find that God is touching them.


With what is happening in Iran, many missions strategists believe the church in Iran could hold the key to gospel breakthroughs in neighboring Muslim nations, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Turkey.  What God is doing could make Iran a pivotal role in the establishment of God’s kingdom in the Middle East.


Many church leaders in Iran say they are looking toward the new era described in Jeremiah 49:39, which says, “Yet I will restore the fortunes of Elam (Iran) in days to come,” declares the Lord.  But this movement of people from Islam to Christianity is not only happening in Iran.  It is happening throughout Dar al-Islam – the “House of Islam,” as Muslims call their world.  And, by the way, this includes Muslims in the United States turning to Christ.


Dr. Nabeel Qureshi, a former Muslim who now works with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries said during his college years he diligently studied both Islam and Christianity in an attempt to discern which was true, and three dreams helped to push him toward Jesus.  “Still,” he adds, “my Christian friends played a crucial role in my conversion.”  If God gets someone’s attention through a dream or vision, it does not in any way diminish the responsibility of believers to communicate the Gospel.


Pastor Matt Beemer from World Harvest Bible Church in Manchester, England, tells of an Iranian conversions.  The name is not given for security reasons.


Mr. CMr. C is a thirty-year-old man from south of Iran who was totally against God.  A Persian member of the Church tried several times to witness to him and his friend.  One day he phoned the man who attended the Church and said, “Can you come to my home?  I need to tell you something good that happened to me.”


The church member thought, “Probably his visa had been approved by the home office or something similar.” But he decided to go and find out.  When he arrived at Mr. C’s house, the normally disgruntled man welcomed him cordially.  He began to apologize to him, “I am sorry for all the things that I have said against you and God.,”


He had become a changed person.  He actually looked very peaceful.  The Christian man wanted to know why he had changed.  Mr. C responded by telling him that he had seen Jesus in his dream the previous night.  “Jesus is real and very kind,” he said.


In Mr. C’s dream, Jesus knocked on his door.  When he opened the door, Jesus stood at the door and called him by his name and told him, “Follow Me.”  And in the dream, Jesus had taken him to World Harvest Bible Church where the other fellow attended.


He said Jesus took him to Pastor Matt Breemer’s office, put his hand into the pastor’s hand, and said to him, “Listen and follow Pastor Matt, and you will be fine.”  That day he became a born-again Christian.  God changed him from a Muslim-turned-atheist to a believer in Christ.  Yes, this man had a vision of Christ, but it all began by the Christian on the ground.


Dr. Tom Doyle, in his book, “Dreams and Visions (Is Jesus awakening the Muslim world?)” relates part of a ministry in the life of a man in Afghanistan, named Josh.  This American man was working for an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization), and was helping Afghan people with his trade in humanitarian aid.  But Josh was also a missionary.


One afternoon, in a small town where he worked, some distance from the capital city of Kabul, he was walking through the town marketplace.  He enjoyed working in this not so bustling of a town, that is, until that day he saw a young hansom Afghan man staring at him.  “Oh, not again,” Josh murmured to himself.  He turned his back to the man ogling him from across the marketplace.  He thought, “Why is homosexuality so rampant in Afghanistan?  And why is it that Americans are so often a target?”  From his few years in the country, Josh had received a revolting number of “offers.”  He thought, “Those smiles make me sick to my stomach.”  The man watched his target turn away and he quickly stepped into the crowd after Josh.


The man sidled up to the American missionary and said, “Excuse me, sir, but I need to be alone with you.”  “What?” Josh wheeled in the direction of the voice he knew – and feared – was speaking to him.  “I mean, I need to visit with you right now.  Will you come to my home with me?”


Josh hesitated as he decided how to answer.  This was more blatant than usual.  “I’m not sure that is a good idea,” he said.  The man glanced at the ground, aware that his approach was awkward for this man he wanted to meet.  “It is very important.”  He looked at Josh, hoping his eyes would convey the innocence of his intentions.  “My name is Halik.  I believe you have something to tell me.  I know that God sent you.”


“God? Josh had not expected to hear that word from this man.  “God sent me?”  “Yes!  Please; I will tell you about it at my home.  My wife and children will be there, too, and they also want to meet you.”  Josh wasn’t absolutely sure if this was not a smokescreen for darker purposes, but he was beginning to trust the man who called himself Halik.  He said a quick prayer for discernment about the nature of this particular offer and decided to pay the Afghan family a visit.


Halik surprised Josh by hailing a taxi.  He had thought they would be walking.  Ten minutes later, they stepped onto a dust covered apartment floor that served as a conference table for Josh’s meeting with Halik, his wife, and three young children.


Halik’s wife, Lena, served tea, then Halik opened the discussion, “Why are you in our country?”  Surprised again, the question worried Josh in yet another way.  Could this man be a spy for the local imams.


Josh thought carefully how to respond, “I’m just trying to help people in time of war.”  “I know it is hard to live here, and I hope to bring some light to a dark situation.”  Halik’s eyes didn’t budge from Josh’s.  “No, What are you really doing here?”  Somewhat startled by the intensity of Halik’s retort, Josh blurted a question back: “Why does it matter to you what I am doing here.”


Halik’s face softened.  “Because you have been in my dreams for the last seven night in a row.”  When I saw you come into the market, that’s why I could not take my eyes off you.  A man named Jesus told me last night that you have a message for me.  He told me that my wife and children should hear what you have to say as well.  Now his eyes and words pleaded together, “Sir!  What is this message you have from Jesus?”


Josh’s afternoon tea with Halik’s family grew into a 3-day retreat.  Just before dinner on the first day, Josh texted his wife, Sunny, to assure her that he had not been kidnapped by the Taliban.  Halik had shared every detail of the dream to his wife and children.  They all wondered what the visits could mean.


The fact that Halik could not read well enough to understand the Qur’an on his own simplified Josh’s task in providing answers.  Halik’s knowledge of Islam was derived only from the little he had learned from their imam.  Leena’s intensity matched her husband’s.  Once when Josh asked if she had questions of her own, she chattered for an hours, detailing her reflections on Halik’s experiences.  After another hour of thoughts and question, Josh noticed that all three children still sat silently, drinking in every word.


And Josh knew these people wer3e on their way to becoming a family in love with Jesus.  Halik and Leena accepted Christ into their lives, and with Josh and Sunny as mentors, grew quickly into their community’s strongest believers.  They now lead a house church and as many as twenty people cram into their apartment for the late-night services.


Yes, we need the efficiency of the Air War to invade Muslim countries.  But we also need men and women on the ground.  One of the greatest impacts for Christianity is when people see the change in a person they know.  Those who are part of the Ground War are God’s special forces, who live in service for Jesus Christ in the midst of great persecution.  That is not only true in the Middle East, but right here at home.  You and I are God’s special forces.  What are we doing to enlarge the Kingdom of God


Stories like these are happening in all quarters of the Muslim world, not just a few, but thousands.  We will address the third method of evangelizing Muslims – The Spirit War [dreams and visions] – in our next lesson.