Islam growing in Europe, evangelicals are concerned

By August 9, 2004

Europe (MNN) — It’s a trend that concerns many evangelical missionary organizations. Near the end of this century Europe is likely to become part of the Western Arab world, according to Professor Bernhard Lewis, one of the leading scholars of Islam and the Near East. Lewis predicts that the European population will have Muslim majorities by the end of the 21st century.

Missionaries with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board agree with this assessment. IMB’s Chris Mills says, “The indigenous Europeans have a low birth rate, but many of the immigrant populations that are moving into the region have high birth rates. Do the math. It’s just a matter of time before there’s a shift in the balance of culture and world-view.”

What are the first countries to fall to Islam? “The Netherlands stands to become the first majority country in Western Europe, since Spain, by the year 2020.”

The question is, what are mission organizations doing to address this issue? “Part of our goal is to share the Gospel, to meet people as they come into these countries, to build relationships, we try to do training with local believers to help them understand how to reach out to their new neighbors,” says Mills.

However, European believers aren’t responding. Mills says as Muslims move in to a community, Christians are moving away. He says that doesn’t speak well of our faith. Mill believes the outcome is obvious, Islam will dominate. “Their religion shows up in the clothes they wear and the foods they eat, (and) that will become the dominate force in the region.”

What’s sad about the lack of response is that many Muslims who are now living in Europe, are searching. Mill says, “Islam is not their heart faith. It’s a cultural religion, but it’s not really who they are. We’re finding a greater response among the Muslims and Arabic peoples coming into Western Europe then we would see among the indigenous Europeans.”

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