I thought you might be ready for some encouraging words about Islam and its deadly branch, radical Islamism. So here it is:
The whole religion is heading toward collapse.
Actually, it’s crumbling already. Take, for example, two hardcore Muslim countries, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Since 1997, by our count, 522,000 Bangladeshi Muslims have turned to Isa, the No. 2 Islamic prophet we know as Jesus. This is often a difficult step to take in a highly repressive Muslim culture. Currently, about 10,000 a month in Bangladesh are becoming Christians. That doesn’t sound like a lot in a nation of 144 million, but it’s a rising number, multiplying geometrically.
Also: Just in the last year, 500,000 Pakistani Muslims have recognized Isa as Lord and become His followers. Some 240,000 of them made decisions for Him in only three days of a crusade in Lahore, the capital, in November. (In fact, the government agency that officially counts crowds stated that it wasn’t 240,000, but 300,000!) Again, half a million is not an impressive proportion of a nation of 162 million, but hey, that’s in just one year!
If you lack a reference point for these numbers, consider that until now, three or four Muslim converts a year was par for the course for most missionaries.
However, the Pakistan numbers aren’t coming from traditional “methods.” They’re coming from a mind-boggling array of supernatural healings. In the large meetings in November, quite a few blind people were healed, which impressed the Pakistanis immensely. Also, some wheelchair-bound people were abruptly freed. One woman had been in a wheelchair for 40 years, and the crowd was blown away when she suddenly stood up and ran back and forth across the stage, waving her hands and shouting in joy.
The mission leader told me that very few of the healings came as a result of anyone laying hands on people. In other words, God is doing this, we aren’t.
(If you wish to make a tax-deductible contribution to their future crusades, just write me at email@example.com.)
Guns and roses are just a stopgap
Even though this long-term trend is accelerating, we still have a pressing need for short-term relief from attacks by al-Qaida, Wahhabi/Saudi-financed terrorists, Abu Sayyaf guerrillas, Hamas suicide bombers, etc. So on the military front, we absolutely must hang tough in places like Iraq and Iran.
I’m also supportive of Condi Rice and our platoons of diplomats and operatives around the world, wobbly though they may be. Talk-talk is better than bang-bang any day. And way cheaper.
But I feel that in the long run, the spiritual salvation of large numbers of Muslims is our only hope. As one reader wrote me:
- Islamic peoples drove nearly all the Christians out of the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of Europe.
- Islamic peoples drove nearly all the Buddhists or Confucians out of Central Asia, back into China and Southeast Asia.
- Islamic peoples have sought to destroy Israel from the beginning. They have run the Christians out of Palestine, even those in Bethlehem.
- Islamic peoples are slaughtering the few remaining Christians in northern Africa, in Egypt and the Sudan.
- Islamic peoples are killing Catholic and/or Dutch Reformed Christians in Indonesia.
- Islamic peoples are killing Chaldean Christians in Iraq.
- Islamic peoples in Lebanon killed or drove off Lebanon’s Christians.
- Islamic peoples in the Caucasus Mountains are killing off Christians and atheists.
- Islamic peoples in southeastern Asia are killing Buddhists in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
- Islamic peoples in Nigeria are attempting to impose Sharia and kill Christians and tribals.
- Islamic peoples killed 3,000 people from many nations in New York City.
His list was longer than that, but you get the idea. The one-eighth of the Muslim world that accepts militant Islam must be stopped … and then changed to the depth of their hearts.
Neither guns nor roses can do that – they can change the behavior of the peaceful seven-eighths to a great extent, but that doesn’t get down to the root issue, which was prophesied so succinctly of Ishmael (“father of the Arabs”) 3,900 years ago:
He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.
– Genesis 16:12
Those words have proven true in spades, but they do not constitute an eternal destiny. As Christians, let us reach out to Islamists, returning love for hate, and reverse 1,400 years of history.