Cameroon is often referred to as “Africa in miniature” - everything African can be found here - including various religions!
Growing up, some of my closest friends were Muslims - we lived peaceably then and I had no reason to think it would be otherwise. Not only was I attracted to the Muslim way of life as a youth, I even learned to pray Muslim prayers in Arabic. After my conversion to Christianity at the age of 13 in the 1970s, I continued to maintain relationships with many of my Muslim friends. In talking about how with live with those we may not agree with, Tim Keller wrote, “...tolerance isn’t about having beliefs. It’s how your beliefs lead you to treat people who disagree with you.” St. Augustine said it more succinctly – “Preach and if you must - use words.”
In his book - Operation Crescent Moon, George John said, “...there are more Muslims missionaries in the world than Christian missionaries.” In Nigeria as in other parts of the world, Muslim missionary activity is growing. Operation World says of Nigeria, that special “...efforts are made to win over pagans and backsliding Christians.” This is no different in Cameroon where Muslims are less than 30%, but are growing, largely through social programs. Saudi Arabia is pumping in billions of dollars through social programs. Mosques are springing up everywhere even in places where there are no Muslim population. Where I live in Douala, a new mosque has just been built next door to a struggling church. A missionary friend in Bamenda told me Saudi Arabia made a commitment to build 1,000 mosques in Cameroon in 2013 alone, and did so.
The United States is not free from Muslim missionary efforts. There are more than 1,000 mosques in the US and more than 150 full-time private Muslim schools for children.
In talking about Islam’s “serious and powerful competition for souls” among African Americans, World Magazine (May 11/18, 1996) said, “...for the black community, this new Islam challenge is real. For years we have enjoyed the luxury of our people either choosing our Christianity or going without. This is no longer the case. But hopefully, this new challenge will help us sharpen our weapons, strap on our battle gear and defend the faith like never before.”
Some Hispanic youths in the US are also converting to Islam. These young people say that Islam meets needs in their lives that Christianity does not meet. But, really? These youth do not understand the salvation they are rejecting or the religion they are joining.
Unlike Christians, many Muslims are trained in apologetics at an early age. They are trained in Islamic dogma and how to defend their faith. Sadly, Islamic extremism and pseudo-Christian cults are taking advantage of the high unemployment rate and desperation among young people to recruit adherents. Always, where poverty and despair take root, conflict, instability and violent extremism has a tendency of flourishing.
How should we respond to this trend? What should the “Church” do? Simply put, we must do for the TRUTH, what Muslims and Pseudo-Christian cults are doing for “religion.” Non-religious Christianity is quite different from religion. While religion is about “DOs and DON’Ts, authentic Christianity is about -”DONE.” Like the song writer says “Jesus paid it all....”
It’s been my contention for many years, that, if our message is going to make a decisive impact in Africa and amongst its people, we’d have to preach it not only in words but, to demonstrate it and incarnate it through social actions and concerns and in a compassion kindled at the flame of the charity of Christ.
Missionary statesman, E. Stanley Jones couldn’t have said it better, “An individual gospel without a social gospel is a soul without a body, and a social gospel without an individual gospel is a body without a soul; one is a ghost, the other is a corpse.”
The uniqueness of Bread For Life lies in its ability to see far and in its willingness to combine evangelism with social action - addressing spiritual and physical hunger.
Would you prayerfully consider joining us in doing for the TRUTH what Muslims do for a religion? Your partnership can make a huge difference – be it in church planting; economic and community development; students’ sponsorship; providing seed and farming tools and sponsoring sustainable agricultural and social projects etc. Let us know where your heart is and we will connect you with an area that needs you.