(Virginia Beach, Virginia) — This morning on the Christian Broadcasting Network’s “700 Club,” I was interviewed about what’s happening in the Muslim world since the 1979 Islamic revolution. I spoke about the Iranian nuclear threat to the U.S. and Israel, as well as the good news from Iran — that more than 1 million Shia Muslims there have come to faith in Jesus Christ over the past thirty years. Just before lunch, I spoke to several hundred CBN employees about some of the amazing stories I have personally witnessed of how the God of the Bible is transforming lives throughout the Muslim world, and spreading the message of the gospel throughout the epicenter.
Just after I spoke, I receive an email from a friend in the Middle East with the latest piece of good news from that region. Last week, as you’ll recall, I alerted you to the fact that a major motion picture about the life of the Apostle Paul and how he came to faith in Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus was going to premiere in the Syrian capital. I also asked you to pray that God would bless the showing of the film entitled, Damascus. Let me report that your prayers have been answered. More than 1,000 Syrian political, business, and religious leaders — along with journalists — attended and there is a lot of buzz in the region about the film.
Here are excerpts from an email I just received from one of the film’s producers, that I post with his permission:
- “It is with great joy that I report to you that the Lord, in His love and mercy, accorded us a truly historic event for the premier of Damascus, in the capital city of Syria, Damascus, where it all began 2,000 years ago. The Government took a personal interest in the production of this film, made it very easy for us, and facilitated everything we needed. The invitation for the premiere went all the way to the Presidential palace, which received it with great favor, delegating the responsibility of hosting the premier to the Minister of Culture, and designated that it should be held in the Opera in Damascus….
- “A huge [billboard] was hung in a public place for several weeks leading up to the premiere, literally seen by at least one million people every day….1,135 people attended the premier, so the Opera was…a full house. We were honored by the presence not only of the Minister of Culture, but also of other Cabinet members, very high government officials, and two patriarchs, with a third sending his inaugural speech to be delivered by his assistant.
- “The head of the Synod of the Evangelical churches of Lebanon and Syria sent his speech, to be delivered by his vice-president, who represented him….All the main actors and crew were also present, also the head of the Islamic community sent his inaugural speech, to be delivered by his right-hand man, one of the main Sunni leaders in the country….
- “All the speeches were extremely positive, and all gave honor and glory to God, and also commended the Syrian government for its support of the production of this film, and the potential it has to revive the Christian message, and transform lives, as it happened with Saul on the way to Damascus….We were honored by having with us representatives of the mainstream Christian denominations from all the neighboring countries as well….
- “The film was positively received. In fact, the crowd broke into applause at the opening of the eyes of Saul, at the baptismal scene, and also at the scene when followers of the Way were first called Christians….[Let us give] honor and glory to God and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who still transforms lives, and proclaim that, from this evening on, Paul, as promised by the Lord, will appear before Kings and Presidents and will take the message to all the nations of the world, on the large as well as the small screen….
- “Twelve television stations and all the main newspapers in the country and the Arab world were represented, as part of the press group. Dozens and dozens of people were interviewed before and after the showing. Today, literally the entire Arab world is talking about this premiere and the inaugural showing of Damascus…..The English dubbing was completed…last week, and it should be ready very soon. Other languages are underway: Turkish, Farsi, Russian, Urdu, Hindi, Kurdish, and many others….Thank you so much for praying for the inaugural showing in Damascus. Please continue to pray.”
There is plenty of bad news coming out of the Middle East, including out of Iran. But let us keep in mind that the God of the Bible is faithful. He is on the move. He loves all the people of the epicenter, and His message cannot be thwarted by the kingdoms of mankind. What a message of hope as we head into the Easter season.