I am 59 years old. One of the most disturbing elements of my Baby Boomer generation is its tendency to dismiss theology all together. Back in the late 1960's and 1970's, all that mattered was that people treated each other well with peace and love. Nearly all authority was viewed with suspicion if not disdain. Religious institutions became a target for such thinking. Millions of my contemporaries stopped going to church, thinking they had found a better way. And, theology was viewed as a thing of the past, paternalistic and imperialistic in its character.
As a result, there is now an entire generation of journalists and government officials in the United States who cannot make heads or tails of radical Islam. Current governmental studies are trying to understand the sociological and psychological root causes of why people become radicalized in joining ISIS, the Taliban and Boko Haram, to name just a few of the modern day expressions of radical Islam. But, often the last thing these Baby Boomers consider is the theological root causes of radical Islam; after all, they don't know much theology themselves in the first place. Al-Bagdadhi, the leader of ISIS obtained his PhD in Islamic studies at Baghdad University. He is determined to reinstate the caliphate for his Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Lessons from the Quran are taught to the ISIS soldiers every morning and afternoon. If that is not theology, I do not know what is!
Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship is determined to help Muslims worldwide gain access to the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Arab Spring is a real phenomenon. It did not die. It is alive and well in the Arab world. For the first time in history, Arab Muslims are beginning to think outside their normal boxes; they are learning to be critical of not only their governments, but elements of their own religion as well. The internet, satellite TV, mobile devices, globalization, radio, and millions of Christians continuing to pray through the 10/40 Window are helping to move boulders of resistance to the Good News of Christ in the Middle East. Radical Islam has become so repulsive that it is causing millions of Muslims to reconsider their religion, making them more open to the Gospel as never before.
As a result, there are now over a million Muslims who have come to faith in Christ as Lord and Savior in Egypt as new members of a growing underground church in that country. In Iran, the same number of former Muslims have become followers of Jesus as well. In fact, they say that the underground church in Iran has become the fast growing church in the world!
Last November, I lead two different trips to the Middle East - one to Egypt, the other to the United Arab Emirates. Helping the Gospel flourish in the Middle East is a top priority for PFF, and we hope for you, too! It was my eighth trip to Egypt, but my first to the UAE. PFF has four well-established frontier projects in Egypt which I hope you will consider supporting. But, I am excited now to announce to you that we have four new projects in the UAE, two of which support the growing underground church on the Arabian Peninsula; while the other two will help train new leaders for the burgeoning church in Iran.
When I am teaching or preaching in a church for PFF, I love to remind people that Saul of Tarsus was a terrorist, too. He was just as bad as ISIS or Boko Haram. He stoned Christians, jailed and killed them. But, Christ appeared to him in a vision and stopped him in his tracks, showing him the way of grace. The same thing is now happening in the Middle East. Thousands of Arab and Persian background Muslims are coming to faith through dreams and visions of Jesus - every day, slowly changing the face of the Church as we have known it in the Middle East.
This is an hour for the Church worldwide to speak up and get involved. The only true path to a lasting peace in this world is in and through the Spirit of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. No amount of bombs and military might, as necessary as they may be at times, will change the hearts and minds of people following radical Islam. Only Jesus can do that. Most of the terror in the world today is being caused by a bloody, destructive theology. These people are as starved for truth as was Saul of Tarsus. We followers of Jesus have the treasure for which their hearts search. Please join us in helping Arab and Persian background Muslims gain access to the Good News.
Grace and Peace,
Dan McNerneyAssociate Director