Praise & Prayer
In a sidewalk cafe conversation this week with a small group of new Muslim friends (in a North African country), I put forward that God is a loving Father who continuously works to reconcile relationship with every person of every people. Each passionately expressed varying opinions, and then the Lord helped me express a few things the bible says about the nature and plan of God. Two of them have now come back with further questions.
This refreshing interaction reminds me of the focus God has given Salaam:
• Jesus invites all, including Muslims;
• Many choose to respond, but then many fall away;
• The Liberty to the Captives (LTTC) training has proven to significantly help those who believe, gain healing and freedom from the former, to cleave to Christ;
• This is consistent with Jesus' prayer, "Holy Father"... keep them in my Name, Truth, Love... See Jn 17, in the context of Jn 13-17;
• When bonded with Christ, less fall away, more become fruitful making disciples among Muslims.
Our Father in heaven asserts His peace among men. Salaam chooses to continue in this line by following Jesus to do the will of the Father. Jesus' words ring in my ear, "As the Father has sent me, so send I you..."
One of Salaam's goals for 2022 was to introduce Dr. Mark Durie's LTTC to a national church network in the Middle East / North Africa. Salaam was recently invited into this collegial partnership. Recently, at a gathering of more than 200 of these leaders, Salaam began this process. Here are just a couple of my take-aways:
God is doing extraordinary things. Many stories were shared of Muslims finding a Christian or church and then dramatically responding to the gospel, as totally a work of the Holy Spirit. One former Imam led 35 Muslims to Christ within one year!
LTTC was eagerly received by all I met with, and affirmed as a critical piece in making disciples among Muslims. Several potential candidates emerged to be Field Partners with Salaam to facilitate the LTTC training for pastors in their country or people group. One leader responded so positively, he is sending two of his pastors to attend the 3-day LTTC training event being held in West Africa in a couple weeks.
Meal after meal, country report after country report, I heard true stories of how hard it is for our brothers and sisters. One pastor is currently in prison for 7 years for liking a post that criticized Muhammad. Many new believers are isolated because they have no fellowship with other believers (for a variety of reasons). The most common prayer request was for unity among the believers, largely because former-Muslims-now-pastors were not leading in a Christian way. LTTC is needed.
What is the challenge the Lord would have you and me address at this time? I just received clarity. As I was writing this, Salaam's LTTC Field Partner in India called. They are a beautiful young pastoral couple, with children in elementary and junior high. They shared what happened in the last couple weeks, and I will explain a bit here: the wife's brother was a life-long, rebellious alcoholic; he was on his deathbed in ICU; despite the worst kind of opposition, they obeyed Father God's prompting to do heavy spiritual warfare; over many days, they applied the principles they had learned; demonic manifestations and power was broken; after not speaking for several weeks (going in and out of coma) the brother now wept for 30 minutes and said over and over, "Jesus, remember me"... his last words were, "Jesus, forgive me"... and then he passed; many at the hospital testify that a miracle took place; the family have assurance their brother is now with the Lord.
In this ministry of helping those leaving Islam become rooted and established in Christ, let us:
1. Be united with our Father. Be perfect, as our Father in heaven is perfect (Mt 5:48). Jesus redeemed us from lawlessness; we are complete in Him who is the head over all principalities and powers; let us be doers, continuing in the perfect law of liberty; let us be righteous people praying effectively.
2. Be spiritual fathers and mothers. He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed (Is 53:5). As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him; for He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.
"All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation..." See 2 Cor. 5:11-21.
Thank you for your part in asserting Jesus' peace!
Church leadership in West Africa’s République du Bénin invited Salaam Ministries to teach Liberty to the Captives (LTTC) to their national pastors. First planned for 2020, but postponed due to COVID, this training was delivered in October 2021.
Bénin is well known as the birthplace of Voodoo, and the heart of the Slave Coast. A major portion of Haiti’s people originated in Bénin. Islam became strong in northern Bénin during French colonization, 1892-1960. Worldometer lists Bénin’s GDP per capita near the bottom ($827), but that’s better than her francophone neighbours—Burkina Faso ($642), Togo ($618) and Niger ($376).
The Baatonu (or Bariba people) LTTC training. Our host organizers said this event was their best-attended ever. And that "the pastors’ concern to make disciples among Muslims is heightened due to increased Islamic opposition.” Even during my 3 weeks in-country, a university student from one pastor’s church was kidnapped by jihadists, but miraculously released after more than week… and the nation’s government evicted all foreigners living north of a certain city due to American intelligence of imminent Islamist threat. References to Nigeria, and Boko Haram, repeatedly came up during the Q & A sessions.
During the “Renounce the Dhimma Covenant” session, one pastor stood and said, “Pastor, can we really expect our congregations to forgive Muslims for the great harm they are doing against Christians?” Discussion followed, but after the session, he came to me and said, “I know and believe we need to do as Jesus modeled, but I just received this.” And he whips out his phone and shows me a live video recording of an Allahu Akbar slitting of a man’s throat, that happened 2 days earlier several hours up the road. He said, “My ministry friends just sent this to me. It was fresh in my mind when I asked my question.” We had the opportunity to talk further, and pray—not for persecution to end, but for strength and courage and comfort and readiness to disciple the many that will be leaving Islam as Islam becomes more violent.
The French LTTC training. In a city-setting, a second 3-day training event was hosted, for French-speakers. Fifty pastors, denominational leaders, seminary leaders and students, and so on—the maximum number allowed for COVID reasons—again hung on every word. Using the same Study Guide format, there was an impressive level of engagement in the material. The President (General Superintendent) of the hosting denomination (who have 1000+ churches, most of which were started in the last 10 years), said the training was unprecedented and essential for the task at hand. Their seminary leadership committed to incorporate LTTC into their regular curriculum requirements. Unsolicited, pastors approached us for translation of LTTC into an additional four languages. Once again, the vast majority submitted their written commitment to return and train their leaders in LTTC as they had just been trained. We gave out many copies of LTTC with Study Guide in French (printed in Bénin).
Evidence is mounting that for those voluntarily choosing to leave Islam to follow Christ, breaking the shahada and dhimma covenants is critical to become rooted in Christ. LTTC is helping change the pattern of former Muslims falling away, and of fruitlessness.
Thank you for believing with us for an increase in the quality of disciple-making, in Bénin.
We asked you to pray for 31 brothers and sisters that were kidnapped in a northern community in Nigeria. Praise God, this week after being forcibly held for almost one month, they were released!
What can be shared:
• Our understanding is that each were taken and held for ransom because they were unapologetically living as Christians in a Muslim-majority community;
• The 31 came from a cluster of 5 churches;
• Just last year, 5 young men in this very community (a couple of them from these same 5 churches) were forcibly taken into the bush—it was demanded they renounce Christ and recite the shahada—all 5 were killed because each refused.
Suffice to say, my Nigerian online class is extremely attentive. I have had the privilege of teaching Liberty to the Captives (LTTC) in some unique situations already, but the timing and proximity of this…
We have another month together. Then the Hausa translation of the LTTC book (2nd draft) will be finalized, and printed in Nigeria. Some in the class have the vision to begin providing the LTTC training to pastors in northern Nigeria.
Our brothers and sisters in this most populated country of Africa tell me of many Muslims turning to Christ—and the desperate challenges to help them be rooted and established in Christ. By God’s grace, we have something in our hand to give.
As a friend of Salaam Ministries, you may recall that it was “Muslim Idiom Translations” that was our watershed. Starting in 1984, this ministry had partnered with a worldwide mission agency, mobilizing teams to plant churches among least-reached Muslim peoples. The Lord did many wonderful things. However, by 2009, we became increasingly concerned about extreme contextualization.
When we discovered that we were indirectly supporting translation and distribution of scripture for Muslims that had replaced “Father” and “Son of God” with less offensive “equivalents” (i.e. Guardian, instead of Son of God, etc.), we immediately asked for clarification of biblical parameters being used to govern field practice. Our desire was to continue working together, with clearer guidelines for our Canadians, but the international agency said no. It is out of this crucible that Salaam Ministries was born in 2011, with the vision to focus on discipleship and training.
Now, a decade later, after the humble and diligent labour of many, it is a joy to report a wonderful breakthrough: The Arlington Statement on Bible Translation.
The Arlington Statement is a God-honouring clarification of essential principles for the present and future work of providing bibles for every tribe, tongue and nation. It is a huge answer to the prayers of many. This prepares the way for much more to be done.
It is deeply troubling that Muslim Idiom Translations continue to be created and distributed today—not just in a few remote situations—we come across them regularly especially where many Muslims are turning.
Are you willing to join us in responding to the challenges ahead of us?
- Read the Arlington Statement and related scripture—take time to listen to the Holy Spirit and respond accordingly.
- Please pray. Deception is rampant in our world, and even in the church. How many today believe they are Christians, but their gospel is different than Jesus being God among us? Islam teaches that Christians corrupted the gospels. Now, in the last 10-15 years, many of our fellow Christians have done exactly that. Please pray.
- Find the Arlington Statement online, and add your signature—this is a way to speak up—let us each take our stand.
Thank you for partnering with us in India last month, to see an increase in the quality of disciple-making among those leaving Islam. God is faithful!
A national church network invited Salaam to present the Liberty to the Captives (LTTC) training. The Lord provided all that was needed, and last month more than 500 pastors and leaders participated in six 1-day LTTC seminars. Initial feedback included:
- “How did this presenter know all this? Is he a former Muslim? We are, but we didn’t know these important things.”
- “Saying the shahada was lip service—we don’t even know Arabic—but we said it over and over again. I have never rejected my actions as wrong until now.”
- “I have been a pastor for 14 years, but no one has ever explained this to me. This is very useful teaching that will definitely help me disciple converts from Islam.”
The local church leaders that participated in the Telugu language seminars, 1) heartily received the teaching, 2) now believe that critical to maturing in Christ is leaving the covenants of Islam and cleaving to Christ in the new, and 3) expressed a commitment to thoroughly disciple former Muslims already in their care as the first priority toward the Muslim masses hearing Jesus’ invitation to follow Him.
Is this launch sustainable? More than translating, printing the book, and providing initial training to key leaders, is the importance of finding God’s choice of Indian leadership who will faithfully (over time) develop this work of training disciple-makers in LTTC.
Thank you for interceding for this work—may the Holy Spirit help you pray effectively (John 3:18-21):
- Almost 500 church leaders and pastors responded to say they will now utilize the Telugu LTTC resource to help former Muslims replace ungodly beliefs with godly beliefs, receive soul/spirit healing, and be free from all ancestral curses—renounce Islamic covenants.
- The Indian Church is struggling to break long-standing dependence on financial support from outside; the growth of the church in the global south regularly exceeds the growth of the western church.
- “Lord, help former Muslims in India experience full transformation—bring honor to Your Name through testimonies of being rooted and established in Christ—of former Muslims making disciples among Muslims.”
Earlier this year, a Chinese pastor shared this story with Salaam.
I was teaching a 3-hour class in a bible school on the relationship between spiritual warfare and discipling Muslims. I drew heavily from Dr. Durie’s book, Liberty to the Captives (LTTC). One man in the class asked more questions than anyone else, typically disagreeing with me. At the end of the class each student was given a Mandarin copy of LTTC.
The man with all the questions went home, and immediately read the book. When he got to the prayers in the back, he prayed the first prayer [New Believer’s Prayer], and it left him smiling, and feeling happy. However, when he prayed the second prayer [Freedom from the Dhimma], it left him crying, and very frustrated. He wanted to put the book aside. But his wife, recognizing God was doing a deep work, urged him to pray the next prayer. When he had finished praying the remaining prayers [Freedom from the Shahada and Muhammad’s Example; Freedom from Deception; Freedom from Superiority and Entitlement], he said he experienced a freedom and a joy he had never known before.
Seven years after publicly professing faith in Christ, this former Muslim from Western China—preparing for full-time ministry among Muslims—claimed the LTTC training brought him freedom in Christ for the first time. It must be true, because the man’s wife was beaming when she told me her husband was a completely new man!
Praise God! Discipleship is freedom!
- For complete freedom for women and men from a Muslim background. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretention that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-4.
- For the Holy Spirit’s encouragement and inspiration for the team doing the Mandarin subtitling of the 6.5 hour LTTC video training. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. 2 Corinthians 4:16-17.
Salaam just received the following feedback from one of the pastors in Ethiopia that received the Liberty to the Captives training last year. Each of these quotes are from a different leader in his church, that he has subsequently trained in the LTTC ministry. The pastor is a former Muslim sheikh; all of his leaders are themselves former Muslims; the book they refer to is LTTC in Amharic.
I know I hated the cross while I was a Muslim. But now because of this book I know the reason why… and why Muhammad also hated the cross, and destroyed everything which had the sign of the cross as he went from place to place.
The power of the cross can break and destroy the shahada and dhimmi traps. When one trusts Jesus Christ, these covenants which controlled us… can be completely broken. This book… can help many in this generation, and propel them into freedom from this oppression. May the Lord bless the people who had this book translated and printed for us!
We didn’t know that when we were in it, but after we got out of Islam, and enter into this life, we learned that many truths were hidden from us, and the lies were fed to us as truth. Now things have changed, especially after I read this book, Liberty to the Captives. I learned and understood that Christianity is built on the foundation of Jesus Christ and truth. Let our people find the truth and be set free from this bondage and darkness and enter into the freedom of the Life of Christ.
Let’s give God thanks for national pastors who have received the training from Salaam and are putting it to work in their communities.
- For the Lord’s provision that the Oromo (Oromogna) translation of LTTC could be printed and distributed in Ethiopia as well (Salaam has received several requests for the Oromo, as many that are leaving Islam, speak Oromo). For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He knows your going through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing. Deuteronomy 2:7.
- Protection for the shepherds and the sheep—death threats and lesser trials are frequent. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea. Psalms 46:1-2.
Several of these, and others, have asked Salaam Ministries to print the book in the Oromo (Oromogna). We previously printed and distributed the book in Ethiopia, in Amharic. Indeed, we have completed the translation of Liberty to the Captives into Oromo. Now we need to do an Ethiopian print-run of the book, in Oromo. Many of the Ethiopians, choosing to leave Islam, speak Oromo.
The Canadian charity Salaam Ministries was first registered as Frontiers Christian Ministries in 1984. Its focus was recruiting, training and sending workers to plant churches among Muslim-majority peoples. In 2009, FCMI’s leadership requested clarification of biblical guidelines for field practice, which led to Frontiers choosing a different charity in Canada to represent them. FCMI’s name was changed to Salaam Ministries in 2011, with the vision focus of training, to make disciples among Muslims.
Due to the frequency of threats made against those who encourage Muslims to evaluate their faith to consider following Christ, most names, places and details online are intentionally kept vague. Salaam is led by a 5-person interdenominational board of directors, and a full-time Executive Director who is an ordained minister and active member of a local church in Canada.
- We believe in the full, verbal inspiration of the Old and New Testament Scriptures: as authoritative, sufficient, infallible and without error in the original manuscripts, not only as containing, but as being in themselves the only written Word of God; and the need of the teaching of the Holy Spirit for a true and spiritual understanding of the whole.
- We believe in one God, eternally existing as three co-equal persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- We believe that human beings were created in the image of God, but were tempted by Satan and sinned, and are therefore under God's condemnation. As a consequence of Adam's Fall, humanity is totally depraved.
- We believe in the absolute deity of our Lord Jesus Christ; His virgin birth; His real and perfect humanity; the authority of His teaching, and the infallibility of all His utterances; His work of atonement for the sin of the human race by His vicarious suffering and death; His bodily resurrection and His ascension into Heaven; His present high-priestly intercession for His people; and His lordship over His Church as its supreme Head.
- We believe in the justification of the sinner, solely by faith, on the grounds of the merits and vicarious suffering, death, and bodily resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
- We believe in the necessity of the work of the Holy Spirit in conviction of sin, regeneration, and sanctification, as well as in ministry and worship.
- We believe that the true Church is composed of only those persons who through saving faith in Jesus Christ have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and are united together in the body of Christ of which he is Head.
- We believe in the resurrection of the body; the judgment of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; the eternal blessedness of believers in Christ; and the everlasting, conscious punishment of unbelievers.
- We believe in the imminent personal and visible return of our Lord Jesus Christ in glory.
- We believe that Christ commanded the Church to go into the entire world and to make disciples of all peoples, baptizing and teaching those who believe.
Liberty to the Captives (LTTC), by Dr. Mark Durie, presents a respectful, well-researched, and clear understanding of what is involved when a Muslim chooses to leave Islam to follow Christ.
Many have testified of the freedom they found upon learning and applying the practical LTTC principles. This includes: overcoming fear, anger and deception; learning how to forgive; breakthroughs in marriages and relationships; bonding with Christ Jesus; increased love for Muslims; an ease in sharing Jesus’ gospel of peace with Muslims.
The LTTC book, study guide, audio book and 35 video segments are available for purchase online, and are also now available in several languages on https://luke4-18.com/.
Whether you are a believer from a Christian or Muslim background, you will find this teaching—and especially the prayers—of great value.
Who do you say I am? Contrasts the Christian Jesus with the Muslim Isa.
Ali, Ayan Hirsi. (2007). Infidel. New York: Simon & Schuster. A former Muslim, and now atheist, Ms. Ali provides frank insight into the Islam she experienced and left.
Durie, Mark. (2010). The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude and Freedom. Melbourne: Deror. Clear, well-researched introduction to Islam, and explanation of the dhimma pact for non-Muslims.
Durie, Mark. (2014, with study guide). Which God? Melbourne: Deror. Reasons to challenge the claim that the God of the Bible is the same deity worshipped by Muslims.
Nickel, Gordon. (2014). The Gentle Answer: to the Muslim Accusation of Biblical Falsification. Calgary: Bruton Gate. Respectful, thorough response to Kairanwi’s 1864, Izhar al-haqq (Kairanwi’s book continues to be widely distributed today).
Qureshi, Nabeel. (2014). Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. Nabeel’s heartfelt account of his own discovery of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Excellent college-level courses by i2 Ministries, at Mission Muslim World University. Available for anyone, but especially designed for small group study.
Durie, Mark. (2018). The Qur’an and Its Biblical Reflexes: Investigations into the Genesis of a Religion. London: Lexington. This scholarly work sets aside the traditional story of the life of Muhammad and inquires into the internal history of the text itself—unpacking the Qur’anic theology of prophecy, covenant, warfare, divine presence, and more.
Greenham, Ant; Ibrahim, Ayman (Editors). (2018). Muslim Conversions to Christ: A Critique of Insider Movements in Islamic Contexts. A solid academic rejoinder to what some missiologists promote. Here is learning from former Muslims and Middle Eastern scholars that Muhammad is not a biblical prophet and that the Qur’an is not a scriptural guide for Muslims after their conversion.
Little, Don. (2015). Effective Discipling in Muslim Communities: Scripture, History and Seasoned Practices. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press. Dr. Little addresses the key challenges involved in making disciples among former Muslims, including suffering, spiritual warfare and persecution.
Do you have any prayer requests for us to lift to the Lord?