| Dreams and Visions Among Muslems???|
In an interview a few years ago Dr. John MacArthur was asked a question about dreams and visions among Muslims. I post the article below without comment. I have posted the name's just so there will be a clarification between the question and the answer.
Questiom asked byTim Challies
We often hear today that many believers from a Muslim background—especially those from closed countries who do not have easy access to God’s Word—are claiming they had a vision of Christ and that in this vision he directed them to a place or person where they could hear the gospel. This proclamation of the gospel led to their conversion. Do you believe these stories? Do you consider such visions a valid means that God may work in our world today?
Answer by Dr. John MacArthur
There are several points that could be made in answer to this question. Let me begin with just a general comment about how to interpret experience. It is important to remember that, as Christians, we ought to develop our theology from Scripture and then interpret experience accordingly. Danger comes when believers get that backwards—allowing experience to define their theology, and then reinterpreting the Bible to make it fit.
With regard to these kinds of stories, I am always somewhat skeptical about third- and fourth-hand accounts of supposedly supernatural happenings. It’s not that I doubt the power of God to do whatever He wants. Obviously, He can (Psalm 115:3). But I question whether the story itself is an accurate record of what actually took place. Sometimes well-meaning people misinterpret what really happened. Sometimes second-hand stories are unintentionally exaggerated. And sometimes, sadly, people purposefully manufacture tall tales.
For example, there are unbelievers in false religions all over the world who claim to have received divine revelations or to have witnessed miracles. I don’t believe any of those things, because they are reported by people who do not truly know God.
Regarding the visions in question, it is important to recognize that those who have investigated such claims have found the evidence to be sorely lacking. For example, this article directly addresses the issue.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to hear that Muslims are coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That is remarkable, and I rejoice in that reality! Moreover, I would gladly affirm that their regeneration truly is a miracle (just as it is for every sinner), even if I would deny the notion that any previous dreams, impressions, or experiences were revelatory or miraculous.
I suppose that brings us to the crux of the matter. Do I believe that people in the Muslim world are actually seeing Jesus Christ? No, I do not. Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 15:8 that he was “the last of all” to see the risen Christ. So, I believe that precludes anyone outside of those listed in 1 Corinthians 15 of being able to claim legitimate visions of the resurrected Savior. (The apostle John, of course, was one of those included in 1 Corinthians 15. Accordingly, I don’t believe the book of Revelation sets a precedent for believers to expect genuine visions of Jesus to occur throughout church history.)
Furthermore, it is important to note that these individuals are still unbelievers when they reportedly have these experiences. Consequently, these experiences (whatever they are reported to be) cannot constitute examples of the charismatic gifts having continued, since spiritual gifts are only given to believers (1 Cor. 12:7)—and these people do not come to saving faith until later.
Finally, the New Testament clearly states that the way in which the gospel is spread in this age is through preaching. As Paul explains in Romans 10:14–15, unbelievers will not hear the gospel unless missionaries go to them proclaiming the good news of salvation:
How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”
To claim that the gospel is now being spread through supernatural visions and revelatory dreams (rather than gospel preaching) goes contrary to Paul’s words in those verses.
By the way, that is why we live-stream our church services every Sunday in Arabic (through gracechurch.org) so that those sermons are available to Arab-speakers all around the world. We believe that faith comes from hearing the proclamation of the good news. In our efforts to fulfill the Great Commission, we can’t assume that supposed visions are legitimate, when the means that God has ordained is the proclamation is the gospel.
Now, can God providentially work in such a way as to use people’s thoughts and impressions to draw them to faith in Jesus Christ? Yes, I believe that’s possible. As I noted earlier, God can do whatever He wants. But that work is neither revelatory nor miraculous. Phil Johnson gave a helpful explanation of this point in his breakout session at the Strange Fire Conference. He said this:
How do we understand that inner sense, especially when God seems to use it to prompt us to pray, or witness, or duck and run at precisely the right moment? Because let’s be honest: that kind of thing does happen to most of us from time to time.
Here’s the point: I do believe that God might providentially use a spontaneous thought in my head to accomplish something wonderful. But that’s what it is, and no more. It’s a remarkable providence, not a prophecy [nor a revelatory vision]. As I have been saying, God ultimately controls and uses everything providentially… . The fact that He uses an idea in my mind to achieve some good purpose doesn’t make the idea itself inspired.
| 2017/7/25 13:05|
| Re: Dreams and Visions Among Muslems???|
From Dr. MacArthur...
•••With regard to these kinds of stories, I am always somewhat skeptical about third- and fourth-hand accounts of supposedly supernatural happenings. It’s not that I doubt the power of God to do whatever He wants. Obviously, He can (Psalm 115:3). But I question whether the story itself is an accurate record of what actually took place.•••
And again from Dr. MacArthur...
•••For example, there are unbelievers in false religions all over the world who claim to have received divine revelations or to have witnessed miracles. I don’t believe any of those things, because they are reported by people who do not truly know God.•••
And again from Dr. MacArthur...
••• I suppose that brings us to the crux of the matter. Do I believe that people in the Muslim world are actually seeing Jesus Christ? No, I do not.•••
Thiugh a respected Bible teacher Dr. John MacArthur does not have a background of working with Muslims in the Middle East.
A CBN article featuring Pastor Tom Doyle...
JERUSALEM, Israel -- Several years ago, Ali took the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca known as Hajj.
"Of course when I went to Mecca I was going there in order to pay hommage to the Kabba and to fulfill the requirements in Islam," he recalled.
But the trip became more of a spiritual journey than he could ever imagine.
"That night I saw Jesus in a dream. First, Jesus touched my forehead with his finger. And after touching me, He said, 'You belong to me,'" Ali recalled.
"And then He touched me above my heart," he continued. "'You have been saved, follow me. You belong to me,' he said."
Ali's story in Mecca was told and dramatized in a DVD called "More Than Dreams."
"I decided I'm not going to finish the Hajj, the pilgrimage. Whatever it takes, I'm going to follow that voice," he explained.
The film documents and dramatizes Ali's story and several other Muslims who came to faith in Jesus through a dream or vision.
"We're seeing that all around. We're hearing about people that have never even thought about Jesus as savior," Tom Doyle, with e3 Ministries, said. "They're content Muslims and they're having dreams over and over."
Doyle and his wife Joanna take the gospel to the Muslim world. He's also the author of the upcoming book, Dreams and Visions: Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World?
"I think our God is a fair God, that He's righteous and just, and people are seeking and they don't know where to go," Doyle said.
"Maybe they don't have a Bible, maybe there's no missionary in the village," he said. "He'll get the message to them somehow."
The phenomenon of dreams and visions has surfaced throughout the Muslim world, from Indonesia to Morocco.
"In the church if you ask how many people came to Christ, 80 percent will say, 'I saw Him in a dream,'" one woman in central Asia told CBN News. Her identity is being protected for security reasons.
A Christian friend challenged her to ask God to speak to her personally.
"So I decided to ask Him," she said. "The next day ... in my dream I saw Jesus ... I decided to come to Him."
Hazem Farraj hosts "Reflections," a satellite program for Muslims. He said he often gets feedback about dreams and visions.
"I had one lady write me ... she said, 'I turned on the television and there you were ... the words that were coming out of your mouth were so peaceful I fell asleep,'" Farraj recalled.
"She said, 'When I fell asleep I ended up having a vision of Jesus and I saw the Lord,'" he continued. "She said, 'As soon as I looked over I knew that Christ was the sacrifice, the son of the God."
Doyle said the dream or vision is usually the start, not the end, of a Muslim's conversion.
"Nobody goes to sleep a Muslim and wakes up a Christian, but it knocks down the false barriers that are inherent in Islam," Doyle explained.
The Doyles said beneath the current revolution in the Middle East, there's a spiritual earthquake.
"As things heat up politically and spiritually within Islam, man, the Holy Spirit is moving even more powerfully," Joanna said.
"This is the time when hearts are open, people are desperate, governments are changing," her husband added. "Everybody's foundation has massive cracks in it and Jesus is the answer that can come in and fill that need."
Many veteran missionaries to the Muslim world say dreams and visions, along with satellite television, are introducing Muslims to Jesus in unprecedented numbers.
They add that more Muslims are coming to Jesus than at any other time in the 1,400-year history of Islam.
The Doyles want believers in the West to join this spiritual revolution.
"Not everybody is going to go the Middle East. But they can pray," Doyle said.
"And no government, no leader can block intercession around the world," he said. "So we need to pray as believers that God would continue to push the gospel out to the ends of the earth.
Tom Doyle has been a pastor and is a missionary to the Middle East. He has documented Muslims who have come to Christ in a book he wrote a few years ago entitled Dreams and Visions, is God Awakening the Muslim World?
Doctor John MacArthur says that Muslims are not seeing Christ in dreams and visions. Tom Doyle documents Muslims coming to Christ in dreams and visions.
So who is correct?
| 2017/7/25 13:41|
| Re: From David Garrison |
Question asked of David Garrison in an article from Christianity Today.......
We've been hearing reports about Muslim dreams of Jesus for many years. Should those be accepted at face value?
It's part of the reality of their world. Mohammad listened to dreams, and he gave Muslims the impression that God could speak through them. So they do listen to them, and they do talk about them.
An awful lot of them are having dreams of a living being glowing with bright light and drawing persons to him or just exuding love or offering them a book to read. We can't conclude that they're getting the gospel. What we can conclude is that they're under conviction, which the Holy Spirit said they would be.
Kevin Greeson, author of The Camel: How Muslims Are Coming to Christ, heard Muslims talking about this dream. He would open up to Matthew 17 and just hand it to them and say, "Would you read these first two verses?"
He wouldn't read it to them. They would start reading. "After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light" (Matt. 17:1-2 NIV).
Muslims read that and their eyes get big as saucers. "That's the guy. That's the guy in my dreams. Who is this? And how do I know more about him?"
Here's the combination: their worldview, the conviction the Holy Spirit promised they would be under, and a missionary knowing how to respond to it. Not reading to them or preaching to them or trying to tell them. Self-discovery is a big part of these movements. Hand them a New Testament. Let them read it for themselves.
David Garrison documents the movement of Muslims coming to Christ in his book, A Fresh Wind in the House of Islam.
| 2017/7/25 14:51|