Increasing numbers of Muslim refugees to Switzerland and Germany are converting to Christianity, according to reports from the region.
CHR Comment: Two reasons for the conversions are given: (1) changing world views as persons raised Muslim reject radical Islam and its violent tendencies and (2) persons who were secretly Christians in their homelands now receiving Baptism for the first time.
Source: Muslim migrants are converting to Christianity in Switzerland | Christian News on Christian Today
Under the threat of the Islamic State (ISIS), thousands of residents from Fallujah, Iraq, have fled to a refugee town called City of Refuge.
CHR Comment: According to Frontiers USA mission, a refugee named Layla received a vision that someone would tell her about Jesus. The conversions are in part a response to those events.
Source: Iraqi refugees convert to Christianity, share Gospel to families and friends | Christian News on Christian Today
Eight children from a village in Uganda were beaten by their Muslim families and cast away as “infidels” after giving their lives to Jesus Christ.
CHR Comment: The stories here are a bit confusing. One wonders, for example, how the children are spending so much time with the Christian ministers without the parents knowing about it. Why do the parents only become concerned after the conversions? There seem to be some missing elements in the stories, which require further explanation.
Source: 8 Children Beaten, Rejected by Parents as ‘Infidels’ in Uganda for Converting to Christianity
A great revival is going on inside the Islamic Republic of Iran, Christian believers who have planted an “Internet church” in that heavily restricted Middle East country have disclosed.
CHR Comment: This is an exciting and interesting account. However, readers must take note that the only source is an interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network. The account and its figures need verification. One wonders how the large figures were reached. For example, the 2014 New York Times article below gives much different figures.
Source: Holy Spirit over Iran: Revival results in 3 million new believers today from just 100,000 in ’94 | Christian News on Christian Today
Christian persecution in Bangladesh hasn’t waned, but surprisingly, the number of Muslims converting to Christianity in the South Asian country has been increasing over the years.
CHR Comment: The increasing number of Christians occurs in opposition to persecution. The article describes how new Christians meet in house churches that are not marked as churches due to the possibility of persecution. There are also reports out of Europe that Muslim immigrants are seeking Baptism. Missionaries used to describe the challenge of reaching Muslims with the Gospel. Today it appears that more Muslims are welcoming the Gospel.
Source: Thousands of Muslims in Bangladesh reportedly converting to Christianity | Christian News on Christian Today
How does your view of God change after you switch religions? HuffPost posed the question to three converts to Islam.
CHR Comment: What I found fascinating about the comments was that most everything they said was in fact characteristic of Christianity and its teaching about God, apart from some reference to some comments excluding the doctrine of the Trinity. In other words, what these converts say they appreciated about Islam was already present in the religion in which they grew up. For some reason they could not hear or see these teachings in their churches. Christians do well to listen to such stories and learn what people are seeking and valuing in religion. It is by and large not new doctrines or ideas but practice that connects with doctrine.
Source: 3 Muslims On How Converting To Islam Changed Their Ideas About God
Twelve people have been accused of converting to Christianity, arrested and put in jail in India, according to UCA news.
CHR Comment: Hindu activists surrounded a house in Dahar village, Madhya Pradesh, India. Inside were twelve persons suspected of converting to Christianity. In this region of India, it is illegal to convert without informing the government, which is run by conservative Hindus. Local police arrested the twelve people and took them to jail on January 14, 2016. They were later released on paying bail.
Shankar Singh, who spoke for those arrested, explained that they had not converted to Christianity and had gathered to observe a Hindu harvest festival that coincides with the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Capricorn (Makarsankrati). However, he added that the group had faith in Jesus, followed His teachings, and prayed to Him even though they had not joined any Christian church.
In regions where Christianity is new and in the minority, the issue of what makes for a genuine conversion is common. Augustine records an example of this same issue in his Confessions by relating the story of Victorinus, a famous Roman teacher of rhetoric who read Christian books. Victorinus confessed to his friend Simplicianus that he had become a Christian. But Simplicianus contended that he would not agree that Victorinus was a Christian until he saw him at church, to which Victorinus cleverly replied, “Then do walls make Christians?” (Confessions: A New Translation by Henry Chadwick [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992], 136). Victorinus was afraid to make a public confession of Christ due to the social pressures of the pagan society that surrounded him and celebrated his talents. A public conversion would bring down upon him the scorn of the dominant religious culture.
The followers of Jesus in Dahar village are having a similar experience. They have learned about Jesus and want to follow Him but know that formally converting to Christianity will have great personal costs. May the Lord help them and other Christians in the region work through these matters of conversion safely and sincerely. In closing, we may remember that Victorinus finally asked Simplicianus to take him to church where he received formal instruction in the Christian faith and Baptism.
Source: India: 12 arrested for ‘converting to Christianity’ | Christian News on Christian Today
A Syrian priest held hostage for months by the ISIS terrorist group is certain his life was saved due to his interfaith work, despite being threatened with beheading by jihadists if he did not renounce Christianity.
CHR Comment: Mourad, a Syrian Catholic priest, was captured at the Mar Moussa monastery along with a fellow worker, driven to Raqqa, held prisoner in a bathroom, and urged to convert to Islam or die. He credits his efforts at dialogue with Muslims and compassionate attitude toward them as reasons why he was not executed. While a captive, he met c. 250 members of his parish who were likewise held as prisoners. After ministering to fellow captives for some time, he determined it was best for him to escape.
Source: Priest who survived ISIS: “My interfaith work saved my life’’ – The Washington Post
Catholics should not try to convert Jews and should work with them to fight anti-Semitism, the Vatican said on Thursday in a major document drawing the Church further away from the strained relations of the past.
CHR Comment: On the fiftieth anniversary of the papal document Nostra Aetate, which helped initiate Jewish-Catholic dialogues, this announcement is not too surprising. Catholic theologians hold that Jews and Christians worship the same God. They also teach that one does not have to be a Christian to receive salvation (doctrine of anonymous Christians).
Source: Vatican says Catholics should not try to convert Jews, should fight anti-semitism | Reuters
The Islamic State released 10 Assyrian Christian hostages Tuesday night in the Tel Temir town in Hasakah province, northeastern Syria, but over 150 remain captured and threatened with death.
CHR Comment: Those released seem to be persons who could not easily be held in captivity (sick and elderly). The captors seek millions of dollars in ransom money. Terrorist groups use these methods as a form of fundraising.
Source: ISIS Releases 10 Assyrian Christian Hostages; Over 150 Remain Captured