He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the Lord, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him (1 Kings 13:18)

This past June, the summer of 2018, while the Southern Baptists were flagellating themselves over race relations, misogyny, and having Vice President Pence speak at their convention, David Platt gave a missions report to the IMB. The highlight, when the audience erupted in thunderous applause, is when he told of how Muslims are having spiritual dreams that allegedly bring them to salvation.

Here’s the transcript: David Platt’s Report to the IMB

The story Platt recounts tells how a Muslim man had a dream over the course of three nights of a man wearing white who told him he knew the way to salvation for his family. The Muslim man then encountered some SBC missionaries the next day, and as Platt states,

“The man said, ‘You don’t understand. I’ve had several dreams over the last three nights. And in each dream a man wearing white has told me he had the way to salvation for my family and me… Last night, a man, that man, appeared to me again, and told me a man dressed in white would come to my home the next day telling me the way of salvation. When we saw you standing outside we knew we needed to invite you in and hear whatever you had to say to us.This formerly Muslim couple is now a follower of Isa the Messiah!”

When GTY hosted the Strange Fire conference back in 2013, attendees were given the opportunity to write out questions for the presenters to answer during the Q&A times. One of the frequently asked questions was about the alleged reports of Muslims all across Islamic countries who were coming to faith in Christ after having a dream about a man in white (or in some cases, Jesus Himself) directing them to a missionary who presents the Gospel.

Most of the stories originate among charismatic oriented ministries whose theology accommodates extra-biblical revelation via dreams and prophecy. However, they have in recent years spilled over into non-charismatic circles.There, the stories are excitedly retold by folks like David Platt to the SBC.

Those dream testimonies are offered as evidence that God is actively working among Muslims in Islamic nations where Christianity is strongly opposed or completely outlawed and where Christian missionaries are in grave danger with the threat of death. But are those dreams legit? What is a biblically-minded Christian to think of them? Is God really bringing revival to Islamic lands in this fantastic manner, outside the means He ordained to bring the Gospel?

Thoughts to Consider

As one who considers himself a robust supernaturalist and thorough going Calvinist, I acknowledge that God is sovereignly powerful enough that He can communicate the Gospel in any fashion He chooses. That stated, however, the New Testament consistently teaches the God-ordained means of proclaiming the Gospel is through human preaching. Consider the following well-known texts.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:21–24, “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.  For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

Similarly, to the saints in Rome Paul writes, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard?  And how will they hear without a preacher?  How will they preach unless they are sent?  Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things’” (Romans 10:14–15).

Finally, our Lord Jesus Himself clearly stated the approved strategy for spreading the message of salvation just before He ascended to heaven after His resurrection: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19–20).

Those texts indicate that God has ordained the proclaimation of the Gospel message by human preachers who declare biblical and theological truth from Scripture.  Those who hear the message choose either to reject it or to believe it by God’s grace.  If a man in white was directing appearing to Muslims in dreams and visions to direct them to the Gospel, would not God be contradicting what He has clearly ordained in Scripture regarding the legitimate means of Gospel proclamation in this age?

Now, the typical response is that God must be granting those visions because Islam is violently opposed to Christianity. Moreover, virtually no missionary efforts can happen in many of the majority Islamic countries.  It is suggested that God’s only alternative is to offer dreams to individual Muslims who then seek salvation in Him from a Christian.  But that raises the question if whether such a line of reasoning is even valid.  If we trust that God is sovereign over all nations (cf. Acts 17:26) and is the author and finisher of salvation (cf. Hebrews 12:2), then is it biblical to believe He is able to accomplish His will in those Islamic nations according to the ordained means of human preaching?

Suggesting that God must now resort to sending mysterious dreams to Muslims implies God’s power to save certain sinners is curtailed by evil men and His chosen method of evangelism revealed in Scripture now needs adjusting because of the unforeseen problem of radical Islam. That also raises the question, does God only give dreams and visions to Muslims? What about Hindus and Buddhists or other members of world religions that live in countries hostile to Christianity? Or those in China, or North Korea who are are so utterly anti-religious the government kills them? Do people in those closed cultures have similar dreams that bring them to a missionary who gives them the Gospel? Maybe they do, but I am unaware of their stories.

What do Bible-believing Evangelicals like Platt do with Catholics reporting similar events happening with their missionaries? Many Catholics claim Muslims have dreams of a man in white, or in their case, the virign Mary, that supposedly brings the Muslims to encounter priests or missionaries. See HERE for example. That raises the serious question as to why God would reveal Jesus to these individuals only to bring them to a false Gospel.

Folks should also understand that Muslims don’t necessarily have a problem with Jesus. He is a large part of Islam and even has an important role to play in their eschatology according to Islamic theology.  What matters is the right Jesus — the True and Living Jesus who rose from the dead and is the only way to God and who is God Himself, the Second Person of the Trinity. Is that the Jesus Muslims are directed toward when they see the man in white appear in their dreams?  Why would God send dreams to Muslims that only converts them to a false form of Christianity?

If many Muslims are having dreams and vision that bring them to Jesus, why aren’t their immediate cultures changed by their conversion? In other words, I would think that with scores of Muslims having dreams that brings the Gospel to them, there would be an “awakening” of sorts taking place in these hostile places like Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan; but there isn’t really. Where is the visible proof of the revival that should be taking place if Christ is breaking into the hearts and minds Muslim people through their dreams?

Who is Putting God in a Box? 

When I have challenged the narrative of Muslims learning of Christ through dreams, I am often accused of putting God in a box. Why can’t God send Muslims dreams that bring them to Jesus? There is nothing in Scripture forbidding God from working in that way, I am insistently told. But again, the ordained means by which God has established the spread of the Gospel is through preaching, and that was the historic pattern of evangelism throughout the book of Acts. If Christians personally went into hostile pagan cultures during the first century and brought the Gospel by the means of preaching, why can’t the same thing happen now in Islamic countries? Why the need to resort to subjective dreams and visions? How are modern day Islamic cultures (or any anti-Christian culture, for that matter) any more hostile than the pagan ones encountered by first century Christians and then later when missionaries took the Gospel to remote areas like Briton, Norway, and India?

Honestly, I believe this is another clear example of the troubling doctrine I see with charismatic theology. It denudes the authority of God’s written word in the matters of any subject, let alone evangelism. Anything Scripture would seek to address from a divine perspective becomes essentially pointless and non-applicable to a Christian’s life and practice. Because what ever the Word of God may speak to authoritatively is authoritative UNTIL a dream/vision/experience happens along that trumps what God has revealed, and thus canceling what little authority the Word had in the first place.

  1. ThingsToConsider 2 years ago

    I believe your premise is wrong. Ive heard stories of Muslims receiving dreams, both from people I do not know and people I know personally recounting first hand conversations with Muslims.

    I’ve never heard a story or anyone trying to affirm, that the dream itself led them to salvation. Rather, the dream opened their eyes to some aspect of God or salvation that they could not interpret and then we’re led to believers who then preached the Gospel to them which led to salvation. It’s in the same way a number of other things lead to our hearts being opened up to the Gospel, through trial, heartache, and things that show us our frailty and need for God and His salvation. But it’s ultimately the hearing of the Gospel that saved us, not the thing we experience.

    Just because a Muslim has a dream does not mean they will meet a believer, and just because they meet a believer and hear the Gospel does not mean they will accept it. But those who hear, believe and call on the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved. Pray they would be led to believers, or Gods word somehow, hear the Gospel and be saved.

  2. […] The Man in White Appearing in Muslim Dreams – Fred Butler […]

  3. […] The Man in White Appearing in Muslim Dreams – Fred Butler […]

  4. Stephanie 3 years ago

    I just found this article after being interested in the recent debacle with Beth Moore (I agreed with the article featured here – she needs to go home).

    I guess I’m surprised to find that someone who has evidence of the life-change in those Muslim-to-Christian converts, still would deny that having those dreams is reasonable. I don’t think you understand how deeply demonic that religion is, and how they literally grow up being brainwashed into the false religion. It’s just a very different atmosphere than China, in a spiritual darkness/blindness kind of way.

    Yes, evangelism is the main way Christ commanded us to reach people, but it still just doesn’t sit right that you completely write off their testimonies as fraudulent. I get it why people are wary of charismatics, but from my experience, those missionaries that *are* in Muslim-majority countries are in no-way, “charismatic.” I would research into it more, maybe even seek some of those converts out personally, to listen to their testimonies before pre-judging their testimonies as falsehoods. It just doesn’t seem right without actually going out and collecting the evidence and conducting some kind of investigation yourself before coming to such a harsh (and broad) conclusion.

    To be honest, this post kind of discredited this site for me. Obviously I’m sure there are other authors who aren’t so quick to jump to conclusions and assumptions based on their prior biases (this one obviously being against charismatics, and painting *all* missionaries in those areas as falling under that category – something that logic tests should easily prove to be false), but it still had that effect of lowering my respect for a site I was hoping I’d find more to agree with on. Not many Christians are this bold in standing up for biblical teachings like this site was in it’s acknowledgment that Beth Moore is and has been, out of line. So many churches are still fronting her Bible studies, and people treat you like an ogre if you even try to point out her obvious flaws in biblical teachings. It was so refreshing to read, something to be bookmarked for future reading.

    But I am disappointed to read something I’d expect an Atheist to have written (they’re so averse to real investigations, have open biases especially against certain types of Christians, and jump to conclusions without any evidence-based knowledge), concerning these fellow Christians’ testimonies. This author ticks every single point of your run-of-the-mill atheist, and that’s pretty interesting.

    Another point is that I don’t believe you can realistically expect a large-scale revival and cultural change in the Muslim world due to some having these dreams. It would take hundreds of thousands having those dreams, and I’m sure it’s more likely closer to just about 1,000 (covering a very very large area if that) or even less. Dreams like that have a way of seeming bigger than life to those missionaries experiencing people telling them that, it’d be interesting to see just how many actually claim that as their prompt toward conversion, and then compare it to the total population to see how common it really is statistically. My guess is that it actually isn’t that common when compared with the total population, which would make sense with the demonic stronghold over that religion in general, and with how you aren’t seeing wide-scale revival.

  5. diana french 3 years ago

    Paul riding to Damascus had an encounter with God outside of human evangelism and sat blind for three days until God sent Ananias whom Paul had seen in a vision. Cornelius saw a vision of an angel who sent him to Peter who shared the gospel. The stories I’ve heard is that while Muslims are encountering a “man in white” in their dreams, they are seeking out Christians who then teach them who the man in white is. While in most Muslim countries, it is not illegal to be a Christian, it is illegal to become one. Governments may imprison a few for their faith but the greatest threat is being murdered by their families and still they come to Jesus. Having conversions this way may be as offensive to our western sensibilities as being told “kill and eat” was to Peter but by their fruit you shall know them. The conversions are genuine — perhaps more genuine that some that have transpired in the less persecuted nations.

  6. […] The Man in White Appearing in Muslim Dreams – Fred Butler […]

  7. Joe 4 years ago

    I know some missionaries in a Muslim country. They are NOT in any way shape or form charismatic. They do frequently report that Muslims tell them they had a dream, which led to them being saved. These people then become grounded in the Bible and start Churches in their homes, at great peril to themselves.
    So, I think it can happen. I don’t understand it though. And I am concerned about those that I know that are Christians and listen to dreams.
    But if something comes to them in a dream, then they can back it up with in context scripture, then I’m fine with it.

  8. Matthew Zmarzley 4 years ago

    Excellent article brother. Thank you for addressing this important topic in the church today. Keep up the great work.

  9. Gabe 4 years ago

    Did you see this response? What do you think of it? http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2018/11/wingnut-cessationism.html

    • Author
      Fredman 4 years ago

      Yes. I am rather hurt Steve would handle my article so dishonestly. I have interacted with him numerous times before on the topics of continuationalism, particularly around and after the Strange Fire conference back in 2013. If you go to my old blog, you can dig up articles that I did responding to a lot of his pedantic assertions regarding my position.

      For example, he writes, “Fred is doing a bait-n-switch. They aren’t converted by revelatory dreams rather than the Gospel. Revelatory dreams don’t take the place of the Gospel. Instead, revelatory dreams make them receptive to the Gospel.”

      I’m sorry, that is just false. Look at my article again. I never claimed once that Platt was saying Muslims are hearing the gospel from an angel. In fact, I was very clear about that. The assertion in these dream encounters is that Muslims have a dream from some “man in white” or “Jesus” who directs them to a missionary or someone who can give them the gospel and then they are converted to Christ. Steve is giving his readers an entirely wrong impression of what I wrote, which is seen in many of their knee-jerk reactions in the comments, and regrettably, none of them will never read the original article.

      He also goes on to assume that Acts is normative for the Christian experience today. IOW, all the outward signs and wonders recorded in Acts like Peter’s jail break, or healing the lame man, or Christ appearing to Paul, etc, is something ALL Christians should expect to have happen among believers today. He had similar views back when I wrote against him a few years ago. Like all sympathizers with charismania, unverifiable stories from out in the back woods of China, or Peru, or in this case Muslim lands, are considered true. What is never explained is why if the Holy Spirit does spectacular signs and wonders in those areas, why not in the US? Why not at the campus of the University of Toronto, or Berkley, among the atheist academics?

      He further asks, “Did miracles in the 1C church instantly transform the Roman Empire?”

      Well, ummm. Yes, they did. Even Acts testifies as much in 17:6. Keep in mind that commenters under Steve’s posts mock me for not doing a Google search (which I did many of) because if I had, I would had discovered that these dream encounters have been going on fo years. YEARS! And still, the conversion of all these Muslims through dream encounters have not had any serious impact on their immediate cultures? After all that time? Christianity rocked the ancient world. That religion was specifically targeted for persecution by the state. But within a century afterward, the world was turning favorably to the Christian faith until it was legalized by Roman. If this revival is happening among Muslims as Steve, and others claim, where is the fruit of it changing their communities?

  10. David 4 years ago

    Run of the mill cessationist argument on this subject …

    “I know the scriptures do not say ___ but here is why ____ is true anyway. Now just go preach the Word (which does not say ___).”


    Try and dance around it if you will but yes you place your God in a box … which limits the sovereignty you claim to promote.

    • Author
      Fredman 4 years ago

      David writes,
      – Try and dance around it if you will but yes you place your God in a box … which limits the sovereignty you claim to promote.-

      Really? Please explain how. For centuries, God sent preaching missionaries to preach the Gospel. They were quite effective in their ministries. Yet now, God can’t do that, because Muslim countries are just too powerful to keep God’s missionaries out, so he has to resort to some external means. How exactly is that NOT putting God in a box?

  11. Everest 4 years ago

    Ok, but… What’s actually going on?

  12. Daniel Rex Hamilton 4 years ago

    It is obvious that it is a different Gospel and is damned. Angels[fallen] appearing in dreams does not line up the good book that Muslims are allowed to read and the Koran tells them to read. Secret peculiar Christians in the neighborhood most likely will lead to other’s conversions or they will be murdered. The Bible says to search the scriptures. Therefore they are converted by reading The Holy Bible.

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