A survey of 750 Muslims who converted to Christianity shows five predominant reasons they chose to follow Christ.
- The lifestyle of Christians. Former Muslims cited the love that Christians exhibited in their relationships with non-Christians and their treatment of women as equals.
- The power of God in answered prayers and healing. Experiences of God's supernatural work—especially important to folk Muslims who have a characteristic concern for power and blessings—increased after their conversions, according to the survey. Often dreams about Jesus were reported.
- Dissatisfaction with the type of Islam they had experienced.
Many expressed dissatisfaction with the Qur'an, emphasizing God's punishment over his love. Others cited Islamic militancy and the failure of Islamic law to transform society.
- The spiritual truth in the Bible. Muslims are generally taught that the Torah, Psalms, and the Gospels are from God, but that they became corrupted. These Christian converts said, however, that the truth of God found in Scripture became compelling for them and key to their understanding of God's character.
- Biblical teachings about the love of God. In the Qur'an, God's love is conditional, but God's love for all people was especially eye-opening for Muslims. These converts were moved by the love expressed through the life and teachings of Jesus. The next step for many Muslims was to become part of a fellowship of loving Christians.
The respondents were from 30 countries and 50 ethnic groups. The survey was prepared at Fuller Theological Seminary's School of Intercultural Studies, and reported in Christianity Today.
Muslims are now 21 percent of the world population, increasing from 12 percent in the past 100 years. And the growth rate of Islam is higher than that of Christianity (1.81% per year, compared to 1.23%). Christians still outnumber Muslims, with one-third of the world population naming Christianity as their faith.
In some parts of the world, significant pockets of Muslims are turning to Christ, including North Africa, South Asia, and Indonesia.
Muslims Among Us
Muslims in the United States, according to Pew: 2,350,000
Percentage of U.S. Population: 0.8
Number of people from Islamic countries who became U.S. citizens in 2005: 96,000
Estimated U.S. converts to Islam, according to World Christian Encyclopedia: 50,000
Estimated U.S. Muslims who convert to Christianity each year: 20,000
Percentage who are African American: 59
—info from J. Dudley Woodbury, Russell G. Shubin, and G. Marks at ChristianityToday.com.
Copyright © 2008 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.
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