"The world is changed forever," we were told over and over after September 11. Cataloging all the changes is not possible but soul winners have joined in the world's sudden new focus on Islam. A great debate has arisen whether or not true Islam condones such acts of terror as part of its campaign to spread its beliefs.
Non-Muslim world leaders are scrambling to put a happy face on this religion. "Moderate" Muslim leaders are trying to support this idea but are continually betrayed by news reports from their own countries.
The news focus on the Taliban repression of its followers was passed off as the work of radical fringe "fundamentalist" Muslims.
In Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, whole communities are being "Islam-icized." This means a complete "cleansing" of any Christians, driven out with only the clothes they have on. If they refuse, they must convert to Islam to stay or become victims of rape and murder. Some have been forcibly circumcised.
In the Philippines, Muslim "terrorists" have been trying to destabilize the government for several years. Over a year ago they captured two American missionaries, Martin and Gracia Burnham, and recently accepted a $300,000 ransom, then refused to release them, demanding still more money.
Probably the most accurate evidence of Islam's true nature comes out of Saudi Arabia, a supposedly "moderate" nation and the home of Islam's holiest shrines. Surely here would be evidence of the true heart of Islam.
Last year police raided the home of two Filipino men working in Saudi Arabia and arrested them for possessing a Bible and some Christian CDs. They were fined, sentenced to a month in prison and 150 lashes. Instead of the beating, they were deported.
Even more telling was a story in March of a girl's school in Saudi Arabia that caught fire. 15 students died in the stampede when the religious police refused to let them leave the building without their Islamic headscarves and black robes.
These reports, coupled with the fact that there are no church buildings in Saudi Arabia, betray anyone who tries to claim that Islam is a peaceful, tolerant religion.
However, this quandary is not confined to non-Muslims. Many Muslims are taking a new look at their faith as the consequences of its teachings have become bold, front-page news. Their difficulty becomes a soul winner's opportunity.
But, reaching a Muslim is not as easy as witnessing to someone who shares our western culture. To effectively win a Muslim to Christ, you need to know something about his culture as well as the teachings of his holy book, the Koran.
After 9-11, experts on Islam were suddenly in demand. This was true of two brothers who grew up in a Muslim home and were led to Christ as young men. Ergun and Emir Caner went on to obtain advanced degrees in theology and history and professorships at Christian colleges.
They were overwhelmed with requests for speaking engagements to help explain the background of Islam and what we as Christians should do. To fill the void of information, they have written a book that beautifully combines their personal journey to Christ with a very readable review of the essential teachings of Islam.
Written from the perspective of converted Muslims, their insight and guidance in witnessing to Muslims is unparalleled. In their book, Unveiling Islam, they tell how their fearsome Allah was replaced by a God of love, mercy and grace, Jesus.
With today's unique opportunity to reach Muslims, soul winners must be properly equipped. A careful study of this timely book will give you insight into their religion and a practical strategy for introducing them to our gracious Jesus.