FROM R.K.’S CORNER
The focus of the world’s attention is right now directed toward the senseless atrocities committed against innocent people by radical Islamist terrorists in Paris, France. From the intense debate in the media on how to define Islam and make sense of the actions of the radicalized Muslim terrorists, it is obvious that the public in Europe and the States at large, are ignorant of the cause and effect of the long term official disinformation and pressure of political correctness which has brought us to where we find ourselves.
Two weeks ago, Steve and I were blessed to meet two indigenous missionaries from respectively Malaysia and Indonesia through a Malaysian member of our local church. They both have compelling testimonies! Here, I am sharing with you the story of our visitor from Indonesia — a Muslim turned believer in Jesus Christ! What makes this story compelling, is that this man brings us into the mindset of a committed teacher of Islam who is introduced to Jesus by searching the verses about Him in the Quran !
In light of the events unfolding in Europe, we encourage you to pray that the Spirit of the Living God will reveal Himself – also through the scriptures of the Quran – to sincere Muslims who are searching for truth and the most coldblooded Islamic terrorists – alike!
FACTS ABOUT INDONESIA
The country of Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago state, consisting of more than 17,500 islands, about one third of which are inhabited. The combined area of all the islands and regions of Indonesia equals about the size of the country of Mexico. It also has the largest Islamic population in the world, with more than 80% of its 255 million inhabitants being Sunni Muslims. A little more than 30 million are Christians, among whom evangelicals are the largest group.
In the wake of the rise of radical Islam, the attacks on Christians keep escalating — burning of church buildings, disruption of Christian meetings, and violent acts committed against pastors and individual believers. In certain parts of the country the violence puts Christians under enormous pressure. Last year, more than 30 churches of various denominations were forced to close and/or were attacked.
The government allows people to exercise their faith, but it forbids “proselytizing” of Muslims, which actually is even more widely enforced in the neighboring country of Malaysia. In reality, this means that those who openly share their Christian faith among them face repercussions; the Muslims who convert are often seriously persecuted. Thus, as in other Islam-dominated countries, the church excludes Muslims in their mission efforts.
But God’s Spirit is not subject to mas restrictions! From across the world of Islam we hear testimonies of people without access to Bibles or Christians coming to faith in Jesus Christ by supernatural encounters via dreams and vision. Other devout Muslims, through studying the Quran in their pursuit of truth, have by revelation found the risen Jesus Christ!
Our Indonesian brother featured in this issue is an example of the many sincere Muslims throughout the world who hunger for truth, and willing to pay the price for it — even death! His family and friends rejected him due to his new-found faith! Pray that other seeking Muslims will, by revelation, find Him – Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!
THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY OF AN INDONESIAN MUSLIM
Before I start presenting my testimony, allow me to share with you a couple of verses from the truth of God’s Word from 1. Peter 3:15-16, “In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…”
The Bible declares that there is salvation only in Jesus Christ as it is written, “Blessed are those who have not seen Me (Jesus Christ) and yet have believed in Me. John 20:29
God rescued, called me and chose me to be His child and servant through Jesus Christ who was already sacrificed, not only for me but actually also for the whole world! He saved me, neither through events of extraordinary signs and wonders nor any amazing remarkable experience! From just a human perspective, it was impossible for me to accept Jesus Christ (Isa Al-Masih) – I would never have become a follower of the Messiah.
My parents were devout Muslims. For six years, from preschool age, I attended a pesantren— a school in a village which teaches children Islamic religious education. Then my parents moved, and I continued education at another pesantren, for an additional three years.
I was an eager student of Islamic studies and excelled academically. In 1987, I was selected to represent my city for the Al-Quran Recitation Competition, where I became the champion! In 1988, I won the competition of Islamic Calligraphy, i.e., the art of Arabic delicate handwriting (khat). At that same time, our team won the title of The Champion of Oratory Competition which made us teachers of Islam and qualified us to teach Islam to non– Muslims.
I continued my studies at an Advanced Islamic Learning Institute which prepares teachers of Islam to teach city-wide.As students, we were taught, and we believed, that Islam is the only right faith, as it is written in Al-Quran, “Truly the true religion according to Allah is Islam”. Our main mission was to seek out those who still had not yet embraced our religion, and introduce them to Islam by convincing explanations. Muslim clerics and Islamic teachers had taught us that, long ago, there were Crusades – wars between Muslims and Christians. Islam won, therefore God was on Islam’s side, according to the Quran verse which stated, “Truly the right religion on God’s side is Islam.”
I began preparing to preach Islam to those in my city who were non-Muslims; the largest group being a Chinese minority ethnic group. Although I was looking forward to it, I very carefully approached them and did not want to touch them, as I knew they enjoyed eating pork, which, according to Islam is the worst of all unclean food. A Muslim who touches pork, must cleanse himself/herself seven times with mud or red soil, then rinse with clean water seven times – only after that, he or she may be considered ‘purified’.
Still eager to preach to the Chinese, I opened the conversation with the following question, “My Friend, would you like to hear my story? I would like to ask you – What is your religion?”
One day I asked my Chinese friend that question, and he replied: “My religion is Christianity.” I continued: “Do you know that the Christian message was only valid two thousand years ago, at the time Jesus was still alive, but now His religion has been replaced by a new religion and a new prophet—that is Islam and its prophet is ‘Muhammad’.” To my astonishment, my friend answered, “Oh for me it is not a problem whether there is a new religion or not … for me, by FAITH I will surely enter heaven!”
His reply shocked me, because during all the years I had studied Islam, entering heaven is never something certain or normal for Muslims. For us, the world is like a race-track heading towards the Hereafter, and to enter it also depends on “Insyaallah” or God’s will! How could this Chinese Christian say that entering heaven was already secured for him? I asked him, “ Do you mean to say Heaven is owned by your Father?” He answered, “Yes. Indeed! My Father is the Owner of Heaven.”
I knew from the Quran that there is no other God than Allah, and that Allah has no wife, and certainly has no son! So how did this Christian Chinese dare to declare that God is his Father? I asked him again: “Who is your God? And what is His name?” Calmly he replied: “My Lord is Jesus (Isa)” – I got very irritated and mad at him. How did he also dare to say that Jesus is his God? So I told him: “To you be your religion, and to me my religion.” With that, I considered the discussion over, and returned to my village and my normal way of life.
I continued reciting the Quran and searched for the truth, either in my Islamic institution or privately. When I did my Quran recitation, the passing dialogue with my Chinese friend kept bothering my mind for a long time. It caused me to begin searching deeper for more truth about Jesus Christ to try to understand who he really was. Why can Christians confidently say that by faith one may enter Heaven?
I searched for any books about Jesus (Isa), and came across one titled The Road towards Allah. This book describes the situation at the end of the world. There will be wars, starvation, earthquakes, and chaos everywhere and many people will feel anxiously worried and anguished. In the midst of this, one very powerful force called ‘Dajjal’ will come forward. This Dajjal or Anti-Christ is very horrifying. He brings Heaven on his right hand and Hell on his left hand. Dajjal will go everywhere to search for people to fill his Heaven and Hell. In fact his Heaven is a Hell where its inhabitants will be tortured forever and ever! He will go everywhere to find souls to fill up his Heaven.
But, in the end comes the Savior Jesus who will fight that vicious Dajjal. I was surprised to learn who shall come to release the World from the evil Dajjal’s hand: he is ISA Al-Masih (Jesus Christ) as the Imam Mahdi himself—he will save the world from the Anti-Christ! After that comes Judgment Day, when the dead souls will be gathered to appear before the Righteous Judge who will decide who shall enter heaven and who shall be in hell—but none of the Quran Prophets will be able to defend these poor souls, not even Muhammad – they can only intercede.
I was stunned to learn that the Judge is actually no one else but Jesus—why is it Jesus who appears again, not the prophet Muhammad?
I was so intrigued to find out why Isa (Jesus) is the one who will decide those who shall enter heaven and those who shall be in hell. I gave myself to seeking Allah’s guidance in all my affairs; I did Islamic prayers five times a day, and prayed continually, because I did not want my sin and good deeds to carry equal weight.
For three years I was crying and seeking for answers, and then the answer came from al-Quaran, “Behold! the angels said: ‘O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of those nearest to Allah …” (Surah Al Imran 3:45). God had opened my eyes to see that Jesus is the Word of God, and He has authority in this world and Hereafter.
I contacted my Chinese friend who gave me a Bible. I approached it fearfully, but as I read on I found it very enjoyable and learned that the bits and pieces that were in the Quran were here in sequence and chronological order; the plot is clear, in perfect inter-relationships! In July 1991, after three years of my quest, as I read the Bible in its entirety, God gave me His peace and His salvation! In a vision I saw that Jesus has become my Atonement (kiffara) and He has taken the punishment for my sin – and also for all people in this world – so that we can have eternal life!
After I believed my sin has been paid for by God Himself – with the perfect life of Jesus Christ, I now have the faith that the King will come back to reclaim this world. Because now the King is not only the impartial Judge, but also my Redeemer and Savior forever! Halleluyah! Alhamdullilah! “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2 : 8-9 (NIV).