ST. LOUIS, Mo.- Since war broke out in Iraq, news of intensified violence and brutal killings have been splashed across the front pages of newspapers across the world. But, a Lebanese pastor says the recent developments are nothing compared to the ongoing inner conflict in the Middle East over the last 40 years.
"Israelis raise their kids to hate Palestinians and Palestinians raise their kids to hate Israelis. Until Israelis say 'I forgive you' and until Palestinians say 'I forgive you,' good bye," says Fouad Masri, the president of Crescent Project, a ministry founded to equip Christians to reach out to the Muslim community.
In his speech to students at an Urbana 06 seminar on Thursday, Masri commented on the urgent need for the gospel within Muslim communities and urged students to join missions committees.
"1.2 billion Muslims have never heard of the gospel," he said, noting the fact that people born in the countries within the range of 10/40 window have no chance of hearing the words of Jesus.
Taking Iraq as an example, Masri said the Bible is second on the countryâ€™s list of banned items - only one rank away from pornography. "They have no option," the ministry leader stated. "They have never seen a page of the New Testament."
"The number one television show in Gulf is Desperate Housewives."
Furthermore, Masri said there is a great deal of misunderstanding towards Christians in the Muslim world. "Muslims, from their leaders...they hear wrong information. They are taught Adolph Hitler was a Christian."
Still, Masri said hopes are still high amid what seems to look impossible. "Muslims are coming to America," he pointed out. According to Masri, there are 7 million Muslims in United States alone. "If one percent gets saved, 70,000 are going to be saved."
"They have become your neighbors, they have become your fellow citizens, they have become your classmates! We [even] get a Muslim week! They are here for a reason," he exhorted, emphasizing that Muslims are not in America by chance.
Masri encouraged students to share the gospel with the idea of serving locally and preaching globally. In his seminar, Masri highlighted the importance of students having an evangelist attitude such as:
- Loving (demonstrating compassion)
- Friendly (not arguing; not criticizing)
- Bridging (always sharing gospel with Muslims; being an expert of the gospel)
- Biblical (utilizing the Word of God
Since Wednesday, more than 22,000 college and university students - from all across North America have been gathered in St. Louis, Mo., for Urbana 06- one of the largest gatherings of missions organizations in the world. Sponsored by InterVarsity, the five-day conference features seminars including "Sex-Trafficking, Child Prostitution and the Growing International Trade in Human Flesh," "Call of People of African Descent in the Missionary Enterprise," "How the World Views Americans" and "Theology Through the Lens of AIDS." This year's Urbana is the first to be held in St. Louis in gathering's 60-year history.