In Pilgrim Cemetery in Holland, MI, the following exhortation is engraved on the Samuel Zwemer family headstone: My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it. These words, taken from John Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress, were spoken by Mr. Valiant for Truth and exhorts the Christian pilgrim to wield this same courage and truth.
Samuel Marinus Zwemer blazed an apostolic trail in the Muslim world that remains for the church to finish. It is the privilege and responsibility of the church to take up the legacy of the faithful ones before us and to complete their work. Zwemer was a pioneer missionary to Muslim peoples. Of those laboring among Muslim peoples, there is none like he was—singular in vision, wisdom, spiritual truth, prayer, strategy, mobilization, courage, winsomeness, influence, scholarship and leadership. Known as the “Apostle to Islam,” he is perhaps the most influential person among all missionaries to Muslims. His values and characteristics are preserved through the Legacy Conference.
Legacy Conference began in 2001 in the Holland, MI, home of Samuel Zwemer. It exists to mobilize and equip believers to complete the Great Commission among Muslims. Legacy moved to Dearborn, MI, when the missionary community suggested that the training be held in their Islamic Arab community. Now, seventeen years later, Legacy is international.
Today is a Kairos moment. Our heavenly Father has orchestrated times and circumstances to complete the inheritance of the nations that He promised the Son. This means we are called to reach the two billion Muslims worldwide. Muslim people groups have migrated en masse to Europe and North America—and hundreds of thousands already have or are obtaining refugee status. They are all around us, in our neighborhoods, cities, businesses and schools. And fortunately, as militant Islam has terrorized the world, multitudes of Muslims are increasingly being drawn to Christ.
Because of the urgent need, opportunity and crisis, we pray that Legacy Conferences will be held at key cities throughout the United States and the world. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to mobilize your city for this great ingathering of new believers out of Islam. The time is now.
Samuel Zwemer Quotes
It will be all in vain for us to seek to emulate the apostolic methods in our day if we have lost the apostolic message. Evangelism without words, without a message, is a contradiction. Yet there are those in our day who use the term “evangelism” for anything and everything save preaching the Gospel. (Zwemer, “Into All The World,”: p. 185)
No — the gospel tells of human bankruptcy and Christ’s wealth, of man’s tragic failure and Christ’s triumph, of a whole world guilty before God: because all have sinned and come short of God’s righteousness. The Gospel to Paul was a message of coming doom and of divine deliverance. It sounded the death-knell of all self-righteousness and proclaimed the joy and peace of Christ’s perfect righteousness, first imputed and then imparted, both freely of God’s grace. (Zwemer, Into All the World: pp. 192-3)
There is no other way into that kingdom than the way of the cross. Only by the preaching of the cross can we expect among Moslems conviction of sin, true repentance, and faith in the merits of Another. The cross, and the cross alone, can break down their pride and self-righteousness, and lay bare all hypocrisy and self deception. More than this, the cross will win their love if rightly preached. The cross is the very antithesis of the spirit of Islam, because it is the spirit of Christianity. This issue must be made clear at the very outset, for it is wrapped up in every other truth of the Christian religion. Our conclusion, therefore, can find no better expression than in the words of Denny: “…if we do not begin with something which is essentially related to the atonement, presupposing it or presupposed by it or involved in it, some thing which leads inevitably, though it may be by an indirect and unsuspected route, to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world, we have not begun to preach the gospel at all.”’ –Denny, The Death of Christ, p. 302. (Zwemer, Dynamic Christianity: pp. 93-94)
And what then is this message of good news, this gospel, so emphatically introduced by a fivefold repetition? “That Christ died for our sins as the scriptures had said, that he was buried and that he rose on the third day.” There is no other evangel than these historic facts and their tremendous implications. Any kind of evangelism that is silent in this respect is no evangelism at all. If Christ died for our sins, His death was a reality and His resurrection confirms its necessity and validity as the only atonement for sin. The Cross is the one central message and method and power of Christianity. (Zwemer, “Evangelism Today”: p. 16)