Dr. James C. Denison
President, Center for Informed Faith, Dallas, TX
February 8, 2011
A battle for the soul of the Middle East
Amur el-Etrebi is one of the protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo. As demonstrations in Egypt enter a third week, today’s New York Times quotes his assessment: “Now it feels like Hosni Mubarak is playing a game of who has the longest breath.”
The world is holding its breath as well. Last Saturday, an explosion in a natural gas pipeline in the Sinai Desert cut off gas to Israel and Jordan; Israeli intelligence judged it an act of sabotage. Now that the Muslim Brotherhood has entered negotiations over the future of Egypt, there are renewed fears that the Egypt-Israel peace will not survive the Mubarak transition.
This is a political standoff which threatens to become an economic and even military battle. But most of all, it is a spiritual conflict. And you and I are on the front lines.
There is a fascinating discussion of the “Arab awakening” on today’s ABC.net website. An Australian political writer named Antoun Issa asserts that we are seeing the beginning of a push for democratic reform across the Arab Middle East, fueled by social media and disenfranchised young adults. Technology makes it possible for Muslims in the Arab world to know of revolts in Tunisia and downtown Cairo as they happen. Modern communications also make it possible for them to know of God’s love in Christ.
We are already seeing the largest conversion of Muslims to Christianity in Islamic history. Multiplied thousands of Muslims are making Christ their Lord every day, many after seeing visions and dreams of Jesus. In villages in Bangladesh I visited two weeks ago, more than 700 Muslims have become Christians in the last three years. There is a new openness to truth wherever it is found. As Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
What is our role in this movement?
Jonathan Edwards, the leader of America’s First Great Awakening, was asked the secret to this historic movement of God. He said, “Promote explicit agreement and visible union of God’s people in extraordinary prayer.” Andrew Murray explains why: “The man who mobilizes the Christian church to pray will make the greatest contribution to the world’s evangelization in history.”
I pray every day for 100 million Muslims to come to Christ this year and for the Fifth Great Awakening to sweep America and the Middle East. This morning I ask you to join me in this daily intercession. We know that God redeems all he allows—could he be redeeming the “Arab awakening” by using it to build a spiritual awakening in the land of Jesus’ birth? Could we be on the edge of a spiritual phenomenon of global significance?
This is our hour to join the movement, to the glory of God.