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“ISLAM ON CAPITOL HILL” EVENT ATTRACTS FAR LESS THAN EXPECTED: Evangelical Christians use opportunity to share gospel with thousands of Muslims

In Uncategorized on September 25, 2009 at 11:14 pm

Less than 3,000 Muslims showed up, not 50,000.

Less than 3,000 Muslims showed up, not 50,000.

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Islamic leaders predicted 50,000 Muslims would arrive on Capitol Hill today to provide a show of Islamic solidarity. It didn’t quite turn out that way.

Less than 3,000 Muslims showed up, according to the Washington Post and other eyewitnesses. And those who did got more than they had bargained for. The followers of Muhammad came for a day of prayer and Islamic sermons, which they got. But they also found dozens of followers of Jesus Christ — some of them evangelicals from from Arab countries — eager to share the gospel with them and pray for them to find the love and forgiveness found in the Bible.

“Our church prepared 2,000 packets to be given out to Muslims at the end of the event,” an evangelical Christian woman who lives in the Washington, D.C. area told me in a phone interview. Each packet contained a copy of the Gospel of John and the Book of Romans in Arabic; a DVD of the JESUS film in 16 languages spoken in Muslim-majority countries; and a DVD called “More Than Dreams.” The last DVD tells testimonies of numerous Muslims in North Africa, the Middle East and Asia who have left Islam and become followers of Jesus Christ after seeing dreams and visions of Jesus Himself.

“I personally handed out at least 100 packets,” the woman told me, “and there were about 25 others in our group  doing the same.”

Were Muslims receptive to taking the gospel materials? I asked.

“They were,” she said. “If you said, ‘Salaam’ [peace in Arabic] and were polite and loving, they would take the packets. One Muslim woman told me, ‘I am very sincere. I will definitely take this home and look at these things.'”

“Honestly, the thing I was really grieved about,” the believer told me, “was the protesters who were there who claimed to be Christians but didn’t seem to have any love for these Muslims.”

Some held signs that had political rather than gospel messages — messages like, “Jail to the Chief.” Others used a bull horn to tell the Muslims they were going to Hell.

“I started crying when I saw that,” the woman believer explained. “I thought, You’ve got to be kidding me. You’re not helping. How are political messages or yelling at people about Hell going to convince Muslims that they’re sinners — like all we all are — and that they need to accept the forgiveness that only Christ can offer?

She said, “I had a conversation with a guy who was wearing a t-shirt that said, ‘Intolerance’ on one side and ‘Abortion is murder, homosexuality is a sin, Islam is a lie’ on the other.’ I asked him, ‘Are you with that group over there with the bull horn?’ He said, ‘I know one of them, yes.'”

She asked the man if he agreed that telling people they’re going to Hell was the best way to communicate God’s love and forgiveness for all people, including Muslims. He insisted that “people need to hear the Law” and added, “The Word of God won’t return void. It doesn’t matter how it’s said. It just needs to be said.”

The woman disagreed. “It does matter how we tell people about Jesus,” then added, “I’m just really concerned about the message you guys are communicating. Aren’t we supposed to love them? Aren’t we supposed to share the truth in love? Would you die to bring these people the gospel? Do you want them to be saved, or just to tell them that they’re following a lie?”

Die for them?” the protester asked, somewhat bewildered, thinking about the concept for few moments. “I just don’t think I could. I have a wife and five kids.”

“Yes,” the woman replied, “but it’s our job to share the gospel with them, isn’t it? We don’t need to be afraid of them, or angry with them about what they might be doing to our country.”

Later, she told me that,  “[The Apostle] Paul didn’t say, ‘Nero needs to go to jail.’ He didn’t talk about Nero. He simply shared the gospel because he knew that’s how hearts are really changed, by the love of Jesus.”

What an intriguing and thought-provoking case study in dealing with Islam in our country.
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