After traveling 250,000 miles through Dar al-Islam ("House of Islam") as Muslims call their world, career missiologist David Garrison came to a startling conclusion:
Muslim background believers are leading Muslims to Christ in staggering numbers, but not in the West. They are doing this primarily in Muslim-majority nations almost completely under the radar—of everyone. In the new book, A Wind in the House of Islam: How God is Drawing Muslims Around the World to Faith in Jesus Christ, Garrison takes the reader on his journey through what he describes as the nine rooms in the Muslim-majority world: Indo-Malaysia, East Africa, North Africa, Eastern South Asia, Western South Asia, Persia, Turkestan, West Africa, and the Arab world. Muslims in each of those regions have created indigenous, voluntary movements to Christ.
"What did God use to bring you to faith in Jesus Christ? Tell me your story." This was the core question Garrison asked as he traveled and conducted more than 1,000 face-to-face interviews. In his background research, he documented 82 historic Muslim movements to Christ, consisting of either at least 1,000 baptisms or 100 new church starts over a two-decade period. The first sizable movement of Muslims toward Christianity did not occur until the mid-19th century, nearly 1,300 years after Mohammad established Islam. Garrison said 69 of these movements today are still in process:
- In Algeria, after 100,000 died in Muslim-on-Muslim violence, 10,000 Muslims turned their backs on Islam and were baptized as followers of Christ. This movement has tripled since the late 1990s.
- At the time of the 1979 revolution in Iran, about 500 individual Muslims were following Christ. Garrison projects that today there may be several hundred thousand Christ-followers, mostly worshipping in Iranian house churches.
- In an unnamed Arab nation, an Islamic book publisher Nasr came to Christ through satellite broadcast evangelist Father Zakaria. Sensing a call to evangelize, Nasr started a local ministry that in less than one year baptized 2,800 individuals.
In total, Garrison estimates that 2 to 7 million people from a Muslim background worldwide now follow Christ. (This is a projection since a comprehensive count is not possible.) Timothy C. Morgan, CT senior editor, global journalism, interviewed Garrison recently.
You've spent your professional life in missions. Why undertake 30 months of grueling travel to remote parts of the Muslim world that you already visited?
This really marks an unprecedented turning to Christ. I don't think it's ever been captured in a global sweep as it has been here.
I've been involved in missions for 29 years. When my wife and I were working with Libyan Arabs in North Africa, we learned a lot of ways not to effectively win Muslims to Christ. But then we started seeing these movements. The numbers began to grow over the years. We found ourselves living in India for six years. I was director of Southern Baptist work in South Asia. We were able to see many of these Muslims who had come to Christ, to know them personally, and partner with them. We knew two men, one named Islam and the other named Mohammed, doing mosque-to-mosque evangelism. They were distributing Jesus films and New Testaments in the mosques. They saw a lot of Muslims come to Christ.
My colleagues approached me and said, "We're hearing more and more anecdotes of Muslim movements to Christ, and some of them we feel are legitimate. We need someone to go and find out."