By Elizabeth Prata
For several years now we have been hearing stories of Muslim people in closed Islamic societies claiming to have had a dream of a certain person appearing to them in a white robe, sometimes introducing Himself as Isa, and variously either sharing the Gospel in the dream or saying that someone will soon come to share the Gospel with them. Missionaries have reported many Muslims allegedly coming to faith by this method.
Sadly, even former International Mission Board President David Platt repeated one of these stories in his report to the Board last summer.
Here is a full transcription of David Platt’s missions report to the IMB at the 2018 SBC meeting in June 2018.
|Village in Palestine, 1890s
I explicitly said “full transcription” for a reason you’ll discover below. To read my full transcription, go here. Below is the pertinent section-
Starting at 4:18-
And here’s one fuller story: In one Muslim country in southeast Asia, one of our missionaries was with one of his national partners named Ahmad. It looked like it was about to rain, and Ahmad asked our missionary if he could borrow an old shirt to wear as he rode his motorcycle. He didn’t want to get his new jacket wet. Our missionary handed him a big, white tee shirt. It looked like it was about to rain and as Ahmad got on his motorcycle. He started on his trip though, and indeed it started raining. As many people do, he pulled his motorcycle over under an awning. As he stood there, the owners of the house nearby came out and as was their custom invited him in for tea. He went in and over tea Ahmad thought, ‘I might as well share the Gospel.’ And after he did, he asked the couple ‘Do you want to believe and be baptized?’ Without any hesitation, they said yes. Ahmad was taken back at how quickly they responded. He said, ‘Do you understand what you’re doing? You will probably be shunned by your family for this or even worse?”
“The man said, ‘You don’t understand. I’ve had several dreams over the last three nights. And in each dream a man wearing white has told me he had the way to salvation for my family and me…[interrupted by applause, Platt raises his voice]
“Last night, a man, that man, appeared to me again, and told me a man dressed in white would come to my home the next day telling me the way of salvation. When we saw you standing outside we knew we needed to invite you in and hear whatever you had to say to us.” [rising applause].
“This formerly Muslim couple is now a follower of Isa the Messiah.”
So, if anyone asks you what’s happening at the IMB, you tell them, disciples are being made, churches are being multiplied, and Jesus Christ is being glorified among people who have never even heard his name. Mr. President that is my report on the work of the International Mission Board.
Heavy applause/ standing ovation
I transcribed this from the live video as it was being recorded by someone who was physically present. The transcription published on the IMB website OMITS that Platt had stated that the couple is now following “Isa the Messiah”, instead choosing to transcribe that Platt said the couple is following “the Messiah”. His speech was 6-minutes long and his final story about the man in the white robe began at 4:18. Unlike in past years where the full report is published on Youtube or the IMB site, this year only a recap video is available at the IMB site.
As warm and joyful as it makes any Christian to hear that many are coming to the Messiah, the method of their coming must align with the Bible. Secondly, the Messiah they are coming to must be this same Jesus. (Acts 1:11). Names are important. Count how many times in Acts, a mission-book of the Bible if there ever was one, the word “name” is stated. One must know to whom one is appealing for forgiveness of sins. Isa is not the Messiah.
Isa is a devil.
There are two issues with the Muslim dreams stories, the name and the method. First, let’s examine the issue with the name.
In Islam, Isa is a prophet of Muhammad and a messenger of Allah. In Islam, it is written that “Jesus/Isa” did not die on the cross, but was alive and unconscious, taken down and nursed in a cave.
Although this source says Christians believe ‘Isa died on a cross, and Jews claim they killed him, in reality he was not killed or crucified, and those who said he was crucified lied (An-Nisa’ 4:157). ‘Isa did not die, but ascended to Allah. (An-Nisa’ 4:158) On the day of Resurrection ‘Isa himself will be a witness against Jews and Christians for believing in his death. (An-Nisa’ 4:159).
Muslims teach that “Jesus/Isa” will arrive to break the cross and kill the pigs (Jews and Christians). (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 43, Hadith #656)
His name Isa in the Muslim world is translated Jesus in the English speaking world, but he is not THE Jesus of the Bible. Therefore he is not the real Jesus. Saying that Jesus is Isa is attributing his power to Allah, who is actually satan. Let that sink in. (Luke 12:10).
Defenders of these Muslim dreams and visions say Jesus is doing that in order to make himself known to a people who are already familiar with the name Isa and also because they readily accept supernatural dreams than Westerners. Incidentally, Muslims are not the only culture that accepts the supernatural, especially dreams and apparitions. Why would Jesus not also go to the Native American, the Aboriginal Australian, the Guajiro of Columbia, South America, or the Dene Tha of northwestern Alberta, who all also (among others) involve dreams and visions as part of daily life?
Jesus would never refer to Himself as anything but who He is, certainly He would not introduce himself as Isa, a satanic idol. He has revealed Himself in His word (Hebrews 11:1). I AM WHO I AM, He said. He is not Isa.
Now, let’s examine the issues around the method of his appearing. Would Jesus appear to Muslims and share the Gospel in this way? Or send an emissary in dreams to speak for Him?
Here is Fred Butler from Grace To You with an answer to the question:
Though it should be recognized that God can communicate the Gospel message in any fashion He so chooses, the NT teaching on evangelism involves God proclaiming the Gospel of salvation to the lost world by the means of human preaching, see for example Matthew 28:19-20, Romans 1:16, 10:13-15, and 1 Corinthians 1:21. The Gospel message comes by the preacher who preaches biblical and theological content as contained in Scripture. The recipients hear that message and then respond to it by either rejecting the message or believing in it with a supernaturally produced faith.
If Muslims are having dreams about Jesus who then in turn directs them to salvation, such an activity would seem to have God contradicting what He has clearly ordained in Scripture as the only legitimate means of Gospel evangelism for the Church age.
It is a shame that a well-known person such as David Platt repeated these stories of dreams and visions as credible, and worse, disastrously called Jesus Isa, (which he did, edited IMB transcription notwithstanding).
We so very much want to evangelize and disciple converts to the faith, but we should not be so eager to immediately accept conversion stories of dreams and visions until and unless we compare these methods to the Bible to see if they align.
Here are further links to credible and scriptural essays on the subject.
Gary Gilley: Muslim Dreams and Visions
An Evaluation of Muslim Dreams and Visions of Jesus [Part 1] and
An Evaluation of Muslim Dreams and Visions of Jesus [Part 2]