Reflections and resources for lifelong learning for missionaries

Category: Islam

Insider Movements: Understanding the Issues

“Over the past fifteen years missiologists have produced a massive amount of literature related to the contextualization debate surrounding the proposals of Insider Movement proponents.” So begins J. Henry Wolfe in his article, “The Development of the Insider Movement Paradigm” (published July 2015, I have tried to digest a good portion of that material over the last few months and add my testimony to the truth of Ecclesiastes 12:12 – “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.”

The definition of Insider Movements

John Jay Travis defines an “insider” as “a person from a non-Christian background who has accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior but retains the socioreligious [sic] identity of his or her birth.” (Understanding Insider Movements, kindle loc. 827).  His working definition of Insider Movements (IM) then is:

Review: From Seed to Fruit, 2nd Edition

51u9DtDbsfLThe Second edition of From Seed to Fruit: Global Trends, Fruitful Practices, and Emerging Issues among Muslims, edited by J. Dudley Woodberry
contains reports and analyses of the Global Trends and Fruitful Practices Consultation in 2007. The consultation included almost 500 people from around the globe involved in outreach to Muslims. The book is a tremendous resource for anyone involved in Muslim ministry. Many of the fruitful practices would find application among other people groups as well. The tone was upbeat and realistic.

The Introduction reports:

Muslims are following Jesus throughout the spectrum of types of contextualization – from those in traditional churches using non-indigenous language to secret believers. A majority of the fellowships are in what is called the C3 to C5 range – that is, from using the Muslims’ language and non-religious indigenous cultural forms and calling themselves Christians to “Messianic Muslims” who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior but remain legally and socially in the Muslim community. -Kindle loc. 213

From Seed to Fruit contains 31 chapters divided into 4 parts:

The ‘Same God Question’ Revisited

In the December issue of Themelios  Fred Farrokh (a Muslim-background Christian who currently serves as an international trainer with Global Initiative) has written an article looking at how Muslim scholars view the question, “Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?”(subsequently referred to as SGQ). The article is available online at this link.

Farrokh points out that Muslim scholars answer the SGQ with an emphatic and unequivocal “NO“. At most they would say that we share the concept of a creator God.

So what if they have their own sacred books?

Revelation is the foundational theological issue in contextualization (see my “Contextualization: Theological and Cultural Issues in Evangelical Models” on the SEND U wiki). Evangelical Christianity maintains that the Bible is God’s unique self-disclosure. Our SEND statement of faith says, “that it is the only infallible Word of God, and the supreme and final authority in all matters of faith and conduct” (italics added).

How does this commitment to the uniqueness of the Christian Scriptures guide our contextualization in the presence of competing revelational claims such as the Qur’an, the Book of Mormon, or the Hindu Scriptures?

No God But One: Allah or Jesus? a review

Nabeel Qureshi, the author of the best-selling Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, has written another helpful book that No God but One: Allah or Jesus? (with Bonus Content): A Former Muslim Investigates the Evidence for Islam and Christianity by [Qureshi, Nabeel]examines the evidence that led him to trust in Jesus. No God but One: Allah or Jesus?  is further described on the cover by the words “A former Muslim investigates the evidence for Islam and Christianity.”

The investigation is framed under two main questions:

Question 1: What are the differences between Islam and Christianity? (pages 23-148)

Question 2: Can we know whether Islam or Christianity is true? (pages 149-296)

Critical Issues for the Cross-cultural Church Planter

This summer I read The Messenger, The Message and the Community: Three Critical Issues for the Cross-cultural Church Planter by Roland Muller.  It was a read that was long overdue.  You see, the author is a friend of mine, and I have followed his ministry closely for about 25 years. About 14 years ago, as the first edition of some parts of this book was being written, Roland Muller asked me to read it and give some feedback.  To my regret, and with some degree of embarrassment now, I admit that I did not finish reading the manuscript, although I did give some thoughts on the part of the book that I did read.   As a result, the author used some of my graduate study research to support one of his arguments and somewhat undeservedly, included my name in the acknowledgments.

About seven years later, Roland combined three books he had written into this current book.   The three sections of The Messenger, the Message and the Community are taken from these three prior works: Tools for Muslim Evangelism (published in 2000), Honor and Shame, Unlocking the Door (2000) and Creating Christian Community (2005).   A couple of years ago, Roland Muller published a second edition, seeking to broaden the audience to include those who do not serve primarily among Muslim peoples.

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