South Africa Readjusting
Currently, the Muslim population in South Africa is between 600,000 and 800,000. Although that is less than two per cent of the population, the growth and influence of Islam in the country presents both challenges and opportunities.
Islam has a strong influence on certain groups of people in South Africa. One such group is prison inmates. Inmates are looking for forgiveness and a release from guilt and are open to any message of hope. Where the message of Christ is not preached, something will take its place.
Islam is also attractive to poorer, rural, black South Africans. Christianity is sometimes thought of as the “white” religion. Islam brings education and food to the poorest of the poor, which naturally builds a good reputation where such help is desperately needed.
There is a powerful interfaith message in South Africa. Some of this has historical reasons and tries to fill a void created by apartheid and past divisions. So when people hear theological arguments for “oneness” and serving the same creator, the doors to Islam tend to open quickly.
Islam at present is growing faster than Christianity in South Africa, and although this is based on growth by percentage, it should challenge the church. A biblical response to both Islam and to reaching out to the poor and needy will ask the church to do more, and risk more.
* Pray for those who are actively reaching out to Muslims in South Africa. Pray that they will be sensitive to Islamic culture and religious practices during Ramadan, without compromising the truth about Christ Jesus.
* Pray for more Christian chaplains in South African prisons. During Ramadan there is a specific focus on prison ministry, because this is seen as a time where inmates are presented with a clean slate before Allah. Therefore many choose to convert to Islam.
* Most people who live in squatter camps accept Islam as a means to receive food. Pray that these poor and needy people will accept Christ as Saviour, not because of the food they might receive, but because they want a new life in Christ.
* Pray for rural, untrained pastors to have unshakeable faith. We pray the shield of faith will cover pastors’ minds to quench all flaming darts of doubt (Ephesians 6:16; Colossians 2:6–8; 1 Corinthians 2:16).
Posted on Wed, July 24, 2013
by Donna Shiflett