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A Wind In The House Of Islam: How God Is Drawing Muslims Around The World To Faith In Jesus Christ Paperback – January 1, 2014
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About the Author
David Garrison, PhD University of Chicago, has been a student of Islam and God's work among Muslims since his days as an Arabic student in Egypt two decades ago. He is the author and editor of nine books on God's work among the world's least reached peoples.
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At first I was a little irritated by the "scholarly apparatus" which Garrison trots out to explain or justify his approach -- "I'm not neutral, we all bring certain biases, I have these preconceptions," etc. etc. Yeah, we know that, but this is not a dissertation or an article in a sociology journal. But in the end, his scholarly caution, ability to bracket claims, and understanding of methodology and all that, really do add to the value of this book. He avoids Hype and Rumor, those twin "orphan children" that would rob his arguments blind, and presents a balanced and credible picture of a very encouraging, if still small, movement.
Garrison takes us through those "nine rooms" of the House of Islam one by one, interviewing new followers of Jesus. Sometimes he lapses into evangelical enthusiast mode, and who wouldn't? After 1300 years, finally we see Muslims coming to Christ in appreciable numbers. And many of the stories are amazing, even if talk of dreams and healing are sometimes a little too vague for the critical apologist in me. Like another reviewer, I was particular struck by the stories of a group of Muslim men who shocked their missionary confidants by their matter-of-fact talk about beating and even killing uppity or lazy or incompetent wives, and what happened next. Which only goes to show that for any of us, conversion is just the beginning.
What I liked best about this book, besides the good news it brought, was how it covered so many separate regions of the world. I have met a few converts from some of these regions, and heard their stories. And Muslims I have met seem to share a sincere belief in God based on grounds I hold in common with them, such as the marvels of Nature. But as a China scholar who wrote his dissertation (and first book, True Son of Heaven: How Jesus Fulfills the Chinese Culture) on the "fulfillment" relation between Christianity and East Asian tradition, I have always been biased against the same treatment of Islamic tradition. I regard Mohammed, unlike say Confucius or Lao Zi, as a fundamentally bad person -- a murderer, war-monger, rapist and slave-trader who did not really hear from God. And yet, it seems, the Holy Spirit often does use the Koran's many references to the "Breath of God" or "Messiah," Jesus Christ, to point Muslims in our day towards a better prophet. All I can say is, praise God!
There are so many wonderful stories about the many men and women who have sacrificed almost everything they've known to embrace the message of Jesus Christ. Some of these men and women have been beaten; some of them have been exiled from their families; and some of them have been killed simply for loving Jesus. Unfortunately, this is still the norm for anyone who chooses to follow Jesus Christ in many parts of the world. Yet, even though great obstacles stand in their way, droves of people are still coming to Jesus Christ because of revelatory dreams, logical analysis of the Gospels, compassion from the followers of Christ compared to the violence and mistreatment by local religious leaders and groups, and a realization that Jesus Christ's message is unique and provides them with a solution to their problems - a solution that only God Himself can offer.
Some of the stories were really touching, and some made me realize how much we take for granted living in the West. We are allowed to practice any religion, or lack of religion, as we see fit. This is a luxury that many do not have in other parts of the world. Many of us here in the West think that this is a problem from an ancient time in history, but that is not the case. This is a huge problem that much of the world still has to face. Men and women are butchered and killed every day for simply choosing to follow Jesus Christ, and this book is another reminder that this is a very real problem that needs to be addressed. Our government downplays the severity of this, and the increasingly anti-Christian society we live in (here in the United States) does not care enough about this to make it an issue worth doing anything about.