Revival Comes to the Muslim World
By Chris Mitchell
CBN News Mideast Bureau Chief
February 6, 2009
CBNNews.com - IRAQ - Some call it a revolution in the Middle East but it's not the result of political movement. Muslims are coming to faith in Jesus Christ in large numbers.
A worship service in northern Iraq is one example of the biblical revolution going on throughout the Middle East. The body of believers live in the predominately Kurdish area of Iraq that some refer to as Iraqi Kurdistan.
Because of their culture and upbringing, they're often referred to as Muslim background believers.
A Biblical Revolution
"The Bible makes us feel like the Book of Acts will be repeated here in Kurdistan," said one Kurdish pastor.
In Erbil, the government officially sanctioned the Kurdsman Church in 2004. This church represents an historic breakthrough in church history. It's the first Kurdish church in 1400 years.
"So this is the first time for the Kurdish people that they have a church. Sometimes when the non-believers come to the church, they see that we are singing and shouting, teaching in the Kurdish language, they will be surprised," said Pastor Majeed Muhammed, the church's pastor.In another church in Suleimania, an entire group of worshippers is made up of former Muslims including their pastor, Pastor Zagros Saeed, who is a former Muslim cleric.
"I was one of those before I came to believe the message that I should kill the others. Sometimes I wanted to kill my wife because she did not cover her hair. But when I found my life in Jesus, when I surrendered my life to God, Matthew 5 tells me to love my enemies," Saeed said.
Others throughout the region have also been transformed.
"I'm very happy that Jesus came and knocked on the door of my heart and that I got to know the real God in a real way of life," said one convert.
Another convert said, "Before becoming a believer I always felt there was something missing in my life, as if I had lost something. That feeling was constantly with me. Now that I'm a believer that feeling is gone. I know that I have found what was missing in my life."
Huge Potential for Growth
Tom Doyle works with Muslims throughout the Middle East and says the church's potential for growth is amazing.
"In Syria and in Jordan and Iraq and Afghanistan great things are happening and many Muslims are open to the Lord Jesus Christ right now," Doyle said.
"Just in the four countries we work in, we're projecting one hundred new churches just in Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt," he explained. "In Iran, the ministries that are working together are projecting 10,000 churches in Iran next year. That's how fast they're opening up to the Gospel." Turkey
Turkey is another Middle Eastern country where more Muslims are coming to faith in Jesus.
One Turkish believer told CBN News many Muslims come to church after seeing a vision or having a dream: "The people saw a vision about Jesus, even if they not read the Bible, even if they don't know anything about the New Testament or about the church, they just see Jesus in their dream."
Pastor Saeed had two dreams, one in 1988 and the other in 1999.
"I saw Jesus another time in my dream in 1999," he recalled. "He didn't leave me alone. He came to me again. He said I love you and I want you to be saved."
Join the Spiritual Revolution
So how can believers around the world join in this spiritual revolution? Leaders here say the answer is prayer.
Doyle explained, "The most important thing the leadership tells us here in the Middle East - and we shouldn't be surprised at this - is that as the prayer teams grow around the world for them that the work just takes off."
"So the more that people pray for God's Spirit to rest on these young men and women to share the Gospel," he continued, "the more He just furthers the Kingdom of God."
And the message coming from these believers is the 2,000 year old message of the Gospel.
"I want to tell the world, accept the love of God. It will be today or in the future, they have to kneel to God. It's better to do it right now."