Even while the West turns its back on the faith, Christianity is growing by leaps and bounds.
A Washington Post article tells the story of a tiny Baptist church near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The congregation had dwindled to just fifteen members. With bills stacking up, Deacon Larry Montgomery told the congregation, “We’re just not going to make it.”
Montgomery then told the people of Scenic Drive Baptist that there was a congregation who might want to buy the church. This congregation had been meeting in homes and had a pastor whose business card quoted John 4:35: “Look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”
Montgomery approached the pastor, who then called his flock to pray about it. His prayer began “Abuna Semawi, nashkurak.” That’s Arabic for “Heavenly Father, we thank you.” The pastor, Egyptian-born Raouff Ghattas, a nuclear engineer by training, had attended a Southern Baptist seminary with a view to becoming a missionary. He and his American-born wife, Carol, share a mission: “Never rest until you tell every Arab about Jesus.”
For two decades they served in places like Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Tunisia. But when they returned to Carol’s hometown of Murfreesboro, they found that their mission field had come to them. The town even had a mosque.
So they went to work telling local Muslims about Jesus, and Scenic Drive Baptist Church became Arabic Baptist Church, a place where Arab Christians and non-Arab Christians can worship together.
In every sense that matters, Scenic Drive Baptist did “make it.” It just did so in a way that suited the moment we are living in.
Writing in the journal First Things, my friend and colleague Roberto Rivera summed up the growth of Christianity worldwide by citing C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia: Aslan is on the move. Here’s a statistic that will – or at least should – blow your mind: More than half of all Christians who have ever lived are alive today. The Gospel is being preached all over the world, and people are saying “yes.”
This includes the Islamic world.
In a recent Breakpoint broadcast, my colleague John Stonestreet spoke with David Garrison and Paul Filidis about the upcoming “30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World,” which starts on June 18.
Garrison traveled more 250,000 miles around the Islamic world chronicling what’s probably the most underreported important story of our time: waves of Muslims converting to Christianity.
His book, “A Wind in the House of Islam,” documented nearly 70 movements of Christianity in the Islamic world in the past two decades: movements being defined as “1,000 Muslims receiving Christian baptism, a public statement of their faith in Christ.”
In fact, Garrison estimates that these 70 “movements” represent more than 80 percent of all such movements in Islam’s 1,400-year history. As he put it, Muslims all over the world “are falling on their knees, finding in fact that this is the living God who has come into the world—God with us, God among us—who is bringing them salvation that they were never able to find” in Islam.
The 30 Days of Prayer, which coincides with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, is one way we can participate in this great work of God.
Until then, remember, Aslan is on the move.
— by Eric Metaxas
Metaxas is currently the voice of Breakpoint, a radio commentary (www.breakpoint.org). Copyright© 2015 Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with permission. BreakPoint is a ministry of Prison Fellowship Ministries.