Time to stop fearing an Islamic invasion

Graeme Fawcett, a New Zealander with 25 years involvement in church planting in Asia, thinks it’s time to stop fearing an Islamic invasion of New Zealand and see the opportunities it presents. Fawcett says most are not coming because the Saudi Government has sent them to evangelise New Zealand. “The vast majority of Muslims who come to this country come with the intention of adapting and making Kiwi friends. They come because it’s hell at home with bombs flying and they want some peace to bring up their kids. “They are positive towards New Zealand. It’s when people don’t befriend them, or avoid them, that they draw back into their ethnic community. Mr Fawcett said it was significant God was bringing all these people here for us to love and share Jesus with, which we would not be able to do in Saudi Arabia. “They may have their purposes, but God has his purpose. If we embrace his purpose rather than the Devil’s purpose, we will be in a better frame of mind to respond. “I met a guy from Tauranga, where over the road from his church the Lord has arranged for an Islamic training centre to be established. We agreed it was a wonderful place to put it because believers can reach out and love them and communicate Jesus to them. “But some Christians would be jumping up and down and thinking about a demonic conspiracy. Of all the places to put it, why not put it where Christians can pray for them and love them and storm heaven for them. “It doesn’t mean the enemy does not have a plan, but I think we focus too much on what the enemy’s little plan is and miss what God’s plan is. “I mean, how easily can you go to Saudi Arabia and share the Gospel? It’s impossible, yet God is bringing them here and they go down to [Cathedral] Square to hang out, where Christians can share with them. “I don’t think the best way to reach Muslims is to argue with them on the street, but it’s an opportunity to befriend people who are looking for friendship.” Looking for opportunities to befriend Muslims is a way of life for Mr Fawcett. He left New Zealand in the late 1970s, working first for five and a half years in Malaysia before spending 17 years church planting in Japan. From there he and his Chinese-born wife, Lucy, moved to Mozambique to work among the Muslim Koti people. Although they have been back in New Zealand three years, they plan to return to central Asia in February, where they expect to spend the next 20 to 30 years. Mr Fawcett said around the world many Muslims were turning to Christ. “Islam was not the fastest-growing religion. The world’s population was increasing at 1.6 per cent a year, Islam at about 2.7 per cent a year—almost entirely by biological growth—and the number of Bible-believing Christians was growing at 6.9 per cent a year.” [Most researchers, when saying Islam is the fastest growing religion, would compare Islam to Christianity as a whole, and not strictly to Evangelical believers. —Ed.] More Muslims had come to Christ in the past 10 years than in the previous 1200 years. Hundreds of thousands had been saved in Bangladesh alone. In the 1970s, Idi Amin had dedicated Uganda to Islam but today Uganda was about 80 per cent Christian. In Kampala, 80 to 90 per cent of people were evangelical Christians. In Iran, the Government acknowledged 250,000 Christians but Christians say there are far more than that. Radio and the internet were having a big impact. Mr Fawcett quotes the example of a radio programme in North Africa which talked about Muslims having dreams and which received thousands of letters in response. “There is an Arabic internet chat room which has 20,000 hits a day from people enquiring about Christianity.” Mr Fawcett said Muslims were drawn to Christ because they were so God-conscious. “They may not be attracted to Christianity as a religion, but they are attracted to Jesus. Because of their background they have a soft heart towards God and it’s very easy to engage them in a conversation about faith. If you are open and looking for opportunities to reach out, you’ll find they are more open than anybody else on the planet.” However, he pointed out that while they were attracted to Jesus, they were not attracted to the Western Church. That required a …

Justin LongTime to stop fearing an Islamic invasion