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William

John Piper "Suspicious" of Muslim Dreams of Jesus

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Staff

Stories of Muslims coming to faith in Christ because of a vision or dream are not uncommon. In fact, we have reported on such things in the pages of Leadership Journal. Naeem Fazal, pastor of Mosaic Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, shared with us how a vision of Christ was pivotal to his own conversion. While many praise these stories as evidence of God's providence and love for the lost, not everyone is ready to get excited. By "not everyone" I mean John Piper.

 

The Christian Post reported that Piper said, "Jesus coming to [Muslims] in their head, preaching the Gospel to them that they have never heard of before, and believing and being saved… that I am suspicious of… big time."

 

It's not the first time Piper has publicly questioned the validity of such stories. Two Leadership editors attended a talk by Piper at Moody Church in Chicago a few years ago where he also questioned the authenticity of people coming to faith through visions or dreams.

 

What exactly is Piper's problem? He doesn't like the fact that dreams or visions don't utilize a human communicator or preacher. He said:

 

"The Gospel needs to be heard. How shall they believe unless they hear and how shall they hear without a preacher and how shall they preach unless they be sent. That's a pretty significant argument in Romans 10."

 

Piper isn't entirely against the notion of dreams or visions. He cites Cornelius in Acts 10 as legit because he wasn't presented the gospel in the dream, he was merely told to receive Peter who then preached the Good News to him.

 

What do you think of Piper's "big time" suspicion of Muslim claims of coming to faith through dreams and visions? Does it violate Scripture? Is it unbiblical? Does the proclamation of the gospel always require a human agent? And if a mode of conversion isn't found in the New Testament, is it automatically suspect or invalid? (Last I checked no one came to faith in the NT through a track, video, or radio broadcast.)

 

For someone who has built his entire ministry around the sovereignty of God, it does seem odd that Piper would dismiss the possibility of the Spirit using dreams to communicate the gospel and draw people to himself.

 

So, share your thoughts. Does God use dreams and visions in this way? If not, what are we to make of the stories coming from Muslim converts? Are you suspicious like Piper? How should we think about the means of advancing Christ's mission?

 

Source: http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/...-of-jesus.html

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Hi William, I don't believe Piper is Charismatic, but neither is he a Cessationist, so that makes all of this a bit more interesting. I agree that Biblically, "beautiful feet" always go part and parcel with the hearing of the "Good News", EXCEPT in Acts 9:15-19 (where you have to admit that some pretty extraordinary means were employed in St. Paul's conversion).

 

Like Piper, I'd be suspicious of someone who claimed to have had such a conversion, but if their lives demonstrate that their conversion claims are true, that they really are, "new creatures", in Christ, would we not gladly welcome them as Brothers and Sisters in the faith?

 

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Hi William, I don't believe Piper is Charismatic, but neither is he a cessationist, so that makes all of this a bit more interesting. I agree that Biblically, "beautiful feet" always go part and parcel with the delivery of the "Good News", EXCEPT in Acts 9:15-19 (where you have to admit that some pretty extraordinary means were employed in St. Paul's conversion).

 

Like Piper, I'd be suspicious of someone who claimed to have had such a conversion, but if their lives demonstrate that their conversion claims are true, that they really are, "new creatures", in Christ, would we not gladly welcome them as Brothers and Sisters in the faith?

 

John Piper is an anomaly regarding his Calvinist and non cessationist theology. I must admit that I share Piper's reservations... that's all I will say on the subject. It is interesting that you bring up cessationist because I am one, and I keep thinking of Hebrews 1 considering the means by which God spoke in the past through the prophets and now the closing of the canon. However, I'd hate to limit God by my theology, though I submit that there is such thing as personal illumination, I disagree as to whether there is new revelation. I am wary of one that claims he has a vision of Jesus where Jesus spoke to them when they know not the word of God. How can they differentiate between Jesus and the fallen angel that appears as light?

 

God bless,

William

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I think the dreams these people have are perhaps part of their calling to the Gospel- not the Gospel itself. In nations where the Word of God is forbidden, these dreams prompt those called to go and seek the Word. I have a friend (ex-Muslim) who had a similar experience. Eventually he found a Bible, read it, and fled his country to eventually be baptized.

 

In any case, you can't expect God to fit into our preconceptions of how He should do things. While there is no grace outside of word and sacrament, how He leads people to seek those things is a mystery- at least it is to me.

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I don't recall ever reading about a Muslim being told the way of salvation in a dream or vision but I have heard of them receiving dreams leading them to someone who could show them the way of salvation. In this respect their visions are like the one Cornelius experienced.

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@RevT @theophilus You both are right, I can't recall reading about anything other than them being led to someone else who could show them the way of salvation. One story I recalled was of a man that received a dream that the next day someone will tell them about Jesus. A missionary arrived the next day.....

 

God bless,

William

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I think there are people who think that they are very important. They forget that God has been appearing to people who didn't worship from a very long time ago. A good example is Abram the moon worshipper. God didn't choose him because He was good or knew God. He just chose Him. Same way today, God can and does appear to people in dreams to draw them to Him. Whoever says he's suspicious of these dreams like the Jews who thought that they were the only ones God cared about are wrong and should keep their opinions to themselves.

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I think we all have to be cautious when anyone has a dream or apparition or vision to share. The enemy is smart and can easily lead people the wrong way. We always just have to look to scripture. If God's glory is the result as well as a changed life, there may be some validity. I am a natural skeptic so it's hard for me to just hear these kind of stories and believe. It takes proof for me to find any legitimacy in things like this.

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