Message of the Month

The Manifest Power of God!

Approximately three-fourths of the Muslim world (800 million persons) is Folk Muslims. They are doctrinally Muslims, but animist in practice. (Animism is the belief that things in nature, e.g. trees, mountains, and the sky, have souls or consciousness and that supernatural spirits control life and must be appeased in various ways.) Folk Muslims confess Allah, but worship spirits. They believe they are at the mercy spirits, demons, evil eye curses and sorcery. They are more preoccupied with magic than they are Muhammad.

It is my opinion that any attempt to deal with the religion of Islam must begin with the spiritual and supernatural and not just the theological and philosophical. There is no explanation for the spread of Islam apart from the Satanic, demonic dimensions. The religion Islam originated in the mind of a man named Muhammad, who appears to have been plagued by demons from very early in his life. He was initially convinced that the revelations he had received, and the physical manifestations that accompanied them, were from the Jinn, or demons.

Muhammad was about five years old when he suffered the first of the strange visitations which came to him at intervals throughout his life. The childhood demonic visions continued in the life of Muhammad right into his adult life. It was at this time that he refers to the visions as being “great” and upon which he would base many of his new doctrines and practices in the new religion that he was inventing. There was a problem, however. Muhammad was ILLITERATE. He could not read or write. But, conveniently, he had a vision in which he was supposedly given the supernatural ability to read.

As Muhammad told the story of his first great revelation, he was lying asleep or in a trance, wrapped in his cloak, when he heard a voice saying: “Read!” He answered: “I cannot read” The voice said again: “Read!” He answered: “I do not know how to read.” Once more, this time with terrible force, the voice said: “Read!” He answered: “What can I read?” The voice thundered: Read in the name of your Lord, the Creator, Who created man from a clot of blood! …” Muhammad looked intoxicated when he received revelations. He would fall to the ground foaming at the mouth, he would shake violently, and his face looked like a young camel.

A report by the Southern Baptist International Mission Board, titled The Bleeding Edge, details a global study on the nature of persecution and its implications for sending agencies and sending churches. Within the study, the researcher, Nik Ripkin, discovered that of the former Muslims who converted to Christianity that he interviewed, they mostly had three common features. "First, God moves into their lives through signs, miracles, dreams, visions and wonders." Further, the author related the story of one believer who had never met a Christian and had never known of the Bible, but he heard a "voice without a body" calling him to "find Jesus, find the gospel." The man was further led to a specific city where he was to ask for a man by name. "Being an oral person, in tune with the spirit world, he went. The Holy Spirit led him to the door of one of the few believers among the millions in his people group."

Of keynote to the statistics of individuals coming to Christ through dreams and visions is their willingness to first believe in the validity of these supernatural forces. Some individuals less apt to believe in the spiritual world might consider a dream in which Jesus speaks to them as a bad meal they ate the night before. Within much of popular Islam, however, communication from God through dreams and visions is somewhat anticipated and longed for. What is often not expected, however, is communication from the Son of God. Ripkin wrote, "These signs, miracles and wonders serve to send the recipient on a spiritual journey, often lasting three to seven years. Most Muslims experience the emptiness of Islam and they cease ritualistically praying in the mosque."

The spiritual journey, however, can be a confusing one for a Muslim who has lived their lives surrounded by supernatural phenomena that is clearly not from Christ but displays a sort of power nonetheless. To understand this reality better, a clearer understanding of the present importance of power encounters must be detailed.

Within folk, or popular, Islam in the present Islamic world, dreams and their interpretation are used for a number of reasons: communication with the dead, diagnosis of an illness, a call to a profession and communication with the saints, to name a few. The author of The Unseen Face of Islam related, "Certainly, ordinary Muslims perceive dreams and visions as highly significant forces. They function in a strongly motivating way in most Muslim cultures." In Afghan Turkestan, for example, the doctor will spend the night sleeping in the house of his patient and will base their diagnosis on the dream that they have while sleeping there.

The presence of evil spirits is as equal of a reality as that of good spirits within the Muslim worldview. A fear of those spirits is a natural consequence and a desire to appease follows this logic. "A vast range of `powers' both to bless and to harm, potentially affect the ordinary Muslim in the vagaries of human life among so many forms of 'being.'

It is not surprising, then, that God would use dreams and visions, such as were used to bring individuals to Himself in the Bible, to bring Muslims to himself today. Ripkin noted, however, that every "manipulation and false expression of the spirit world that existed in the New Testament, in opposition to the Holy Spirit, is found today. Such is the consistent nature of satanic activity where expressions of faith are grounded neither in the Bible nor in community. Fear of the false should not cause the surrender of the truth. "

Author Phil Parshall also noted that it is not "illegitimate in our day to encounter evil spirits in the name of Christ, to expect God to speak in dreams and visions, to communicate, educate, lead, ritualize, and otherwise structure Christianity in ways reminiscent of the Old Testament and the Gospels. For the Bible shows such means to be adequate as expressions of Divine-human interrelationships."

In the book, Daughters of Islam, we are given an example from the life of a woman named Simin. According to Miriam Adeney, author of the book, Simin had hungered for God even at an early age. She recalled that at the young age of four, she heard screaming from a neighbor. Upon investigation, she discovered that the screaming was coming from a woman who was washing her dead baby. Simin followed the woman, along with other individuals as they carried the baby away and buried it. Simin quickly returned to her home and began asking a series of questions of her grandmother, which were all met with answers that placed more fear than peace in Simin's heart. Later that evening, she fled from what she thought was demons coming to take her to hell. At the river's edge, she met a man who asked her why she was afraid. His reply to her fears was simply, "I am the one who decides who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. And you are going to be with me. "

It took several years before, as an adult, Simin accepted Christ as her savior, but the memory of that moment at the river was just a beginning for her pursuit of truth, and ultimately of God's pursuit of her. The power of the words of Christ in Simin's vision rang out over the power of the evils that attacked her throughout her life and sought to keep her from Him.

In many cases, the name of Christ can seem just another power rather than the power above all other powers. "It would seem that signs of the kingdom ought to lead people exalt the king. But usually, folk Muslims just want healing and do not care about its source. In other words, people seeking power do not necessarily seek the Savior."

It could easily be argued, as has been illustrated above, that people within the Islamic world have a worldview that is more readily willing to accept the validity of the supernatural, but because they "live in a world of magic and the supernatural, they are not necessarily awestruck by demonstrations of God's power. On the other hand, if we cannot demonstrate God's power, they are even less impressed. "

Sanji Adonga, an Every Home for Christ staff member, was passing out tracts in a sprawling North African city of a million. After knocking on a door, a Muslim in his 20's answered. Sanji gave him a gospel tract and told him what it was about. The man got really mad, tore up his tract, threw it in Sanji's face, and threatened to kill him if he ever saw him I the neighborhood again.

The next morning at daybreak, moments after Sanji awoke, someone knocked on his door. It was the same young man, who introduced himself as Abdulai Masa and announced that now he wanted another tract. "But how did you find my address?" Sanji asked. "Last night, a set of hands seized my shoulders and shook me awake violently. I swung my arms, but there was nothing to hit. I turned on the light, sat up shaking, and lit a cigarette. Then a strong voice filled the room. 'You have torn up the truth! The message you were given was God's truth that points to eternal life. It told of the only way to lasting peace and happiness, and you have torn it up!' Then the voice gave me your address and told me to come at sunrise."

Abdulai was born again, kicked out of his family, who then attempted to kill him for becoming an apostate from Islam. He took a six-month Bible course and is now a house-to-house evangelist with Every Home for Christ.

The church must repent of the lack of supernatural power and the operation of the gifts of the Spirit by her members and return to a Biblical supernaturalism that heals the sick, delivers the demonized and proclaims a God-centered, cross-shaped, kingdom-empowered, gospel that is followed by signs and wonders. When as and as she does, she will see the greatest opportunity in history to bring masses of radical Muslims to faith in Christ! We must begin to stop trembling in fear and start ministering in faith because we have eyes to see what the natural man cannot!

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