Is “Je suis Charlie” enough?

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Over the holidays, I studied an intriguing book: A Wind in the House of Islam by David Garrison.

Through more than 1,000 interviews with Christians who were formerly Muslims, the author investigates how they came to faith in Jesus. He focuses on “people movements,” i.e. when at least 1,000 former Muslims are baptized and/or 100 new churches are planted within a community. He identifies 82 of these movements since the 19th century. (Interestingly, 69 of these 82 movements took place within the last 14 years.)

Through his extensive research he identifies ten “bridges” which help Muslims trust Jesus as their Saviour. Some seem unsurprising such as prayer, faithful Christian witness from others, modern means of communication, etc. Other “bridges” seem less obvious: Holy Spirit activity, having a Bible in the local language, Discovery Bible studies, Islam itself, local translations of the Koran, the life of Mohammed, Islamic oppression and indigenisation.

Garrison also identifies five hindrances for Muslims’ acceptance of Christ. These include social injustices, “Islamisation” of Christianity (where Christians deal with Muslims in the same way as Mohammed dealt with unbelievers), hate and indifference. While reports of Islam-based terrorist acts bombard us in the news today, we need to be aware that God is also at work in many Muslim communities. Insider followers of Jesus (that is, Muslim teachers and former Muslims) are leading whole groups of their followers to Christ himself (not to Christianity) in a way that allows them to remain in their local culture. In this way, they can have continued contact with people within their own communities and the opportunity to point them to the true God and the sole mediator for mankind—Jesus Christ. Just as Jesus Himself would do.

We too, are called to be His witnesses in the same loving way to those around us.