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David Garrison: A Wind in the House of Islam

Other factor mentioned by Garrison as contributing toward the conversion of Muslims to the gospel of Jesus the Christ is that most of the converts are cultural Muslim rather than actual believers in Islam. They live in countries in which are predominantly Muslim in character due to military conquest and the consequent islamization of the social order. In other words, the converts were civic Muslims. In many instances, as in East Africa and in the islands of the western Pacific, the believers came into the Muslim fold out of an animistic background. The ethnographic and linguistic differences had a lot to do with the growth of the gospel within the “house of Islam.”

Garrison also touches upon the parts played by the indigenous evangelists and also the western missionaries. For the most part, the indigenous leaders did not encourage the integration of Muslim-background believers into Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant churches but instead encouraged the creation of indigenous communities of faith in Christ Jesus which operated either as “underground” Christian communities or took distinctive names of their own such as the Gospel for All Nations Church which is indigenous to East Africa. They also encouraged their indigenous languages. The Kitab al-Moqadis is the Bengali term for The Bible; the Injil is the Arabic New Testament. The Isai Moslem identifies one of the Christian communities in Bangladesh.

As this is a review of Garrison’s tremendously well-researched and well-written book, this writer is unwilling to re-tell everything Garrison has put into print. As hinted at, Garrison did relate the work of western missionaries out of Europe and America and of Armenian Christians who came into Persia (Iran) in the late 16th century and then again in the wake of the Turkish genocide in 1915. He considered William Carey’s translations of the Bible into the languages of northeast India, Burma (modern Myanmar), and Thailand to be of great importance in facilitating the spread of the gospel in those lands.

Garrison identified ten bridges of God which crossed the chasm between the predominantly Christian west and the Muslim world. They were identified as [1] bold obedience in the middle of insecurity, [2] prayer, [3] the translation of the scriptures (Indonesian languages, the Amharic of Ethiopia, the Kabyle of Algeria, the Farsi in Iran, and Musulmean, Bangladesh), [4] Holy Spirit activity, [5] faithful Christian witness, [6] learning within the believing Christian community, [7] conversational communication, and [8] discovery.

He also touched upon the role of [9 ]satellite televised broadcasts and [10] internet chat rooms both of which were used to great extent by Abouna Zakaria Botros (Father Zechariah Peter), a 79 year Egyptian Coptic Christian priest. In 2008 al Hayat (The Life) satellite program reached 60,000,000 Arabs and other Muslims a day.

In the words that caught the attention of St. Augustine and brought about his conversion, this reviewer encourages the reader: tolle lege (“pick up and read”).

Reviewed by Woodrow E. Walton


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Category: Church History, Spring 2016

About the Author: Woodrow E. Walton, D.Min. (Oral Roberts University School of Theology and Missions), B.A. (Texas Christian University), B.D. [M.Div.] (Duke Divinity School), M.A. (University of Oklahoma), is a retired Seminary Dean and Professor of biblical, theological and historical studies. An ordained Assemblies of God minister, he and his wife live in Fort Worth, Texas. Walton retains membership with the Evangelical Theological Society, American Association of Christian Counselors, American Society of Church History, American Academy of Political Science, and The International Society of Frontier Missiology.

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