I just returned from England where I heard that the Lutheran church in Germany has grown by more than 30 percent as a result of refugees from Syria and Iraq.
Many of these are Christ-followers who fled the persecution and war brought on by ISIS but apparently many are converting from Islam to Christianity. It seems that ISIS is triggering a movement much like Saul of Tarsus did so many years ago after the stoning of Stephen.
Not sure that I could believe the numbers I went looking via Google for solid information. Never could find the 30 percent figure but did discover that refugees are indeed converting through disgust at the violence, disappointment that Christian churches help them while the Muslim world does nothing and from a curiosity about issues stemming from the Koran.
One Lutheran pastor reported a Syrian man turning up at his door proclaiming, “I don’t want to be a Muslim anymore, can you tell me what it’s like to be a Christian.” He was soon followed by an Iranian and then a steady stream of new people. Lutherans seem to benefit the most from the influx but a large Pentecostal church has seen hundreds convert after attending the Alpha Course in Arabic and in Farsi.
All of Europe sees an influx of new converts and Bible classes spring up everywhere along with mass baptisms in swimming pools and rivers.
The Catholics are holding mass baptisms. Catholics are especially attuned to the refugees at the request of the Pope.
One convert said, “In Iran I began to look into various religions. Then I really asked myself why I live all the time in fear.” The man was recently baptized even though it could cost his life if the host country does not grant asylum—his conversion would meet with violence should he return to Iran.
This demonstrates that God works even in the meanest of situations. I imagine that five or 10 years from now many of these new Lutherans and Catholics will worship in churches speaking their own languages. One more reason we should trust God no matter what new horrors we face in the news.