The greatest act of faith is when a man understands he is not God.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes
Gatecrashing for Jesus
Tuesday 1 February 2005, 4:42 pm
Keywords: Christian Topics
, News Articles
Brother Andrew discusses ministry in the Middle East.
Interview by Stan Guthrie
Brother Andrew, author of the book God's Smuggler and a former missionary to the Soviet Union, now focuses on ministry in the Muslim world via Open Doors. Stan Guthrie, senior associate news editor for Christianity Today, interviewed Andrew about his new book, Light Force (Revell, 2004, with Al Janssen). The book details the struggles of churches trying to survive in the Middle East and Andrew's attempts to reach out to militant Islamic groups.
The reaction of the West to September 11 was one of panic and overreaction. There was an exodus of thousands of Arabs and Muslims from [the United States]. We want to take fear away. We deal with people. I object personally to the term terrorism, because I want to give [the terrorists] a face. Hamas is not terrorist. Hamas is people who lose all hope in the future and in life. When they decide to blow themselves up and die, it's not because they're politically motivated or want to attack the West. It's because they have not found a reason for living.
We, as Christians, are the only ones in the world that, on the basis of the Book, can offer everybody in the world a reason for living. If that reason for living is not there, do not blame them to find a reason for dying, because that's the only alternativeóliving or dying. We want to dive right into the very center of the conflict. That's why we go to those groups.
I see Muslims as God-seekers. I almost feel like Paul in Athens. We should have that boldness to go to them and say, "What you seek, I have." It's our attitude, politically, and often theologically, that keeps us away from them. If we view them simply as members of an evil religion, and Allah as a demon, they'll never get there, that's for sure. That [attitude] blocks the door for us.
But you need to be sure that Jesus lives in you, and then you can go to anyplace and approach any single Muslim, because they want to know God. And it's our attitude, politically, and often theologically, that keeps us away from them.
I go gatecrashing all the time. Evangelism, by nature, always has to be aggressive. We have deviated from that whole concept of Acts 1:8, and we've reversed the roles and say, "Well, they've got to invite us." No way. Jesus says blessed are the peacemakers. Where do peacemakers go?
Where there's a war.
That's aggressiveness. That is taking risks. That's meeting the enemy, looking into his eyes.
They say, "Andrew, you are wrong, because you make friends with Israel's enemies." To which I reply, "This is the greatest service I can do to Israel, to turn their enemies around." This is a definite attempt to turn them around. Because once they become brothers, they're not enemies anymore.
They're studying the life of Jesus because Islam does not and can never satisfy. It doesn't satisfy any Muslim. There's no forgiveness, no love, no eternal life. And they want to go to heaven. Everybody wants to go to heaven. But we live now in a time when Islam has been radicalized. And they now [think they] know the way to heavenódie in the jihad.
That's why I've been predicting that America will get another dose of terrorism, violence, because Muslims want to go to heaven. And we don't show them the way to heaven. Why don't we do that? That's the only way. They have no reason for living, for they found a reason for dying.
They want a messiah; they expect a messiah. But the Messiah has holes in his hands and he came riding on a donkey, not in a cockpit of an F-16. And they want to see that Messiah. So when we are vulnerable enough to go to them, and this being the only weapon, the Word of God, they accept us and see our message as the alternative, which, deep in their hearts, they fear.