Samuel Zwemer: Apostle to Islam

Ron Geschwendt

READ : John 1:1-14

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (v. 14 NIV)

Robert Wilder, founder of the Student Volunteer Movement, spoke one day at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Samuel Zwemer (1867-1952), a young student from a Reformed Church family, was never the same afterward. On that day Wilder challenged the students to world missions. Later, as seminary students, Zwemer and his friend James Cantine dreamed of making Christ known in the difficult Arab world. In 1890 Zwemer sailed for the Arabian Gulf. He spent the rest of his life as an apostle to Islam, first as a missionary, and later as a teacher, writer, and editor. Whatever gave Zwemer such passion for world missions?

Certainly Robert Wilder was a catalyst. But it was more than that. Samuel Zwemer believed in the Bible’s authority and message. Among Zwemer’s 50 books, The Glory of the Manger is one of the best ever written on the virgin birth of Christ. He wrote, “There is no glory in Christ if the early records of the birth, the shepherds, the star and the song of the angels were myths . . . He who came to the manger was God’s Son. If the Savior of men is not identical with their Creator, there are no good tidings of great joy for the human race and no help in the cross for the sinner.”


Lord Jesus, give us zeal to share your salvation with the Muslim world.