"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Escape from Hamas: A Christ Honoring Story

On Saturday night, January 3, 2009, Rachelle and I watched the FOX News Special Report entitled Escape from Hamas. You may see the FOX broadcast in six YouTube videos already posted on the web. This documentary focused on the extraordinary conversion to Christianity of Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son Sheikh Hassan Yousef, the founder of Hamas. It seems that Yousef (he prefers to be called "Joseph") was led to examine Christianity by a Christian tourist in Jerusalem who took the time to witness to him. Joseph's account on FOX of how he came to faith in Christ, his bold and direct denunciation of Islam and the violence associated with the Koran, and his desire to see his Muslim brothers come to faith in Christ made for extraordinary must see T.V.

A short video about Joseph can be seen here. FOX reported that Joseph's Christian friends are from Barabbas Road Church in LaJolla, California. Barrabas Road is a Southern Baptist Church, and the pastor of Barrabas, Matt Smith, baptized Yousef in the Pacific Ocean. Baptist Press has already issued a feature story on Joseph's life and conversion. Barabbas Road is now assisting Joseph as he seeks to obtain political asylum in the United States. Our church, Emmanuel Baptist Church, has invited Joseph to come to Oklahoma, and we are now working out the details for his visit.

On this Lord's Day, I am grateful for Southern Baptists and the strong evangelistic emphasis in churches like Barabbas Road. Though we as a Convention have made many mistakes, there are some things that we Southern Baptists do very well, particularly missions and evangelism. We understand that what will ultimately change the world for the better is the tranforming power of Jesus Christ - experienced one life at a time. There is a death sentence on Joseph, issued by Al Qaeda, but we believe that God has purposed to use Joseph to lead millions of Muslims to faith in Jesus Christ through his testimony.

Joseph, we are praying for you.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


Anonymous said...

I hope Joseph finds peace in Christianity. May the God the Merciful direct his steps.

'If they seek peace, then seek you peace. And trust in God for He is the One that heareth and knoweth all things.' [8:61]

Justa Believer said...

I don't know about finding peace in Christianity, but it is certainly found in Christ, and could never be found in Islam.

Alyce Faulkner said...

Mackey and I watched this too.
How wonderful, God's arm is not short and how marvelous He rescued this young man.
Let us know when he comes, perhaps we can make it.

Bob Cleveland said...

"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile." (Romans 1:16, NIV)

The Book really does mean what it says, doesn't it?

Bryan Riley said...

God is most worthy to be praised!

Anonymous said...


“They (Moslems) await the day of judgement when God will give each man his due after raising him up.

Consequently, they prize the moral life, and give worship to God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting. …

Although in the course of centuries, many hostilities have arisen between Moslems and Christians, all are to forget the past and strive for mutual understanding, foster social justice, moral values, peace and freedom.”

Anonymous said...

One hopes that 'Yousef' becomes 'Joseph', he doesn't exchange one kind of extreme fundamentalism for another.

Anonymous said...

Justa Believer said, 'I don't know about finding peace in Christianity, but it is certainly found in Christ. . . ."

You are so right, some in Christianity have forsaken the words and actions of Christ in the Bible. What they replaced Him with has not brought much peace with it.

NativeVermonter said...

If we were truly salt & light, in the deepest sense...there would also be a death sentence on us.

Lin said...

I remember reading about this and thinking what it must be like to have your whole family and even your own people against you for His Name Sake. Even a death sentence. I praise God he has a new family.

Dr. Mike Kear said...

Wonderful! What an uplifting testimony to the power of God's grace and glory!

Anonymous said...

Man, these stories give me such a lift. Thank you so much Wade for pointing this story out.

This stories make me so proud to be serving Him through international missions.

Let me also apologize to you, Wade, for getting into the mud a little with some nonsense in the comment section in the previous posts.

I became too aggravated when I felt I had to defend silly attacks on good folks like Benji, Bob, and Darby as they were dragged into the mud also. Some comments were only meant to entice anger from others and I fell into it.

This new post makes all things new! :)

One other quick thought. Someone said previously about reporting stories instead of numbers. This probably wouldn't fly but I would sure vote for it.

Not only am I so encouraged by sharing stories I am a part of, I also love reading or hearing others stories.

Soli Deo Gloria!


Anonymous said...

Many Bible stories and Biblical history are repeated in the Koran. The Jewish Torah, the first five books in the Bible, is considered to be a definitive law in the Islamic faith. The Koran includes from the Bible the creation story, Adam and Eve’s fall, Cain and Abel, Noah and the flood, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon and many other Biblical stories and events. Of the twenty-seven prophets mentioned in the Koran exclusive of Muhammed, twenty-two are from the Old Testament including Adam, Noah, Abraham and Moses. Three are from the New Testament; John the Baptist, his father Zechariah and Jesus. In addition to stories, events and individuals many concepts were taken from Jewish sources and incorporated into the Koran. These include Hell, Satan, redemption, resurrection, a time of judgment and paradise.

Anonymous said...

The Abrahamic Faiths:
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Among the major world religions, three are very closely related in their origins, beliefs, and revealed books, or holy scriptures.

They are also closely related in their moral and ethical beliefs, as well as their views of the individual and social life.

They are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Their followers are called Jews, Christians, and Muslims, respectively.

Jews, Christians, and Muslims are all monotheists, which means they believe in a one God. However, the three faiths do differ in important aspects of their beliefs.

Historically, relations among the followers of these faith groups include both conflict and cooperation.
In modern times, adherents of the Abrahamic religions sometimes act as enemies.
At other times, in essence, they appear like squabbling children of a single parent, who are in fact capable of reaching understanding and living in peace together.

The combined three Abrahamic faiths comprise the largest percentage of the world's religions.

Anonymous said...

From the Q'uran:

Behold! the angels said "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ (Messiah) Jesus the son of Mary held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah.

"He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity and he shall be (of the company) of the righteous."

She said: "O my lord! how shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?" He said: "Even so: Allah createth what He willeth; when He hath decreed a plan He but saith to it `Be' and it is!

"And Allah will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel.

"And (appoint him) an Apostle to the Children of Israel (with this message): I have come to you with a sign from your Lord in that I make for you out of clay as it were the figure of a bird and breathe into it and it becomes a bird by Allah's leave; and I heal those born blind and the lepers and I quicken the dead by Allah's leave; and I declare to you what ye eat and what ye store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if ye did believe."

Yousef believed in Christ as a prophet of Allah before
'Joseph' believed in Christ the Son of God.

debbiekaufman said...

I saw the rebroadcast of this story which was two hours. It reminded me of the conversion of the Apostle Paul. I thought to myself that this is how God works. It's how salvation is brought about. This is a great example in that we never know who God is going to save, which is why it is so important to pray and give everyone the gospel.

Anonymous said...


Excellent post and insightful commentary about the SBC. That's why our church is in the SBC.


Anonymous said...

Don't look to FOX news for truth:

"Back in December of 1996, Jane Akre and her husband, Steve Wilson, were hired by FOX as a part of the Fox “Investigators” team at WTVT in Tampa Bay, Florida. In 1997 the team began work on a story about bovine growth hormone (BGH), a controversial substance manufactured by Monsanto Corporation. The couple produced a four-part series revealing that there were many health risks related to BGH and that Florida supermarket chains did little to avoid selling milk from cows treated with the hormone, despite assuring customers otherwise.

According to Akre and Wilson, the station was initially very excited about the series. But within a week, Fox executives and their attorneys wanted the reporters to use statements from Monsanto representatives that the reporters knew were false and to make other revisions to the story that were in direct conflict with the facts. Fox editors then tried to force Akre and Wilson to continue to produce the distorted story. When they refused and threatened to report Fox's actions to the FCC, they were both fired.(Project Censored #12 1997)

Akre and Wilson sued the Fox station and on August 18, 2000, a Florida jury unanimously decided that Akre was wrongfully fired by Fox Television when she refused to broadcast (in the jury's words) “a false, distorted or slanted story” about the widespread use of BGH in dairy cows. They further maintained that she deserved protection under Florida's whistle blower law. Akre was awarded a $425,000 settlement. Inexplicably, however, the court decided that Steve Wilson, her partner in the case, was ruled not wronged by the same actions taken by FOX.

FOX appealed the case, and on February 14, 2003 the Florida Second District Court of Appeals unanimously overturned the settlement awarded to Akre. The Court held that Akre’s threat to report the station’s actions to the FCC did not deserve protection under Florida’s whistle blower statute, because Florida’s whistle blower law states that an employer must violate an adopted “law, rule, or regulation." In a stunningly narrow interpretation of FCC rules, the Florida Appeals court claimed that the FCC policy against falsification of the news does not rise to the level of a "law, rule, or regulation," it was simply a "policy." Therefore, it is up to the station whether or not it wants to report honestly.

During their appeal, FOX asserted that there are no written rules against distorting news in the media. They argued that, under the First Amendment, broadcasters have the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on public airwaves. Fox attorneys did not dispute Akre’s claim that they pressured her to broadcast a false story, they simply maintained that it was their right to do so. After the appeal verdict WTVT general manager Bob Linger commented, “It’s vindication for WTVT, and we’re very pleased… It’s the case we’ve been making for two years. She never had a legal claim.”

Sometimes the messenger spins what they think will make them wealthier or bring in a wider audience.
Don't brag about seeing something on FOX news.

Anonymous said...

Similar--but closer to home: http://www.baptiststandard.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8237&Itemid=53 (and available to speak).

Anonymous said...

Barack Obama said, "Don't brag about seeing something on FOX news."

Let me guess Obama, we should go to the "unbiased" CNN for news, right?

Seriously though, you would never hear this story on CNN.

Why? Because it mentions "God" and "Christians".

Anonymous said...

CNN? Try watching it.
At least CNN never went to court to get legal okays to lie to the public and call it 'news'.

Choose a 'messenger' with integrity or you never know what you getting.

CNN's "God’s Christian Warriors"
First aired: August 23, 2007
In God’s Christian Warriors, Amanpour reports on evangelicals trying to influence American politics and society from a faith-based perspective. The report covers Rev. Jerry Falwell, and his organization, the Moral Majority. The report contains Falwell's last interview, conducted with Amanpour just one week before his death. Amanpour also traveled from Washington State to Washington, D.C., meeting conservative Christians engaged on the front lines of a battle against what they see as a faithless, valueless popular culture that has turned away from its Biblical roots.

God’s Christian Warriors was filmed in the United States.

Anonymous said...

You REALLY want to find out what is going on?

Watch C-SPAN channels.
Then do your OWN thinking, if you can.

Americans used to, you know.

Anonymous said...


FOX News may or may not be biased depending on who you ask, but if you seriously think CNN is NOT biased you are the only one.

Literally, the only one.

Congrats on your recent victory and please cut spending and lower taxes like you said you were going to do.

Or was that a lie too?

Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...


You must be one of Patterson's Pals. You all get pretty well, don't you? And, it's tax exempt?
What are YOU worried about?

Steve said...

Hallelujah! One more makes it out!

Anonymous said...

Christianity and the New Anti-Muslim Crusade

As for the Arabs and Muslims more generally, Evans seems to suggest that the Christian God desires that they be humiliated, subjugated and crushed. Thus, he quotes the Bible as saying that while God specially blessed Isaac and his descendants, the Jews, he had a different plan in mind for the Arabs, descendants of Ishmael, Abraham's other son. Referring to Ishmael Evans quotes the Bible as saying, 'He will be a wild man; His hand shall be against every man and every man's hand against him'. This racist stereotype, so deeply rooted in traditional Christian discourse about Muslims, is held by Evans to be what he calls 'a fitting description of the Arab terrorist' and, presumably, as justifying the annihilation of the Arab people, as well as other Muslims. Evans goes so far in vilifying Arabs and Muslims as to call Muhammad a proto-terrorist, alleging that he had banished and killed Jews for not believing in him. 'Terrorism', he claims, is a logical consequence of Islam, and he argues that 'Muhammad set a sordid example for his present-day disciples, the Qadafis, Khomeinis, Arafats and bin Ladens and Husseins of this world'. Claiming knowledge of the unseen, he even announces that Islam is 'a malevolent manifestation of a religion conceived in the pit of hell'.

Anonymous said...


To me, Islam is an amalgam of virtues that guides my interactions with the world. I know deep down, as I have read and been taught by the Holy Qur’an, the teachings of the Prophet (PBUH), that it is good to give, to empathize, to be patient, to be compassionate. These virtues do not have ineffable meaning, but offer a sense of morality – a way to be, and a way to behave, as a member of the human family.

Looking back, I learned how to be a Muslim at an early age – not as something separate from daily life, but as something intrinsic to it. I think of my parents’ warmth and love; how they helped me, my brother and sister learn to share; and how they taught us to value honesty, humility, charity, and forgiveness. Now a mother myself, I know in my heart that meaning is being made when my children raise their arms for a hug; when we give of ourselves to those less fortunate; when we are reminded, during Ramadan, of the hunger and thirst of those in need.

I cherish these experiences not only because they make me a better Muslim, but because they make me a better person – more grateful, more connected, more aware. And yes, I offer my thanks to God on a prayer mat facing Mecca. But I hope that readers seeking to understand “the true meaning of Islam” will not only focus on how Muslims worship but also on who we are: mothers, fathers, spouses, students, neighbors, friends. People who smile with pride at their child’s first step; laugh with friends over the old times; worry about exam results; cry at the sight of our children in pain. People just like you.

Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan"