Thursday, June 28

Cracking Open the Muslim World

On this day in 1890, Samuel Zwemer sailed from his homeland in the United States on a Dutch liner called the Obdam. He stopped briefly in Europe to contact the only evangelical missionary group then working among Muslims. Then by train and boat, he headed for Beirut.

He lived, breathed and thought of one thing alone: "cracking open the Muslim world for the Gospel of Christ." He set up presses, under British protection in Cairo. These poured out a continual stream of books to educate Westerners about the need of Islam as well as Arabic language books to share Christ with the Arabs. He authored or co-authored at least 48 books in English, titles such as Arabia, The Cradle of Islam; Childhood in the Moslem World; and The Moslem Doctrine of God.

He often noted that in Islam the tender fatherhood of God was altogether unknown. Printed Christian prayers from his presses were prized by many of the Islamic people he served--it seems that they found them to have more "meat" than their own.

Though Zwemer was able to penetrate the cultural armor of Islam with remarkable grace, the great work he began remained unfulfilled at his death--as it does to this day.

Interestingly, while he was in London at the very beginning of his great life adventure, he bought a copy of Arabia Deserta. Many years later he sold it to T. E. Lawrence. Zwemer's exploits have none of the popular renown of Lawrence of Arabia's, but were, nonetheless, of greater boldness, vision, purpose, and effect.


Sam said...

Dr. Grant,

What titles would you recommend to someone who wants to become better educated about Islam and its history?


gileskirk said...

Sam: There are a host of good new titles available. I recommend the books by Robert Spencer, Bat Ye'or and Craig Winn. There are lots of others that are quite good too--but, these should give you a start. In addition, my own book, Blood of the Moon, as well as the audio recordings of my Breakfast Lectures on Islam are available from Servant Group International.

SamuelRutherford said...

Is "Blood of the Moon" back in print?

Unknown said...

George-I used " Blood of the Moon" while I was in Iraq with my soldiers.
Cracking open the Muslim world is hard but the civil affairs work which our soldiers are doing on their own in country with the help of families back in the States does help to break down the Muslim stereotype of Christians.