Thousands of refugees from Syria–as well as Iran, Afghanistan, and other Islamic countries–have been pouring into Europe, creating big problems and provoking all kinds of controversy. But many of these Islamic refugees have been converting to Christianity.
Some Europeans are skeptical, thinking the conversions are simply a facade to get asylum. Religious beliefs aren’t supposed to be factors in immigration decisions, but a Muslim who converts to Christianity can make a good claim that deportation would mean a death sentence. But taking that step, for a Muslim–publicly renouncing Islam and becoming Baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–would surely be existentially difficult unless it is sincere.
And 90% of the newly baptized keep coming to church, unlike much of the nominally Christian populations. Perhaps this will be a way of revitalizing European Christianity! After the jump, an Associated Press story on the subject.
UPDATE: The “priest” Gottfried Martens referred to in the article is actually a pastor in the SELK church, a confessional denomination unaffiliated with the state church that is in fellowship with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Thanks to commenter Bror Erickson for that information. And to sapling_Alex for pointing out that these Lutherans are taking the lead in refugee evangelism. I would also add a reminder to the discussion about immigration that “Islam” is not a race but a religion, so that when Muslims convert to Christianity they are no longer Muslims.