THE HEAD OF THE SNAKE
Both Christian and non-Christian foreign workers call it "hell", not referring to the temperature. Some Arab Christians call it The Head of the Snake, referring to its worldwide financing of Islam and to the location of Mecca, Islam's capital city. Many Western governments call it their friend because the "friend" holds the leading amount of oil reserves in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, the country without a church building do we excuse them with some interpretation of Bible prophecy, or do we consider Saudis as part of our Great Commission to go to all the world?
David Rundell, former U.S. State Department human rights reporting officer, reported that the Saudi government has signed many statements and agreements over the years regarding religious freedom, such as UN and international human rights conventions. State Department officials have even reminded the Saudi government of their pledge to practice religious toleration to everyone, including Americans. Still no worship of anything other than the Muslim god Allah is permitted. Even on large oil compounds of 20,000 foreign workers, no church building is permitted. A cross may not be erected door painted on a building. In Saudi towns and cities, Islamic religious police called "motto" search for any kind of Christian activity, opening the doors of houses if more than a few cars are parked outside. Christian ministries that have written about specific Christian activities in Saudi have caused problems for believers there. The Saudi government does not bend to religious pressure from the outside.
Once a ministry publication in the West glowingly referred to the "Seminary in the Desert" that exists there using a figurative term for secret Christian teaching across the nations. No formal "seminary" actually exists, but VOM has been told by guest workers that many Christians were arrested, beaten, and tortured by Saudi police who were looking for the seminary. Ministries publicizing Christian activity there should use extreme caution.
Some churches in America present the lovely (but erroneous) picture that we all worship the same God. This is an easy concept to present unrighteousness under an umbrella of political and spiritual freedom. We have heard that in California a Christian church has been built with a connecting Muslim mosque to demonstrate the unity and brotherhood of faiths. Yet it has been published that in Saudi Arabia, the headquarters of Islam there is a prize of $10,000 given by the government to anyone who discovers a house church.
Just as some Americans allowed themselves to be fooled by the smiling Communist dictator Joseph Stalin - who murdered and starved millions of Cossacks, Tatars, Kulaks, Ukrainians, Russians, and others - so some of us choose to be fooled by a meek, quite Islam. Don't ask a Christian in the U.S. his opinion of Islam. Don't merely observe a Muslim family living in open America. Don't simply ask a Christian scholar who His as "researched" Islam. Ask a few dozen Egyptian, Indonesian, Iranian, or other Christians who have lived under Islam if Christianity and Islam are one.
The bookPrincess, by Jean P. Sasson, illustrates the life of woman in a Muslim nation. Although the main character in the story, Sultana, does not blame the Muslim faith for the lowly position of woman in their society, study of the Koran refutes such sentiments. Sultana states: "the history of our woman is buried behind the black veil of secrecy. Neither our births nor our deaths are made official in any public record. Although births of male children are documented in family or tribal records, none are maintained anywhere for females. The common emotion expressed of the birth of a female is either sorrow or shame." AlthoughPrincessis not a Christian book, it does present a good picture of life in a Muslim nation, especially for women. See the Resource section for details on ordering a copy.
GOD IS AT WORK
At the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, a group of Middle Eastern Christians distributed a cassette tape with Arabic music and a presentation in Arabic about Jesus entitled "Greater Than a Man". The tape addressed such Muslim questions as: Who is Jesus? Did God die? Does God eat and drink? and others. Athletes from many Arabic speaking nations accepted the tape as a free gift for their Olympic participation. Over one thousand Arabic speaking people received this tape of hope to take home to their nation. Gifts from our readers financed these tapes. A mosque in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, denounced this "infiltration" and their government imposed a penalty for this tape if it 3as not turned in. So now on the streets of Jidda, many more people are curious and ask about the tape. Muslims are hungry for a loving forgiving Father.
LOVE FOR THE MUSLIMS
We are not promoting a "hate campaign" for Muslims. We love them just as Pastor Richard Wumbrand loves the Communists who persecuted him in fourteen years of prison yet he despises communism.
In the "hell" that some call Saudi Arabia, Christ is forming His Church. Not a church with a cross on the outside but one with a cross taken up and engraved on the hearts of its members. Two of our best workers in Asian underground churches had been convened in an underground service in Saudi Arabia. Out of the refining fire of persecution comes the gold of dedicated saints who risk all for Jesus.
Christian videos are very powerful tools in Saudi Arabia. Many Muslims, without fear of being seen with a Westerner, watch these videos over and over, and invite their families to see a Jesus not presented in the Koran. Worldwide. Christianity grows faster than Islam in actual conversions. Islam grows faster due to birth rate, but the New Birth-being born again into God 's family is an incomparable opportunity. Followers of Islam, like in other systems, labor under a heavy load of sin, trying to balance their bad deeds with good deeds.
Muslims teach that there are actual scales at Judgement entrance to heaven or hell. We thank God for the blood of Jesus Christ our Savior who has torn the veil of legalism with His grace and forgiveness and provided for our entrance to eternity. We are not chained by religious rules. In Jesus Christ we have already been judged and found not guilty. The most beautiful reality that Christianity presents is the present and eternal freedom we have, regardless of our external circumstances. Freedom in Christ our hope of glory;