Incredibly, there may be a light, a bright light, at the end of the refugee tunnel in Europe.Some, like Berlin Lutheran Pastor Gottfried Martens have come out and called it a miracle, but if you don’t believe in miracles you might at least agree it’s good news.
While church attendance in America has been in decline, some churches in Germany have so many new members they can’t keep up with the flock! According to Breitbart.com, increasing numbers of Muslims are leaving the violent ideology of Islam and converting to Christianity when they hear THE Good News:“Hundreds of Iranians and Afghanis have been baptised at Trinity Church, a Lutheran church in Berlin, where Pastor Gottfried Martens offers a three-month “crash course” for new converts.
AP reports on one baptism where Martens asked Iranian refugee Mohammed Ali Zonoobi: “Will you break away from Satan and his evil deeds? Will you break away from Islam?” To which Zonoobi fervently responded: “Yes.”
Martens then baptised him “In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.” Mohammed renamed himself Martin.Martin Zonoobi, a carpenter from Iran, arrived in Germany with his wife and children five months ago. He is one of many who have converted, with many claiming true belief has prompted them.
However, Pastor Martens admits that some convert just to improve their chances of winning asylum in Germany – as Christians who have apostatised from Islam they are likely to suffer heavy persecution if they are sent home.
Many are so taken by the Christian message that they end up genuinely changing their beliefs anyway, Martens says. He adds that of those who have converted, only around one in ten stop attending church afterwards.Although being Christian alone does not mean they will automatically win asylum – Merkel has even said that Islam “belongs in Germany” – many hope this will be enough to sway authorities.
None will openly admit converting just for asylum purposes as it could lead to them being deported as Christian coverts, possibly facing the death penalty when they return home.
There no official figures on how many Muslims have converted to Christianity in Germany over the past few years, and the number is still tiny compared to the country’s four million strong Muslim population. Nonetheless, Martens describes the rate of conversions as a “miracle.”Zonoobi’s wife Afsaneh, now known as Katarina, said the Christening marks a new beginning.
“Most important, I am so happy that our children will have a good future here and can get a good education in Germany.”
Not to pour cold water on this bit of positive news, but in Shia Islam, taqiya allows believing individuals to deny their faith or commit otherwise illegal or blasphemous acts, especially while they are in fear or at risk of significant persecution. Ninety-nine percent of Muslims in Iran are Shia.
While it is possible that some of these conversions may be born of expediency, I believe some thing more is at work in the lives of people who have lived under the harsh rules of a religion that is, in many ways the polar opposite of Christianity.
Islam is the ideology of punishment and condemnation, the neverending striving to live by a set of laws and regulations which make the Muslim acceptable to Allah. Allah, not being content to punish people after their death, instructs his followers to extend his wrath to believers and nonbelievers alike, forcing his followers into a life where they have no reward unless they murder, destroy, and subdue all mankind and insisting on Muslim drones across the globe.
Once these prophets of doom and misery hear there’s a God whose message is redemption and forgiveness, it’s no wonder they begin to see the evil of a religious organization that is hell bent on destroying God’s creation rather than appreciating it in all its diversity.
Zonoobi’s wife Afsaneh said, ” “Now we are free and can be ourselves,” and she was right. Indeed, the Bible itself states, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” This could be the beginning of thousands of Muslims hearing the Gospel for the first time and choosing the peace that passes all understanding instead of an ideology of hate. We can only hope, because the alternative is frightening.
[Note: This article was written by Ashley Edwardson]