From Isa Masih - summer 1996 - Myths About Muslim Witness [pp6-7]
For many of us, the Muslim World is largely known only through media coverage of, for example, the Israeli-Pakistan conflicts, or the Gulf War. The call to the mosque, oil wealth or terrorism come to mind when we think of Islam. However, myths about Christian mission to the 1.1 billion Muslims distort the true picture.
Christian ministry may be difficult in the Gulf States but there is increasing openness in some nominally Islamic nations. Take, for example the new Central Asian Republics of the former Soviet Union.
In Tadjikistan, despite the continuing civil war, there is an exciting trickle of new believers. Uzbekistan is more stable, and although the Uzbeks see themselves as Muslim, they do not wish to be compared with the Iranians. There is a flow of new Christian believers. In Kazakhstan, hundreds are coming to faith. The need for discipleship for these young converts is enormous.
The Middle East does form the heartland of Islamic Fundamentalism but the majority of Muslims live in Asia.
In countries such as Bangladesh, known by some as ‘the soft underbelly of Islam’, increasing numbers of young people have been converting from Islam to Christ.
Many of the Muslim world’s future leaders are presently studying at universities in the West.
Despite the many restrictions there are at least four key ways in which the Gospel is being shared with Muslims from ‘closed’ countries.
Firstly, Muslims from every country in the world can now tune into Christian radio transmissions in their own language.
Secondly, many tentmakers, Christians who support themselves by practising their profession as did Paul (Acts 18:1-4), but whose prime purpose is mission, live and work in some of these nations.
Thirdly, many Muslims are international students in countries where the Gospel can be proclaimed freely. This leaves us with an awesome responsibility. A close reading of Acts shows that Timothy was almost unique in being converted at home.
Fourthly, Christian Arabs, who already possess the language and culture are growing in number and vitality. Egypt could well be the key to future Christian witness amongst Arab Muslims.
Finally, the internet, through discussion forums where Muslims and Christians from all over the world can interact, is an exciting new vehicle for reaching Muslim academics.
Let’s play our part: by praying, learning, giving and going.