Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Interview with Terry McIntosh
I'm going to start interviewing people on this blog that I think are doing interesting things around the world or have a unique perspective that both believers and seekers need to hear. My first interview is with Terry McIntosh, a man that has lived and worked in the West Bank and is responsible for leading a great number of Palestinian Muslims to Christ. There's probably no other person on earth that can make such a claim. I found his answers fascinating.
Q. You are best known for starting the Jesus House of Prayer located in Jericho, which is Palestinian territory in the West Bank. How did you start the Jesus House of Prayer and what kind of spiritual impact has the Jesus House of Prayer had on the Palestinian people?
A. Initially, we hosted a first ever Christian parade through the streets of Jericho in May 1996 under armed guard to discourage interference from Islamic extremists. We followed up by opening the Jesus House on Sept. 27, 1996 in the midst of armed conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. The people welcomed us with open arms to the dismay of radical elements. Palestinian First Lady Suha Arafat gave us her personal blessings. Her involvement encouraged further police and military protection, which we needed in the beginning, and all that by the hand of God to His glory. The Jesus House ministry expanded tremendously in 2002 during a national crisis when I was, by God's direction and grace, permitted to go on Islamic TV to call both Israel and Palestine to repentance through Jesus Christ. This was an unprecedented event in Islamic history, and drew wide attention. As a result, so many people came to hear about Jesus that overflow crowds had to sit outside as we preached the gospel. Numbers grew so large that we were forced to go to home groups in order to minister on a more intimate basis. Radicals kept trying to destroy the ministry, but the Lord broke down spiritual walls, and today there are as many as five other Christian based ministries operating in Jericho. The city is wide open to the gospel. Regarding the Jesus House, we have turned responsibility over to local Arab ministers.
Q. What led you to start a ministry directed towards the Palestinian people?
A. The better question is "Who" led us to launch out in the West Bank. Of course, that was Christ. He did so in a directional dream vision that I could not excuse. It was the right time in God's plan for the Palestinian people.
Q. What were some of the challenges that you faced living in Jericho as a missionary to the Palestinian people?
A. We were challenged on all fronts by both Islam and Christianity. Hamas called for my death, threatened ministry partners, and persecuted believers. Orthodox Christians warned us to stop baptizing "Muslims." Some within Israel's Christian Zionist movement condemned our efforts, and accused me of having made deals with Yasser Arafat and devils. They could not understand how we did what we did without compromise. It was widely proclaimed within those circles that I did not preach the real gospel, but only hosted a meeting place for Muslims to socialize. They accused us of being antisemitic and missed a great move of God. Outright lies were perpetrated against us by some Christians in their zeal to put Israel first and squash a Godly move among Palestinians. We were truly between bullets, so to say, naturally and spiritually.
Q. How has your ministry been received back in the U.S., particularly among Charismatic Christians?
A. For the most part, we have been ignored. Christian giants like CBN and TBN knew about us, but refused to focus public attention on the situation for the purpose of prayer and helps. They left us to swim or sink all on our own. To God's glory, we survived, and no man can claim any credit for what has happened in Jericho. We are eternally thankful for those few who did stand with us during those critical times. Otherwise, some effort was made to discredit us by some Christian Zionists. It was reported in the Jerusalem Post that I had abandoned the work in Jericho during the second Intifada. That was a blow to ego, but an outright lie intended to further diminish the work we were doing. It was during the 2nd Intifada that I was featured on Islamic TV and radio as the ministry grew in large numbers. The ICEJ had to change their on line report about it as the Lord could not be stopped by any well oiled propaganda machine. The Zionists support certain people in Jericho now, and the gospel is preached from whatever motive.
Q. Tell me about your book Between Bullets.
A. Between Bullets is a compilation of emails and notes documenting all the glories and hardships we experienced in tearing down that Islamic stronghold. It was thrown together for the sake of posterity rather than a fundraiser. I did it to honor the Lord for his goodness, and to maintain accuracy. It is available on line at amazon.com and other outlets.
Q. Lastly, what is the best advice you can give for Christians that want to share their faith with Muslims, but are either afraid or don't know where to start?
A. The first requirement is to truly love the person, and not fear the religion. Aside from the basics of Christian love, it is important to lead and not be led in conversation. There are specific issues that every Muslim faces on the path to freedom in Christ, and they must be addressed accurately. We can aid anyone who is serious about learning how to do that. It is not difficult.