May 28, 2024
Christ, Contextualization, Insider Movements, Missiological Issues

What do we call ourselves?

What label do we use to identify our religious commitment? What label should a convert adopt? These are common questions in Muslim ministry contexts. Many other ministry contexts also grapple with this issue. An internet search for ‘”Christian” or “Jesus-follower” as a label produced over 2,400,000 results (no, I didn’t read them all!). Should we call ourselves “Christians,” “Jesus-followers,” “Christ-followers,” “Born-again Christians,” or some other label? The problem with labels is that they carry different meanings in different contexts, even within the same culture. In this post we will discuss the labels “Christian” and “Jesus-follower.” Both of these labels are subject to diverse understandings.… Read the whole post
Storying, Worldview, Books, Book Reviews

Book Review: A Novel Approach

Story is a common topic in mission circles, and often is understood primarily as a way of communicating the Gospel and Scripture in oral cultures. But story is more than a communication tool; it is a key to understanding culture as well. It is often overlooked when talking about ethnography. My friend, Mike Mathews, has written a helpful book explaining how story can help us understand culture – A Novel Approach: The Significance of Story in Interpreting and Communicating Reality, 2017. He writes in the introduction:… Read the whole post
Islam, Missiology, Contextualization, Insider Movements, Missiological Issues

Can Jesus followers still call themselves Muslim?

Can followers of Jesus from a Muslim background continue to call themselves Muslims? This post will explore whether one’s Muslim identity as a Christ follower is an ongoing permanent identity or is simply a transitional phase as the believer matures.  Many Insider Movement advocates see the retention of one’s socio-religious identity as permanent (see Rebecca Lewis’s article, “Insider Movements: Honoring God-given Identity and Community,” in Understanding Insider Movements). In fact, retention of one’s socio-religious identity is one of the distinctive elements of Insider Movements. I question whether this is possible without redefining Islam or Christianity or both. Who defines whether one is a Muslim? Fred Farrokh is “a Muslim-background Christian who has been involved in ministry to Muslims for over 30 years” (see his article, “Indigenous Perspectives on Muslim Identity and Insider Movements.”) In the last month, Farrokh has written a very helpful seven-part series on “Identity Development and Transformation… Read the whole post
Missiological Issues, Islam, Evangelism

Talking with Muslims about faith

In my colleague’s review of the book, Dialogical Apologetics, in this blog, Gary Ridley noted that dialogue with adherents of other religions has often been seen as mutually incompatible with evangelism.  Dialogue has been used to describe inter-religious discussions in which evangelism is not seen as necessary or even a desirable goal. The book Gary reviewed points to another way of viewing that dialogue. I would like to extend that conversation to focus particularly on dialogue with adherents of the Islamic faith. Unknown to most of us,  including myself until recently, Christians have a very long history of these interactions, extending back for many centuries.… Read the whole post
Books, Training, Book Reviews, Missiological Issues

Review of Dialogical Apologetics

I have a couple of shelves full of books on apologetics in my library. Some are very philosophical and technical – the kind you need a dictionary handy in order to understand. Some are like cookbooks that give recipes for every question you might encounter in defending Christian faith. A good friend recommended David K. Clark’s book, Dialogical Apologetics: A Person-Centered Approach to Christian Defense, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993. It has been around a while but I was not aware of it. Clark’s book emphasizes dialogue, a common topic in missiology, especially when interacting with adherents of other religions. Dialogue is often seen as antithetical to proclamation and defense of Christianity. The author makes a case that dialogue does not require neutrality or a commitment to pluralism. He writes:… Read the whole post
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