Rev. Mateen Elass was born to a Syrian father and an American mother, spending his childhood in Saudi Arabia. While attending Stanford University, he began seeking other religions. After studying under a mystic in India, he encountered some Christians who led him to find Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
In addition to a PhD in New Testament, Rev. Elass is an Islamic scholar and has served as a pastor in Iowa, Colorado Springs, and Warrenville, IL. He now serves as a pastor in Edmond, Oklahoma.
“God has opened a new window of supernatural work among the Muslim people.” In fact, more Muslims have come to Christ in the last forty years than ever before.
Last December I met a young Muslim who had serious questions about Christianity. We spoke for several hours over lunch about his questions concerning Jesus and the church. One week after our discussion he called me saying that he had made the decision to become a follower of Jesus Christ.
It was shortly after this that he began making his way to Syria to marry his fiancé and bring her back to the U.S. Word got out in his home city that he had become a Christian and, while he was flying to the Middle East, news of his conversion reached his father, who is an Imam in Texas.
His father called the young man’s uncles, and told them, “If you see my son in Damascus, kill him.”
When the young man got to Syria, he married his fiancé in her hometown before bringing her to Damascus to see his family.
The young man went to visit his uncles, not knowing that anyone knew of his recent conversion. Suddenly he was attacked by three of his uncles and a cousin, and was stabbed in the back four times.
Returning to Syria a second time, to take his wife to Lebanon, he was attacked again. This time it was a frontal attack and he was stabbed in the upper chest. Again he was able to flee.
The amazing part of this story is not his narrow escapes from death, but this is a man who had only been a Christian for a short time by the time of the second attack. The call of Christ was so powerful in his life that even these attacks, and the danger of death, did not dissuade him from his faith in Jesus.
He currently remains out of the country, and they are working to get a visa for his wife and return to the U.S. When they do come to America, they will not be able to go back to his former city because he will be blackballed by the Muslims in that community. He will need to start fresh in a new community, probably with a new name.
There are so many Muslims around the world that have been prohibited by their own country or community from hearing the Christian witness of Jesus Christ. They know only what the Quran teaches about Jesus – which is a pale imitation – but they are hungry to hare the real gospel.
This is becoming the present frontier of missions in the church, and one thing is for sure – God is at work in the house of Islam.