International (MNN) — Open Doors' Brother Andrew says now,
more than ever, the belief systems of Islam and Christianity are clashing
head-on. "The conflict that we face today is a new one. We've never, in the history of the world,
faced a situation like this where they (Muslims) have unlimited resources,
strong belief and eschatology, their right to be heard, not only by the power
of persuasion, but by the power of the sword."
The resulting tensions have fueled a great deal of
persecution against the indigenous church, especially those who've converted
from Islam. Their plight is behind
Brother Andrew's most recent book Secret Believers: What Happens When
Muslims Believe in Christ.
In it, he and coauthor Al Janssen tell the stories of
Muslims who encounter Christ and determine to become Christians, despite
ostracism and death threats. It also
shares the reality faced by Christians struggling to become mature in their
faith in the midst of a hostile and increasingly violent Muslim society.
That is born out in the mass exodus of Christians out of the
war-torn Middle East. In many of these areas, the conflict has
forged a stronger, more determined remnant church, while in others, the
fighting has created a "diaspora" effect, resulting in great change.
Why change? Part of
it is Islamic disillusionment, but Brother Andrew says the love of Christ helps
believers be part of the "peace" solution. "They must first see Jesus in me. I have to first open my heart and embrace them, even if they hold a gun
in their one hand. I still have the other side of their body to hug and say, 'I
want to be your friend because Jesus is my friend. Let me introduce that Friend to you.' Then
you are part of the solution."