Saturday, November 14, 2009
Finally, the blog that I have been promising, and one of the reasons we came to Brazil in the first place; Muslim training with i2 Ministries.
We spent thirty hours a week for four weeks for a total of 120 hours of training in Islamic Studies with i2 Ministries. Our friend, Josh, started i2 Ministries a number of years ago because he saw the need for Christians to be educated, not only in the history and agenda of the Muslim Religion as proclaimed by the Prophet Muhammad, but also in the historical facts and proofs for Christianity. Josh, along with his wife, Jussara, and several other committed staff members, have created this training which is the most thorough training on Islam in the present world today.
We were blessed to be trained by four of the top experts on Islam in the world. These professors, were a wealth of knowledge. The training was intense, and the studies hard, but the education that we received in such a short amount of time was incredible. It left us with the desire to know more about Islam and its detrimental effect on all religions and cultures across the globe. The training also helped to solidify our faith in Jesus Christ and Christianity. We were left with a desire to know more about Christianity in order to defend our beliefs. We are in no way are experts ourselves on Islam or Christianity, but we feel that we have enough knowledge to educate our friends and family back home on just what the Prophet Muhammad and his followers mean by establishing an "Islamic State" in every country of the world. I will now share a brief summary on what each of the professors taught. I will use only their first or last name but not both.
Joshua spent the first week educating us on Christian Apologetics to Islam which simply means to defend the bible against Islam. Josh asked us to consider our "vocation" and to get involved with fighting Islam with love and the word of God. He educated us on the background and life of the prophet Muhammad, shared with us many contradictions in the Qur'an and other Islamic sources, and he challenged us to love Muslims enough to share the gospel with them. There is so much more that was taught but it would be impossible to relay it all. There are approximately 1.5 billion Muslims in the world today-15% or 300 million of those Muslims are radical which is around the population of the United States. Two out of every three wars are with Muslims. There are 30 wars around the world today-most of which involve Islam. Josh's heart is for the global Christian Church to be educated in regards to Islam. He has devoted his life to this cause, and he needs many people to come along side him in bringing the truth of the gospel to this people group.
The second week we were blessed to hear from Dr. Smith from London. Dr. Smith debates Muslims at Speakers Corner in London every Sunday. He is a well known and respected expert on Islam. He is also a dangerous threat to Islam and has laid his life on the line to go against the top Muslim Debaters in the world. He spoke about Muslim Evangelism Post 9-11. He gave us the resources to be able to debate Muslim Scholars. Of course we feel still feel completely ill-equipped to do so and don't intend to stand up on a ladder at Speakers Corner anytime soon! Dr. Smith opened our eyes to the vast growth of Islam in the U.K. and how Islam is now infiltrating the West.
Our third week was "Church Planting in a Muslim Context" taught by Dr. Jeff. Dr. Jeff lived in Africa for a number of years witnessing to Muslims. He spoke to us about the challenges of planting a Christian Church and the steps that it takes to do so. He used the church in the book of Acts as an example of how it takes a team of people to start a church. The most important fact that I got out of Dr. Jeff's teaching was a movement that is sweeping the west. This movement is called the "Insiders Movement". This is when Muslims convert to Christianity in their hearts but do not publicly aknowledge their new faith for fear of the consequences from their own families and church. Insider Missionaries use the Qu'ran as a tool to bring Muslims to believe in the bible. They do not, however, encourage the belief that Jesus is God. They water down the gospel in order to convert Muslims to Christianity. As Dr. Jeff stated, "The problem is that when you start with deception, you become a part of the deception." Often these Christian Missionaries dress up as Muslims, go to Mosques as Muslims, in essence pretend to be Muslims in order to convert Muslims. This ends up backfiring because the missionaries themselves are not being true to their faith in Christ and are deceiving the Muslims as well as accepting this part Christian/part Islam faith. There are Insider conferences in the United States today and I would encourage any of you that would like to learn more about it to do some research.
Our last week was spent learning about "Muslim Christian Theological Issues" from Dr. Sasan. He had us read the entire Qu'ran in the span of twelve days. It was a grueling read, but necessary for our education. He helped us to understand the Muslim mindset and why they believe what they do. He talked in great deal about the trinity and the arguments that Muslims will use against it. He mentioned that "The God of the bible and the God of the Qu'ran are 100% opposed in all areas, primarily in that of the relationship between God and his people." His teachings made us love the word of God all the more and opened our eyes to the complete confusion of the Qu'ran.
These professors have devoted their lives to educating Christians on matters of Islam and its effects on Christianity today. As I mentioned before, we do not in any way profess to be experts on this topic. Our eyes have been opened, and we are committed to sharing our knowledge with other interested believers. This was only a very small look into the training that we received through i2 Ministries. We are planning to take a team of people back to Brazil in July or 2010 for another training. If you are interested, please let Marko and I know. We would love to have you join us.
I have to mention some other people who were intricately involved in this training. Casey and Erica with i2 Ministries were huge behind the scenes people who contributed hours and hours of their time for this training. They were a joy to be around, and loved by everyone. I know there were other i2 employees who's contributions also helped to make this happen. Maisel and Yuri were the main interpreters. They worked tirelessly for hours on end to make sure that everyone had a chance to hear and understand this world of Islam.
I will end by saying that Marko and I completed the training with a desire to inform the local church about the truth of Islam. We have a new love and compassion for the Muslim people and especially for the women and children who are being oppressed by this religion. Marko spent a week in Foz do Iguacu where he had a chance to talk with some local Muslims and visit a mosque. Foz is a known refuge for the Taliban on the run from the Middle East and therefore is also a location with a CIA presence. Marko handed out a tract and New Testament to a Muslim man in a local shop, had lunch with a CTMDT student and another Muslim man, and met with a Christian Pastor in Paraguay who is reaching out to Muslims and desires to have i2 training.
Overall, Marko's conclusion was that for both the educated and the uneducated, the Muslims are a very intimidating religious group. They are knowledgeable in their faith and they can usually run circles around a Christian in a debate context. With some education and training, you can begin to see the need of the Savior for this religious group. There is no assurance of faith for the Muslim. Only by taking their own life in an act of suicide bombing, are they secured a place in paradise (according to the Qu'ran). This is incredibly sad and should cause the hearts of God's people to be touched and should move them (us) to share the love of Christ with the Muslims.