The first three chapters describe the author’s research method and the purpose of the study. Garrison describes the world of Islam as an historical Dar al-Islam (House of Islam in Arabic), using the same designation of Muslims for their invisible religious empire from West Africa to Indonesia (6). Then the journey begins. Chapter-by-chapter Garrison walks the reader through the nine rooms of the House of Islam, from Indo-Malaysia through Persia and ending up in the Arab room. Each house provides case studies of Muslim movements to Jesus. These case studies are based on his personal interviews and are filled with stories and testimonies of the work of God in the House of Islam. Garrison’s final analysis identifies 82 movements from the 19-21st centuries with one remarkable pattern. 84% of these movements occurred in the first 12 years of the 21st century! So God is doing something in the House of Islam that he has never done before. More Muslims than ever are turning to Jesus, in these days.
The last three chapters of the book provide the practical applications we’ve come to expect from David Garrison. He answers the “So what?” question within the context of the mission of God to be known by all peoples. By observing how God is at work among Muslims, perhaps we can position ourselves to be better used by God to fulfill his Great Commission. This is the essence of the book. Review what God has done. Watch what he is now doing in an unprecedented way. Learn how he is doing it and live, work, and minister accordingly.
A Wind in the House of Islam has something for all types of readers. Students of history will enjoy the journey. Missiologists will engage the analysis and test the author’s conclusions. Practitioners will mine the case studies and faithful readers will be amazed and inspired by the transformational work of the spirit of God Himself. Can you hear it? The wind of the Spirit of God . . . blowing through Dar al-Islam?
In the book, Shenk lays out twelve paths or principles, each presented in a chapter, for engaging Muslims. Reflecting much on his five-decade journey of loving and commending Christ to Muslims, Shenk’s book conveys much of this wisdom to Christ followers desiring to engage Muslims in the 21st century. In this brief review, I would like to highlight four themes that particularly struck me and seem instructive for the church today…
In answer to this question, therefore, we can never get away from the contrast between the lives of Jesus and Muhammad. One of the temptations during the 40 days in the wilderness (‘all the kingdoms of the world in their glory … I will give you, if you will only fall down and do me homage.’ (Matt 4:8-9 REB) may have been the temptation to seek political power. But if the kingdom of God, the kingly rule of God, means anything, it can’t simply be about me and my relationship with God. Jesus said to Pilate ‘My kingdom does not belong to this world’ (John 18:30). But if his followers are called to be salt and light in the world, how are the values of the kingdom to be expressed in communities and in society as a whole? If we are critical of the political agendas of some Muslims, we dare not abandon the public sphere to secularists and Muslims. Christians must have a clear vision of the kind of just and caring society we want to live in. And this must have something to do with public life and politics.
Religious ceremonies affect home life very much and therefore involve women particularly. Even Muslim families unaccustomed to practicing daily prayers and other religious duties will celebrate Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha just as Christians celebrate Christmas and Easter. They are social as well as religious occasions. Muslims and Christians generally show considerable interest in each other’s festivals. These festivals and the interest they generate can be bridges for understanding and communication between the communities.