A Recent Interview with a Respected Servant of God in the M.E.
John and I met for the first time in many years. We discussed a number of topics including his health issues, his ministry highlights, an assessment of what is happening in the Arab World and some conclusions. John began with some conclusions. As I have watched him over many years I have observed that he has been faithful to God’s calling upon his life and has been used as one of God’s choice servants with spiritual perception and unusual gift to proclaim and present God’s truth focused on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
“The conclusions may shock you,” John said, “We are at a crossroads in the M.E. If the Christian community in the M.E. continue keeping their distance from their ideological neighbors, we will all miss God's moment. It is my conviction that more MBB’s have come to faith in the last fifteen years than in fourteen centuries combined. If that is not the work of God then what is? Could this be the moment in history when an ideological transformation in the ME is, in fact, taking place before our very eyes? However, Most Christians seem to want to meet other Christians only.”
John went on. “This is a crucial time for the Arab Christians to realize the incredible spiritual opening that stands before us like an open door. It is very strange that this new reality doesn't seem to affect the average Christian in the ME. Earlier this year I met with some 200 Arab Christian leaders to talk about the need to make a major move to reach out to the majority population and seize God's moment. I believe the Holy Spirit was moving powerfully in our midst as we talked and prayed together.” John has been invited to speak in many forums in the ME and beyond on this topic. One of the ministry highlights he describes was the opportunity to preach to some 75,000 people in a single meeting in Northern S_da_. 5,000 came forward to receive Jesus into their lives in a single night. God moved in an amazing way.
John wondered how to seize this kairos moment of God's appointed and approved time” (Mark 1:15, 2 Corinthians 6:2, 1 Peter 5:6) described as “The hour which is the God-given moment of destiny not to be shrunk, from but seized with decisiveness, the flood-tide of opportunity and demand in which the unseen waters of the future surge down to the present.” (Os)
At the Transform World 2020 Global Leadership Summit in October 2015 as we heard the reports of the delegation from the ME we were listening carefully as stories were told about the unprecedented migration from Syria and surroundings and openness of hearts to the Gospel. Again the testimonies suggested that an ideological transformation was in the making in the ME. One of the delegates from the ME said: “This is the time to demonstrate the power of Christ’s love.” As migrants came through our country they saw love in action and responded as they witnessed and experienced the transforming power of Christ’s love. And so it was. One of the persecuted cultural Christians from Iraq said to him: "The Jesus that I have never known is now in my heart.”
In that gathering last year we received a report from our brothers and sisters in Christ from the ME about how they had a growing sense that the number of believers in Jesus from the majority community had not only doubled in one country but in the whole region. John, constrained by the love of Christ, has been used by the Lord to proclaim Him as Lord and personally witnessed around fifty thousand people come to Christ in a North African country according to one reliable source.
L: Has the number of MBB's doubled in your view, since the uprising, as some of your colleagues reported a year ago?
J: "Yes, I certainly believe so. In the last four months my wife and I were ministering in the Gulf State of Qatar. There is a hunger for God--the likes of which--I have never seen before. God is moving and we need to move along with God, not stand in His way."
L: What is stopping Christians from witnessing?
J: “The fear of pain. Every convert from the Majority Community needs a personal disciple and that is time-demanding and we are busy people. A convert has all kinds of basic questions which he or she would like to ask. They have mental and spiritual blockage and they want satisfying answers. On the other hand Christians are afraid of pain because they may actually stand to lose their personal freedom if they are imprisoned for converting members of the Majority Community."
L: How do You overcome this kind of fear?
J: "You need to recognize that God is real. This is the time for Ms. I is slowly but surely giving up the ghost. Ms are victims of their own religion. If one commits a sin, there is no remedy in I other that it tells you to go and pray, give alms, go on pilgrimage to Mecca. Sin, however, continues to pound on you with its devastating effects with no real way out. The ONLY way out is through Jesus who paid the full price for the remission of sin through the Cross. Ms are stuck with a religion that CANNOT help them.
How tragic! A lady from S_da_ summed it all up one day. She was so fed up with I that she shouted at the top of her voice in the center of the city at noon and Said: “God: Don't you have anyone else to send us but the prophet Mohammad. We don't want him. Take him back." Well known writers from a M background have been increasingly critiquing I more than ever."
"One way to interpret night is persecution the other is closed door. John: More and more people like R anchor of Al Hayat TV are very apostate of I and say so openly. Born the son of a M Imam in Morocco, Brother R memorized one-sixth of the entire Koran by age 6. He attended Hassan II University in Casablanca, where he studied economics and computer science. A careful self-study of the differences between I and Christianity led him to take correspondence courses for four years. This, in turn, led him to give his life to Jesus Christ in 1990. Also what's happened in my understanding is that well known writers “from within” are beginning to critique I. They are the intellectual class."
L: You said you thought ISIS did not only represent Jihadist I but that it is an expression of I. When I asked your brother Y, who pastors here the same question he said precisely what you did."
J: ISIS is I and I is ISIS. “If you become a true M you must become ISIS because everything ISIS does is in the Koran. This is the correct conclusion because it represents everything Muhammad said. The only solution for them is to come out of I to receive Christ like in the case of R.
L: Why are more and more people like R turning to Christianity?
J: "The reasons are, 1.) because of M extremism, 2.) It’s not making sense anymore. That’s true, it's not making sense anymore. Of the two million M refugees who have come recently from Iraq and Syria most are insecure in their faith. They are asking the question, 'why is this happening to me?' Many are finding the unconditional love extended by Christian ministers in the country compelling. Also what's happened, in my understanding, is this, well known writers ‘from within’ are beginning to critique their own ideology. They are the intellectual class.
As I discussed this with other Christian leaders in the region we believe that since 1990 until now the numbers of MBB’s have more than doubled in the ME It is my conviction that more MBB’s have come to faith in the last fifteen years that in fourteen centuries combined. ‘If that is not the work of God then what is.’ These are the Golden Harvest times. It’s a climactic time.”
L: How do you explain the nature of your prophetic role?
J: "I have asked myself that question many times. I believe it is the gifting by the Holy Spirit, since 1983, not only prophesying, but speaking the Word of God with power. My father’s role in my life was very important. He served the Lord for over 55 years. John said his father’s testimony would be like this: “I would wake up normally around 3:30 am, go to Jesus and sit at His feet. I speak to Him and He speak with me on so many things while my Bible is open. At day break I tell Jesus:” Please lay your hands on me and send me on a mission for today.”
L: What is your advice to Christ followers today in the ME and around the world?
J: "You must work while it is day. Night is coming when no man can work. One way I interpret that night is the night of persecution. Another way to interpret the night is ‘a closed door.’"