Last year, representatives from several prominent mission agencies, both national and expatriate, met to compare notes about the progress of their respective ministries in one Muslim-majority country. (The country's name is withheld for security reasons.) The representatives rejoiced that more than 1,000 "fellowships," as they call them, have been established for people from Muslim backgrounds. In fact, many of the fellowships had already planted new fellowships, and those fellowships had planted still more. Many thousands of Muslims in this nation alone, then, had found faith in Jesus.
Several of these fellowships can be traced back to small networks of Muslims who had encountered Christ and in turn began sharing with family and friends what they had discovered. In one case, a middle-aged working mother had inductively studied a new translation of the Bible for a few years. Among other language choices, the translation she used did not refer to Jesus as the "Son of God," due to confused and angry reactions from Muslims who mistakenly believe this phrase means that the Father engaged in sexual relations with Mary. To avoid this misunderstanding, the new translation called Jesus "the Beloved Son who comes (or originates) from God."
The woman, who eventually professed Jesus as Lord and Savior, began inviting friends and family to read the Bible too. At first, about 10 people met with her. This was cause enough for celebration, since Muslims in her country rarely study any religious books other than the Qur'an and the Hadith (collections of Muhammad's sayings and deeds). Three months later, another group formed nearby to discuss one New Testament chapter per week, and an elderly ...1