“Is this the end of Christianity in the Middle East?”
That was the question the New York Times posed as we watched the rising destruction wrought by the Islamic State (ISIS). That question spurred one broadcaster to go and see for himself.
During several visits to war-torn communities in Iraq, Charles Morris saw firsthand that ISIS is trying to eradicate Christians, their heritage, and their influence. However, he says there’s a much bigger story: amid this intense persecution, God is working wonders.
“When your faith is refined by fire, your faith becomes real. ISIS coming through has almost become a touchstone of people finding faith.”
Morris interviewed dozens of people who, while under the wrath of ISIS, encountered the love of Christ. He says it evokes Joseph’s words to his brothers at the end of Genesis:
“What you meant for evil, God meant for good…” (Genesis 50:20)
“A friend of mine told me the story of a gold dealer that he interviewed who tried to leave (Mosul). He gathered up his gold, millions of dollars of gold, put it in his huge Mercedes, it was just weighed down. He thought he had made it out of Mosul but he got to a checkpoint that was manned by ISIS. They stripped him of his shoes, they threw them out into the night desert. They saw the gold in the car and, of course, they were going to take that. He said,
‘I don’t have any of the gold that I had before and I called myself a Christian. But now, I know I’m a Christian. I may have nothing else but I have Jesus Christ and he’s my Lord and Savior.’
“Those are the kind of stories you’re hearing here.”
Morris shares those stories in his book, Fleeing ISIS, Finding Jesus: The Real Story of God at Work (co-authored by Craig Borlase). He says the Islamic State’s attempts to wipe out Christians are actually sparking what westerners might call a revival.
“Christ is on the move here. A Christian Arab evangelist told me, ‘This is the golden age of Islam.’ I said, ‘What do you mean by that?’ He said, in the last few years, more Muslims have become believers in Jesus than in the prior 1,400 years of Muslim history combined.”
“That’s what’s happening here right now–that’s not what the secular media’s recording and that’s what I’m trying to just get the word out.”
Morris says meeting these persecuted believers brings new meaning to the power and sufficiency of Christ.
“We’ve got it pretty easy in North America. Once you see what the Lord is doing in a place like this, in a combat zone, then you realize maybe He can do something in my heart and in my life as well.”
Charles Morris is an experienced broadcast news reporter, and author of several books, including “Fleeing ISIS, Finding Jesus.” He is speaker and president of Haven Ministries and host of the radio show Haven Today.Fleeing ISIS, finding Jesus