Thursday, January 7, 2016

dreams and visions - real stuff

i was recently visiting with a friend who is a missionary to one of the most dangerous parts of the world, a region of islam where christianity is illegal and heavily persecuted.  he told me something that i have heard and read about before.  that muslims seek him out and ask him to "translate" their dreams.  he said they have dreams and visions of Jesus Christ, sometimes they quote verses that Jesus told them.  afraid to ask these questions in their mosques, they assume a westerner will know the answers.

i am fascinated by this.  despite our statistical failure as a church to take the gospel to the darkest places on earth, God is still very much there.  even though christianity is illegal in approximately 50 countries around the world, God is still there.  i thank God for people like my friend - who have bravely gone to these places and are there to help when God reveals himself in amazing ways.

j.d. king writes the following in his blog on sep 1st, 2015.  most of which is taken from joel rosenberg's work...

Testimonies of Former Muslims
Many Middle-Eastern Christians publicly acknowledge the fact that dreams actively facilitated them coming into a saving knowledge of Jesus. For example, Nabeel Qureshi is a former devout Muslim. He became a believer in part through a visionary experience. When recounting his conversion he writes,
"When I contrasted the evidence for Christianity against the evidence for Islam I knew that intellectually there was no comparison. So I asked God to reveal himself to me in truth, through dreams and visions. All those things, combined with actually reading the Bible, are what drove me forward to the point of accepting Christ."[26]
When asked about his conversion to Christianity from Islam, Pastor Naeem Fazal of Mosaic Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, mentioned several things that impacted him. He pointed out things like friendship with a knowledgeable Christian as well as reading the Bible. However, it was a particular supernatural encounter that brought him into a moment of crisis. Having a visionary experience one night, Fazal had an encounter that forever shifted the course of his life.
“It looked like a figure made up with light—solid, yet transparent. It was an experience like no other. The peace I felt from this presence was so powerful, so aggressive ... and [He] introduced Himself to me and said, ‘I’m Jesus; your life is not your own.’ The next morning my life changed forever." [27]
Fazal acknowledges that he is not unique in this experience. He notes that "the majority of the [Muslim] conversion stories I hear seem to involve dreams and visions inspired by the Holy Spirit in which Christ is supernaturally revealed."[28]

Dreams Seem To Fill In A Gap

Many are compelled to question this approach. As I already mentioned, this seems rather unorthodox, particularly within the American Evangelical context. However, dreams are unquestionably shifting awareness and opening the door for the gospel. In fact, it might be God's way of counteracting the relative failure of Western missions in the Middle East. 

Walid Shoebat agrees. He is a former PLO operative turned Christian and peace activist. Shoebat acknowledges that Jesus is compensating for the weaknesses of the Western Church. Reflecting on this, he noted the following, 
“I had first doubted the countless stories of Muslims becoming Christian as a result of dreams until I met some of them and heard their testimonies. My conclusion to this phenomenon is that Christ succeeds where the church fails."[29] 
I believe that it's time for Christians to celebrate the advancement of the gospel in some of darkest places on the globe. In this season, Jesus is doing amazing things in the midst of every tribe and tongue. We are obliged to acknowledge the beauty and wonder of the Kingdom's advancement.

Don't be mistaken, Christ succeeds where the church fails.

This truth was given to me in secret, as though whispered in my ear. It came to me in a disturbing vision at night, when people are in a deep sleep. Fear gripped me, and my bones trembled. A spirit swept past my face, and my hair stood on end. The spirit stopped, but I couldn’t see its shape.There was a form before my eyes. In the silence I heard a voice say, ‘Can a mortal be innocent before God? Can anyone be pure before the Creator?’" (Job 4:12-17).


Eric Horn said...

Great read! It's really uplifting to me when he says "Christ succeeds where the church fails". I love that God will succeed where we cannot and He can and will use anything for His glory!

Theresa Panhorst said...

Thanks for sharing. I am thankful for the faithfulness of Christ and that He still loves us and desires to use us even when we are not faithful. He is so good! Praying for more children (Muslim and others) to come into His family.