Jesus told his followers to “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to everyone.” Mk 16:15 Or in Matthew’s version, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Mt. 28:19.

And there they went for over almost two thousand years facing privation, danger, untold expense, all in fulfillment of the obligation to spread the word and bring in new recruits. They walked their shoes off, crossed oceans, lost lives, were hated by unwelcoming prospects who had “no soliciting” signs posted at their borders, and it was all so unnecessary.

According to a new book by missionary Tom Doyle “Dreams and Visions” Jesus has recently been revealing himself to Muslims through powerful dreams and visions. See a recent Charisma News article.

That’s right, in this book and on a DVD “More than Dreams” there is testimony offered by a number of former Muslims claiming that Jesus came to them in their dreams preaching the gospel, identifying himself as their savior, and claiming them as his own. One of these, Ali (last name reserved since conversion is frowned upon in Muslim nations). It seems that Ali was on his way to Mecca for the annual pilgrimage (the Haj) trying to get free of alcohol when Jesus came to him in his sleep, he touched Ali’s dreaming forehead and said “Now you belong to me.” Then he put his finger on Ali’s dreaming heart and said, “You have been saved, follow me. You belong to me.”

Doyle claims that 80% of Muslim-to-Christian converts changed teams due to heaven-sent dreams.

Other similar anecdotal testimonials are offered to bolster the claim, mostly anonymous. Doyle asserts that this phenomenon is occurring all over the Muslim world, and he has interviewed many who have become Christians by meeting Jesus in their dreams.

Doyle, bolstered by the unbiased testimony of his wife Joanna, knowing how God thinks and plans as do many believers, claims that as the Muslim world is being agitated politically the holy spirit is creating a “spiritual earthquake” and converting many through dreams.

This drivel brings up so many questions that one almost can’t find a starting point. But, here goes, in the spirit that sometimes the most effective method of countering the absurd is with absurdity...
  1. Do we find shades of the Apostle Paul in these stories? Ali “saw” it and “heard” it, although nobody else did. The evidence is that he changed religions. The certainty of a dream’s veracity is directly proportional to the belief response.
  2. Since only some receive these dreams, is there an element of Calvinism involved wherein only the elect are thus privileged to receive them? Why haven’t I received such a REM sleep communication? Am I sleeping to lightly to open my mind’s portal to Jesus? Would Ambien help? Or maybe a good shot of alcohol prior to sleep (it worked for the pre-converted Ali). Have I just been passed over as a broken shard of pottery? Are Hindus also converting from dreams such as these? What about the pre-Columbian Native Americans? Sorry, I forgot that the book of Mormon does indicate that Jesus visited them.
  3. How does one verify such a story? When I was a child, I would frequently wake in terror as I ran and flew from a giant gorilla. Did it really happen? Perhaps the recurrent scenario provides proof. I really did wake up shaking in terror and wet with sweat, obvious physical evidence. I still remember it vividly. It really happened. Trust me.
  4. If Jesus can visit and recruit someone during sleep, couldn’t he do so in the open when he and everyone else is awake to see it? In the manner of Thomas Paine, I would ask, if I am required to believe in Jesus, and some have been given direct communication from him, should not I and all others be provided with the same direct communication? There is an issue of fairness and justice involved.
  5. Is this the “thief in the night” thing?
  6. If this manner of spreading the word is an acceptable method and requires no privation, danger, or expense, why wasn’t it used all along? It was used on Paul wasn’t it. Even Jacob experienced something like this, so we know it works with Jews. Are Israelis getting these dreams and converting?
Was Jesus just pulling their collective legs inciting countless generations to risk life and limb to accomplish that which he could (and purportedly does) effect telepathically? Imagine the economic destruction caused by the completely unnecessary depletion of wealth and lost opportunity. It would make an economist apoplectic. Why would 1000 workers be used to dig a trench when one guy with a Ditch Witch could do it faster, easier, and safer. Is heaven so incompetent that it cannot make the highest and best use of its dream technology?

Doyle invites all Christians to join him in his work for Muslims and to pray that God will bring them all in. Since God is already doing this effectively (note the millions of Muslims converting), it seems rather unnecessary to spend time in prayer trying to convince Him to continue telepathic evangelism. I’m sure that Doyle isn’t looking for donations to help in his efforts to persuade God to keep up the good work. However, if one can turn a belief in God-induced dream conversions into a regular cash flow, why not get an 800 number and a website that takes credit cards? The cause is in service of a commandment from Jesus.

There is another way to look at this claim. These charismatic, fundamentalist, enthusiast, wackjobs might just be delusional. Just my opinion.

For the gullible, you can pre-order Dreams and Visions.

By Bart Willruth