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Can people from other religious traditions genuinely follow Jesus without becoming "Christians"? The question is a point of much dispute within today's missions world. Those who follow Jesus yet don't formally express Christian faith ...

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Displaying 1–333 of 333 comments

Hussein wario

April 19, 2013  2:45pm

Gene Daniels, You owe CT an apology. Contrary to what you have written and defended for the past three months, your interviewee, Abu Jaz, is not known as "Muslim" in his native country. A person who knows him writes, "In fact [redacted name] is known in [redacted country name] as a Muslim background evangelical Christian who has a burden for reaching Muslims. To my knowledge he received Christ as his saviour in [redacted] church and is still part of it. He is not at all known as a 'Muslim' among evangelical churches. He is part of the [redacted evangelical association name]. It is under [redacted evangelical association name], and under his leadership, that the Muslim friendly bible translation is initiated. It is in fact through him the funds were secured to translate the bible. If you come to visit [redacted his country], you could find him is in his office, at the [redacted evangelical association name] building." Wycliffe's The Seed Company is funding it.

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Hussein wario

April 08, 2013  10:16am

Gene Daniels, I sent an email to Abu Jaz on Wednesday and cc'ed to you at your real email address at Fruitful Practices. I asked him the same questions you have evaded for the past three months and hope to get answers. I know that Abu Jaz is not keeping his identity a secret. He has been telling people in his native country he is your interviewee. He just disagrees with what you have written about him and I would like to know what parts of the article he disagrees with. I saw a comment you had made on Feb 23 in response to Salaam where you wrote, "Abu Jaz used a pseudonym because I suggested it." It is very clear Abu Jaz is not concerned about his real name becoming public. I know you have tried, albeit fruitlessly, to reassure those with concerns that CT did background checks on both of you, but I doubt it did any fact checking. CT is aware of my concerns. I'm interested in this interview because Abu has ties to a Muslim Idiom Translation, which Wycliffe's The Seed Company is funding.

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Gene Daniels

March 26, 2013  9:46am

My dear brother Hussen, All I am saying to you is that if you were there, in person, to hear Abu Jaz say something that you dispute, either facutally or biblically, then you should have approached him in person rather than casting doubt on his character here. That is biblical. As for believing the veracity of Abu Jaz's story: I've done my research, and am satisfied with the evidence. CT did their research on me and on Abu Jaz, and they were satisfied with the evidence that we are both credible. For whatever reasons you aren't satisfied with that, and don't seem to believe that we are credible witnesses. So be it. Fortunately for me, the only one I ultimately give account to is the Lord.

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Hussein wario

March 22, 2013  1:42pm

... I don’t know what Scripture you quote in justifying your position about your public sins which should be dealt with publicly. Are you claiming you should not be challenged for publishing an article full of misrepresentations about your interviewee’s native country in a leading evangelical magazine? I have Abu Jaz’s position paper, which he has shared publicly. The paper is full of distortions and based on my experience interacting with you would probably claim defamation if I make my response public. Why resort to this tactic?

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Hussein wario

March 22, 2013  1:41pm

Gene Daniels, you are a master at evading questions. You claim that I say “anything” I “can to defame Abu Jaz and cast doubt on him” while my comment had nothing to do with defaming your interviewee but bringing up a question he was asked after he had given a speech in a public setting and his inability to answer it. You have made claims about his movement having “thousands” of members. He was challenged in a public forum and you are complaining again I am being unfair to him. You have not answered any question regarding the misrepresentation of your interviewee’s native country, the state of the church in his native country and now the number of converts which your interview cannot even defend in front of his native people who know him. (By the way, he now denies the content of your interview of him.) How can pointing out distortions of facts in what you have published and in a public speech your interviewee has given rumor mongering? [Continued...]

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Gene Daniels

March 16, 2013  7:46am

Hussein, As for rumors of "paying converts." I have worked in the Muslim world for many years. These kinds of rumors are a common way for Islamic leaders to explain why people are converting. As long as poor people convert, there will always be suspicion about why they converted. But you and I both already know this, so why are you repeating this stuff? I'll tell you why, you are saying anything you can to defame Abu Jaz and cast doubt on him. This comment is a perfect example. You offer a supposed quote from Abu Jaz, and then try to make it smell corrupted without any intrinsic connection. That is, by definition, rumor-mongering, and my brother it is sin. You need to repent! And furthermore, if you were there to hear his speech in person, why didn't you act according to Scripture and speak to him face to face about your concerns?

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Gene Daniels

March 16, 2013  7:26am

Hi Salaam, Being the author of a particular piece of writing has both positives and negatives. One of the negatives is the way some people treat you when they disagree. They make ad hominem attacks, they set-up straw men, they quote your words out of context, etc. But on the flip side, one of the positives is that an author can just let the critics be critics. After trying to patently answer your various criticisms and concerns for more than a month, it is obvious that you will never be satisfied with any answer I give. Therefore I no longer feel the need to reply to your comments. But if it just so happens that you attend the "Bridge Building" event this June, I will be glad to address your criticisms and innuendo face-to-face.

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Hussein wario

March 10, 2013  4:55pm

Gene Daniels, Abu Jaz gave a speech at a leading seminary in his country on Friday. He was asked, I quote, "Where are all the thousands of converts?" He responded reassuring the audience "there are many 'believers’ due to the effectiveness" of his method. Even people who rub shoulders with your interviewee don't know who "the people of the Gospel are." Is it possible that what you saw when you visited Abu Jaz in his country was all staged? I was at ISFM conference with John Travis in September and one of the speakers discussed about corruption in missions in Abu Jaz's native country. Apparently, both Muslim dawah people and Christian missionaries bid for converts. I received a report last week that western missionaries in that country are paying converts $15 a month to go back to their communities and live there as Muslims. Were you aware of these corruptions in Abu Jaz's country before you published this article?

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Salaam Corniche

March 10, 2013  5:15am

Hello Gene: Your favorite nemesis is back. Just read your last comment. Also read an excellent thesis by Wonjoo Hwang A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE INSIDER MOVEMENT AS A CONTEXTUALIZATION MODEL AMONG MUSLIMS 2012 Southwestern Baptist Seminary . It can be gotten from UMI dissertation express for the price of $37.00 for a PDF download. Gene you need to read this. I know you hate my comment about peeling back the veneer, but this is something that Hwang has done. Hey, maybe he is just using the methodology from the WCIU outcomes that says he should "Think critically and reflectively by questioning assumptions and weighing evidence related to ideas and practices." Anyway, what Hwang has done has looked at the ideas and assumptions behind the "curtain" of insider movements. It really is a very good set of Biblical glasses to interpret what is happening. You might call him and me suspicious, but in the final analysis we are called the "test the spirits." N'est pas?

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Gene Daniels

March 09, 2013  5:10am

Hi Audrey, you wrote: "there were statements in the article which caused me to see it differently than the way you present it here." That is the beauty of the article, it is there for people to read and come to their own conclusions based on what Abu Jaz said for himself.

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Gene Daniels

March 08, 2013  4:55am

Jennifer, You understood the interview correctly. Not everyone wants to see it that way, but what Abu Jaz is doing is teaching Muslims who Jesus really is, according to the Bible. Unfortunately many people read this article and assume lots of other things. This is not an attempt to blend Christianity and Islam, it is about how Abu Jaz and others in his group are making the Jesus of the Bible clear to their own people.

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audrey ruth

March 07, 2013  8:26pm

Yes, Jennifer V, we can pray they will come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Open Doors.org (you may have heard of Brother Andrew) made a DVD about this called Behind the Sun: http://www.amazon.com/Behind-Sun-Robin-Armstrong/dp/B00097E6MM (you may have to close up spaces in that link). I rented it from Netflix. It is a compilation of powerful testimonies of former Muslims who have come to the knowledge of the Truth which has set them free. I also loved the book I Dared to Call Him Father, by Bilquis Sheikh: http://www.amazon.com/Dared-Call-Him-Father-Miraculous/dp/0800793242 (again, may need to close up spaces in that link).

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Jennifer V

March 06, 2013  7:20pm

Hi Audrey Ruth, I appreciate your insightful response. I know that the Bible is not the book Muslims trust or believe in, which is very sad. But, if I understood this interview well, what Abu describes is a way to approach Muslims in order to teach them who Jesus really is, which, in my opinion, is wonderful. That is a first step towards the truth. Off course, one can just hope that that step is just the first one of many, many more, and not the one and only.

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audrey ruth

March 05, 2013  11:53am

Jennifer V, the apostle Paul spoke of people who believed in "another Jesus", "another gospel", "another spirit". IOW, when people then said they believed in Jesus, they might have been speaking of the Biblical Jesus, but they also might have been speaking of an unBiblical Jesus (as many people do today). Muslims say they believe in the God of Abraham, but what they believe is not Biblical -- they believe that Ishmael was the son of the covenant, not Isaac (not a minor issue). Above all, the crux of the matter is WHO IS JESUS and WHAT DID HE ACCOMPLISH on our behalf? Muslim beliefs are twisted from Creation onward, do not agree with God's Holy Word. The Qu'ran does not agree with the Holy Bible. Christ Jesus confirmed the truth of God's Word from Genesis onward throughout His earthly ministry. He said that God's Word IS truth. Anything which contradicts God's Word is a lie. Please see http://tinyurl.com/aeqh3an (close up any spaces in that link, if need be).

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Jennifer V

March 04, 2013  3:39pm

Hi Mike! When I was taking ESL classes, most of my classmates were Muslims. One day, one of them asked me who my God was, and I couldn't answer because I didn't really know my God, even though I was born and raised as a Catholic. So another Muslim said to the girl that my God was Jesus, and because at the time I was extremely ignorant, I didn't say anything, neither they nor I knew that their God and mine is the same God. Now that I have been educating myself in this matter, I know that the God of the Christians, and of the Muslims, and of the Jews is the same God: the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob. Therefore I actually think it would be educational for Christians and Muslims alike to understand this, that, in English, for instance, it doesn't make any difference to call God "Allah" or "God" because we are indeed talking about the same God--the Creator of the universe, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob--regardless of our religion.

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Gene Daniels

March 04, 2013  12:02pm

Salaam, I am glad I could clear up your question about Bangladesh. But I still don’t understand why you keep hinting at things like Abu’s pseudonym. You hint “that more may be going on under the veneer” when I clearly explained that he chose that name because it was his grandfather’s name. What could be more clear? That kind of pseudo-psychology is not ethnography, it’s more like rumor-mongering.

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Salaam Corniche

March 04, 2013  5:44am

Thank you Gene for your response and your clarification about the Bangala influence. That is helpful. As to the examination of 'Jaz's name, you might call it assigning something cryptic. I just looked at the Arabic, then at the Islamic context, which any good ethnographer would do, and then wondered. I did not give Jaz the name. He gave it to himself. As we know well, names that people give themselves represent their values. Names that other people give other people represent their hopes and aspirations for that person, the values of that person, or their aspersion for that person. Thus an African man named me "the man with a head of iron wood" in his language as a compliment. If, however, I had named myself, "son of Lucifer" as some rockbands have done, you would know what I place a great deal of value on. Thus names are no Freudian slips, they mean a lot, and I simply tried to show your readers that more may be going on under the veneer. Call it conspiracy? OK

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audrey ruth

March 03, 2013  5:08pm

P.S. In order to use the link I posted below (in thanks to Becky), one needs to close up the gap which somehow appears in it (it wasn't there when I posted it). The following link can also be used. The website is www.StandUpForTheTruth.com and the article is a response to the title article here, "A Response to 'Worshiping Jesus in the Mosque'": http://tinyurl.com/aeqh3an -- again, if there are any spaces anywhere in that link, close them up and it will work.

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Hussein wario

March 03, 2013  3:25pm

Gene Daniels, in reply to Mike Tisdell, wrote, "So, while I think I know how Abu Jaz might answer your question, I cannot speak for him. Therefore I think it best to decline to answer at all. I know that is probably not satisfying to you, but please understand that I am trying to be evasive, I am just remaining in my function in this article, as an ethnograher [sic] rather than a theologian speaking on his own behalf." By the way, Mike was quoting "Abu Jaz" who has written a position paper which pretty shows he is NOT what Gene Daniels has been promoting in this CT article or CT comment board.

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Gene Daniels

March 03, 2013  3:12pm

And one more comment Salaam. I plainly ask you to stop trying to cast some vague cloud over either Abu Jaz or myself. You have done this repeatedly. Wherever I run into your comments, here and in other places on the web, you are always so suspicious. If you disagree with the article - fine. But stop hinting that there is something malevolent going on. You have hinted about some strange, cryptic meaning to Abu’s name. You have hinted that something was strange about my use of a pseudonym. Now you are hinting that the article represents some kind of Western mission agency conspiracy. I have patently answered each of your conspiracy theories, yet you always come up something new. I would think that by now you would be ashamed to cook-up another one. Why is it so hard for you to just accept the idea that while we strongly disagree, we are still your brothers in Christ?

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Gene Daniels

March 03, 2013  2:45pm

Hi Salaam, strange as it may sound, I don’t know James. But I have been glad to have some help explaining things on here. As for Jaz being influenced by the Bangla crowd, I can confidently say that did not happen. He started on these ideas while in a locally run Bible school in his country, something I confirmed with others in the country. But he did develop them in partnership with another local African man, whom I have also interviewed (but not part of the article). Neither of them had any significant western expat influence, their ideas were reactions to certain African church practices. Believe it or not, this really is a case of an indigenous response to the gospel, that is why I wanted to help him tell his story.

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Salaam Corniche

March 03, 2013  11:41am

part 2 ...studied under him? From my limited sight perch, what I see is that some Americans like Parshall went to Bangladesh with some moderate mission theories. Then some more radical ones, drinking strong Coke came along and put the methods on caffiene. Then they said it was such a good thing it should be exported. Talk about a franchise operation! I just wonder if somehow Jaz got involved in a "made in America" francishe and all along he thinks he is doing something ingenious, no indingenous. The thesis was written in 2003, so this is not ancient history. It was done at a major US school known for propagating this supposedly fruitful way of doing things. What I worry about is that a local person like 'Jaz is actually being used to keep this francishe going, but giving unwhitting CT readers a semblance of "made in Africa by locals, for locals" whereas at least from the thesis I can gather that a local was not nearly as neutral as meets the eye. What think ye?

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Salaam Corniche

March 03, 2013  11:30am

Gene: (first part of 2) Long time. Saw a lots of posts by James. Does he work for you? Saw the quote that Mike posted. This is horrible. What kind of logic says that if we reject Allah of Islam [glad for his precision here in differentiating a general deity called Allah--like in Arabic Bibles--and the one served in Islam and whose nature is defined by the Qur'an, the hadiths, and the sira] we deny the father of Jesus, Yahweh. Clearly this person is deluded from a Biblical standpoint. The above Islamic sources clearly deny God as Father, Jesus as Son. Always have, and always will. be Whoever Mike is quoting had some knowledge of the categories of systematic theology. Curiously, so did Jaz. But then again systematic theology is no secret. Oh by the way, I read the thesis of a man likely from Jaz's country who worked in Bangladesh for a while and learned from IM proponents there that he named. He then said he came back to tell his people about these new methods. I wonder if Jaz...

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Gene Daniels

March 03, 2013  10:26am

Mike, thank you for your thoughtful question. I believe it is important to remember that CT did not publish an article about what I think about IM, and I seriously doubt they would have. They published Abu Jaz’s story, in his own words, so that people could hear from someone on the inside (so to speak). So I am left in a double bind. If I answer your theological question, people will assume that I am speaking for Abu Jaz and his movement. If I decline to answer, people will think I am being evasive. So, while I think I know how Abu Jaz might answer your question, I cannot speak for him. Therefore I think it best to decline to answer at all. I know that is probably not satisfying to you, but please understand that I am trying to be evasive, I am just remaining in my function in this article, as an ethnograher rather than a theologian speaking on his own behalf.

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Mike Tisdell

March 03, 2013  8:47am

Gene Daniels, one prominent promoter of IM and MIT's wrote a paper in which he said the following: "For me, all religion is the result of general revelation; it provides men with the initial knowledge of God, mainly as the creator God." and "The name Allah in Islam was the response of a particular people to general revelation. They responded by searching for God the creator in their religious practice. When we reject Allah in Islam, it should be understood that we are not rejecting Islam or the prophet Islam, Mohammad, or the Qur'an; rather we are directly rejecting the theology of general revelation and as a result, rejecting the father of Jesus, Yahweh." How would you respond to this man?

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audrey ruth

March 02, 2013  4:13pm

Becky Johnson, THANK YOU for posting that link! I wasn't able to find the article with it, but I used the name of the website and article to google it. This whole idea of "worshiping Jesus in the mosque", along with related issues, does not resonate with my spirit because I do see serious conflict with the Word of God. The article you mentioned is valuable in understanding this issue. It is also true that Arabic Christians have been around for millenia, long before Islam was invented, and they've had the Scriptures in their own language for quite some time -- there's no need for dangerous syncretism and re-writing the Bible to make it "Muslim-friendly". Here's a direct link to the article you mentioned: http://standupforthetruth.com/2013/01/worshiping-jesus-in-the-mosque-a-resp onse/

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audrey ruth

March 02, 2013  4:12pm

Mike Tisdell, THANK YOU for mentioning the book 'Chrislam'. I've heard a lot about this syncretism, but I didn't know there was an actual book. I've been reading about it and I've learned a lot already. I definitely plan to get it. Thanks again, brother.

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Gene Daniels

March 02, 2013  4:46am

Becky, Yes this article is serious. There are important issues expressed in it and that continue to be discussed here. If you want to be taken seriously yourself, then you should express your views rather than just send a link to some other website.

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Becky Johnson

March 01, 2013  3:56pm

Is this article serious! For a Biblical perspective on this topic, I challenge you to read this: Go to the website, http://standupforthetruth.com/ Then search for "Worshiping Jesus in the Mosque: A Response", then scroll down, it should be the third one.

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James B

February 28, 2013  12:05pm

sorry brendan... maybe I misjudged you paper then. seems we are in a lot of agreement on many things. Just a random thought : I sometimes wonder what to think of our local mall... if there is a spirit of mammon this is certainly the temple for its worship. the advertising, music, posters of beautiful people telling you to buy! etc... there are for sure many there at the mall totally sold out and enslaved to this spirit... perhaps the person before me in the line at the till is actually buying the latest fashion as an act of idolatrous worship to mammon.. what do you think? seems possible to me. but then what is my response? can I do evangelism at the mall? should I even go there? where in the world is there a place that is not contested by satan? is any where safe? should we try to take these places back for God? How do we live in our world? What do you think? Is there any comparison at all here? or is this a totally different thing? interested in your thoughts brendan

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Gene Daniels

February 28, 2013  8:45am

Well said Brenda! The lines of religion and culture are quite blurred, not only in Islam. And I also wholeheartedly agree with you that there are some aspects of culture and religion that must be done away with and some aspects which can help carry the gospel into new cultures. Unfortunately I keep hearing people standing outside of Muslim culture make pronouncements about where that line is for Muslims who come to Christ. I did this interview because I thought that perhaps a well-accepted insider like Abu Jaz would be a better source of perspective. I realize that his viewpoint is not universal, or even representative of the entire Muslim world. But he is representative of the many men and women who have given great time and effort to understanding how to make the gospel clear and relevant to their own people.

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BRENDAN SMITH

February 28, 2013  8:27am

Mike and James B, I agree that culture and religion are often impossible to separate. And by religion I refer to not only to practices and rituals but the relationship a person has to the spiritual realm. The assumption I make is that there is a spiritual realm that is controlled by Satan. I feel that we romanticise culture too much at times. For example some of the people groups I have work with in Africa sacrifice children as part of their religion and culture in order to appease ancestors and spirits. They also mutilate women, practice paedophilia and witchcraft. Now at want point can we reject cultural and religious practices as being unhealthy to the spiritual and physical wellbeing of the community and individual? There must be aspects of cultures which can be embraced and celebrated, some aspects on which we can remain neutral and some which we must reject. With regard to Islam the lines become very blurred as religion and culture are so integrated.

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James B

February 27, 2013  2:53pm

Not absurd at all. In fact you strengthen my point that our current concept "religion" just did not exist until modern times. I was just saying yours and Brendans idea of a split between religion and culture is very new, very western, very dichotomistic, and very much connected to modernity and secular humanism. I challenge you to trace the modern concept of religion (in short it can be summed up in the assumption that Christianity, Islam etc are each a species of the genus called "religion") back earlier than Lord Herbert of Cherbury (1583–1648) who of course greatly influenced Descartes and Locke, the fathers of your worldview it appears.

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Mike Tisdell

February 27, 2013  1:42pm

James B, you took a passage written in Latin where Augustine was comparing the difference in meaning between the Latin word "religio" (English definition: conscientiousness, scrupulousness, respect for what is sacred, "Cassell's Latin-English Dictionary") and the Greek word "θρησκεία" (English Definition: religion, worship, "Gingrich Lexicon of the NT") and then tried to argue a point based in the English meaning of the word "religion." Anyone with a background in translation would realize how absurd this argument is and I am assuming you were not ignorant of how misleading this quote really was. FYI - while not identical, the semantic range of meaning of the English word "Religion" more closely mirrors the Greek than it does the Latin.

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Gene Daniels

February 27, 2013  12:23pm

Mike, I don't know if you noticed it before, but I did at least partly answer your concern "whether those involved identify with Christians or Muslims as brothers and sisters in the faith." Abu Jaz is good friends with leaders of the Evangelical Alliance in his country, so I think that counts for "identifying" with Christians. In fact the head of that alliance has publicly backed the need for a Muslim Idiom Bible for Abu Jaz' people group. Considering how sectarian Africa can be, I thought this was HUGE, but you judge the importance of it yourself. Blessings!

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James B

February 27, 2013  5:05am

Hi Brendan, the paper seems flawed by the classic modern secularist presupposition that religion and culture can be separated. This common assumption exposes the syncretism in our own Jesus-following more than anything. We are also "insiders" you see ;) Also, you have not defined "religion". Are you basing your definition on Augustine's? ie: "However, in Latin usage... “religion” is something which is displayed in human relationships, in the family (in the narrower and the wider sense) and between friends; and so the use of the word does not avoid ambiguity when the worship of God is in question. We have no right to affirm with confidence that “religion” is confined to the worship of God, since it seems that this word has been detached from its normal meaning, in which it refers to an attitude of respect in relations between a man and his neighbor" (Book X, City of God) - Or perhaps you have something more "modern" in mind?

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BRENDAN SMITH

February 27, 2013  1:06am

A few years ago I came across the Insider Movement in Ethiopia. It appeared to be an exciting new move of God. I decided to investigate it a little further from a theological perspective. I wrote a paper as part of a Masters course that I was doing entitled: Is it Possible to find salvation in Christ and remain a faithful Muslim? An Examination of the Insider Movement. It can be found here: http://www.academia.edu/1548089/Is_it_Possible_to_find_salvation_in_Christ_ and_remain_a_faithful_Muslim_-_An_Examination_of_the_Insider_Movement Th e title is actually taken from a previous Christianity Today article on the subject. I hope that it may answer some questions on the issue and or create some discussion.

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Mike Tisdell

February 26, 2013  10:22am

Gene Daniels, all of the MBB's that I personally know that were born and raised as Muslims in middle eastern countries and have since moved to the U.S. would dispute your comparison of Islamic culture to Western culture. Western culture can be compared to Arabian culture, Chinese culture, etc... and just like Christians in the west do, those in these cultures have a great amount of freed to contextualize their faith within their social cultures, it is only the adoption of the religious doctrines of a false faith that people are concerned about. And adopting Islamic "culture" in the middle east is no more valid that a western Christian adopting Mormon "culture;" acceptance in both of these religious cultures presupposes an acceptance of false doctrines. Additionally, this not about whether the name "Christian" is used, it is about whether the name "Muslim" is used and whether those involved identify with Christians or Muslims as brothers and sisters in the faith.

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Mike Tisdell

February 26, 2013  10:00am

Jennifer V, you are being misled. In Arabic, allah is the word used for God and no one disputes the validity of using it. But using allah(Arabic) in other languages, like English, is no more valid that using eloah (Hebrew), tanri (Turikish), tuhan (Maylay), etc..., at best these words are meaningless in other linguistic contexts, at worst they convey an understanding of a a particular religion's deity. In Hebrew the plural elohim (gods) is used as the name of YHWH and it is also used to convey the idea of "other gods/elohim acharim" but in other languages this word is tied so strongly to the Jewish/Christian God that any other understanding is inconceivable; for example in English "Elohim" is the Jewish/Christian God and a Muslim would NEVER use this word to refer to his god. Similarly, in many linguistic contexts the word "Allah" is used only as the name of the Islamic deity and using Allah there is causing people to be confused. This is the real issue that is being debated.

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Mike Tisdell

February 26, 2013  9:20am

James B, I have read the book "Chrislam" and your characterization of it is slanderous. The first half of the book contains mostly quotes from those involved in IM and represents their views. Having personally discussed these issues with some of the people quoted in this book, I can assure you that the quotes are accurate and representative of their views. Note: I personally had no involvement with the book and my discussions were independent of anything the authors wrote. Second, one of the biggest criticisms of IM is that IM proponents have been unwilling to discuss these issues. Until the petition you mentioned was published, IM proponants were happy to keep these issues in the dark. Personally, I had tried for over four years to get answers to questions I had from those involved but had been unable to get any answers until about 2 months ago; the petition has helped to open up the discussion on this topic. Most of the questions I have asked still remain unanswered by those involve

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Jennifer V

February 25, 2013  12:52pm

Gene, thank you very much for your response. It's this "war" among Christians that is confusing many people, but as Christians, we know that is exactly what God's enemy wants. Too bad we're pleasing him and not God. I do understand, however, the confusion that keeping one's one culture can create. For instance, one good example is the Catholic Church that even though throughout the Bible God has expressed his rejection of worshiping idols and kneeling before anything or anybody other than Himself and His chosen one--Jesus--that's exactly what they are doing, and all because they adapted themselves to the believes of others. Nevertheless, I think it's okay to keep anything from our culture that doesn't interfere with our obedience to God and copying Jesus' life example, which is all about God's will: love, mercy, and compassion towards all, and humility, loyalty and faith in our God and in the One He chose as governor to His people. Blessings to you and Abu

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Gene Daniels

February 25, 2013  10:06am

Jennifer, you asked some good questions. Yes, Allah is simply the Arabic word for God, and it is hard to understand how saying "peace be upon you" is wrong. But you have to understand that many Christians reject all terms or phrases that reflect Muslim culture because they consider the entire culture as intrinsically dark and evil. This is what is called a "Christ against culture," whereas the view expressed by Abu Jaz would be more like a "Christ in culture" perspective. Also, in many parts of the world Christians view Muslims as their enemy, so it is hard for them to see anything good about someone they have labeled that way.

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Jennifer V

February 25, 2013  1:08am

I'd like to know why was the word "Allah" consider "evil" by the pastor? I mean, as far as I knew, the word "Allah" is the Arabic form for the word "God", isn't it? Also, what is wrong about saying "Peace be upon you" in Arabic? ..... I understand Abu when he says that after they start understanding Jesus, they start forgetting about Mohammed, because after I started reading the Bible, it came the day when I couldn't or wanted to keep calling myself Catholic. I would love to learn more about Abu's ministry...

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Gene Daniels

February 23, 2013  3:09pm

Audrey, one other point of your question that I did not answer in my last post - that is about "agreement with the Quran." Although it was not part of the formal interview, Abu Jaz and I have talked about this topic extensively. In a nutshell, they try to move new believers away from reading the Quran as quickly as possible." Abu Jaz considers that reading the Quran to find "bridges to the gospel" is fine, but not for any kind of devotional purpose. I hope that answers some of your questions.

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Gene Daniels

February 23, 2013  2:57pm

Audrey, It might help you to consider the huge difference between attending a mosque for worship, and going there to speak about Christ. But this can only happen when MBBs maintain a close connection to their community. But standing outside a mosque explaining the gospel is hardly the "incognito" behavior you are worried about. The reason that they can do this is precisely because they have not "become Christian" which would mean to the men at the mosque that they have become traitors to their own people. I know it might be hard to understand, but "Christian" does not mean to most Muslims what it means to you. This is the key to understanding the whole IM concept. When it is done right, as I saw with Abu Jaz and his group, MBBs remain deeply attached to their community SO they can be clear witnesses. At some point in the future the Islamic authorities might throw them out anyway, but for now they are still in, and still able to witness for Christ there. And for that we should rejoice.

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audrey ruth

February 23, 2013  1:55pm

Apology accepted, James B. It is always best to focus on the topic here, instead of making presumptuous accusations. Here are those questions yet again: If the Muslim-background believers (believers who were reared Muslim before they became Christians) you mention are attending Moslem mosques incognito, participating in Muslim worship in agreement with the Qu'ran, and also participating in Christian worship with other believers, how is that NOT double-minded? Are you saying that they are not attending mosques incognito, but Muslims are OK with them being Christians who profess Jesus the Christ as Lord and Savior?

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James B

February 23, 2013  1:30pm

Sorry. It is not my goal to offend you Audrey. I also have the utmost respect for Brother Andrew. It have only chatted a few times with him over the last 20 or so years but I am quite aware of OD's wonderful ministry.

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audrey ruth

February 23, 2013  1:18pm

James B, that post to me reeked with even more disdain in a multitude of false accusations. I will not dignify those ridiculous accusations with responses. I don't know why you persist in demonizing me, instead of addressing the valid issues I've raised, but God knows. Perhaps I've struck a nerve -- again, He knows. Either way, the issues I've raised are indeed valid. If you consider Brother Andrew, his ministry and his website, www.opendoors.org, to be "heresy", then God help you. He has had extensive experience ministering to Muslim background believers for years. BTW, you didn't answer the questions: If the MBB's you mention are attending Moslem mosques incognito, participating in Muslim worship in agreement with the Qu'ran, and also participating in Christian worship with other believers, how is that NOT double-minded? Are you saying that they are not attending mosques incognito, but Muslims are OK with them being Christians who profess Jesus the Christ as Lord and Savior?

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James B

February 23, 2013  1:00pm

Audrey, it probably does come across that I am a little upset. Sorry for that. But I am upset FOR you not AT you. Cant you see that these heresy-hunters are happy to wind people up & fill them with fear with this "Chrislam taking over the usa/world" nonsense? They have no scruples...So long as you sign their petitions they dont care what you really understand of the issues. Cant you see you are being used? The reason I mentioned the Lausanne movement is because they DO have authority to speak for global evangelicalism. These other groups claim authority just to leverage their voice in order to get your signature. They want your signature to leverage their power because they want to control mission from the “home front”. Its all about control. However, since Hudson Taylor, the advantages of field-driven missions have been proven again and again. The "anti-IM lobby" are attempting to set back missions 150 years, and they are doing it in a totally un-christian manner.

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James B

February 23, 2013  12:32pm

Audrey, I do not distain you. Sorry if you misunderstood my comment. My point was that we are a global faith & some who have this faith in Christ do not even use the label “Christian”. The global body of evangelical believers recognise this. This should give you pause. You need to be more open to realising the Christian faith is bigger than your little bubble. Not everything you read on the conspiracy & heresy blogs is accurate or even true. Please read the article again. You will see Abu Jaz is not going to the mosque. This has been mentioned several times, & commented on that the title was not very appropriate etc etc... I have never mentioned the mosque either. Please Audrey, if you want others to read & respect your comments at least give others the courtesy of reading & respect what they write. I am very sad that you seem to insist on believing sensationalist heresy blogs & books like "chrislam" instead of just reading this article open mindedly & without prejudice.

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audrey ruth

February 23, 2013  12:09pm

Gene and James B, I am very aware of what many MBB's (Muslim background believers) experience on a daily basis in their various countries and communities. If the ones you mention are attending Moslem mosques incognito, participating in Muslim worship in agreement with the Qu'ran, and also participating in Christian worship with other believers, how is that NOT double-minded? Are you guys saying that they are not attending mosques incognito, but Muslims know they are Christians who profess Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord, and are okay with that? James, your disdainful attitude toward me is evident and you are also mistaken. For me this is not about anything "western" at all. Nor is it about Billy Graham or any other man. It is simply about the Word of God which is given to all men everywhere.

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James B

February 23, 2013  9:45am

Audrey, I did not write that. I was merely quoting the Lausanne Movement’s website. Check out the link. Things have changed in the Christian world. Most Christians are NOT westerners. You are not the authority on Evangelical orthodoxy (correct theology) and heresy (non-orthodoxy). Neither is your pastor, or your denomination, or your favorite theologian, or your favourite heresy-blog. If we evangelicals have any consensus at all it is the Lausanne movement where the voices of global evangelical Christianity are heard. It was started by Billy Graham. Audrey it is sad to see you are so much at odds with the worldwide movement of Evangelicals . Can you see that simply makes you the heretic (non orthodox), not the rest of us? So you have read “christlam”... Can you see for all their shrill cries of “heresy” it is the authors themselves who are outside of the worldwide evangelical fold? Their papal-like claim to speak for the non-western church is pure hubris.

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Gene Daniels

February 23, 2013  7:08am

Sister Audrey, I'm at a short stop in my trip and I wanted to look in at the discussion on this site. So, in reply to your last comment. Assuming you are an American, you were born into a society that for all practical purposes worships money, possessions, sex and fame (hence the "American Idol" TV show). Would you say that you have continued "to live socially & culturally within" that community? Unless you are Amish, you still live in your society, but have found ways to be holy despite all that garbage. I would guess that you are trying to be salt and light in the dark place call contemporary America. Why would you deny people like Abu Jaz the freedom to do the same? Is Muslim society inherently more sinful than ours? And one final question, what makes you think that Abu jaz does not confess the name of Jesus? Is not the name "the people of the gospel" a pretty clear statement? But I have asked enough questions for now.

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audrey ruth

February 22, 2013  5:15pm

James B said: "So called 'insider movements' are to be found within several religions. These are groups of people who are now following Jesus as their God and Saviour. They meet together in small groups for fellowship, teaching, worship & prayer centred around Jesus & the Bible while continuing to live socially &culturally within their birth communities, including some elements of its religious observance." This brings to mind the double-minded man mentioned in the book of James, who is unstable in all his ways. Jesus said plainly that if we do not confess Him before men, He will not confess us before the Father. That if we deny Him before men, He will deny us before the Father. He also commands His people to "come out from among" those who do not worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth. I know it is not easy to be a confessing Christian in Muslim-dominated areas, BUT GOD is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all we can ask or think.

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Agape Love

February 21, 2013  7:24pm

There should be a balance using any kind of ways or method in reaching out to Muslims. The dearest brothers and sisters who use the Jesus Mosque method tends to down play on the power of the Gospel or sharing the story of the life of Christ up front. And so they do not start with the Gospel. They would like to balance out their bridge building by some how remembering what Roman 1:16 says and borrow example of Apostle Paul's writings. There is no huge Jesus Mosque method in Paul's writings but the Gospel and the life of Christ is exalted. I know of a great person in Christ who made great inroad into the Afghanistan community in USA and had done great connection for Christ and presented Isa to the Afghan people in many opportune time. But I was greatly discouraged at one time this person went into denial by saying that "I am not a messenger of Christ and I am not sharing Christ to my Muslims friends when this person was accused by a hard core Muslim leader that Christ has been shared.

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James B

February 19, 2013  9:14pm

"LOVE RESPECTS DIVERSITY OF DISCIPLESHIP So called 'insider movements' are to be found within several religions. These are groups of people who are now following Jesus as their God and Saviour. They meet together in small groups for fellowship, teaching, worship & prayer centred around Jesus & the Bible while continuing to live socially &culturally within their birth communities, including some elements of its religious observance. This is a complex phenomenon and there is much disagreement over how to respond to it. Some commend such movements. Others warn of the danger of syncretism. Syncretism, however, is a danger found among Christians everywhere as we express our faith within our own cultures. We should avoid the tendency, when we see God at work in unexpected or unfamiliar ways, either (i)hastily to classify it & promote it as a new mission strategy, or (ii)hastily to condemn it without sensitive contextual listening" http://www.lausanne.org/en/documents/ctcommitment.html#p2-3

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James B

February 19, 2013  9:08pm

United? Thats a joke. Killing each other and damning each other to hell is hardly united (you were talking of the ancient church remember - ie orthodox and catholic). A while back RC Sproul issued a "Fatwa" that Pinnock was "Not a Christian". Such anathemas are quite common especially from the reformed "defenders of the faith". Still I think you agree with my point since when you say "on the core beliefs of the Christian faith the church has remained united throughout history", you are actually making an appeal to tradition & orthodoxy as well as the Bible. And for us as Evangelicals, the best indicator of "orthodoxy" we have is the Lausanne Movement. A world-wide gathering of Evangelicals... Speaking of which, you may like to read this quote:

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Mike Tisdell

February 19, 2013  8:03pm

James B, Again, on the core beliefs of the Christian faith the church has remained united throughout history, whether it has been the church of the east or the church of the west; when challenges to the core beliefs have been made, the church has defended those same truths time and time again. Postmoderns want to assert that absolutely everything is unknowable and therefore every doctrine is up for debate but that kind of epistemological nihilism has been rejected by the church in every age. Sure, there are many issues on which different churches disagree but there is a unity on the core issues that unites all true churches.

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James B

February 19, 2013  3:34pm

But "right doctrine" raises another issue Mike. How can you be sure your doctrine is the correct one? As I said earlier, the 1000's of denominations in the USA indicates some dangerous & divisive syncretism is going on there. Instead of Abu Jaz, what you should be "scared" about is that all these US denominations are just as confident as you. Maybe you all have the same blindspot? Please dont tell me that you are "Biblical" because of course all heretics claim to be "Biblical" too. If you check the meaning of heretic you will find it simply means non-orthodox. Are YOUR beliefs orthodox or are you a heretic? Since we broke away from the pope things have got a little complicated haven't they? Sure we should be on our guard, but WHO gets to say who we should be on out guard against? Are you saying that you have perfected the scientific method of extracting truth from the Bible? Perhaps your denomination has? Or maybe your favourite modern western theologian?

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James B

February 19, 2013  3:14pm

Amen. We are in total agreement :) But are you saying that claiming the label "Christian" is not quite as important as having the right doctrine then? If you are saying that not all "Christians" are "Real Christians", then maybe you could consider being gracious enough to allow a few souls who dont claim this not-quite-so-important label (because they also think it is not quite so important :) but do have the right doctrine into the fold of those you consider REAL believers? Maybe you should even be a little more open to have some warm "heart connections" with them perhaps? :)

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Mike Tisdell

February 19, 2013  2:50pm

The idea that we should not take the beliefs of others into account when the claim to teach the truth about God is a very postmodern idea that doesn't have a basis in Scripture. Scripture warns us over and over again to be on guard against those who teach or proclaim falsehood. Here are just a few of the many places where this issue is addressed in Scripture: Matt. 7:15, Matt. 24:10-11, 23-24, Mk. 13:22, 2 Co. 11:12-13, 26, Gal. 2:4, 1 Tim. 1:3, 2 Pet. 2:1, 1 Jn. 4:1

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James B

February 19, 2013  12:04pm

You say "two wrongs do not make a right". Fair enough. Yet AGAIN, my point was that we Evangelicals have a log in our eye and forfeit the right to accuse others of "weak ecclesiology" (as you were doing). Out of interest, are you actively promoting ecumenical unity yourself or is this a more "theoretical" concern of yours? About the 43000 denominations try looking here http://www.internationalbulletin.org/system/files/2012-01-028-johnson.pdf These stats have nothing whatsoever to do with IM. As you can see the definition is "Christian". I am pretty sure Todd Johnson (a reputed evangelical researcher NOT a secular sociologist) has an accurate definition. Take a few 1000 off if you like. The point is the same. Again you seem to be diverting from the point of your argument using a technicality. He he... besides, its no use wringing your hands about "heart connections" to Christians and then complaining about who the Christians are ;)

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Mike Tisdell

February 19, 2013  11:21am

James B, I would also point out that old adage that "two wrongs do not make a right" comes into play here. The idea that because the church has failed to heed Christ's call to unity, other groups now have a license to create even bigger walls of separation is not biblical.

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Mike Tisdell

February 19, 2013  11:09am

James B, I did google "43000 denominations" and the results both confirmed my suspicions about how exaggerated this number really was and highlighted the difference between the ecclesiology of the IM movement and the ecclesiology of the historical Christian church. Among the "denominations" included in the 43000 number are every group that has any association to the name "Jesus" regardless of what they believe about him i.e. every denominational variation of Mormonism, Jehovah's witnesses, Unitarianism, etc..., etc..., etc... was included in this number. These groups have never considered part of the historical Christian church because, like many IM groups, they reject the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. While it is understandable that secular sociologists might so misunderstand Christianity that they would make this kind of mistake, those in the church should not be so confused about the core beliefs of the Christian faith.

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James B

February 19, 2013  4:59am

Mike writes, "The vast majority of Christian churches are united on the central doctrines of Christianity and see other denominations as brothers and sisters in Christ" - Yes but (as far as I can tell from the interview) SO DOES Abu Jaz! Anyway you are slipping out sideways here. This is NOT the point you were making earlier. You were bemoaning an alleged absence of "heart connection" and a "divide" between the ancient church and the new community of believers, NOT discussing central doctrines. My point was that "heart connection" has not been good between the evangelical and ancient churches either, and is not even good between evangelical denominations themselves (google "43000 denominations" if you think I exaggerate) - especially the reformed heresy-hunter varieties that appear to dominate the anti-IM bloggs. Evangelicals have absolutely no moral high ground to lecture Abu Jaz about ecclesiology until they clean up their own act. They have a huge log in their own eye.

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Mike Tisdell

February 18, 2013  2:34pm

James B, While I would agree that there are too many denominations, this is really a different issue. The vast majority of Christian churches are united on the central doctrines of Christianity and see other denominations as brothers and sisters in Christ; they don't look to other religious faiths for their identity. Even most C4 groups in Islamic contexts are united on the central doctrines of Christianity. While there is valid room to criticize the divisions in the church, this is really a separate issue. Those who abandon the central doctrines of Christianity that are shared by the church universally should raise alarm whether these churches are here or in the foreign missions field. [Note: your numbers are a bit of an exaggeration]

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James B

February 17, 2013  5:15am

He he... Its always a hilarious-but-tragic irony when US evangelicals start to give lectures on ecclesiology. We are now 43000 denominations! Mike if you were Orthodox your wringing your hands over division in the Church may have carried some weight. Across the whole Middle East from the late 1800’s onwards protestant missionaries have seldom shown concern for the traditional Christian churches. I have myself sat through vicious sermons demonizing them. So much for finger wagging “our hearts should be far more united with other Christians”. We should rather hang our heads in shame. Of course, faced with this appalling attack on ME Christiandom we love to tinker with the word “Christian” don’t we? “Oh they were not REAL Christians like us” we say. They are only cultural Christians… We’re born again! Perhaps… But by making this argument – that “Christian” describes a cultural inheritance more than faith in the heart - Evangelicals themselves laid the foundation for insider movements.

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Mike Tisdell

February 16, 2013  3:59pm

Gene, if this is the reasoning behind the use of MIT’s in Abu’s community, it is actually frightening because embracing an MIT for this reason is only going to deepen the divide between the church and Abu’s community. How could it do otherwise if the reason these MIT’s exist is based on the hostility that is invoked when Muslims hear God’s word in the language of the bible used by the Christian church? As Christians, our hearts should be far more united with other Christians (even those in very different cultures) than they are with unbelievers in our own society. The ecclesiology of IM far too often it exalts the connection with the unbelieving society over the connection with the hearts of other followers of Christ and that is one of the significant mistakes being made by those promoting IM’s. As Christians, we need to remember that our kingdom is not of this world and our allegiances should be first to our brothers and sisters in Christ who are part of God's eternal kingdom.

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Gene Daniels

February 15, 2013  4:37pm

Mike, good to see you and James having some good discussions on here. I ‘ve only got time for a quick comment about Muslim Idiomatic Translations (MIT). Like all missiological choices, they are not always the right answer. However, one situation where they are particularly helpful is when Muslims share a common language with an ancient church. In these situations the religious language of a standard Bible translations is tied to the ancient church and often to the hostility between it and the Muslim community. When religious language is so deeply ingrained as part of a cultural conflict, a new translation is an absolute necessity. I have seen this up close in one place I lived for several years, and that is what the situation appears to be in Abu Jaz’s context. Hope that helps.

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Mike Tisdell

February 13, 2013  4:42pm

James B, First as I said, the issue is not just the use of allah but the use of allah where it is used only as a proper name. In Malay, it is not a proper name, in Malay nouns have no number associated with them and number is determined entirely by context, so in this case the plural and singular forms of the noun are identical. Second, you have a very interesting definition of "debunked," a definition that I don't share.

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James B

February 13, 2013  3:46pm

You say: "If I cannot use a grammatically valid form of "allah" to express the idea of "other gods" (plural) in a given language or if I would not use the word "allah" to refer to a false god at all, then I should not be using "Allah" in the singular sense when referring to the one true God." This sounds like a convoluted version of the "cant use a proper name" argument which many have debunked for u on other web sites. Plenty of translations use proper names for God as u know. Another Modernity myth lurking here is the myth of "purity". Cultures are fluid & changing Mike. Who are you to say Allah isnt a valid (although borrowed) symbol within a language when locals feel that it is? 90% of culture is borrowed at some point. After all even Allah was borrowed from Aramaic. The Malaysian eg is interesting here. Since the court ruled there was only 1 creator & that He is known as Allah in Malaysia, the Islamic fundys did not get their way to ban Allah from the Bible. Whose side were u on?

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Mike Tisdell

February 13, 2013  1:50pm

John B, as you know there is far more at issue than just the use of Allah in MIT's. However, let's just look at the use of Allah. Some MIT's add or substitute the word "Allah" for the word "Father" and this is never a valid translation. Some MIT's use "Allah" in languages that use this word as only a proper name for the Islamic deity and not as generic word for "god" and this is never a valid translation practice. If I cannot use a grammatically valid form of "allah" to express the idea of "other gods" (plural) in a given language or if I would not use the word "allah" to refer to a false god at all, then I should not be using "Allah" in the singular sense when referring to the one true God. Yes, there are times where "allah" is a valid translation for the word "god" in other linguistic contexts but there are also times where good translation practices have been violated in order to insert the name "Allah" into the text and it is the latter issue at stake in some MIT's.

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Mike Tisdell

February 13, 2013  1:35pm

James B, it is not only I that call into question Newbigin's theory; most scholars that accept the validity of a Johannine authorship (as I do) also call this theory into question (for many of the same reasons I do). One of the real big problems to Newbigin's theory is that the form of Gnosticism that John is supposedly "contextualizing" didn't exist until a century after the Gospel was written. Liberal scholars who reject the validity of a Johannine authorship often do so based on this same Gnostic argument i.e. they argue that the Gospel could not have been written by John because it uses Gnostic forms that did exist in the first century; I reject that argument.

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James B

February 13, 2013  12:36pm

cont. Mike you say, "John did not write a 'Gnostic gospel'. His use of Logos was not consistent with Gnosticism and you don't have to read far (Jn. 1:14)" Exactly! Nevertheless throughout the ages Gnostics have claimed John as their own and some Christians have (wrongly) believed them. I think thats because people often have an understanding of symbols that belongs more to a "magic" worldview than biblical. They believe that a religion or cultural system can "own" a symbol, that a symbol can be inherently evil in and of itself. Thats just not a biblical idea. I think the gospel according to John shows us that it IS possible to take symbols captive and make them obedient to Christ, and YES I AGREE that is tricky, risky etc... but that is what has happened for the last 2000 years all over the world. Why do you question Abu Jaz's right to claim "Allah" and other symbols and stuff them with meaning "not consistent" with Islamic theology?

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James B

February 13, 2013  12:08pm

lol Mike, youre hardly the one to lecture on the semantic scope of the word "translation" after playing fast & loose with the word earlier here in Feb ;) Anyway calm down, I'm not saying new scripture can be written. Just saying John's translation (rendering of the meaning) of the Gospel message was radically tuned to the context of his day & would have got plenty in a tizzy just like some are today over MIT. I doubt you are qualified to flat out contradict Newbigin when he says: "Here the language and thought-forms of the Hellenistic world are so employed that Gnostics in all ages have thought that the book was written especially for them. And yet nowhere in Scripture is the absolute contradiction between the word of God and human culture stated with more terrible clarity" My point was that the Gospel was clearly communicated into the 1st century context, but some Gnostics (& Christians) throughout the ages have misunderstood it to teach Gnostism because it uses "their" symbols

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Mike Tisdell

February 13, 2013  9:44am

James B, there are two huge problems with this claim. First, John did not write a "Gnostic gospel." His use of Logos was not consistent with Gnosticism and you don't have to read far (Jn. 1:14) to see John present ideas that would have been completely rejected by every Gnostic believer. Second, and more importantly, John did not write a "translation," John was inspired to write God's original word and this is a calling that is far different from the calling of any translator. John was called to give new revelation (but it was not Gnosticism); the job of a translator is ONLY to clearly communicate that revelation into another language and a translator has crossed the line when they begin to think they can introduce their own new revelation! Any translator that doesn't understand that his role is different than the role God intended for the authors of Scripture should not be translating!!! Is it this kind of arrogance that has fostered an environment where MIT's could flourish?

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James B

February 13, 2013  5:35am

Mike, what do you think of John's GIT (Gnostic Idiom Translation) of the Gospel? Quite a radical break from gospels Messianic Jews were using. Just imagine the sorts of people who started rolling up to church (or making their own) after his perspective on the Gospel hit the presses!!! Divisive? Devious? Misleading use of the Gnostic "Logos" as a title for Christ? Syncretism? Lesslie Newbigin thinks it was brilliant insider communication: "I suppose that the boldest and most brilliant essay in the communication of the gospel to a particular culture in all Christian history is the gospel according to John. Here the language and thought-forms of the Hellenistic world are so employed that Gnostics in all ages have thought that the book was written especially for them. And yet nowhere in Scripture is the absolute contradiction between the word of God and human culture stated with more terrible clarity" The last 2 sentences of this quote show good communication can be controversial.

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Mike Tisdell

February 12, 2013  2:59pm

Gene Daniels, the use of an incomplete MIT bible in a community that has Christian churches and presumably already has a complete bible translation does raise a whole lot of red flags about whether the leadership of this movement has embraced some forms of syncretism. In many of these communities, it has been the local church that has been most opposed to the use of MIT's and in the last year we are beginning to see well respected theologically trained biblical language scholars weigh in on the question of the legitimacy of these translations and they are concluding that these translations are a very serous mistake. How will these communities address the MIT issue when the general consensus of biblical scholarship decides these translations they are using are not sound translations?

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Mike Tisdell

February 12, 2013  2:42pm

Gene Daniels, thank you for those answers it does help to understand a little more. I really do understand that IM is not a single unified movement but I do think there are common aspects of all true Insider Movements (C5) that I am still not quite sure exist in the movement you are describing. Almost all missionaries believe that new believers should remain within their social communities if at all possible (even those most opposed to IM), so the key question really is whether those in the movement you described have truly remained in their religious community and how that has been accomplished and what you have presented so far is very foggy on this point. This is a question that that you and CT should have been better prepared to answer before presenting this movement as a legitimate movement that should be accepted (and supported) by the whole body of Christ. It is really this question that raises the greatest concerns by those who believe IM has crossed the line.

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Gene Daniels

February 12, 2013  11:44am

Hi Mike, a couple quick answers is the best I can do now. 1) yes they are using a translation that is in process, and yes it is Muslim idom. 2) Yes they accept the entire cannon of the Bible. (and they reject the Quran as inspired) 3) They certainly view Christians as brothers, but I don’t know exactly how they view other Muslims. 4) the entire “insider” concept is so wide and varied that I don’t know who would think what about Abu Jaz, I’m sure there are differences of opinion. However, I will say that i am not the only competent missiologists who considers them to be “inside their socioreligious community,” thus good examples of the phenomenon. It could be the reason you are having a hard time seeing this as an example of IM is because many people have portrayed “insider” as a single thing. It is not. “Insider movement” is a descriptive term concerning a wide variety of movements, often without contact with each other. It is not a singular "thing" or organization.

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Mike Tisdell

February 12, 2013  10:28am

Gene Daniels, I am glad to hear that they are trying to deal with syncretism but it would be helpful to understand how they define syncretism. Many of the questions that you didn't answer would provide a little insight into the views of Abu's ministry i.e. Do they use Muslim Idiom Translations? Do they accept the entire Christian Canon of Scriptures as God's inspired word? Do they typically use bibles that contain the entire Canon? Additionally, I would really like to know the answer to this question: Do they view Christians or Muslims as their brothers and sisters of faith in the Kingdom of God? The reason I ask, is that the initial article left an impression that this was IM (in the way that Massey, Lewis, Tennent, Brown, etc.. define it) but the comments and the addendum leave a somewhat different impression. I am trying to understand why this ministry has been presented as IM and whether the primary promoters of IM would agree that this ministry is indeed and example of IM.

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Gene Daniels

February 12, 2013  9:25am

David, If you are interested in who I am, a simply internet search will yield articles and books I have written. If you are really interested, you can read my published works and learn enough about me to make your own decision about whether or not to trust me. CT has their reputation at stake when they publish something, do you think they would do so lightly? They did a background check on both myself and Abu Jaz, they were satisfied with what they found. Do you really think they would risk their reputation by publishing something like this yet was not abundantly verified? If all these things are not good enough for you, then I am not sure what you think would be enough? Don't let the conspiracy theories some people are caught-up in cloud your thinking.

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Gene Daniels

February 12, 2013  7:24am

Salaam, "Abu Jaz" chose that as his pseudonym because it was the name of one of his grandfathers, or great-grandfathers, not sure which. And yes, David, the interaction between myself and Hussien are representative of one of the problems here. But please read back over our exchange and see what the fundamental problem is.

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Khalil Mansour

February 12, 2013  7:21am

Abu Jaz’s approach in presenting the gospel to Muslims, is basically sound, in my opinion, and does not necessarily fit into the “Insider” framework, as, while he recognizes that there will be a time of overlap between two systems, he can at least recognize the two systems, where many Insiders do not. Because of their ignorance of Islamic teaching and the Qur’an, and the twisting of Biblical teachings, they are content with a hybrid form of “believer” in the end, and in fact promote this. Abu Jaz teaches that we must begin a discussion with Muslims beginning with Isa as the judge and move towards his deity. This is not true. There are all sorts of doors to enter, using the Qur’an as a bridge and moving towards the truths of divine scripture. One can start right at the cross if he chooses, showing the weakness and contradictions of the Qur’anic teaching on this, citing the Islamic commentators and all of their contradictions.

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Salaam Corniche

February 12, 2013  4:03am

Gene: I have been wondering about the name you gave to Abu 'Jaz. The first part is likely a rendition of Abu which could mean "the father of..." I know someone named Abubakar, or the father of Bakar. More unlikely it is a contraction of Abdu' or "slave of" in an Islamic context. I have friends who are named Abdu-lah or the "slave of Allah." The second part likely refers to the uniqueness of the Qur'an according to Islamic doctrine which is called I'Jaz. Technically it means "miraculousness" or "the act of rendering incapable or powerless." Thus in an Islamic context it refers to the idea that the Qur'an is of such high and miraculous quality that no one can imitate it. Thus, please correct me, but either your man is "the father of the incomparability of the Qur'an" or he is the "slave to the incomparability of the Qur'an." Please confirm. Thanks Shalom

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Gene Daniels

February 11, 2013  11:30am

Mike, just a very quick reply. The interview in CT was with one person, however, I also interviewed ten other leaders in this movement for my own purposes. I can say that they are addressing matters of syncretism, it seems to be one of their main “discipleship” tasks at this point in the life of the movement. As a movement they DO NOT affirm the Quran as inspired nor Mohammad as a prophet. But they were also honest enough to tell me that these are issues they are constantly addressing as they move people from one worldview to another. Sorry to be short, but I’ve got to run. Blessings.

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James B

February 10, 2013  12:33pm

Good comment on this CT article here: "Young, Restless and Uninformed: Responding to Kevin DeYoung on Insider Movements" by Cody Lorance http://codylorance.blogspot.co.il/2013/02/young-restless-and-uninformed.htm l I must say it is so nice to read a reformed blogger who writes with love, respect, and some degree of missions awareness. I wish there were more. Bless you Cody!

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audrey ruth

February 10, 2013  1:26am

Did the Lord ever command us to worship Him amongst unbelievers (as in a mosque)? No. He said, "When two or three gather together IN MY NAME, there I will be among them." He commanded us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together WITH OTHER BELIEVERS (Hebrews 10:25). Yes, we are to be His witnesses that none "should perish, but that all should come to repentance." At the same time, He commands us to "come out from among them [who do not worship Him] and be separate from them" (2 Corinthians 6). He says that IF we do this, He will receive us as sons and daughters. He said, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away. Behold, all things are become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17) We are to make a clean break with the old life when we become His children. LORD Jesus said that if we acknowledge Him before men, He will acknowledge us before the Father. See http://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2012/03/an-inside-perspective-on-the -islamic-friendly-bible/

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Mike Tisdell

February 09, 2013  12:31pm

Gene Daniels, Questions about Abu's ministry: Do they accept the entire Christian Canon of Scriptures as God's inspired word? Do they typically use bibles that contain the entire Canon? Do they use Muslim Idiom Translations? Do they believe other Scriptures, like the Qu'ran are inspired? Do they view Christians or Muslims as their brothers and sisters of faith in the Kingdom of God? Are there beliefs that boarder on syncretism that are accepted or endorsed by the leadership? If so, what are those beliefs? How does the leadership address issues of syncretism within the body of believers? Answers to these questions would help to better understand Abu's ministry.

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Salaam Corniche

February 09, 2013  10:46am

Gene: Godspeed. I just had a conversation with someone doing da'wa--the equivalent of Muslim evangelism. His first words: "we love Jesus." --but on further probing, this person is a. not the Lord of the prophets, b. not fully God, c. not The Righteous One, d. simply a command from God--and not His Word. Let us not get off-track with semantic similarities, as JIQ and the Common Ground Conference have done, and I think to a point, Jaz has done. The Islamic 'Isa is a gutless, caricature of the Biblical Jesus, who is not worthy of worship, not Divine, who for all his titles of messiah in the Qur'an is not the promised Prophet, Priest and King, and as the scholar Neal Robinson said, only serves to legitimize the prophethood of Muhammad. Don't you think it is time to make clear differentiations of the nature of this 'Isa, instead of affirming some superficial similarities? Even current Islamic commentators scoff at the ignorance of Christians who try to Christianize the Islamic 'Isa

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James B

February 08, 2013  2:07pm

Hussein, you say "People who know your interviewee say he is C5, contrary to what you have been promoting in your interview". This is yet another example of hearsay and accusation... Why not just read the article and rejoice over your brother in Christ? Interact with what Abu Jaz says and not with what "people say".

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Gene Daniels

February 08, 2013  2:00pm

Dear brothers and sisters. I have been enjoying my interaction with most of you. However, I am about to leave on a month long trip outside the US. I'm sure I will be able to stop in on this comment page from time to time, but not often. So please do not consider it an act of disrespect if I do not answer you. Grace and peace to you from our Lord Jesus.

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Tim S

February 08, 2013  1:56pm

The entire concept seeking to legitimize the following Jesus inside of a false, demonically inspired religion is an abomination. The entire "insider movement" is rife with falsehoods and hidden agendas that are the antithesis of the gospel. A few years back a friend was able to get into an IM conference and tape it. Out of that I have put together a video exposing what they are teaching. It can be viewed here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMHmFQ6TZlo While they want to sugarcoat it to those on the outsie, listening to the conference is EYE OPENING! Again, the link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMHmFQ6TZlo

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James B

February 08, 2013  1:29pm

Hussein, you write: "The credibility of your interviewee is open for debate. He makes categorical statements which misrepresent his culture & Muslim background. 1)He claims he never used another name for God except Allah..." Perhaps I misunderstood the english, but it really does not sound like you are asking questions here. It comes across as an accusation that you know his culture better than him & that he is misrepresenting it, & that you dont believe hes telling the truth about never using other names for God... Sorry, please correct me if I misunderstood your intention here... Hussein, Ive watched this silly argument for several years now & I am sick of it. My position is simple: Show respect for your brethren (assume they are truthful, intelligent & have best motives). Don't fwd trashy youtube soundbites & slander. Practice empathy. Just ignore hearsay (anyone can say something wrongly in a speech). Work with the academic texts AND the relationships. Do you oppose my position?

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James B

February 08, 2013  1:01pm

Mike, sigh...you gave me a totally unrelated youtube reference with just more accusations. If you had read the angry responses below it from the people who were actually there, its fairly clear these sensationalist sound bites are taken totally out of context. At the VERY LEAST it is debatable. And so I ask again, when it is clear there is a good deal of misunderstanding over what is being taught, why do you prefer to believe evil about your brethren, and worse still spread it? Since when is this "christian"? I've never been to a JIQ myself and probably wont, but I would not be surprised if their teaching about Ishmael is founded on this: http://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/17_1_PDFs/Ishmael_Promise.pdf If so, I think you will find you have misunderstood and misquoted them and that they deserve an apology. Now you may not agree with all of it (I dont!) but at least PLEASE do people the honour of understanding them and avoid spreading slanderous rumours (sorry, what else should I call them?)

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Gene Daniels

February 08, 2013  11:37am

Brother Khalil, I have repeatedly addressed your comments about the CT title, please read my eariler comments. As for your assertion that the generalizations in the article are not representative of other churches in Muslim contexts, I would disagree. But that is not the point, they are not generalizations, they describe what actually happened in a particular context. Just not your context. I am glad to hear that you didn’t have this kind of experience, but many MBBs I know have. What Abu Jaz faced in the church is not extreme or unusual. Also, just to clarify this point again, Abu Jaz’s ministry is not the result of some Westerner teaching him these ideas, he developed his ideas as he studied in a Bible school that was basically teaching much the opposite. But praise the Lord they were also teaching solid principals of biblical hermeneutics, church history and theological development. Unfortunately not all Bible schools teach people to think for themselves.

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Gene Daniels

February 08, 2013  10:20am

Mike, thank you for saying “some IM groups” when you discuss the things that concern you. To simply get that acknowledged, that there is wide diversity among insider movements, was one of my main goals of publishing this interview. And I am sure you still have questions, it is impossible to completely explain something like this in 3600 words. And even if you did know everything about this movement, you might still disagree, but the fact that you are willing to leave those things as questions instead of making them accusations truly warms my soul. Blessings on your head.

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Mike Tisdell

February 08, 2013  7:58am

Gene Daniels, I do understand why the term socioreligious is used and I understand why some forms are adopted (like praying on prayer rugs). I am far more concerned with adoption of Islamic theology by some IM groups than I am with the adoption of a prayer style i.e. do they recite the Shahadah when they pray or is it only the form that was adopted? As I understand it, Abu's ministry has formed a new socioreligious community that intersects with the old one, and that is something I think is the goal of most modern missions movements. Nobody wants to extract people out of their communities regardless of their position on IM. While I am still concerned that contextualization in Abu's ministry has been taken too far, I am actually relieved to hear that he is part of a church outside of the Mosque. I still have a whole lot of questions that are difficult to answer because who Abu is and where he ministers are only guesses right now.

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Khalil Mansour

February 08, 2013  7:49am

The title of this article is completely misleading. There is nothing about "worshiping Jesus in the mosque". Also, the writer uses examples and generalizations about the church that are not representative of many evangelical churches in other Muslim cultures. My take on the East African culture here is that the church is totally isolated and ignorant, and that the form of Islam is also weak, and certainly not representative of the context I live in ( the Arab world.) Many of the illustrations that the writer uses in his experience of the church are extreme. In my context, "Allah" is the standard Arabic word used for God, for both Christians and Muslims, but I can understand how it could be a problem in cultures that are non-Arabic. All the MBB's that I know in the Arab world would find it absolutely hypocritical, deceitful, and repugnant to stay praying in the mosque. This is their own understanding, and they find it strange that a lot of westerners are pushing this stuff.

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Gene Daniels

February 08, 2013  7:23am

Hi Mike, We use “socioreligious" because the two domains overlap to such a large degree that it is very difficult to meaningfully divide them. Is it religious to pray bowed on a rug? Or course. Is it socially informed? Of course. But here is the important question - is it distinctly Islamic? Of course not. The theology a person prays with is what makes any prayer Islamic or Christian. As for Abu Jaz and his movement, I can tell you from first-hand knowledge, they remain deeply inside their community. I ask you to consider the diversity within Islam, the hundreds, if not thousands, of subgroupings that all consider themselves Muslim. Identity is a very complex phenomenon, yet many people treat it as if it is uni-dimensional. But I don’t say this condescendingly. When I first moved to the Muslim world 15 years ago I did not understand this stuff, and even now I have barely scratched the surface.

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Mike Tisdell

February 08, 2013  6:06am

The surveys I mentioned are the ONLY published surveys on IM; whether you consider them old or not is irrelevant because THERE ARE NO OTHER PUBLISHED SURVEYS. JIQ, I have spoken with the organization itself and with others that have attended and I provided to you a written reference from a reputable source. I chose this translation issue because it is an example of how far some advocate changing the text.While I don't have an online reference to give for this issue, I can share this video which documents many of the problems with the JIQ seminar (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3F0RcOWzss); it is mostly a recording taken from the seminar itself. Your accusation of slander is unfounded and if this direction you intended to go, then I will not continue to engage.

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James B

February 08, 2013  2:51am

Can someone representing JIQ confirm/deny these rumors? Does JIQ teach this is the meaning of Gen 16:12? Mike is spreading this all over the web and deserves a response.

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James B

February 08, 2013  2:43am

Mike, are you “benelchi”? He makes EXACTLY your accusations (grand talk of “surveys”, aversion to “Allah”, “'Ishmael is with all”, character attacks on Wycliffe, Massey etc.) Even if you are not “benelchi”, you for sure know that his accusations have been debunked here: http://www.christianforums.com/t7696628-10 where he is told this is “no where near what others in the "Jesus & the Qur'an" conference advocated (& I've gone twice/talked to the leaders on the issue)” & here: http://forum.bible.org/viewtopic.php?f=51&t=16317&start=15 So why do you choose to believe the bad reports? Everytime you have been pushed on your vague generalisations in this forum Mike, there turns out to be very little substance: just Parshalls old survey, "translation" is only exposition, & scandals become hearsay. I am continually astounded that those who make such a big deal over their being “biblical” & “christian” think it is fine to engage in slander and gossip. The ends do NOT justify the means.

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Mike Tisdell

February 07, 2013  10:05pm

Gene Daniels, You said, "The 'people of the Gospel' are an assembly which has their own identity." How does one have their own identity and not become part of a new socioreligious community? If their identity changes when they come to Christ then it is not an "Insider Movement." This is not to say that their new socioreligious community cannot intersect with their old community but it can no longer be identical to their old socioreligious community IF they truly have a new identity. In the US, the socioreligious communties of Baptists, Catholics, Mormons, etc... often intersect but we don't mistake of assuming that an intersection means we are part of the same community.

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Mike Tisdell

February 07, 2013  9:42pm

Gene Daniels, Yes, it is the term "socioreligious" that I am looking at. I do not think it is nearly as fluid as you have tried to define it. This is not how it is used by Travis, Lewis, Brown, etc... Because we began with Lewis' definition of IM, I think her understanding of "socioreligiouis" should also be used. Additionally, Travis in 2009 said: "By definition, C3 and C4 Christ-centered communities are attempts to stay and witness within one’s community of birth: in other words, to remain an ‘insider.’ Therefore, perhaps we need to find a better term like ‘cultural insider’ (for C3 and C4) and ‘religious’ or ‘socio-religious’ insider to describe C5. Whatever the case, since ‘outsider’ sounds negative and dismissing and may not in many cases reflect the reality of a Christian of Muslim background still living in his community, perhaps it is time we look for a new set of terms." Out of curiosity, do you believe C5 is wrong, or do you see worship in the Mosque as valid?

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Mike Tisdell

February 07, 2013  9:23pm

Rick Dalbey, Yes there are evangelical churches. In areas where there is substantial persecution they tend to be small house churches but in many areas they are much more established churches. The strongest opposition for IM most often comes from the indigenous churches.

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Mike Tisdell

February 07, 2013  9:20pm

James B, Have a little patience please. I have work and family and cannot always answer immediately. No, I haven't been the the JIQ seminar but I know a number of people who have attended that give the same or similar account. Additionally, you can find a reference in "Chrislam: How Missionaries are Promoting and Islamized Gospel." One person reported to me that they taught that Ge. 16:12 was talking about a "hand shake" rather than suggesting that the preposition should have been translated as "with", however, that argument is just as ridiculous. I did call JIQ and ask them for the source of this information but they would not give me a reference.

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Rick Dalbey

February 07, 2013  7:34pm

I'm letting you guys sort this out. Here's a question though. Is there a healthy Christian church, for example in Iraq, or Sudan, that new converts typically join. And by that I don't mean historical Coptic minority, but evangelical. I have read about Episcopal Canon White's evangelistic church in Iraq.

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James B

February 07, 2013  4:48pm

Mike, you say an "IM missionary translates Ge. 16:12 as 'Ishmael is with all and all are with him'" and I have asked a few times for a reference. I'm googling this while I wait for your response. All I have found is "Ishmael is with everyone..." and there are only two people talking about this: Mike Tisdell and a pseudonym called "benelchi". Now benelchi sounds very much like he is you, and if not he is basing all his information/argument on yours (he lists your article in scribd for eg). So all I have left is you as the source of this. Can you PLEASE give me a reference? Have you PERSONALLY been to a JIQ seminar or is this hearsay?

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Gene Daniels

February 07, 2013  4:26pm

Mike, just because people no longer attend the mosque for worship does not mean they have left their socioreligious community. There is much more to the Muslim community than mosque attendance. Have you lived with Muslims? Their community is held together by many threads. Furthermore, the people of the gospel are not forming new aggregate communities. Where did the interview say that, or I in the comments? (I read back over my comments and cannot find where I did). I think you are struggling with the term socioreligous precisely because it is very hard to define. This is on of the reasons there is a wide spectrum falling within the “insider” concept. I encourage you to pull back and give this some objective thought.

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Mike Tisdell

February 07, 2013  4:06pm

Gene Daniels, in the very paper you cited, Lewis says that "all that matters is that no new communities (no “aggregate churches”) are formed to extract believers from their pre-existing families and networks, so that they naturally retain their former identity. As such, “insider movements” can take place within any socioreligious context." According to the very definition in the paper you referenced, what is described in this article is not an "Insider Movement" because according to you and Abu, new communities have been formed and people no longer worship within their former religious communities. Lewis expects "insiders" to retain their social and religious context; this is what she means by socioRELIGIOUS and, like I said, this is further clarified in her later works. Nearly everyone agrees that you should try to not extract someone from the social context; the conflict comes when IM missionaries suggest that one should also not be extracted from their religious context.

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Gene Daniels

February 07, 2013  3:14pm

Mike, please don't divert this particular point. We are right now talking about a definition of a term, not commenting on the entire body of Lewis' writing. I want to challenge you with the fact that many people chose to use the term "insider movement" in the most negative way, then dismiss anything good as "not a true Insider Movement." This is exactly what you did and it is poor scholarship. I am quite certain you already know this because you are obviously a scholar. By citing a well-known, published definition I am challenging you and other people to use terms correctly, not redefine terns as it suits your purposes.

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James B

February 07, 2013  2:44pm

Mike you write, "the Ge. 16:12 translation comes from the JIQ seminars". Perhaps it was a little misleading to use the word "translates" then? Still, I am relieved it was NOT A BIBLE TRANSLATION. Did you hear it yourself when you attended a JIQ? or do you have a actual reference to someone who says they have? Like I said, I'm interested to look into such nonsense.

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Mike Tisdell

February 07, 2013  2:44pm

Gene Daniels, Lewis who wrote the article you referenced believes that there should be not be conversion and that believers should continue to worship in their original context i.e. in the Mosque in Muslim contexts. Please read some of her more recent works where she clarifies her position.

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Gene Daniels

February 07, 2013  2:18pm

Mike, as for what is or is not a “true Insider Movement,” the first published definition of "insider movements" that I know if is found in this article http://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/24_2_PDFs/24_2_Lewis.pdf The concise definition in that article is: “An ‘insider movement’ is any movement to faith in Christ where a) the gospel flows through pre-existing communities and social networks, and where b) believing families, as valid expressions of the Body of Christ, remain inside their socioreligious communities, retaining identity as members of that community while living under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of the Bible.” Abu Jaz and the “people of the gospel” are a virtual exact match to that definition. Perhaps CT is not so out of touch with current scholarship as you thought?

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Mike Tisdell

February 07, 2013  1:58pm

James B, While I recognize that modernity doesn't have all of the answers, the idea that modernity has an expectation of "certainty" is simply a misunderstanding of modernity. I don't know of any modern thinkers that are caught in this imagined "certainty trap" although I can understand how it could appear that way to those approach the epistemological nihilism that often (not always) characterizes postmodernism. Personally, I think postmodern thinkers have raised many good questions but the answers they have provided to those questions have generally been bankrupt. P.S. the Ge. 16:12 translation comes from the JIQ seminars.

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Mike Tisdell

February 07, 2013  1:43pm

Gene Daniels, I didn't notice the addendum to this article until a day ago. With this new information, it seems that the article title is a bit misleading. While I think there are still significant concerns about some aspects of this ministry, it really doesn't meet the definition of a true "Insider Movement" and I have to wonder why it was presented as IM in this article? ETA - just saw your comment on this and I appreciate the clarification; I still think the designation of "Insider" is a little misleading given the addendum that was added to the article.

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Gene Daniels

February 07, 2013  1:29pm

Hi David, technically the title to the aricle in the print version is "Where is Christian?" The title for the focus on insider movements is “Worshiping Jesus in the Mosque.” Both Abu Jaz and I asked CT to run the correction/clarification. Neither of us had anything to do with the title, and we didn't even know what it would be until we saw the print edition. So the clarification has absolutely nothing to do with a change of positions. If for some reason you doubt this, please carefully reread the interview you will see that nothing is even mentioned about the mosque.

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David Irvine

February 07, 2013  11:15am

Why is the title of this article “Worshiping Jesus in the Mosque” when after some hard questions Abu Jaz on 1.23.13 added: "The 'people of the Gospel' are not Muslims theologically. They are not worshiping Jesus in the Mosque. They have no right to practice worship in the mosque in our legal and theological context.”

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Kevin Higgins

February 07, 2013  10:42am

I am new to the comments here...found this simulating! Thank you. This may seem to be a comment outside the thread, and I apologize. It does connect to the article though. One brother from the UK saw the Xtnty Today edition and this article and (though he is not in the pro-Insider Movement camp) suggested that a person sympathetic to such movements clarify something about the issue of mosque attendance. He rightly observed that it seems sometimes advocates come across as if these movements are somehow mosque centered. Actually, at east in the movements I know, the center is in small house churches/cell groups where believers meet, study the Bible, pray, share the Lord's Supper, etc. Yes, many, if not most, do participate in religious events and ceremonies of their Muslim community, including mosque attendance. I see trends that indicate: less frequency, less worry about missing, and re-directing their focus to pray to Jesus while in the mosque, interceeding for those attending. Kevin

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Gene Daniels

February 07, 2013  8:17am

Salaam, I must be careful that I don’t speak for Abu Jaz, he is not my alter ego ;-). However, we have talked about his views on the historic counsels and creeds. He told me that he sees them as “informative,” but since they were addressing issues in their own context, they are not “normative.” And as for reciting a particular creed, I don’t know. But I can say that he has a strong connection to the body of Christ in his country, to the point that is was some key evangelical leaders there who first suggested I meet him and learn about his ministry. This was not just a case of CT trying to do something provocative, Abu Jaz has a solid reputation (which they checked out) despite being very different.

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James B

February 07, 2013  5:49am

Mike, you say there is a bible that translates "Ge. 16:12 as 'Ishmael is with all and all are with him' You are right, that is pretty poor translation. Can you give me a reference for this so I can look into it further?

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James B

February 07, 2013  5:26am

Audrey, heres an excellent video about Allah and translation http://www.kouya.net/?p=4692 I hope it is helpful. Also if you look in the comments below the video, you will see Mike Tisdell has been active there too. Below him is a link to an excellent discussion between Mike and someone called Peter Kirk on the "Better Bibles Blog" (sadly it fizzles a bit at the end). Although I would sympathise more with Peter, I thought it was good stuff Mike and much easier to follow when there is no 1000 letter limit. Kudos for your extensive knowledge of biblical Hebrew.

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James B

February 07, 2013  4:05am

Mike, thanks for calling me postmodern. I do take it as a compliment. However, a sure sign of a mind trapped in Modernity is to throw out this label as if it is a trump card. eg “Ha! I win, because you are postmodern & therefore a backslidden relativist!” I trust this was not what you meant. For me post-modern means just that: ie I am still very modern in my thinking but I have realised that Modernity is an ‘a priori’ commitment in place BEFORE I theologise. All cultures have their blindspots, & for Modernity one of those is the heady illusion of objectivity (ie the illusion one has no a priori commitment). It’s a source of much evil: just look at the 1000s of evangelical denominations & divisions caused by what Musk calls the “certainty trap”. For me postmodern means “bold humility” (as Bosch puts it). I’m still a strong believer in absolute truth, but I hope the realisation that I too have a priori commitments makes me a little less cock-sure & more willing to listen before I judge.

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James B

February 07, 2013  3:12am

Mike, it seems we move in different circles (do you work in a bible college?) On the contrary the Modern worldview is most strongly pushed by western institutions in the ME -especially evangelical bible colleges which indoctrinate students with deductive reasoning, systematic theology, apologetics, western worship forms & preaching styles etc etc. A good argument can be made that the reformation (& so evangelicalism) is driven by enlightenment thinking : “I don’t need a pope, I can discover objective truth all by myself using scientific methods to extract it from scripture”. Most MEers are pre-modern in outlook, ie they reject this individualistic, “I-think-therefore-I-am”(theology)-focused “faith” in scientific method. No wonder MOST MEers (orthodox Christians & Muslims) see the evangelical church as an utterly western implant. I guess that this is some of what Abu Jaz is reacting to: That evangelicalism is a C5 expression of “Jesus following” contextualised for western Modernity.

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Salaam Corniche

February 07, 2013  3:08am

Gene: I think you read my question wrong. I am not suggesting that Jaz has not read his Bible deeply. I am asking questions about having a comprehensive theological view, also of a theology of religions which must be based on the Hebrew Testament as well. Case in point. No theology of idolatry can exist without knowing the OT. This affects how one views Islam as well. No theology of covenant can exist without the OT. This affect how one sees Allah of Islam. Ditto for a theology of the fall, vs Islam's optimistic view. Like it or not, many Western evangelicals have reduced the Bible down to the 4 Gospels with a simplistic "what would Jesus do" theology, along with a very a-historical approach. Sadly they have exported this view. Glad you brought up church history. How does Jaz interact with the historical church? Embrace? Disdain? Tolerate? Can he recite the creed "I believe-in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church?" How does he show it? How do his members show it?

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Gene Daniels

February 06, 2013  3:49pm

Mike, I agree with you that some things done under the label “C5” cross theological red lines. But I fail to see how this relates to Abu Jaz. What practices did he discuss in the article that you consider going too far? It seems that many people are approaching this interview with enough presuppositions to choke a horse. Also, believe it or not, as an ethnographer, the article was truly an attempt to describe, not proscribe. That is what I am trained to do. In fact, it might surprise you but the majority of my MBB friends around the world are not “insiders.” My very position in this debate is proof that we are discussing a wide spectrum of views. Just because I believe that some are doing “insider” right, does not preclude that I feel others are doing it wrong. There is not a single, monolithic “Insider Movement” as many seem to suppose.

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Gene Daniels

February 06, 2013  3:08pm

Hi Salaam, Other than a couple of messianic passages, I have not discussed the OT with Abu Jaz so I cannot say what his particular views might be. However, I am quite sure he has views about it because he is an astute theologian who has studied the Bible extensively. My theological discussions with him, particularly as we were first getting to know each other, were deep and rich. But as you can imagine, there was no way to include all that material in a short magazine article. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to assume that someone like Abu Jaz has not studied and reflected on the Bible deeply. Perhaps you should consider that down through the centuries many people have spent a lifetime studying the Bible, yet came to different conclusions from you.

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Gene Daniels

February 06, 2013  2:34pm

Mike, please forgive me for posting my comments about pastor DeYoung's blog. Not that I retract what I said, but that this is the wrong place for it. If I have anything to say about his blog I should post it in comments on his site. That was a mistake on my part and I admit it.

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Salaam Corniche

February 06, 2013  2:28pm

Gene: Greetings. As I observe Jaz's story and your comments, what I see is a tendency to defer to Jesus. Great, but permit me to explore some potential downsides. a. Very much of the Bible's teaching on the interface of religion and culture comes from the Hebrew Testament. I noticed that some commenters suggested things from the OT but they were not responded to. b. Might this pit the macaroni multiplying, non theological Jesus against the passionately Holy God who is crazy jealous for the unalloyed love of Israel? By extension, might this result in a very reductionistic theology? c. Might the detailed worship set out by YHWH in the OT cause one to pause that it is possible to 'offer strange fire' even in religious activity? It makes me wonder if there is any kind of 'regulative principle' at work in Jaz's meetings.? d. Imagine Daniel bowing down to the idol and replying that he was praying to YHWH in his heart. Ouch. e. Paul said that the OT is 'for our instruction.' For Jaz?

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Mike Tisdell

February 06, 2013  1:23pm

James B, Your ideas are very consistent with what I have heard from other people that have come out of western institutions and have adopted a western postmodern ideology. While I have often heard these westerners claim that I don't understand "eastern" thought, I have seldom heard these ideas from those who were born and raised in the middle east, and I never heard this ideology from those who have not come out of western institutions. Those that I personally know who were born and raised in the middle east (many of whom are Muslims or former Muslims) have been those that have been most strongly opposed to the postmodern ideology of the west. Most of the time I hear these claims, they are made by people who have not even studied the languages or cultures of the middle east. I have to wonder why so many in the middle east don't understand that this is supposed to be how they think?

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James B

February 06, 2013  11:22am

Gene, you were done an injustice having to share magazine space with a discussion of the C-Scale (double injustice if we count the title of this article ;). How ridiculous to think one can plot identity on a one-dimensional scale (academics can't even agree on what it is - its even worse than "culture"). I am a father, husband, friend, church member, employee... how do you plot this in one dimension? I have many identities, roles & allegiances. Often they clash & I must choose (but always within a specific time & context) how best to follow Christ in that situation. Some aspects of these roles (eg father) are shaped from my home culture, some aspects are positive things I’ve learned from my Middle Eastern (basically Muslim) context. I feed on God’s word & try hear the holy spirit speak to my conscience. You can’t plot this type of daily reality on a 1D scale! The only people I have found who actually like this scale are dichotomistic thinkers looking to draw lines (& divide brethren).

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James B

February 06, 2013  10:49am

Mike, you say "there is a lot of room for discussions about where the line between culture and religion exists... I think it is important to be clear that there is a line”. The problem with this sort of statement is that presumes everyone is working with the same definition of culture (a little naive since it has literally 1000’s of academic definitions). Also, if you read almost any non-western discussions of culture you will find most (ie most of the world) disagree with you. Non-westerners are not so blinded by modernity’s sacred-secular dichotomy and take a more holistic approach. That you claim there is some distinct “line” between (dangerous) religious culture and (safe) non-religious (ie secular) culture is more a statement of your allegiance to the modern worldview than anything else (Perhaps you are a C5 insider within Western modernity? ;) I think there is always evil in the “secular” half of a culture too -as well as some traces of God’s fingerprints in the “religious” part!

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Mike Tisdell

February 06, 2013  9:26am

Gene Daniels, I have objective knowledge about the motives of SOME IM missionaries, not because I am "God," but because I have asked them when I sat down and discussed these issues with them. I trust that they did not lie to me about their motives. In a nut shell they felt it was best to not share many of the details of their ministries because people would "misunderstand." Also, I did not say that the line between culture and religion was clear, I actually said "Within C4 contexts there is a lot of room for discussions about where the line between culture and religion exists;" however, I think it is important to be clear that there is a line and some aspects of C5 clearly cross that line. When "cultural" practices stand in opposition to the clear teaching of Scripture, the line has been crossed. And I could not disagree with you more about De Young's article, he clearly has direct knowledge of this issue and has raised the same concerns that most with knowledge of IM have raised.

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Gene Daniels

February 06, 2013  7:43am

Mike, I could not disagree with you more and on several points. First, you write as if you have objective knowledge about people’s motivations – are you God? Do you know men’s hearts? Second, the C-scale was intended to be a rough generalization of the situation on the field. Yet somehow it has come to be used as technical hermeneutic . In particular, the line between religion and culture is often not clear, it zigs and zags through life and practice – both in the Muslim world as well as in the American Bible belt. So good luck trying to draw straight clean lines there. And as for pastor DeYoung, I’m sure he is a great guy, but his blog demonstrates a clear lack of understanding about the degree to which all churches are shaped by culture, therefore, it follows he would have a difficult time understanding how someone can follow Jesus in a radically different context.

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Gene Daniels

February 06, 2013  7:06am

Dear Audrey, I like your statement "The key point of any faith is "WHO IS JESUS?" One time Abu Jaz and I were talking about "insider," "C5," and other western labels for groups like his. He said that he did not like any of these labels. He went on to say that if people wanted to understand his group they should come and ask the question "who is Jesus to these people?" instead of giving them foreign labels.

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audrey ruth

February 06, 2013  3:34am

Dear Moderator: I've just now seen your note to me about deletion and re-posting of my posts. Thank you for the explanation. I hope it's all straightened out now. God bless you.

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audrey ruth

February 05, 2013  11:05pm

A note to everyone, which I've meant to post earlier: The key point of any faith is "WHO IS JESUS?" Peripheral issues will be built on this, but this is the bottom line in any discussion of faith.

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audrey ruth

February 05, 2013  11:02pm

Gene, I forgot to thank you for responding to my question; I meant to do that earlier. Seriously, please don't expect me to carry the load of answering unBiblical comments. Some days my workload is very heavy. When I am here, it's usually only for very short periods of time. Since you authored the feature article here, your words carry more weight than anyone else's.

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Gene Daniels

February 05, 2013  10:13pm

Dear Audrey, please do not think I am being disingenuous when inviting you to continue your dialogue with Eldon. You really are doing a good job of replying to him and I honestly don’t have either the time or energy to do it. Even if you and I disagree on other points, your biblical answers to Eldon’s strange and misleading theology are spot on. I know I am not the only one who is busy, but right now I am swamped and are glad to see you and others answer Eldon. Please believe that I am most sincere in saying this.

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audrey ruth

February 05, 2013  10:03pm

Gene, it's very refreshing to know that you were the one who said this to Eldon: "Eldon, I am not trying to be rude, but I must be clear. The rest of the people in this discussion believe the ENTIRE Bible to be the inspired word of God - you do not. The rest of the people in this discussion DO NOT believe the Quran to be inspired - you do. Therefore you really don't have a place at this table." I had mistakenly thought that Rick said that. At the same time, it's very disappointing that you would accuse me of "thinking the worst of those I disagree with". This is not accurate. I respond to what is written here. Obviously I do not know anyone here personally. Since you are the author of the feature article here, it seems illogical and even disingenuous for you to "leave such discussion" to me. Please don't refrain from posting Biblical truth to correct such errors as Eldon has posted.

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Mike Tisdell

February 05, 2013  9:19pm

Eldon Orr, In this particular case, the linguistic claim you made was simply wrong and this is something that would be recognized as wrong at any secular university that teaches linguistics. The theological claims you have made fail because the linguistic claim at its foundation is invalid. You simply cannot assume that every use of words that share a common root have the same meaning in every culture and every language at every point in history. Even in the same language, words derived from the same root can have drastically different meanings and those meanings can change drastically at different periods in history; this is compounded when you start looking at related roots in different languages. Additionally, you cannot assume that slight changes in pronunciation will not make profound changes to the meaning. YOU NEED TO LEARN THE LANGUAGE IF YOU WANT TO UNDERSTAND HOW PRONUNCIATION CHANGES AFFECT THE MEANING OF WORDS!

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Mike Tisdell

February 05, 2013  4:44pm

Gene Daniels, I really don't think the question "is Allah [of Islam] a false God or is it a word for the one true Creator God whom Muslims have incorrect knowledge about?" is any more difficult to answer than the question about whether the calf idol called 'YHWH' in northern kingdom of Israel in the 8th century BC was a false god or the true god which those in the northern kingdom had incorrect knowledge about? The prophets seem to be very clear on that latter question.

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Mike Tisdell

February 05, 2013  4:32pm

Gene Daniels, I actually think the C scale provides clarity that is obscured (often intentionally) in many presentations of IM. Every IM (C5) missionary that I have seen make a presentation begins by presenting their ministry in a way that is reflective of C4 and seldom do they ever really deal with the aspects contextualization that move their ministry into the realm of C5. Some of the extreme examples of C4 should (rightly) make us uncomfortable, but C4 congregations do not cross the theological boundaries that are crossed by C5. Within C4 contexts there is a lot of room for discussions about where the line between culture and religion exists, but "the line" doesn't even enter that debate in C5 discussions because C5 sees everything as culture and rejects our need to even draw that line. Did you see Kevin DeYoung's article? He does a good job at drawing out the failures of C5.

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Gene Daniels

February 05, 2013  2:06pm

Mike, two points. 1) thanks for the reply on the surveys. Parshall’s is the one I am aware of, Hoefer’s context is so very different that I don’t consider it relevant. 2) You mentioned “C5,” I try to avoid the C-scale anymore because it seems to bring more confusion than clarity. I do not agree with teaching people to continue in the Islamic religion, or any other false God. But even that simple statement raises two critical points: a) what is the line between religion and culture? And b) is Allah a false God or is it a word for the one true Creator God whom Muslims have incorrect knowledge about? Both these topics are much too large for a comment board like this, nevertheless, it would seem to me that we are not as far apart as you might think. Just because I chose to interview a local man who is doing the insider approach right does not mean I agree with everything loosely within that movement, and certainly does not mean I approve of expats using it as a methodology.

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Mike Tisdell

February 05, 2013  1:10pm

Gene Daniels, The two published surveys that I know of are Parshall's (Islamic context) and Hoefer's (Hindu context). Both paint a very similar picture of IM.

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Mike Tisdell

February 05, 2013  10:32am

Kevin DeYoung raises many of the same concerns with this article raised in the comments here. His article can be found at: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2013/02/05/cts-inside r-interview-prompts-questions-and-concerns/?comments#comments#comment-35056

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Mike Tisdell

February 05, 2013  9:02am

Eldon Orr, you said that "Jesus and his disciples primarily spoke Aramaic and in Aramaic the word translated as "God" IS ALLAH. You can check the Aramaic Lexicon on Peshitta.org if you don't believe me" but this is misleading. In Aramaic, God is pronounced as "ey-lah" or "ey-loh" and not "Allah" an Aramaic speaker hearing the word "Allah" would think only of the Islamic deity. While the Hebrew "eloah" (Plural: elohim), the Aramaic "elah/eloh" and the Arabic "Allah" all come from the same root, they are not all pronounced the same and ONLY in Arabic is the pronunciation "Allah" used when referring to a generic diety. BTW - I didn't believe you and so I also looked it up on Peshetta.org and they list it as "AaLaH/AaLoH" the double "A" is their way of describing the long "A" sound in words like "prey." This is the same pronunciation found in the book of Daniel.

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Mike Tisdell

February 05, 2013  8:37am

I have repeatedly been told that "IM is descriptive, not prescriptive" by IM missionaries. And then I have watched the very same IM missionaries disciple MBB's that had given their life to Christ and were actively involved in a Christian church, teaching them that they should return to the Mosque and their Islamic faith (as believers in Christ) and that they should decided for themselves whether Mohammad was truly a prophet of God and the Qu'ran is inspired word of God. While they "technically" do not teach that Mohammad is prophet or that the Quran is inspired, their presentation leads people in that direction and then leaves the question open. THIS IS NOT DESCRIPTIVE, IT IS PRESCRIPTIVE. I personally can accept very contextualized ministries (even those that make me very uncomfortable) but I do not believe that any Christian should accept ministry that teaches people they can identify with the false worship of another religion and its false god; IM (C5) crosses that line.

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Gene Daniels

February 05, 2013  7:46am

Mike, I forgot to ask in my last post. Would you please send the information on the other published surveys of IM movements you refer to? If you know of "several" published surveys then I am not up to date on the latest research and this would be helpful. I try to stay current, but this field of research is rapidly growing. Just names of dissertations or articles would probably be enough for me to find them. Thanks.

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Gene Daniels

February 05, 2013  7:40am

Sister Audrey, I have repeatedly addressed Eldon (as has James). But for your benefit, here is a copy of my last reply to him: February 03, 2013 "Eldon, I am not trying to be rude, but I must be clear. The rest of the people in this discussion believe the ENTIRE Bible to be the inspired word of God - you do not. The rest of the people in this discussion DO NOT believe the Quran to be inspired - you do. Therefore you really don't have a place at this table." Either you are not paying attention or this is another sad example of your predisposition to think the worst of those you disagree with. The reason I am not replying to everything Eldon writes is that I simply don't have the time to deal with his obvious heresy and felt it better to ignore him. However, if you do have the time, by all means continue your dialogue with him Audrey, you seem to be doing a fine job so far, and I am happy to leave that to you.

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audrey ruth

February 05, 2013  7:04am

Eldon, Christ Jesus IS the Mighty God, Emmanuel. He said, "Before Abraham was, I AM." This is very different from believers being indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Believers are the children of God, not God incarnate. Rick was right; your twisted theology smacks of Chrislam. The very fact that you consider the Qu'ran to be God's Word EVEN THOUGH it contradicts the Holy Bible which IS the Word of God is a huge red flag. Again, Christ Jesus did not call Father "Allah". He called Him FATHER. And He taught us to do the same. When Jesus Messiah appeared to the disciples after the resurrection, He did not rebuke Thomas when he said "My Lord and my God". He received His worship.

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audrey ruth

February 05, 2013  6:49am

Gene and James, are you guys not going to address the serious error in Eldon's posts? If not, I can only assume you're okay with his Chrislam theology which actually promotes Islam over Christianity.

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James B

February 05, 2013  4:06am

Salaam, “our methodology is driven by our theology which is driven by our exegesis of scripture which is driven by our commitments”. I agree & would add that, as humans some of our deepest commitments are to language, tradition & culture. One reason these commitments drive our exegesis is because they shape even our perception of the text itself. Applying this, it seems fair & consistent to say similar cultural & tradition (theological) commitments partly drive your exegesis & wrestling with scripture as well. As Gene (& Bartlotti http://goo.gl/QcZIC ) note one of the issues is your theology of “culture”. The fact there are many theologies of culture – all committed to scriptural authority – should dampen your confidence in your personal exegesis & judgements of peoples motives. If I am “prickly”, then my hope is to prick this little bubble of self-confidence caused by the myth of objectivity. Only God is objective. As you imply: all our theology is driven by a priori “commitments”

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James B

February 05, 2013  3:02am

Salaam, you ask “To ask the question about ultimate commitment is that out of line?” No this is no problem, of course. Yet are you REALLY expecting anyone to answer that their pet theology is more important than scriptural authority? EVERYONE, even a heretic, claims a commitment to “Biblical authority” Salaam. As Gene observes “it is sincere, godly men and women who you disagree with”. What I find “foul”, as you put it, are your many comments where you appear claim objective knowledge of people’s hearts & motives. I just can’t understand why you & Hussein seem so confident that your brothers in Christ are deliberately & consciously twisting scripture. Why think such evil of them? They may well be sincerely wrong, but it is this judging of their heart motives that I believe lies behind a lot of the nastiness I am seeing from the “anti-IM” group. Its like they are on a mission from God and that their ends justify the means.

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Gene Daniels

February 05, 2013  1:23am

Mike, you are throwing around lots of information about people that I don’t know, about unusual, specific biblical exegesis that I haven’t heard. But that kind of makes my point, within the insider paradigm there is a wide range of ideas. I wanted to publish this article to show some of the good things that are happening within the insider paradigm. Yet you insist on thinking about “im” as if it were something close to a denomination with set beliefs and doctrines. It is not. As I have said in these comments before, “im” properly understood is an indigenous response to the gospel. It is not a missionary method. I know there are lots of people using this like a method, but that is not the way IM was understood in the genesis of the term. It was a descriptive term, not proscriptive. This article is descriptive, not proscriptive. There is a great deal of difference, yet that seems to be lost on many people. Please critique Abu Jaz's ideas, not everything else you associate with him.

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audrey ruth

February 04, 2013  10:59pm

Mike Tisdell, that's an excellent point. I have learned myself that Muslim belief contradicts the clear teachings of the Holy Bible. The example you posted was Genesis 16:10. This passage includes verses 10-12: "The angel of the Lord also said to her [Hagar, not Sarai]:, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” And the angel of the Lord said to her, “Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has listened to your affliction. He [Ishmael] shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone's hand against him....” What Muslims do not know, or fail to mention, is that Isaac (not Ishmael) was the son of the covenant which God had promised to Abraham and Sarah.

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audrey ruth

February 04, 2013  10:50pm

Eldon, you changed the tense of the correct word "dwells" here: "See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of the Godhead DWELLS (not "dwelled") bodily." Colossians 2:8-9 This was written AFTER the resurrection -- YES, in JESUS the whole fullness of the Godhead dwellS bodily. He said of Himself, "Before Abraham was, I AM". Jesus called God FATHER, not Allah. This was the revelation which changed Bilquis Sheikh's life. She said _I Dared to Call Him Father_. Before that, she had worshipped Allah, NOT the Father. And have you not read all that Jesus Messiah taught about the triune nature of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? If not, the Gospel of John will enlighten you. Don't forget Isaiah 9, in which he prophesied by the Holy Spirit that the Messiah Jesus was/is indeed Mighty God, Emmanuel (God with us), and more.

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Mike Tisdell

February 04, 2013  10:25pm

Gene Daniels, I know of several surveys (both published and unpublished). Can you reference any survey that shows a different result? I personally wish there were more published surveys but I have personally found the strongest resistance to publishing surveys comes from those who are directly involved in IM.

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Mike Tisdell

February 04, 2013  10:21pm

Gene Daniels, you said "it it is sincere, godly men and women who you disagree with. These are people who have studied the Bible deeply." I can tell you that I personally do not doubt the sincerity of the IM missionaries that I have met, but there deep sincerity and study doesn't make the seriousness of their error any less wrong. For example, when a IM missionary translates Ge. 16:12 as "Ishmael is with all and all are with him," his sincerity doesn't make this translation any less wrong but does demonstrate a poor understanding of the differences between ב and עם in biblical Hebrew and a willingness to let a personal agenda override good scholarship. One of the biggest and most painful struggles I have had with IM is in trying to understand how those I know personally and do believe are truly sincere can go so far astray from the word of God? I also struggle to understand how so many IM'ers can justify misleading other Christians about the real practices of their ministries.

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Gene Daniels

February 04, 2013  10:04pm

Mike, you wrote, “First, there is almost no evidence that REAL IM communities are moving towards a more orthodox understanding of Christ (or God).” The insider movement is just that, a wide ranging movement. So you instantly raise a red flag with me when you start talking about “REAL IM” communities as if you decide that some are “real” and others are what - fake ones? Then you go on to support your views by citing surveys of IM movements. No please correct me if I’m wrong, but the survey you refer to included a total of 72 people in exactly one country, all connected to the same original mission work. Unless you refer to research that I am unaware of (certainly a possibility) then you are making categorical statements on an extremely limited data pool.

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Mike Tisdell

February 04, 2013  9:40pm

A question for those promoting IM: In the Northern Kingdom of Israel they setup alters for a god named "Yahweh" whose worship was a mix of the Canaanite religion and the worship of the TRUE God named "Yahweh." What was the prophets reaction to this sycretistic religion and what was God's response? What was the response of God (and Moses) when Aaron did this in the wilderness?

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Gene Daniels

February 04, 2013  9:29pm

Salaam, I’m glad you read the Bartlotti article, therefore you realize it said more than “ask hard questions.” Ken also talked about trying to “understand IM from within” and trying to “Explore multi-perspectival views.” I encourage you to at least attempt to understand other perspectives on this matter. And one perspective that you really don’t seem to understand is that it is sincere, godly men and women who you disagree with. These are people who have studied the Bible deeply, as I assume you have. People like Abu Jaz who has a terrific grasp of Scripture and historical Christian theology, yet has come to different conclusions from you, particularly concerning his context.

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Mike Tisdell

February 04, 2013  9:29pm

Gene Daniels, this quote "You start with their limited Christology and Christ's role in the kingdom of God, mainly his role in the Day of Judgment... [then] They progressively understand him, from prophet and messenger to Savior and then to Lord" is almost word for word what I was told by IM missionaries when I first learned about IM in 2008 but there was, as is often the case within IM, much that was left unsaid. First, there is almost no evidence that REAL IM communities are moving towards a more orthodox understanding of Christ (or God); surveys show very much the opposite. Second, the IM missionaries are most often unwilling to confront these kinds of errors with in the IM communities they work with. They say that correcting these errant beliefs is entirely the job of the Holy Spirit and that it would be wrong for IM missionaries to address these errant beliefs. The question to ask an IM missionary is WHEN and HOW will this growth take place? That answer is usually very revealing.

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Mike Tisdell

February 04, 2013  9:19pm

Gene Daniels, you ask the question "what do the individuals in Abu Jaz’s community understand when they hear the sounds “Ah - llah”?" and the results of surveys show that most individuals in IM communities have and understanding of "Allah" that is reflective of Islam and not Christianity; in survey's the majority of national leaders in these movements reject a belief in the Trinity, they believe the Qu'ran is God's most authoritative Scripture, and the believe Mohammad is God's preeminent prophet, etc... They have a very distorted understand of who God is. The real question is, if Allah is not the common generic word for God in a given community, then why would a Christian missionary try to adopt that word from Islam in that community where it is so very likely to be misunderstood?

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Salaam Corniche

February 04, 2013  1:31pm

Thank once again Gene and James. James, you suggested Bartlotti. I read him. He suggested hard questions. I asked one. You cried foul. Hussein asked some questions. You cried foul. Why so prickly? To ask the question about ultimate commitment is that out of line? Like it or not our methodology is driven by our theology which is driven by our exegesis of scripture which is driven by our commitments. Charles Finney was committed to an idea that he as a lawyer could convince a jury. He also held a theological notion that all that humans lacked was motivation or information. He married the two and out came "the new methods" which included the anxious bench. He had a flood of so-called converts. There was also a documented falling away from the Lord of as high as 90% after 6 months. Finney's example shows that because a "new method is new" it is not necessarily better. Buyer beware. Please take the time to examine the exegesis of every IM proof-text. You will see the commitment

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James B

February 04, 2013  10:43am

Salaam, you ask: "Are you more committed to the idea of IM, than that of the authority of the entire Scripture rightly divided?". My answer is No. However it is the question that I object to. It implies you think there are "IM advocates" out there who are deliberately and consciously willing to twist scripture. It is this inherent accusation of heart motives that for me typifies much anti-IM rhetoric. eg Many of the attacks here have nothing to do with anything Abu Jaz has said. To believe such evil about other believers and workers demonises them. Is this how they excuse their appalling "ends justifies the means" approach of sensationalism, worldly petitions, & their desire to wrest control from the field? Your exegesis is no better Salaam. Say what you like, the "anti-IM" outcome of your "wrestling" was guaranteed before you even started to type. As I said earlier, you cannot avoid reading the bible through your own cultural filters. ie you experience the text first, then theologise

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Gene Daniels

February 04, 2013  10:34am

Brother Salaam, I sympathize with your frustrations about people pushing methods. Like you, I have also seen people who develop a method in one context then try to promote it in other places as “the” solution, and I don’t like it. "IM" is a good case in point. Properly understood, the "insider" position, is not a method that missionaries can chose, but it is a certain kind of response to the gospel by local believers. What I do "promote" if you will is contextualization, which I simply define as "taking into account all the dimensions of the local context." Done right it means developing mission approaches "in context." Again, this too can be taken too far but usually the problem is the opposite. Too often workers want to import methods that “worked” in other places without doing the hard work of studying culture and then exegeting Scripture in and for that particular context. I saw that Abu Jaz is doing a good job of this, therefore I wanted people to hear his story.

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Salaam Corniche

February 04, 2013  9:49am

Thank you Gene and James for your answers. Helpful. James my contention is with exegesis. Please re-read my question. d. Are you more committed to the idea of IM, than that of the authority of the entire Scripture rightly divided? This is a question of ultimate commitment more than that I am a paradigm of correct exegesis. Forget me, and ask yourself the question. But f.y.i. I am working on a current project to wrestle--that is to say, to let the Scripture wrestle me, regarding correctly dividing the Luke 10 passage about the famous 'man of peace' motif. Likely you are aware that an entire theology of the CAMEL movement has been based on those three words. Guess what? What is likely a localized situation of Jesus making clear distinctions from other "people of un-peace" that is to say, insurrectionists against Rome, has now been made into a video, a CAMEL rider handbook, a whole industry. Do you see what I am driving at? The industry came first, and the exegesis came second.

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James B

February 04, 2013  8:44am

Hi Salaam. I think perhaps you mistake me for an IM supporter just because I question the worldly petitions and sensationalism of a small but noisy group of heresy hunters. I am not “pro IM” according to most definitions I have read so I can’t answer for them. I am not bothered by Hussein, I was just disappointed. As I said his “questions” come across as veiled accusations. I was hoping for better, to learn a little of the East African context for example. I think it is poor taste to accuse others of having less concern for scriptural authority than yourself. This is the sort of attitude that has made me more sympathetic to hear the other side of this argument and to jump in with a few comments.

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Gene Daniels

February 04, 2013  8:28am

Hi Salaam, I am not bothered by an East African asking hard questions. Please see my comments to our brother Hussein for my answer to him. As for any book about "Christlam," I simply think it best to not comment on something I have not read. As for being “committed to IM,” let me be clear. I am not an “advocate” of IM. I do believe there are some situations where it is the best way to contextualize the gospel and make it clear. But I have also seen bad examples of insider movements. I did this interview to illustrate a good example. About what is at the heart of local believers. I wish you could have talked with one of the sheik’s that is in this movement, hearing him (and his wife) talk about the radical nature of their conversion, about finally “seeing Allah” in the face of Christ. Yes, if you could have cut out their hearts you would have found Jesus living there.

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Salaam Corniche

February 04, 2013  7:21am

Second attempt at posting. Please forgive any duplication. James, I read Bartlotti. He said "Ask the hard questions. "Facts are friendly," Let's not be afraid to ask critical questions." My questions: a. Why are you so bothered by an East African named Hussein asking 'hard questions?' b. Why are the facts of the Chrislam book so hard for you to swallow, assuming you read it? c. Why do pro-IM people continue to recycle the same old verses with the same old mantra, even though articles using the best tools of exegesis are being employed? d. Are you more committed to the idea of IM, than that of the authority of the entire Scripture rightly divided? Lastly. I asked Mr. Travis the following question. How do you respond to an observation made by someone in your area regarding the fruit of your C5 labors who said, """If you cut open the heart of a local person, what you find is Islam." ? I wonder, as well Gene if that observation would be true in your area?

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audrey ruth

February 04, 2013  4:14am

Hussein, I appreciate your comments very much. Please don't be discouraged; please continue to share as the Lord leads. God bless you, brother.

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audrey ruth

February 04, 2013  4:11am

Eldon, the Qu'ran is not the Word of God. The Bible is the Word of God. When Christ Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, He quoted the Bible, not the Qu'ran. Three times He replied, "It is written...", and the devil fled. Jesus could have pulled rank on him -- after all, He "is the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2); He said of Himself, "Before Abraham was, I AM." It is obvious from the full context of Scripture that Jesus the Christ answered the devil as he did to show US how WE can overcome the devil with the Word of God. See Ephesians 6:10 and onward.

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Eldon Orr

February 03, 2013  12:03pm

As mentioned before also, there are parts of the Bible that you and other Christians here DON'T believe: for instance, that Jesus was right when he called the Father "the ONLY True God". Instead y'all believe that Jesus is "True God from True God" as per various versions of the Nicene Creed. Likewise, y'all take the jumble-long Athanasian Creed as more valid than the simple words of Scripture, as if the LORD needed help in saying what He really meant! I don't mean to be a pest here, brothers and sisters, but you're going to have to face a real Exacting Judge and you'll want to have the right answers before you do... "I just followed the crowd" is not a sufficient excuse for someone who really wants to be a minister of the Word. It is Wonderful that Allah is Merciful, but we still need to TRY to do our best in relating to Him and His Revealed Will while here on earth.

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Eldon Orr

February 03, 2013  10:29am

No disrespect intended, but I don't think your statement is quite accurate, Gene. Do you all believe that 1John 5:7 as per KJV is "the inspired word of God"? If not, then you DO NOT believe the entire Bible is the inspired word of God. So you should ask yourselves HOW and WHY someone inserted the strongest trinitarian wording of the NT into the Greek text in the ~15th century. The answer I've found to that question is that some men have an agenda to exalt their traditions and interpretations ABOVE the actual word of God. As long as you idolize the Bible as it is, then you will never recognize or appreciate the Inspiration of the Quran. The Best course is, having an honest and good heart, HEAR the Word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. Luke 8:15... in that course there is Peace.

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James B

February 03, 2013  9:19am

Hussein, I am disappointed. I thought you had some questions/insights but it is clear these are just veiled accusations and attempts to discredit. You seem pre-disposed to find some clever fault in your brother in Christ than to extend a hand of fellowship and an empathetic ear. As I compare the accusations and slander here (and your website) to what to me comes across as Abu Jaz’s gentle passion to engage his community with Christ’s Love and Truth, I just can’t help seeing the irony in the fact that the root meaning of the label “Christian” is basically “Christ-like”.

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Gene Daniels

February 03, 2013  7:55am

Eldon, I am not trying to be rude, but I must be clear. The rest of the people in this discussion believe the ENTIRE Bible to be the inspired word of God - you do not. The rest of the people in this discussion DO NOT believe the Quran to be inspired - you do. Therefore you really don't have a place at this table.

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Eldon Orr

February 01, 2013  8:31pm

here's another few articles anyone interested in this subject might want to read. The only "insider movement" I'm interested in is the one that CAN get us inside the Best of the Perfect Will of Allah Most High, following Jesus who submitted himself to that Will: http://www.truetojesus.com/

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Eldon Orr

February 01, 2013  8:18pm

Hi Rick and Gene, I noticed that neither of you is addressing me, but what you need to address for your own soul's sake is the question that Jesus asked his disciples: Who do YOU say that I am? the right answer is "thou art the Christ the (figurative) Son of the Living God (=Allah in Aramaic). I'm pretty sure that neither of you believe that he is the carnally begotten literal Son of God, so you agree that term is figurative? Now the only other discernment you need to make is that Jesus did not declare himself to be God, but instead addressed the One he called Father "the ONLY TRUE God", the same One he told his disciples is "MY God and your God". Go ahead and take him at his word, I promise it will do you no harm, but rather, as he also said, IF ye continue in my word, ye shall KNOW the Truth and the Truth shall make you free.

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James B

February 01, 2013  12:58pm

Audrey, I am glad to hear you are doing "extensive reading". Can I suggest an article that I think is extremely important? (as do both so called "insiders" and their opponents who scream "chrislam") Its not easy to read, but in reading something that both extremes of this argument actually (shall we say amazingly) agree on you may learn something and perhaps move on from the simplistic for/against thinking that tragically characterises so much of this debate. You want to express your opinions to the world and that is great, but there is a cost required - and that is that you actually LISTEN with empathy to others who are involved in this debate. This article is written by someone who has done that and won the respect of everyone. Not surprisingly it turns out that this is NOT a simple matter at all (thats why there is a debate ;) I hope this is helpful: http://goo.gl/QcZIC

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Gene Daniels

February 01, 2013  12:11pm

Rick, Don't let the confusion worry you too much. The spiritual environment today is much like the one that the early Church was birthed into; the Iris sect from Egypt, gnosticism, plus all the Grecco-Roman pantheon. But the life of Jesus, as contained in the Bible won out. The Bible is alive, so when people read it, and encounter the Jesus contained therein, their lives are changed. God has preserved his Word down through time, despite countless attempts to destroy it or discredit it (or dissect it like our friend Eldon wants to do). Over and over again I have seen Muslims transformed by the power of God's word. The results look different in different places, but their testimonies all bear the mark of the life of Jesus. Or as it was said by one of the sheiks who Abu Jaz introduced to me, "In Islam I tried to find Allah. But I groped about like a man in the fog and could not find him. Now in the face of Jesus I know him!"

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Rick Dalbey

January 31, 2013  10:32pm

Gene, Eldon Orr, exhibit A. Chrislam. Wow, there is such confusion today. Jesus called me in 1970 alone in my apartment in Berkeley. I responded, cast my entire future on Him and have trusted Him for 43 years. He has been faithful all these years. I truly believe Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes unto the father but by him. Eldon and I may differ, the Bible differs from the Quaran. I cast my lot with Jesus of the Gospels.

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Eldon Orr

January 31, 2013  9:31pm

Audrey, you write of a Jesus who never was and never will be, The Messiah called Another the ONLY True God and though the Quran also calls Jesus the Word and Spirit of Allah, it repeats Jesus' words addressing Allah as MY Lord and your Lord, making it very clear that Messiah never claimed himself to be Most High. So who is this Jesus that you worship as God? it's another Jesus... not the one who is the Messiah, NOT the one who will return, just as Muhammad said, to be the just ruler on earth. If you continue as you are, that Jesus will look at you one day and say I never knew you, just as he will say to many who name his name at present. I read "I dared to call Him Father" years ago and was not impressed. She fought her battle with traditions of Islam and walked right into traditions of Christianity, both of which make the Word of God of none effect. I will only repeat the words of Jesus to you and to others here: take heed how ye hear, for as you measure it shall be meted out to you.

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Gene Daniels

January 31, 2013  4:30pm

Sister Audrey, You are right. Muslims were taught that Mohammad is greater than Jesus. And yes Muslims start out with many beliefs and worldview issues that contradict the Scripture, just as EVERYONE from non-Christian cultures do. But I thought Abu Jaz was clear about this, he said, "You start with their limited Christology and Christ's role in the kingdom of God, mainly his role in the Day of Judgment... [then] They progressively understand him, from prophet and messenger to Savior and then to Lord. But this takes time and the Holy Spirit, as it also did for Peter." Please explain what about that you disagree with because I really don't understand your criticism on this point.

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audrey ruth

January 31, 2013  3:29am

Eldon, you ignore the GREAT majority of error which the Qu'ran teaches about Christ Jesus, beginning with the centrality of Who He really is. He never was just a prophet, He was THE Word of God made flesh, and Mohammed never was a prophet of God at all. The crucifixion and resurrection of Christ Jesus -- which are the KEY witness to His Lordship and redeeming power -- are also denied in the Qu'ran. So, yes, when a Muslim says he believes on Jesus, but continues to call Him Allah, this is confusion. Paul spoke of the seriousness of believing "another Jesus", "another gospel". If a Muslim does not make a clean break with all unBiblical beliefs taught in the Qu'ran, if he believes any other word but God's Word, yes, there is confusion in his heart and life. The Lord tells us that He is not the author of confusion. If you read _I Dared to Call Him Father_ by Bilquis Sheikh, that will aid your understanding of this matter.

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James B

January 31, 2013  1:52am

He he Rick. Good one;) Still, I hope you will seriously consider what I wrote. Mike is 100% correct: Its a no-brainer in Arab lands, but what about places like Malaysia etc? You said: “What I care about is the present theological content of that name” & my response was mainly to this question. Actually calling me “Linda” would be fine if in fact it had meaning for me as I am your target audience. If I find it offensive thats poor communication from you (which is why you added the hint you were jesting to make sure this did not happen). This was my point: symbols are containers, meaning (or “theological content” as you put it) is assigned by the individual receiving the symbol. This content is derived mostly from ones cultural background & experiences – hence theres a lot of agreement within a community about what things mean. I also look forward to Husseins input. The crucial question is: what do the individuals in Abu Jaz’s community understand when they hear the sounds “Ah - llah”?

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Eldon Orr

January 30, 2013  10:37pm

Just as Muslims do better NOT to focus on the traditions of Christians, so Christians do better NOT to focus on traditions of Muslims. Yes, Muslims generally believe that Jesus was not crucified and did not die on the cross, however the Quran states exactly that "THEY (the Jews) killed HIM not". If you are led of the Holy Spirit, as you should be, you should instantly recall the words of Jesus "NO MAN takes my life...". The NT informs us that what died on the cross was "OUR old man" ,"enmity to the law", "the likeness of sinful flesh" "~the writ of our transgressions was nailed on the cross", "God MADE him (Jesus, peace be upon him) to BE SIN for us..." So the Quran is 1000% accurate in saying "they killed HIM not" !!! That Revelation is elaborated on at length in the NT but few Christians believe it enough to apply it to their analysis, whereas Muslims believe it without even receiving the elaborate witness which the NT provides on that truth. It is Good that Allah has Mercy!

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audrey ruth

January 30, 2013  9:01pm

Hussein and Mike, I appreciate your comments very much. After doing extensive reading at websites about syncretic Chrislam, I realize that beliefs about Allah contradict the Bible from Genesis onward: issues like Creation, Abraham/Ishmael/Isaac, Mary, Jesus the Christ, and much more. Thus, when a Muslim becomes a Christian, his understanding of Allah is not Biblical at all, he's been taught to believe that Muhammed is a greater prophet than Jesus (who was not a prophet at all), that Jesus did not die on the Cross and was not resurrected, and much more. All of this is very concerning to me. Note from moderator: Audrey Ruth, there were some complaints about posts disappearing and I knew I had not removed them. I found several posts deleted and thinking it a system error, republished the comments. You were then upset that I republishied what you had deleted, so I tried to re-delete and found that you were upset now that the posts disappeared. I hope problem is now somehow resolved...(:

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Rick Dalbey

January 30, 2013  5:56pm

Dear James, or may I call you Linda. Doesn't matter, right. It's all dog biscuits to me. Just jesting. Mike has a point and is a breath of fresh air, especially to non-arab muslims societies as Hussein was part of. I have no problem with Arab speaking people calling God Allah (well, little problem). But in a non-arabic muslim society where there are other names also used for God in their native languages it seems desirable to wean them away from using this loaded term. I hope Hussein keeps commenting, I want to hear his perspective.

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James B

January 30, 2013  3:15pm

Mike, please take a look at the 2 Korzybski comments I made earlier. They make clear the difference between form & meaning, & how deeply & personally we feel meaning. You say “Allah” is offensive... The real question is to WHO? Take a look at Pauls teaching on idols - I believe we can apply it to symbols generally. He says “we know idols are nothing”. This is because symbols & words are not somehow inherently evil of themselves. There is nothing inherently evil about the sounds & syllables “ahl-lah” – they are just containers & could have any no. of meanings in other languages. To believe names have inherent power is to believe in magic. Paul then says those with a “weak conscience” (ie the idol DOES mean something) should avoid meat offered to them. ie Paul teaches the connection between symbol & meaning is personal. The issue is not about generic/not generic, or whether you feel offended, rather what meaning will the average person in the target audience attach to that symbol.

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Mike Tisdell

January 30, 2013  2:15pm

Within Arabic speaking contexts "Allah" is the common word used and it does not automatically invoke the idea of the Islamic God. The problem arises when missionaries suggest we use the name "Allah" in ALL Islamic contexts. In other languages (just like in English), "Allah" is not the common generic word for God and it does invoke the idea of the Islamic God; in these contexts other words for God should be used. In many languages, using "Allah" as the word for "God" is just as offensive as it would be if the NIV translators had chosen to use "Allah" instead of "God" in English. Let's stop arguing about the validity of using "Allah" in Arabic, and focus on holding our Missionaries and Bible translators accountable for illegitimately using the name "Allah" in other linguistic contexts. Those engaged in this practice would much rather argue about the "Straw Man" Arabic usage than deal with the real compromises that they have made in other languages. Most Muslims do not speak Arabic!

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Gene Daniels

January 30, 2013  10:19am

Hi Don, I would have loved the title if it had been "Bringing Jesus to the Mosque" or something like "Jesus in the Mosque." But I still applaud CT for the way they were willing to give page spread to this controversial issue. Abu Jaz and others in the "people of the gospel" movement have remained deeper in their socio-religious context than many other MBBs I know, but they are still clearly biblical in their beliefs and in what they teach.

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Don Dent

January 30, 2013  8:03am

Thank you for the clarication regarding the mosque. I thought the title was completely misleading. In most cases of movements that I know of, MBBs do not use the mosque for worship. Historically, change of religious usage of houses of worship most often occurs from military conquest -something I don't believe was meant here. It is more likely that MBBs would pray to Isa 5 times a day, but do so either at home or in a house church. Buddhist background believers will probably not continue to worship in the wat nor Hindu background believers continue to worship in their local Siva temple. If they do continue this activity, it is likely that they will remain syncretistic and also more likely they will lose their children back to the majority religion. I do know MBBs who are preaching Isa in the mosque and they should stay there as long as they are allowed to speak His name. Of course, we see all these patterns in the NT as well.

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Gene Daniels

January 30, 2013  1:35am

I was just rereading the comments on this site and I noticed something important I did not reply to. Rene Williams stated, "The Insider Movement (IM) is also like a chameleon, changing its name and operating in shades and shadows... It has been so very hard to pin down the IM on what they believe." And this deserves a reply. One, properly understood, the "Insider Movement" is just that, a movement, it is not a single thing, so of course it is hard to pin down. It is far more diverse than the Pentecostal or Charismatic movements, yet some expect it to be neat and tidy, like a single denomination with a statement of faith you can read. Any confusion Renee might feel about trying to understand this issue is not because of dishonesty, but because the "IM" issue is so complex.

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Gene Daniels

January 30, 2013  1:04am

Sister Audrey, I just contacted the webmaster and asked them to look into the problem we are having with deleted posts reoccurring. It has made some of this discussion confusing and I hope it will be resolves soon.

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Gene Daniels

January 29, 2013  6:22pm

Brother Hussein, I am very glad to have you commenting on this site, I have the greatest respect for my brothers and sisters who have come to Christ from an Islamic background. And thank you for being patent while I tried to answer our sister Audrey. I will do my best to clarify the questions ans concerns you have regarding the article, although I probably cannot answer all of them.

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Gene Daniels

January 29, 2013  6:17pm

Audrey, two points. I have already answered both of these questions, but perhaps I have not been clear so I will answer again. One, yes I have read "I dared to call him Father," it is a very powerful book. Two, as it concerns the tribal name for God that Abu Jaz mentioned, here is what I wrote in a previous reply to you: "I fear you are seriously misunderstanding linguistic issues. When Abu Jaz spoke about the 'tribal name for God' he was not referring to the Hebrew word Yahweh, but to the word that is used in the Bible translation in that country." The Bible the evangelical church in his country uses a common tribal name for God in the text which is read every Sunday. Muslims consider this word to represent an idol from African traditional religion. That is the "tribal God" word that Abu Jaz rejects using, not Yahweh. Did I communicate clearly that time? If we are going to disagree, lets actually understand each other first.

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Rick Dalbey

January 29, 2013  11:07am

Audrey, Brother Andrew partners with YWAM frequently. YWAM evangelizes Arabs and after conversion they continue to call God Allah, because that is just their name for God. Here is YWAMS response and Moody Bible Institute which says the same thing. I have a question in to Brother Andrew's website, but I suspect they will answer the same. If you know differently let me know. http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/allah.html

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Gene Daniels

January 29, 2013  9:57am

Sister Audrey, I was not going to comment on this, but I think I should remind you that you actually did say that millions of Arab Christians are syncretistic. James B asked you "Do you accept the fact that millions of your Arabic brothers and sisters in Christ worship Allah?", and you answered "I say again, this is confusion, this is syncretism, this is compromise." So sister, I would suggest that you take a step back and think about all this. Perhaps it would even be good for you to reread your posts and responses to them, followed by rereading the article itself. You might see things in a slightly different light. (edited for clarity)

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James B

January 29, 2013  9:48am

I give this story to illustrate what I mean by ethnocentrism & “gut feelings”. I was glad to read your well-nuanced understanding of the Allah problem Rick, but for many others “gut feelings” are really the core issue I believe. Korzybski demonstrated how powerful symbols & words (ie cultural forms) are. They impact at deep “gut” & emotional levels; the students urge to vomit was both involuntary & immediate. Its irrelevant what the real contents of the biscuit box were. The words “Dog biscuits” wouldve still had the same affect. As you rightly say “From our Western perspective we hear Allah Akbar & body parts go flying”. Understandably, for many the natural gut-response when we hear “Allah” is very similar to the involuntary revulsion & anger these students felt. Of course it is very difficult to talk about missiology at this point as a lot of it is emotional & irrational. Only empathetic listening to people like Abu Jaz can help re-educate our “gut” & free us from ethnocentrism.

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James B

January 29, 2013  9:48am

Here’s an interesting anecdote: One day, Korzybski (Polish-American scientist) was giving a lecture to his class, & he suddenly stopped the lesson to retrieve a packet of biscuits, wrapped in paper, from his briefcase. He muttered he just had to eat something, & asked the students on the front row, if they would also like a biscuit. A few students took a biscuit. "Nice biscuit, don't you think", said Korzybski, while he took a second one. The students were chewing vigorously. Then he tore the paper from the biscuits, & revealed the original packaging. On it was a big picture of a dog's head & the words "Dog Cookies". The students were shocked & angry. Two wanted to throw up & ran out of the lecture hall to the toilet. "You see, ladies & gentlemen", Korzybski remarked, "I have just demonstrated that people don't just eat food, but also words, & that the taste of the former is often outdone by the taste of the latter."

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Gene Daniels

January 29, 2013  6:56am

Rich, one of the powerful positives about insider situations is it allows the focus to be on Jesus. As soon as you introduce "Christianity" into the picture you rip open an old wound. But movements like the people of the gospel are Jesus-centric. They are not about a clash of religions, or whose book is best. As I've replied to others, the insider paradigm is not the "silver bullet" for Muslim ministry, in many places it is absurd, in others such as in Abu Jaz's case, it was a natural expression of his faith in Christ. No one coached Abu Jaz on this, he came up with it and hat's why it is such a hand-in-glove fit in his setting. BtW, I would never encourage Christians here to use Allah, that would be a clear-cut case of syncretism. Context is critical, and is in my opinion, the second most important factor in Church planting after the Bible.

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Gene Daniels

January 29, 2013  6:42am

Dear Audrey, the way the title was done has caused confusion. The title of the interview is "Where's Christian." The title of the focus on "insider movements" is "Worshiping Jesus in the Mosque. I had nothing to do with the title, and in fact don't like it. But that is the way it goes sometimes in the publishing world. However, CT is going to run a short "clarification" on this point in a future edition. But the bottom like is, my friend Abu Jaz calls God Father, and Isa Savior and God. The imams and sheiks in his group who I personally met do the same. They encourage Bible reading among the believers and discourage reading the Quran. So where is the problem? Whatever problem you are feeling toward this is not theological, it is cultural. This is not a mixing of to theological systems, it is our same faith in Christ being clothed in radically different cultural forms.

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Rick Dalbey

January 29, 2013  1:59am

Easy for me to say huh? Just change your thousand year old language and change all your Bibles! Gene, how do you guys really handle this on the mission field? From our Western perspective we hear Allah Akbar and body parts go flying. And on the muslim side, any new Bible translations in languages such as Malay that want to use the name Allah in Muslim dominant populations are facing book burnings and denouncement by angry Imams. I know even Wycliffe is taking much heat for their stances. I think this would not be quite as much an issue (in either culture) if Muslims were not being converted. But that is the happy situation. For my part, I certainly would be uncomfortable in the Western church with using Allah for God or suggesting they were interchangeable. Do you forsee any missional and linguistic changes in the future of Middle East countries?

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Rick Dalbey

January 29, 2013  1:47am

Audrey, here’s the problem. According to Wycliffe Bible Translators, Allah as a general term for God predates Islam. Bibles for Arabs have all used the word Allah since the 8th century. The Bible that Arab Christians read today uses the word Allah as it has for hundreds of years. There has been a Middle East Revival of radical Islamic Fundamentalism and the cry you hear when a terrorist strikes is Allah Akbar!(God is great). They have made Allah a tribal God, a bloody God of vengance. The problem is exacerbated by Christian revival that is happening now. The goal of missionaries is to educate muslims that Allah is not blood thirsty, He is a trinity, His only begotten son died for us. Its not unlike Mormons who call their God, well, God, and mean something quite different. We have to teach Mormons that God is triune and does not save by works. However, in my opinion, I think the whole tribal God thing has become so powerful that Arab Christians should transition away from using Allah.

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Eldon Orr

January 28, 2013  10:08pm

The thing you guys are writing about the most is the same old confusion of tongues that has been upon mankind ever since work stopped on the Tower of Babel! The Holy Spirit was given for us to overcome that confusion of tongues and that Spirit is the only way for anyone to discover that the Jesus of the Bible is the same as the Jesus of the Quran. Of course everyone will find out when he returns, but it is the honor of kings to search out a matter like this, something that the glory of God has chosen to conceal from nominal believers. Proverbs 25:2

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Rick Dalbey

January 28, 2013  5:25pm

James. Yes, I read the same article. Again, as I have said, I do not care where the linguistic root word for God, Elohim or Allah came from. I don't even buy into the Moon God argument about the origin of Allah. What I care about is the present theological content of that name. Am I personally uncomfortable with calling God Allah? Yes. Should Christians in the West start calling God Allah because the names are interchangeable? No. These are confusing issues and I suppose only the grace of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit will guide us past the pitfalls. I am glad that you are working among and evangelizing the people of the Middle East! I suppose it would feel more natural to use Allah if I were raised in Iraq.

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Gene Daniels

January 28, 2013  5:11pm

Rich, one more quick comment if I may. I don't promote the use of "Allah" or other aspects of the insider paradigm as "the" solution for reaching the Muslim world. It really is case by case, people group by people group. I lived for many years in a setting that the whole insider idea would not have made sense. But then in others it is a great way to communicate the gospel. That is why "insider," properly understood is an indigenous response to the gospel, not an approach to ministry by foreign missionaries.

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Gene Daniels

January 28, 2013  4:57pm

Rich, nice to see that you are sticking by Wycliffe, they have taken a beating lately over this issue. And often the criticisms against them have been inaccurate. Anyway, the thing that strikes me is that we have been using existing names for God since the beginning of Bible translation, and many of them are "proper nouns." In fact it is well documented that the great move of God in West Africa in the early 20th century was spurred by using local names for God. But suddenly everyone is upset with Allah. I think that for many people it has more to do with Islam than worries about syncretism. I'm not putting that into your mouth, just that I have seen it with many Christians here in the states. Even some well-know for high contextualization in tribal situations have condemned the same thing in an Islamic setting. So it seems more about Islam that anything else. And that is sad. Satan seems to have done a good job at derailing the church into the wrong war.

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James B

January 28, 2013  4:33pm

huh...just did a google on "God" and found this by Joshua Massey: The English word “God”, for example, comes from the pagan Germanic “Gott,” which was used as a proper name for the chief Teutonic deity Odin, who lives on top of the world-tree and created the first humans with his wife Freya, a blonde, blue-eyed goddess of love, fertility and beauty. Should English speakers therefore discontinue addressing the Most High as “God”?

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James B

January 28, 2013  3:48pm

Rick, many many translations of the bible into the worlds languages use a proper noun if that is appropriate for that language. Are all these syncretistic too? No, this 'proper noun' argument is not at all wide spread in the ME or amongst people who actually speak Arabic either. I know literally thousands of Arab Christians, have lived and ministered in the ME for over 20 years. To this day I only know of one person who uses al-ilaah. He is a Arab convert living in exile who also claims to have "translated" the bible. When he visits the ME pastors think he is just plain weird. Still, I do sympathise with him since he left his language and culture almost immediately after conversion and studied Christianity in another language... This sort of tragic disconnect is not healthy however... or Biblical. I tend to be a little careful of what exiles say as sadly they often feel pressure to try to gain acceptance from Christians.

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Rick Dalbey

January 28, 2013  2:40pm

James, thank you. My point was not that Audrey is right or the Malaysian Muslims were right, but that this is not a settled issue and though you disagree with Audrey, and may even be right, she has a legitimate point of view. It is just common respect. In the last couple weeks I have read much on this issue, got the viewpoints of Arabs, Persians, Kurds, Copts, Indonesians, Middle East believers. I understand what you are saying, however there are many in the Middle East who regard Allah as a proper noun, a fixed personality, a tribal god if you will. Hence the felt need of the North African pastor to correct Abu. Or the Indonesian Imams. They feel some ownership of the name and theology behind the name. However, as you say, there are millions of Middle East Christians who use the term Allah as a common noun for the universal creator. This is Wycliffe’s position whom I respect. Go figure. I just long for some civility in our discourse. And BTW I try never appeal to my gut feelings.

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James B

January 28, 2013  1:55pm

Rick, sorry if I came across as condescending. That wasnt my aim. Please understand that I dont mean ethnocentric in a derogatory way. There is no shame in it, we’re all born into it & trapped in it to a greater or lesser extent. However we do need to challenge it as it does bear bad fruit – especially in cross-cultural situations like mission (eg Audrey has just accused 12 mill Arab Christian of compromise & syncretism – is that not serious?) Rick, I am not judging your mental ability; however I would like to challenge you & Audrey to empathy (seeing the world from anothers perspective) & to question some of your “gut feelings”. “Gut feelings” & “common sense” are learned within ones cultural context & yet can be horribly wrong in another context. Here’s a question to contemplate for example: Why is it you appear more willing to believe a small minority of fundamentalist Malaysian Muslims than your brother in Christ who shares in the interview above? Is your gut feeling correct?

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Gene Daniels

January 27, 2013  8:04pm

Brother Darryl, You are right, the Jesus of the Quran is not the Jesus of the Bible. But there is not a hint in the article that the people of the gospel are preaching the Jesus of the Quran. The things that the Quran says about him are simply bridges to get Muslims to the Bible. The fact that Allah is Creator in both systems of thought is just a bridge. But as for the point Audrey has been making, on more than one occasion she has been clear that the words we use for God and Jesus cannot be the same ones Muslims use. Considering that we are not reading Greek Bibles or praying in Hebrew on Sundays, then yes, her comments about Arabic terms are ethnocentric by definition. Nevertheless, most of us start out ethnocentric, so I am not condemning her for that. I just want her to challenge her thinking. If I have come across to her or anyone else as condescending, please forgive me.

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Rick Dalbey

January 27, 2013  7:40pm

Ethnocentric Audrey and her tiny tribal gods? The ArabBible.com is ignorant, dishonest nonsense? The Malaysians and their tiny tribal gods? No, Audrey does not have a point? I must be a mental midget. Sorry for speaking.

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James B

January 27, 2013  3:38pm

Rick, you say there is a "New Arabic Bible" in which the word Allah has been changed, where "The translators say; There are many fine believers who use the name of Allah. This change is not meant to question or denigrate their genuine love for the true Savior, Jesus Christ" Sorry Rick ArabBible.com is not a "translation" It is just a few ethnocentric people who have done a find-and-replace "Allah" with "al-ilaah". Imagine if I set up a web site where I upload the KJV but have replaced all occurrences of "God" with "the god" and then say I am a "translator" - you get the idea of the nonsense, dishonesty, and ignorance of this. Can you see the tragic lack of biblical missions understanding in the church today? Sadly much of this debate is motivated by hate and ignorance, not sound missiology.

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James B

January 27, 2013  3:28pm

That was fast Rick. I thought better of my first response and had retracted it before I saw your reply. No audrey does not have a point though. She has forced her personal definition onto a word and is accusing her 10-12 million arab bretheren of confusion and syncretism. This is ethnocentrism plain and simple. Just because some Malaysian muslims also have this problem does not make them both right :) It just makes them both ethnocentric with tiny tribal gods they dont want to share.

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James B

January 27, 2013  3:15pm

Audrey, you say "Muslims (the great majority in Arab nations) are also taught from birth that 'Allah has no son'". That is true but 12 million Arab Christians are taught from birth that "Yasou'" (Jesus) is "Ibn Allah" (Son of God). Doesnt that count for something? It is also true that Jews are taught from birth that "Yahweh has no son". Now does that mean we cant use "Yahweh" because current Jewish teaching about this OT name does not 100% match the extra revelation about the creator we have in Christ? Of course not. Yet if we apply your same logic to "Yahweh" we would not be able to use Yahweh either... Can you see that your logic is flawed? Our God has a different name in every language. And in arabic it is Allah. That does not mean Muslims are correct in all their theology or have full revelation of His character (as I said some of my Muslim friends are atheists!), it just means there is one creator and we have good news about Him to share with Muslims!

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Rick Dalbey

January 27, 2013  3:09pm

James and Gene, you don’t have to agree with Audrey, just say you have a point. People in the muslim culture know this linguistic difference which James and Gene are unwilling to concede. Malaysians are rioting over the proposal to use the name Allah in a new Malaysian translation of the Bible. Imams are calling for Bible burnings for using Allah for the Biblical God. They know that Allah is a proper name which stands for rigid monotheism (no trinity), no son of God, fierce violence and misogyny. They want no confusion or syncretism within islam. Controversy surrounding the name of God is not a settled issue in the North African communities nor are these communities composed of one monolithic culture. Give the arabic people some credit for understanding the differences of theology and linguistics. We expect every other culture to understand that names have content, theology and history, no matter where their (our) linguistic roots originally hailed from.

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Rick Dalbey

January 27, 2013  2:46pm

You guys are being too hard on Audrey. There is an arabic word for the common noun God, ilaah. There is also a proper noun for the name of the God of Islam, Allah. The new Arabic Bible makes a distinction between the two because Allah is a container for history, character and theology. The translators say; There are many fine believers who use the name of Allah. This change is not meant to question or denigrate their genuine love for the true Savior, Jesus Christ. There is no hint of condemnation for them. This change is being made with an eye to the future. There are now many Muslims discovering Jesus, and we believe this will only accelerate in the monumental days to come. Following the Lamb of God and making a clean break with Islam will require a tremendous amount of painful sacrifice on the part of many believers. But there are some things worth suffering for. The ArabBible uses the definite, common noun, “al-ilaah” to refer to God, rather than the Islamic proper noun, “Allah”.

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Darryl Giles

January 27, 2013  2:07pm

Gene Daniels - The point is not how you translate the word God or Jesus, the point is the Jesus or Isa of Islam is not the Biblical Jesus. In fact, John said such a belief system is the antichrist and we are to have nothing to do with it. You definitely missed the boat on this one.

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Gene Daniels

January 27, 2013  11:44am

sister Audrey, I fear you are seriously misunderstanding linguistic issues. When Abu Jaz spoke about the "tribal name for God" he was not referring to the Hebrew word Yahweh, but to the word that is used in the Bible translation in that country. Audrey, you do realize that all of us use translations of biblical words? None of us are speaking the original language when we pray. When Arabic speakers use "Allah" they are simply using their language. If we were to use your logic on this then we would be using either “Elohim” “El” whenever we spoke of God in the OT, and “Theos” for any references to God in the NT. The English word “God” comes to us from Sanskrit or possibly Persian, so does this make us syncretistic? I'm afraid that if we lived with your definition of snycretism, all of us would be missing the boat.

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Gene Daniels

January 27, 2013  8:46am

Brother francesco, I don't know pastor Anwar, but I do know some of what has happened with insiders in Bangladesh, much of it bad. Most people seriously involved with ministry in the Muslim world know about the Bengali insider movements. And in my opinion that is the problem. Too much attention has been given to what happened there, and it is often presented as "typical" of insider movements. I wanted people to hear about a situation that is different, a much better insider approach. That is why I did the interview with Abu Jaz.

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Eldon Orr

January 26, 2013  9:30pm

Francesco, YHWH just means "He Who Is", it is a third person descriptor given to Moses to describe the Most High to Pharoah. As such, it is frequently used in the Quran in the Arabic word "Huwa" often describing the character of Allah. Don't let the confusion of tongues that is still upon mankind keep you blind to spiritual truth. The One who revealed Himself through Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad is one and the same and the day is soon coming when He will be known throughout the earth just so. Trinitarianism is only a dodge and distraction from the Truth championed by none other than the Beast, from whom you need to separate yourself ASAP. Come out from among them and be ye separate.

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francesco maggio

January 26, 2013  6:26pm

Brother Crisjan, we remind ourselves that when we are dealing with the truth of the One God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we are NOT dealing with a concept of god in the Koranic view. We are delaing with the reality that has been understood and confessed by the saints for thousands of years. This is also fully revealed from Genesis 1:1-2 througout the Bible until Revelation. About your statemant we all know what does it mean 'Allah'. The Allah (al-ilah) that speaks the Koran is not a Trinitarian god. YHWH though we don't pronounce it many times still we must tell to our friends that this name we find it in Exodus 3:13-15; Deuterenomy 6:4, it he neme of the God of the Bible forever. Deut. 4:35 says there is not other god that YHWH; Isaiah 45:5-6 YHWH is the only One God from East to West and in Isaiah 45:21-22 there is not Savior and not other god than YHWH. This YHWH came to Earth and became flesh, died for us and we should honor this NAME beyond our ideas or preferences.

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Chrisjan Dees

January 26, 2013  5:56pm

Brother Francesco, thank you for what you said about welcoming believers from a Muslim background. 'Allah' is arabic for 'God'. Arab speaking Christians use this word to refer to God. I agree that God is described very differently in the Quran than in the Bible, but when Muslims say 'Allah' they mean God, who created heaven and earth and called Abraham. We Christians do not call God 'YHWH' very often either

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francesco maggio

January 26, 2013  5:43pm

Dear brother Gene, the article itself is good and enough clear to produce inevitably good discussion. I ask you if you came across with the testimony of a former Insider and former Muslim, Pastor Anwar Hossain. He was militant worker alike the brother you interviewed into Insider Movement. Pastor Anwar is Former Chairmann, Bangladesh Bible Society. I find useful to ask to Christianity Today another view of this topic so very important with an intervew of Pastor Anwar Hossain. Until we wait I ask you kindly if you could allow to have a glimpse of him http://biblicalmissiology.org/2010/10/11/recap-of-the-insider-movement-conf erence-a-critical-assessment-ii-2010/ Brother Anwar he has been deeply involved with Insiders for many years... To give a little help to James B. (on 24th), he might be interested to have a broader picture and to read about the unhappy paper- compromise of the 'Common Word between Us and You' that was signed by 300 good Christian leaders to the Muslims.

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Gene Daniels

January 26, 2013  6:28am

Brother Francesco, I've have seen situations where people use an insider profile to hide their faith, but the people of the gospel are not one of them. The are quite "exposed," but they are exposed as followers of Isa, not "Christians." And as I hope the interview demonstrates, that allows them to maintain a witness, and one that is clear. Their choice to stay in their socio-religious community is a matter of witness and clarity for the gospel, not hiding from persecution. Contextualization is done properly is never an excuse to hide or avoid persecution, it is a means to maintain a witness in a difficult environment and to make sure that people are hearing the gospel, not through a lens of our message being foreign religious propaganda. And God forbid if I have come across as someone "boasting" about something I have done! This is not my work, or that of any other foreigner. It is a work of the Holy Spirit through local men and women like Abu Jaz.

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francesco maggio

January 26, 2013  12:00am

The Muslim follower of Isa inthe article shows that there is much ignorance by certain people he describes as members/pastor of the church where he went. The church needs to be trained how to welcome converts from Islam.This is also part of the problem. But also the article shows that the Muslim follower of Isa use pretests to hide his genuine faith in Jesus and in doing so to avoid persection. Example: he cites Acts 14:15 but didn't mention when Paul gave similar message at Athene but proclaiming frankly "Jesus" (Acts 16:18) or he forget to say that Paul from the very beginning of his conversion went to synagogue to preach Christ the Son of God Some missionaries belonging to Insider Movement choose this teaching so that win faster "followers of Isa" and tell to their supporters boasting on 'results'. we should understand that the real name of God revealed in the Bible has an Eternal Name: Yahweh (YHWH) - not Allah - We may use the name Allah but They are not the same...not at all!!

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francesco maggio

January 25, 2013  11:51pm

The Muslim follower of Isa inthe article shows that there is much ignorance by certain people he describes as member of the church where he went. The church needs to be trained how to welcome converts from Islam.This is also part of the problem. But also the article shows that the Muslim follower of Isa use pretests to hide his genuine faith in Jesus and in doing so to avoid persection. Example: he cites Acts 14:15 but didn't mention when Paul gave similar message at Athene but proclaiming frankly "Jesus" (Acts 16:18). Honestly speaking, missionaries belonging to Insider Movement choose this teaching so that win faster "followers of Isa" and may then fill their newsletter to their supporters boasting on 'results'. Soon or later we should understand that the real name of God revealed in the Bible has an Eternal Name: Yahweh (YHWH) - not Allah - We may use the name Allah but They are not the same!

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Gene Daniels

January 25, 2013  10:43am

Jonathan, I would imagine you cite it in standard magazine format, according to the style guide you are using. As for the print version, here are the details (but make sure you reformat according to your style guide) Daniels, Gene. "Where's Christian?" in Christianity Today, Jan/Feb 2013, pp. 23-27. Also, make sure you read the companion articles. Blessings!

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Jonathan Zook

January 25, 2013  9:49am

Gene Daniels. I am going to Moody Bible Institute. I am working on a research paper dealing with Christ followers in a Muslim culture. I appreciated your article. I was wanting to use it as a source. Could you provided me with Works Cited information. Thanks Jonathan Zook

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Gene Daniels

January 25, 2013  8:05am

Dear sister Audrey, Abu Jaz indeed tried to make it crystal clear that he left the evangelical church of his country and returned to his Muslim cultural heritage because of cultural issues. He said exactly, "I went back and restored my former Islamic cultural identity." Please note that the word "mosque" does not even appear in the article at all. It seems you are making two fundamental assumptions (correct me if I am wrong). One, that leaving the evangelical church in a particular country is the same as leaving "the Church" (I hope you really don’t feel this way). And two, that restoring one’s identity as a cultural Muslim is the same as returning to the mosque. But you need to understand that participating in Muslim life and culture is much more than attendance at the mosque. You are confusing formal definitions of Islam with actual life and practice of Muslims.

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Gene Daniels

January 25, 2013  7:14am

Dear sister Audrey, Abu Jaz made many statements and made it crystal clear that he left the evangelical church of his country and returned to his cultural heritage of Islam because of cultural issues. This is true, but there is not one thing in the article about mosque attendance. Don’t you see that? It would seem you are making two underlying assumptions (correct me if I am wrong). One, that leaving the evangelical church in a country is the same as leaving "the Church." And two, that restoring his identity as a cultural Muslim is the same as returning to the mosque. Please consider these two points: A) the body of Christ is wider than the evangelical church in a given place, and B) Muslim culture is much more than attendance at the mosque. I think you are confusing formal definitions of Islam with real world practice of Muslims. As a missionary who spent 12 years living in various Muslim communities, I can tell you that these can be two different things.

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James B

January 25, 2013  2:08am

Audrey, I really appreciate your passion for truth and willingness to wrestle with these key principles of cross-cultural mission. Can I ask you a question? How do you feel about the fact that every Arabic bible translation begins something like this: "Fi l-bad'i khalaqa Allah as-samawat wa l-'ard..." - "In the beginning God (Allah) created the heavens and the earth..." How does this fact relate to your personal definition of who Allah is? Do you accept the fact that millions of your Arabic brothers and sisters in Christ worship Allah?

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audrey ruth

January 24, 2013  11:23pm

James B, do you really not know that Chrislam is (unfortunately) far more widespread than "two very small syncretistic sects", which would be unfortunate enough? No, Chrislam has affected and infected churches in America, as well. The article here, read just as it is written, is an unfortunate example of Chrislam -- melding belief in Jesus (which Jesus? see 2 Corinthians 11:4) with belief in Islam/Allah/Muhammed. The guy who was interviewed here made that very clear. Christ Jesus said, "I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life. NO ONE comes to the Father, BUT by me." A missionary whom I know personally has traveled in a number of foreign countries. When he preached in several cities in India, to thousands of people, many of them were very willing to add Jesus to their pantheon of gods. He had to be very specific in showing them from the Scriptures that Jesus IS God, and there is no other. Belief in Him cannot be Scripturally mixed with belief in other faiths/gods/prophets.

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audrey ruth

January 24, 2013  11:17pm

James B, I have not once "forced my personal definition" on the interview, or the subject at hand. Muslims who become Christians are called Muslim-background believers (indicating they no longer believe in Islam, Allah, Muhammed, or the tenets of Islam -- but in Jesus the Christ), or simply Christians. You seem to think that I (and other Christians, as well) do not know that conversion to faith in Christ Jesus as Who He claimed to be (none less than I AM) is grounds for expulsion from the Muslim family (a comparatively mild price to pay, though painful) to severe persecution and death. And YES, the interviewee made MANY statements in the article (I read every word) making it crystal clear that he left the church and returned to the mosque BECAUSE of cultural issues. It seems he is not willing to be "in the world, but not of it."

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Gene Daniels

January 24, 2013  2:35pm

Brother Salaam. I will try to give a concise answer to your very involved and complex question. This article was not about what I think. Period. And since it was about Muslims in E. Africa coming to Christ, people not shaped by the Enlightenment, I don’t see how "classical liberalism" has any real bearing on the article. But I don't want to dismiss your concerns about giving proper weight to biblical revelation. Abu Jaz and other leaders in that movement demonstrate a serious effort an maintaining the integrity of biblical revelation (I am disappointed if that did not come through clearly in the article). However, the people of the gospel are interpreting the Bible in and for their context. This is what the reformers did, and is just what we do. The study of the history of Christian theology tells the story of this time and time again. New cultures wrestling to make the unchanging gospel real and relevant to their own

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James B

January 24, 2013  11:56am

Chrislam is actually the name of two very small syncretistic sects in Nigeria with little or no influence outside of the Yoruba region. It is also the name of a committee in Lebanon formed to encourage dialogue and reconciliation between their religious communities after their tragic civil war. It is also the name of a fictitious religion in one of Arthur C Clarks science fiction novels. Continuing in the tradition of AC Clarke, a small group of very vocal mission heresy-hunters have recently written a sensationalist book against a straw-man they call chrislam (does it even exist??) This novel has popularised the expression “chrislam” as a general purpose term of abuse one can throw at anyone that does not aggressively attack Islam as much as one would like (eg some use it on Rick Warren). None of these definitions have anything at all to do with the interview here.

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Salaam Corniche

January 24, 2013  9:42am

Gene thanks for your response as to how you perceive that we see things differently. I wonder if you could muse over these two quotes and tell me where you think you would see yourself? "“[T]he closer one gets to classical orthodoxy the greater the weight given to the biblical revelation, and the closer one gets to classical liberalism the greater the weight given to human reason and culture." David J. Hesselgrave and Edward Rommen, Contextualization: Meanings, Methods, and Models (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1989), p. 148 ".....distinguishing those who will accomodate Scripture to culture, and those who will attempt to shape culture by Scripture." Wayne Grudem, Evangelical Feminism Shalom

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Gene Daniels

January 24, 2013  9:11am

Thanks James, you said it better than I have managed to so far. Is there any way we could make a connection outside of this forum? But I'm not sure how to do that.

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James B

January 24, 2013  9:00am

Audrey, you have repeated the same line of logic many many times. I do understand what you are saying, & yes, you are 100% correct in this line of reasoning as you state it. I DO agree with you :) However your whole logic is founded on the presupposition that all those called “Muslims” are true believers in orthodox Islamic theology. But you need to understand this is NOT the definition Abu Jaz is working with (I believe). When Gene manages to “squeeze” theology out of Abu Jaz it is nowhere near orthodox Islamic, yet amazingly he is accepted in his community as Muslim. That simply means they are not working with your textbook definition. "Muslim" for them seems to be defined culturally and socially. Forcing your personal definition on the interview will only result in you hearing AJ say things he is not saying. listen to how AJ defines “muslim” & evaluate the text according to that. Insisting on your own personal meanings for words and symbols, by definition, IS ethnocentrism.

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Eldon Orr

January 24, 2013  7:58am

Dear Audrey, there aren't any statements made by Jesus in the NT that overturn the importance of him calling the Father "the ONLY True God" and "MY God and your God". Ignoring major statements like these to accentuate minor statements like "before Abraham was, I am" is what afflicted the earth with trinitarianism in the first place. JW's may recognize that, however they drop the ball in several other areas of faith. ~1400 years ago in the backwater nation of Arabia, Muhammad said "Islam will enter into every house on earth..." Seeing this happen before your eyes should grant you faith beyond the limits men have constructed.

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Gene Daniels

January 24, 2013  6:31am

Dear Audrey, I am glad to have this dialogue with you. Yes, I have heard of "Chrislam" but since I have not read that book by that title, I would prefer not to comment on it. As for "I Dared to Call Him Father", that is a wonderful book! And yes I am very familiar with the work of Bro Andrew, an amazing man. Now, you also wrote, "the interviewee made it clear he left the church and returned to the mosque BECAUSE of culture." Please go back and reread the article, Abu Jaz did not say that. He said, "I went back and restored my former Islamic cultural identity." Those are two very different ideas. It seems that you think the people of the Gospel hide their faith. On the contrary, this brother is a tireless evangelist. By staying in his Islamic socio-religious setting he and others in his group are able to share the gospel, and clearly, with people who would otherwise never listen to a "Christian" evangelist.

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audrey ruth

January 23, 2013  10:21pm

James B, "Muslim" denotes a believer in Islam, just as "Christian" denotes a believer of the Christian faith. Arabs may or may not be Muslims, but the obelisk in front of the main mosque in Mecca (the one all faithful Muslims purpose to visit at least once) does read "There is one God, and he has no son." Since Muslims believe in Islam, how is it that they blend belief in Allah (whom they believe has no son) with belief in Jesus the Christ, who is the Son of God? If they continue to believe that Muhammed is a prophet of their god, this necessarily excludes Jesus The Christ from the picture, since He declared that HE is THE Way, THE truth, and THE life -- that NO ONE comes to the Father but through Him. You keep mentioning culture as an impediment to others; the interviewee made it clear he left the church and returned to the mosque BECAUSE of culture. Jesus said, "If you confess me before men, I will confess you before the Father."

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audrey ruth

January 23, 2013  10:18pm

One more question for Gene and James B: Have you guys read _I Dared to Call Him Father: The Miraculous Story of a Muslim Woman's Encounter with God_, by Bilquis Sheikh? Are you guys familiar with Brother Andrew and his ministry to Muslims in many countries? His website is www.opendoors.org

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audrey ruth

January 23, 2013  10:15pm

James B and Gene, AFAIK, neither of you has answered this question, and I didn't want it to be lost in a longer post: Has either of you heard of Chrislam?

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audrey ruth

January 23, 2013  10:12pm

Eldon, are you a Jehovah's Witness? They've come to my door and said the same things you are saying. Have you read Isaiah 9, John 1, and Colossians 1, among the many other Scriptures which declare Jesus the Christ to be God incarnate? Jesus said of Himself: "Before Abraham was, I AM." The Pharisees understood the full import of this statement, as well as the implications of His applying Isaiah 61 (His first public sermon) to Himself, which is why they tried more than once to kill Him.

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Gene Daniels

January 23, 2013  2:41pm

Eldon, one cryptic reference, used like you are using Isaiah 42:10-12 is pretty shaky ground from which to try to overthrow a huge portion of what the New Testament clearly says. I don't think you are going to find any takers for your ideas around here.

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Eldon Orr

January 23, 2013  12:32pm

Gene, since Isaiah 42:10-12 clearly names the progenitor of Muhammad, Kedar, as the only specific one whose villages would be singing the "new song" (describing the Quran exactly) I must say that the Bible points to the Quran. I realize that many generations of Christians have endured spiritual drunkeness now, such that you think I've got the story backwards, but it is only in keeping with the Works of the Most High for Him to establish a separate witness in the people of Islam who believe that Jesus is the Messiah but do not worship him as God, choosing instead to worship "the only true God" whom Jesus also worshipped. My place in this discussion is only as yours: a witness for the Truth I've learned from the Author of Truth. Peace to those who believe and follow.

Gene Daniels

January 23, 2013  11:36am

Eldon, I am not sure exactly where you are coming from, but one thing is very clear. You have a fundamental issue turned around backward. The Bible does not point toward the Quran, it is the other way around. The Bible is the only source of God's revelation, of spiritual light to man. While I do think there are bits and pieces of truth scattered in the Quran, it is only so far as they were taken from the Bible. I once heard a wise missionary say, "the Quran is like the crescent moon, it reflects some small amount of light, but it produces absolutely none of its own." Since it appears everyone else participating in these comments shares that conviction, I really don't think you have a place in this discussion.

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James B

January 23, 2013  11:02am

Hi Eldon, is this your book here? www.amazon.com/Confirming-Glory-Everlasting-Gospel-eldon/dp/1435725026 ? You also link to this page in your bio, but it is hard to see the "cannabis" connection http://www.angelfire.com/ar2/spiritoftruthacademy/index.html For all the argument here, one thing that we all agree apon in this forum (I hope) is that salvation is through Christ alone and that the Bible is our primary reference and lens for understanding God's character, purposes, and interactions with humanity. Are you sure you belong on this site?

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Eldon Orr

January 23, 2013  10:19am

The most cherished old petrified traditions of Christianity are found in the Athanasian Creed DEMANDING that all must worship the Trinity and Deity of Christ or be lost. By these two manmade stipulations added TO the Word, Christianity has negated much of the Mercy revealed to man through the gospel, not to mention trampling upon the Law that converts the soul. From Justinian's Code through the Crusades and up until our present time the Christian harlot has ridden the multicolored Beast to oppress the people of earth and make them drunk with the wine of her idolatry. Seeing these things, yes indeed, our Merciful Creator renewed His openness to mankind through the Quran, the "new song" sprung up from among the villages of Kedar to the ends of the earth as foretold in Isaiah 43:10-12. Islam proclaims the everlasting gospel: Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. Rev.14:7

James B

January 23, 2013  8:25am

Audrey you say "The only authority for my statements comes from the Word of God, and there is NO ethnicity in my mind" - Is that the Word of God translated for ethnic groups who speak English? or for the ethnic groups who speak Arabic? The Arabic Bible is all about Allah you see, so you can imagine it is confusing for me when you imply Allah and God are different gods. Millions of Christian Arabs worship Allah in the church Audrey, so yes I am totally on board with that - arent you?

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James B

January 23, 2013  8:17am

Audrey, you say, "Since Muslims believe in Islam..." - Who told you that? Are you quoting a simplistic theology textbook/tract you read or from experience? I know plenty of Muslims who are atheists, satanists, secularists, new agers, or hedonists, & yes even some who follow Christ. I think you have totally misunderstood the article. Abu Jaz is not talking theology here (he takes it as given one must believe in Christ atoning work to be saved), he is talking about social-religious culture, his birth community & his desire to be salt & light within it, to see it transformed to bring glory to Christ. For many with "Muslim" written on their birth certificate Islam is, more than anything, a cultural system. Plenty of evil there, but no more evil than the pagan Italian culture of Cornelius' day or our secular-humanist western cultures. History has shown time and again that the Gospel can and does transform cultures. the message of Acts is that this is what God is purposely wanting to do

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Gene Daniels

January 23, 2013  6:52am

Sister Audrey, I'm sorry. I thought I did address your concerns about the word Allah. It is simply the word for God, it is closely related to the Hebrew words "El" and "Elohim." It is not too much different from Russians professing belief in "Bog" (the transliteration of the generic Russian word for God). In some ways it is not all that different than a typical unchurched American coming to faith. When they get saved, they call on God, but their ideas about he are probably highly unbiblical because of contemporary society and media. They think of him as some great grandfather in the sky, or maybe a vague higher power. But once they are saved and continue in the Word of God, eventually their understanding of the meaning of that word will change and be filled with biblical content. Its no different for Muslims. The word itself is not the issue, it is the understanding of his nature that must be biblical, and that comes from the preaching of the Word (and reading), and not overnight.

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audrey ruth

January 22, 2013  11:39pm

James B, my posts are not ethnocentric or non-Biblical at all. The only authority for my statements comes from the Word of God, and there is NO ethnicity in my mind (thus, my posts) at all.

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audrey ruth

January 22, 2013  10:48pm

Eldon, the Word of God is for ALL men who will give heed to His voice. Do you have Biblical support for your statement "the Most High gave His word to the people of Islam"? Does this mean you believe the Koran is His word and Muhammed was a prophet of the Most High?

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audrey ruth

January 22, 2013  10:44pm

James B and Gene, neither of you has addressed the crux of my concerns in my earlier posts (which is why I've reposted my questions and concerns): Since Muslims believe in Islam, which declares, "There is one God and he has no son", how is it that they blend belief in Allah (who has no son) with belief in Jesus the Christ, who is the Son of God? If they continue to believe that Muhammed is a prophet of their God, then this necessarily excludes Jesus The Christ from the picture, since He declared that He is THE Way, THE truth, and THE life -- that NO ONE comes to the Father but through Him. Would you guys be on board if Christians began "worshiping Allah in the Church" as this article says Muslims are "worshiping Jesus in the mosque"? Has either of you heard of Chrislam?

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Rick Dalbey

January 22, 2013  9:39pm

Eldon, what old petrified traditions? I would gladly repent. Really, I'm serious. What old petrified traditions?

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Gene Daniels

January 22, 2013  9:32pm

Rich, I'm not angry. But neither will I be baited, and that's what this conversation is starting to feel like, so I am bowing out.

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Eldon Orr

January 22, 2013  8:42pm

Seeing some of the things that Christians are writing in response to this article makes it easy to understand how the LORD takes away the kingdom from the proud and haughty and gives it to lowly people of faith who will bring forth the fruit thereof. Keep your old petrified traditions to yourself, you've made the Word of God of none effect by them. Meanwhile, the Most High gave His word to the people of Islam as well and He will keep it until the End. The promise of the LORD is that He will keep His Word AWAY from people like you forever: Psalm 12:7

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Rick Dalbey

January 22, 2013  8:18pm

Gene, I am sorry I have angered you. You were the one who complained that the insider's progress towards understanding Jesus is Lord is slow. I agreed with you when you asked Abu, "But while they are SLOWLY coming to understand who Jesus is, why don't you also SLOWLY bring them into the Christian church?" That is my question too that I don't feel he adequately addressed. And why did Abu say, "So when they put their faith in Jesus, they may have at the same time Muhammad in their heart.” I was hoping for more dialog, not anger. Like many I assumed that the title of this article was accurate, Worshiping Jesus in the Mosque, only to find out it wasn't true. Your editors did you no favors. Do you see my point about Paul's evangelizing the Ephesian culture? I'm curious how this is different. I think in reality we agree about many points, I love to see different cultural expressions of the gospel. God bless you.

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Gene Daniels

January 22, 2013  7:30pm

Brother Rich, almost everything you just 'quoted' from the article was inaccurate and/or taken out of context. For example, you wrote, "He [meaning Abu Jaz] reaffirms their faith in the prophet Isa al Masih and SLOWLY over time he HOPES they will come to understand that Jesus is Lord." But that is not want he said, and I will quote, "They progressively understand him, from prophet and messenger to Savior and then to Lord. But this takes time and the Holy Spirit, as it also did for Peter." There is a huge difference between what Abu Jaz actually said, and what you put in his mouth, a huge difference. Since there is not space in these comments to extensively recite the article, I cannot defend it against distortions. Therefore, I see no point in continuing this dialogue with you. Nevertheless, peace and grace from the Lord Jesus to you.

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Rick Dalbey

January 22, 2013  7:11pm

Gene, when Paul preached at Ephesus, they brought their religious books together and burned them in a huge bonfire “in the sight of everyone”. They didn't continue to give Zeus and Diana allegiance as they accepted Jesus. Paul did not say, “We cannot rule out syncretism at the beginning of a new Ephesian believer's life.” His preaching was clear and the first converts at Ephesus were baptised in water and then hands laid on them for the filling of the Holy Spirit. Did this clear presentation of the gospel cause riots and alienation in Epheus? Of course, “they were filled with rage” and “the city was filled with confusion.” “Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all.” Gene, I feel like the editors did you no favors in editing this article, from giving it a misleading headline to cutting out important info. However the gospel is preached I rejoice, but it does seem that too many concessions are being justified

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Rick Dalbey

January 22, 2013  6:50pm

Gene, it was you who defended the use of the Quaran, saying “There is truth scattered in the Quran, yes it came from the Bible originally, but it still ended up in the Quran.” Abu continues to identify Allah as God “If we say that the one they know as Allah is not God, we are not speaking against the religion of Islam, or Muhammad or Qur'an, but against the doctrine of general revelation.” He reaffirms their faith in the prophet Isa al Masih and SLOWLY over time he HOPES they will come to understand that Jesus is Lord. This is different than asserting Jesus is Lord. Abu believes they can worship two Gods. “We cannot rule out syncretism at the beginning of a new believer's life.” “So when they put their faith in Jesus, they may have at the same time Muhammad in their heart.” “These people are not Christians. These people are not Muslims." “People ask, "Who is Isa for you?" Our answer is, "He is the Word of Allah." Then we quote from the Qur'an, but explain what the Word of Allah means."

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Gene Daniels

January 22, 2013  6:10pm

Brother Salaam, I hope I'm not shooting the messenger ;-) forgive me if I have. Ultimately you and I disagree about the line between culture and religion. I respect your position, but I think you are wrong. The way people understand things are not set in stone. Forms are fluid, particularly in our era of globalization. People the world over make choices to reshape existing practices and identities to suit new beliefs and realities. This is pretty common currency in the social sciences, but more germane to our discussion, it has happened many times over the years as Christianity has moved across cultures. Lamin Sanneh (a former Muslim, now Christian, who teaches at Yale) has a great book about this topic, its called "Translating the Message." Its about how the gospel has moved across cultures and often adapted the unchanging message to new environments.

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Gene Daniels

January 22, 2013  5:52pm

Brother Rich, You just wrote "The horrible burden required by the Bible is to exchange worship of Allah for Jehovah, confess that Jesus is the only way to salvation, confessing that He is more than a prophet...He is the unique son of God and that Muhammed is not a prophet and the Quaran is not scripture." Other than the use of the word Allah, which of these did Abu Jaz say the people of the gospel were not doing? Seems to me you are supposing a lot. They do in fact teach that Jesus is the only savior, that is is the Son of God, they embrace the Bible, not the Quran as inspired, and they have little if anything to say about Muhammad. Seems to me they are pretty close to conforming to all the key points you are concerned about. So I don't understand your criticisms. Are you sure you are not criticisming them because of preconceived ideas you have, rather than plainly what the article stated?

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Rick Dalbey

January 22, 2013  3:39pm

Nate, what are you talking about? No one is requiring Iraquis to shave their beard, change their clothes, give up veils, change their language, their music, their customs, eat pork, stop fasting, give up charity, change calendars, get circumcised or not. The horrible burden required by the Bible is to exchange worship of Allah for Jehovah, confess that Jesus is the only way to salvation, confessing that He is more than a prophet...He is the unique son of God and that Muhammed is not a prophet and the Quaran is not scripture. We are strongly urged to be publicly baptised and to assemble together as believers. Jesus is good. He healed everyone who came to Him including Romans, Samaritans and sinners. He multiplied the loaves and fishes for everyone. So praise God for Abu, “the goodness of God leads you to repentance.” But lets not justify continued reading of the Quaran, worship of Allah, rejecting the name Christian, and refusing to worship with Christians.

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Salaam Corniche

January 22, 2013  3:24pm

Gene tks for your response. I fear you may be shooting me as the messenger as to what concerns the Bengali brothers are raising. As to a concern about the article, yes, I have one. Jaz said, "We need a Muslim-focused church-planting strategy, a church that uses the terms and forms from their Muslim community, not something from other religious communities." This statement and yours about using Isa and pouring Christian meanings into them presupposes that forms in Islam are neutral. Wrongo. They are pregnant with Islamic theology. That is why some groups went crazy when it was found out that Matthew 28 was rendered "wash them in the way of Islamic ablutions" instead of "baptizing them." Islam and its forms are not neutral. Every ritual--even those taken from Jewish tradition like prostration-- has been infused with a worldview that says "if you do this you will be acceptable to God." It is systematic self-salvation which in effect denies Jesus. Oil and water do not mix. ???

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Nate Scholz

January 22, 2013  3:05pm

This article was so well articulated. Even as I felt praise rising in my soul for this brother, I knew that his words would be misunderstood by the majority of others that read it. I didn't dare to delve too far in the comments, knowing that hurtful responses would be found there. We exist in a venue within Christianity that closely resembles the climate of the Jerusalem Council. Many will demand strict adherence to tradition, while others are open to limit inflicting the burden that we ourselves have been unable to bear.

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Rick Dalbey

January 22, 2013  3:00pm

Gene, your problem is not with Western Christians, your problem is with Jesus. He required a clean, public break with other religious forms, risking even alienation from family, village and children. Abu is right. All cultures are equal in God’s eyes. But you have taken it one step further by declaring that Islam is not a religion, but a culture. General revelation reveals that there is a creator God. Special revelation reveals that His name is Jehovah, His son is Jesus and His word is the Bible. Of course the Quaran hs some truth in it. So does Mein Kampf and Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Why are you defending the Quaran? All religions believe there was a creator and all are confused if you tell thim Shiva or Ra or Baal was not the creator, but Jehovah was. Arabs are not unique in this regard. And why do you run from being called a Christian. Peter said, “But suppose you suffer for being a Christian. Then don’t be ashamed. Instead, praise God because you are known by that name.”

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Gene Daniels

January 22, 2013  2:32pm

My brother Hussein, It is a pleasure to interact with you. One of the reasons that I wanted to publish this interview was that I feel Abu Jaz is a good example of contextualization done well. But I am not saying he is a "typical" insider (he doesn't even like that term or the C-scale because they are filled with biases). The spectrum is just too wide for much generalization. I am well aware of extreme forms of contextualization, but too many people are portraying that as the norm. Also, I might add that I am not an "insider proponent," I am simply a missionary and researcher who has seen times when staying in their socio-religious community was the best way for local believers to clearly present the gospel. For me, the first and foremost issue with contextualization is whether or not it helps make the gospel clear in a radically different culture. That is what I saw with Abu Jaz, and that is why I felt people should hear his story.

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Gene Daniels

January 22, 2013  2:11pm

Rene, Thanks for clarifying about Audrey's repeat posts. I appologize to Audrey since I may have come across sarcastic in my comments. Now Rene, about what you wrote "Islam is darkness in which there is no light--will never lead people to Jesus." I agree with you, except for two points: 1) There is truth scattered in the Quran, yes it came from the Bible originally, but it still ended up in the Quran. And 2) if Islam was only a religion you might have better grounds for saying it is all darkness. But Islam is more than a false religion, it is a culture. And as in all cultures, in it are hidden gems that that are not opposed to the gospel. These are the difficult and tenuous footholds that some like Abu Jaz are using to hold out the light of the gospel clearly. Whether you believe it or not, I have heard what Abu Jaz and others in his movement preach, it is very biblical, they just do so embedded in a culture that many Western Christians have a hard time seeing past.

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Rick Dalbey

January 22, 2013  11:43am

Gene, of course I am not suggesting the conquest of Canaan and neither was Jonathan Swift suggesting that impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies. My satire was intended to make a point. Syncretism has always been and will always be anathema in the eyes of Bible writers. Jesus calls us to radical separation, no matter the cost. In this world you WILL suffer tribulation. As the Message Bible says, “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.” No one is asking Middle eastern people to give up food, cultural customs, music, relationships and values, only Islamic religious practices. Conflating Issa with Jesus or the fierce Allah with Jehovah is wrong. Conversion is never comfortable. That is why we need the comforter.

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Rene Williams

January 22, 2013  10:25am

As for the problem of Audrey Ruth, I believe there is a very simple answer. After I posted my initial comment, it did not appear when I went back to look for it. I would imagine that Audrey Ruth didn't feel that her comment was picked up in the thread so she continued to re-post it. :) I didn't see my comment appear throughout the day that I had posted. I then forgot about this article until today. Went back and looked and there it was. BTW Gene, is this a pseudonym you are using? Just curious.

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Rene Williams

January 22, 2013  10:19am

Part 2: But it does seems as if Rick has touched on a nerve with his analogy. You are too astute to have missed his point. He has distilled the argument to the simplest of terms. The Israelites were to tear down the high places, this holds true for us today in a spiritual sense. The New Testament uses language of warfare also--spiritual warfare (2 Cor 10). Islam is darkness in which there is no light--will never lead people to Jesus. "Results" as Salaam aptly put it, are of no interest to Believers. God calls people out of every form of darkness mentioned in these comments from Islam to Western culture, that is not at issue. What is at issue is the same old deception, conforming to the world to win the world. Doesn't work, never will. Our concern with the IM also includes the difficulties that arise in conversation. It is very difficult to keep the conversation focused on the point/Gospel. We are often led into more obscure areas where the point is lost. So disappointing.

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Hussein wario

January 22, 2013  9:54am

Gene Daniels, yes, you can call me a brother. I apologize for not responding promptly. Thank you for answering my question about the title of your interview of my fellow East African brother. It now makes sense how it is disjointed from the interview. I have been trying to understand where you stand on insider movement. Would you agree your interviewee is not a typical insider? "C4/5" level of contextualization has become almost synonymous with insider movement. Your response to Salaam about "Half-Devil/Half-Child” video, terming it as “hateful sounding thing,” while it actually depicts dangers of extreme contextualization (C4/5) in Bangladesh, which is real insider movement, shows your bias. Where do you stand on how insiders "reinterpret features of Islamic theology?" (See Tim Tennett's article in same issue of CT.) Typical insiders and insider movement proponents support reinterpretation of of the Qur’an. Where do you or my fellow East African brother stand?

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Rene Williams

January 22, 2013  9:53am

Dear Gene, I appreciate your responses to foiks' concerns. It appears that many of us have come to this discussion with resolved views. I would imagine the conversations are of most importance to the readers who are looking for the truth after reading this article. The Insider Movement (IM) is also like a chameleon, changing its name and operating in shades and shadows, i.e.: C1-C5 and beyond. As you say, the truth will out, and I would add that the truth walks in the light. It has been so very hard to pin down the IM on what they believe. Lots of smoke and mirrors. But I digress. The point remains that I believe the IM has gutted the gospel of Jesus Christ to make their message appealing to Muslims or Buddhists... Missionaries who have been slogging away in the fields may have become weary in well doing. As usually happens in such situations, someone there for the wrong reasons comes up with a better plan. A plan that will garner results---Expedience prevails. (Contd)

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Gene Daniels

January 22, 2013  12:49am

So Rick, are you proposing the conquest of Canaan as an alternate missions model for the Muslim world? Well of course you're not, no one would do that. We all understand that they are completely different situations, don't we? Comparing them would not just be "apples to oranges," it would be more like comparing "apples to raw hamburger" - wouldn't it? I prefer "apples" as the fruit of my ministry.

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Gene Daniels

January 22, 2013  12:37am

So Rick, are you proposing the conquest of Canaan as an alternate missions model for the Muslim world? I'm sure Joshua had lots of converts on his big mission push.

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Rick Dalbey

January 21, 2013  6:47pm

Hi Gene. Joshua here. We are having great success with secret Jehovah worshippers within Baal worshipping congregations. As we are finding out, we have a lot more success with the Canaanites when we allow them to retain many of their religious and cultural identities as Baal worshippers. We are beginning to try this with Moloch worshippers as well and expect great results! In fact, we are praising the Lord that although many of us attend services for Ashtorah and Tammuz on the altars located on the high places, we are getting increasing attendance at our Jewish Holy day feasts! We too have problems with intolerant charismatic conservatives like the self-styled prophet Eligah. Whatever you do, try to avoid public ceremonies like outdoor water baptisms that we hear John the Baptist is promoting. It needlessly alienates the family and community. We much prefer John the Unitarian with the cucumber sandwiches rather than the locust platter.

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Mark Matthias

January 21, 2013  5:02pm

"M Adisu January 21, 2013 What is it like to follow Christ embedded in American culture?" Fair question -- Basically the same as any where in the fallen state in which the whole world has sunken. The enemy is like a chameleon, moving from culture to culture; and quickly adapting to emotional, psychological, and spiritual nuances of all people. The outward covering takes on many forms; but there is only one evil. And then there is Jesus -- the Way, the Truth, and the Life. When we pass from this life the conversation stops.

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Gene Daniels

January 21, 2013  2:09pm

Brother Salaam, I don't doubt you may have seen some bad examples of "insider movements," I have too. But by definition movements encompass a wide range. Does one or two bad examples condemn all? I have seen some bad Charismatic stuff over the years, does that mean I should assume the worst about everyone who is a Charismatic? Or want about unusual Pentecostal excesses? And so on, you get the point. When discussing movements, to a certain extent you have to take it case-by-case rather than gross generalizations. Is it too much to ask you to comment on what you read in the article? When you bring in an association with some video named "Half-devil/Half-Child" it is obvious that you are reaching way beyond what was printed in CT. What did Abu Jaz say that deserves to be associated with some hateful sounding thing like that? While we can certainly disagree, I would ask some measure of Christ-likeness to remain in your conversation.

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James B

January 21, 2013  8:25am

Salaam, sounds like you are describing Peters experience at Cornelius' house :) He experienced a very novel "cultural phenomenon" where he observed uncircumcised people that seemed to exhibit symptoms of people who are saved (in this case speaking in tongues). This was totally new! But, after seeing this he changed his theology. After hearing his and Pauls experiences, the council in Jerusalem also changed their theology (except for a few ethnocentric believers who demanded every new movement to conform to their own narrow views of "how God works" that is ;) Like it or not ALL theology is impacted by experience and cultural phenomena. Even reading the Bible to find what is "biblical" is a form of "experience" that requires that you filter the text through your culture/language. Maybe you should update yourself in the field of Christian theology of religion - you would be a little more careful with your judgements

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M Adisu

January 21, 2013  7:41am

What is it like to follow Christ embedded in American culture?

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Salaam Corniche

January 21, 2013  6:50am

Part 2. [ Gene I lived on the opposite side of the continent and saw this Insider stuff first hand.] Next the missionary brings out his "trophies" who tell their stories. Saw this done at the Common Ground Conference. Who can argue with success? Which North American ridden with Western guilt will dare to question the theology of this now "enlightened native?" That would be politically incorrect. Yet, there are serious theological concerns that a movie like "Half-Devil/ Half-Child" addresses. These are Bengalis who are speaking about second generation insiders who have reverted to Islam, first generation insiders who are "lost in the woods" and the problem of using sociological phenomenon to form one's missiology, not to mention missionaries who are theologically and morally confused. We must ask: Why is the insider exegesis so skewed? Where is a Biblical view of other religions in all of this? Where is a Biblical view of the church? Where are the lessons of church history? S

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Salaam Corniche

January 21, 2013  6:25am

Thank you Gene for your response. Please imagine with me the following. A missionary makes an observation of a sociological/religious phenomenon. He calls it an act of God. He is so convinced of his observation that he moves towards making it a prescription for how missions should be done. Let us call it the "new method." He then finds Bible passages like "staying where you were" "Naaman" "Cornelius" "Acts 15" all read with a slant to legitimize his prescription and voila a theology is borne. Conferences grow and articles too. Woe be to anyone who questions the exegesis of these passages. Out comes the big trump cards of Gameliel and "we might be resisting what God is doing." The problem with the whole approach is that like Charles Finney's "new methods" there is a theology that is driving the methodolgy. In his case it was a semi-Pelagian view of the state of the human heart. In the case of the insider theology I think it is driven by sociologically driven missions. Con'd

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James B

January 21, 2013  2:50am

Audrey, I often meet Christians with a limited theological understanding of our creator and who misunderstand His character (actually we ALL do!). eg If I tell them that God is their heavenly father, that does not help much either - due sometimes to difficult experiences with their own earthly father. But, as we continue talk about God together & pray together these people get new revelation of who God really is & His father's heart for them. However, Audrey you imply that anyone with a poor theology of creator God or limited revelation of His character is talking about a different god entirely! This is just plain nonsense. Yes people need greater revelation of the creator & His character, but that will only happen as believers engage the symbols & names already available in a culture & fill them with Biblical meaning. Your argument applied in an English setting would mean we need to stop using “God” because the Mormons have hijacked its meaning!

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James B

January 21, 2013  2:35am

Thank you Gene for a very interesting article. Thank you too for your patience as you answer all these comments. Audrey, Your argument - which you keep repeating! - appears ethnocentric, non-Biblical & highly illogical. Ps 19:1-4, Acts 14:17, Rom 1:20 clearly imply a limited “general revelation” of the creator has been given to all humanity. Why? So they will seek Him (Acts 17:27). Yes, “specific revelation” of Jesus is needed for salvation but it builds on the general. There is only one creator Audrey, and most languages have a name for him. For example, 300 million Arabic speakers (including 12 million Christians) use a Semitic root for this being closely related to the one Jesus used on the cross:"Allah". Just because this word does not give YOU the cosy feelings you have for “God” (which has pagan indo-european roots BTW) does not make it wrong to use it. ALL Arabic bible translations use this word. Perhaps YOUR “God” is too small, Audrey?

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Gary M.

January 20, 2013  11:53pm

Eldon: God promised in the Bible that He would preserve his Word. If you are correct, then for the overwhelming majority of the last 2,000 years, Christians have not had the true Word of God. The concept of the trinity has always been upheld in the Church and the Arian heresy which denied it was denounced at Nicea. Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and other sects are able to spread their heresies because they ignore the Church Fathers and base their doctrines on THEIR interpretation of Scripture. Once again, dear Christians, beware of anyone who advises you to start ripping verses and chapters out of your Bible!

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Eldon Orr

January 20, 2013  10:31pm

no, Gary, this is much different than the last chapter of Mark controversy. Eusebius quotes the words of Matthew 28:19 many times before the Council of Nicea, and every time he quotes it as "Go and make disciples in my name..." and he does not say anything about "Father Son and Holy Ghost". But after Nicea, he quotes a different version of Matthew 28:19. Check the link: http://www.godglorified.com/matthew_2819.htm In the whole book of Acts no one is ever baptized "in the name of the Father & etc." , so if Jesus said it, why didn't the apostles DO it?

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Gene Daniels

January 20, 2013  9:06pm

Dear Audrey, I don't understand why you keep posting the same thing over and over again. I already addressed your concern about using "Allah" for God. I realize that you may not believe me, so I encourage you to ask a Arabic speaking Christian. Perhaps you are repeating your post because I ignored the question about which country Abu Jaz lives in. The article tells you that he lives in East Africa, that is enough information under the circumstances. However, the bigger question is why is this important to you? Would knowing the exact country some how change your views?

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Gary M.

January 20, 2013  7:20pm

Eldon: I believe that you are confusing the last chapter of the Gospel of Matthew with the last chapter of the Gospel of Mark. Some scholars (mainly main-line Protestant liberals) do not believe that Mark 16: 9-20 is inspired Scripture because it is not found in some of the earliest manuscripts. Orthodox Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Anglo-Catholics, and Greek Orthodox resoundingly reject this notion. We hope that our evangelical brothers and sisters will not join the liberals in their habit of ripping out the portions of the Bible that do not agree with their doctrine. Trinitarian baptism is an absolute must to be a true follower of Christ. I encourage all Christians to beware of any "scholar" who tells you that certain parts of your Bible are not truly God's inspired Word.

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audrey ruth

January 20, 2013  6:46pm

There is a monument in front of the main mosque at Mecca which reads: "There is one (g)od, and he has no son." IOW, allah (the god of Islam) has no son. Does anyone else see the contradiction here? I am concerned about the syncretism which is very evident in this article (and I do not see syncretism in the apostles' letters). I do not understand why Muslims such as this one continue to call God "Allah" after they've received Jesus as Savior, since "Allah has no son." Muslims do not believe in Yahweh, nor that Isaac (not Ishmael) was the son of the promise. What if Christians began "worshiping Allah in the Church"? Would Christians here be okay with that? Has anyone heard of Chrislam? In the book _I Dared To Call Him Father_ by Bilquis Sheikh, she made it clear that baptism irrevocably stamped her as a Christian and that she had to flee Saudi Arabia after she was baptized in order not to be killed as an infidel. Did this article say what country this believer lives in? www.opendoors.org

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Eldon Orr

January 20, 2013  5:43pm

Gary, Matthew 28:19 as you quoted it is an alteration of what Jesus spoke: he didn't mention "baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost" but "Go and make disciples of all nations in my name". see http://www.godglorified.com/matthew_2819.htm Be careful that you do not allow your love of tradition to make the Word of God of none effect in this respect.

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Gary M.

January 20, 2013  11:39am

Gene: the "formula" is critical, brother. Without the correct "formula" it is not a baptism...it is just getting wet! In the Gospel of Matthew 28:19-20 our Lord, Savior, and God said this: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you..." Trinitarian baptism is not optional. It is an absolute must. It is a command of God Almighty. Any baptism not performed in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is not a baptism of Christ but simply a ritual washing of the body. I realize that in some evangelical circles baptism is no longer deemed to be that important. (Although I do not believe that the majority of our evangelical brothers and sisters hold this view.) Even if you believe that baptism is nothing more than OUR act of obedience, it MUST be done to be a true follower of Christ, and the "formula" MUST be trinitarian.

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Gene Daniels

January 20, 2013  8:02am

Brother Gary, One of the points Abu Jaz tried to make, but did not come through very well in the final edited version, was about what they as a movement teach concerning Christ. Their "faith statement," if you will, is that they Jesus is fully God, just as historic Christianity believes. However, he was trying to be honest in saying that some of the believers are not there yet, that not every single person would make that clear statement. As for water baptism, I don't know that they have an exact "formula," but from what I have seen, their practice is not significantly different than what you might hear/see in a Evangelical church except it takes place in a bath tub.

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Gene Daniels

January 20, 2013  7:49am

Brother Salaam, And just to clarify, I am not in the same organization as Bob Blincoe, nor have I ever met the man.

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Gene Daniels

January 20, 2013  7:39am

Brother Salaam, If I had not mentioned the words from Gamaliel in Acts 5, my historical examples of movements would remain. The fact is, there are others, such as the African Initiated Churches, many of which fall into this category. So I appeal to a long historical record that unusual movements have often emerged which eventually proved themselves as orthodox versions of faith in Christ. Yes, some movements have gone off and become heretical (or were from the beginning), but the deciding factor is the Bible, not culture, not what they call themselves. No one who had criticized this article has even asked how the 'people of the gospel' view of the Bible and the Quran. And the short answer is, as Abu Jaz told me in part of the interview that did not make it into the final print, "We try to move people away from reading the Quran as quickly as possible." I find it very telling that no one is asking this. Perhaps it points to our measures of orthodoxy lying elsewhere?

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Salaam Corniche

January 20, 2013  6:06am

Thank you Gene for your response. The foundation of Aaron's "festival to Yahweh" for all of its religiosity was nothing short of rebellion which defied Yahweh's clear instructions for worship, an expression of distrust in Yahweh's ability to lead the people, and a group of people wanting to do their own thing. The Apostle Paul said that "these things were written for our instruction." Are we listening? You advocacy of experimentation based on the words of Gamaliel is highly flawed. This is a non-Christian being politically shrewd. Curiously, this verse was appealed to by Bob Blincoe, whose organization Frontiers sees no problems with theological experimentation. Ditto for a correspondent 'Jim' in the 2009 issue of CT who advocated for the idea of "Muslim Followers of Jesus." Underlying Gamaliel's talk is the notion that success suggests virtue. Nice sentiment, not Biblical. Look at the heroes of faith in Hebrews-pilgrims-molested-desert wastes; Jesus-crucified; James killed.

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Eldon Orr

January 20, 2013  2:46am

Dear Gary M. Though Jesus said "my Father and I are one" he also prayed TO the Father "that they (his followers) might be one as we are one" So has the body of believers in Christ, everyone that believes him to be Messiah become one?? I'd say that's still a work in progress. Since Muslims already believe that Jesus is the Christ, they are part of the process of the answering of Jesus' prayer, that they may be one. The Quran says "let us come to common terms, O people of the Book". I believe Jesus was praying for the unity of those who believe in him to be like the unity between him and the Father-- NOT ONENESS IN BEING, but oneness of purpose... agreement...likemindedness, from the submission of one to the Other/submit yourselves to one another...

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Sosipater Zelophehad

January 20, 2013  1:43am

“The chasm [between Islam and Christianity] cannot be bridged by rickety planks of compromise. Syncretism would be equivalent to surrender; for Islam thrives only by its denial of the authority of the Scriptures, the Deity of our Lord, the blessedness of the Holy Trinity, the cruciality and significance of the Cross, (nay, its very historicity) and the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ as King and Saviour. And this denial is accompanied by the assertion of the authority of another book, the Koran, the eclipse of Christ’s glory by another prophet, even Mohammed, and the substitution of another path to holiness and forgiveness than the way of the Cross. These denials and assertions are imbedded in the Koran and are the orthodox belief of ninety percent of the people. On every one of these points the true Moslem stands arrayed in armor against the missionary and the Truth, of which he is the custodian and preacher.” Samuel Zwemer, “The Chasm,” The Moslem World, vol. IX, no. 2/April 1919

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shaila P

January 19, 2013  11:26pm

In saying ‘receive the name of God from the people’, Abu Jaz is making a mistake. These ‘people’ are the ones sitting in darkness and it is they that should receive the name of God, the only God, from the gospel carrying missionaries and Christians. The Bible says the name of God is Yahweh, not allah (muslims insist allah is a proper noun). That cannot be messed with to ease Muslims into Christianity. My grandfather converted to Christianity from Hinduism. From the moment he accepted Yahshua as his God and Saviour, he forsook any other religious beliefs or traditions he may have had. In an effort to ease himself into Christianity, he never called God by the names brahma/vishnu/shiva, as the Hindu culture does. Nor did he call Yahshua “word of brahma/vishnu/shiva”. He rightly knew AND accepted that the name of God is Yahweh and Yahshua/Yeshua/Yeshu is God the Saviour. This, however, did not change his culture, which remained all Indian. Culture and religion should be kept separate.

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audrey ruth

January 19, 2013  10:22pm

Gene, there is a monument in front of the main mosque at Mecca which reads: "There is one (g)od, and he has no son." IOW, Allah has no son. Do you see the problem here? I am concerned about the syncretism which is very evident in this article (and I do not see syncretism in the apostles' letters). I do not understand why Muslims such as this one continue to call God "Allah" after they've received Jesus as Savior, since "Allah has no son." The title here is "Worshiping Jesus in the Mosque". What if Christians began "worshiping Allah in the Church"? Would you be okay with that? Have you heard of Chrislam? In the book _I Dared To Call Him Father_ by Bilquis Sheikh, she made it clear that baptism irrevocably stamped her as a Christian and that she had to flee Saudi Arabia after she was baptized in order not to be killed as an infidel. Did this article say what country this believer lives in?

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Gary M.

January 19, 2013  7:28pm

Gene: does this group at some point teach converts that Jesus IS God/Allah? When they baptize do they baptize in the name of the Father/Allah, the Son, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost? Do they believe that they share the same Faith as those of us who refer to ourselves as Christians?

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Gene Daniels

January 19, 2013  3:55pm

Brother Salaam, This is not the first time there has been controversy in the Church when a new movement emerged, the Methodists and Pentecostals come to mind quickly. But over time they showed themselves to be orthodox members of the body of Christ by the adherence to the Bible for life and doctrine. Why don't you give groups like the "people of the gospel" the same opportunity to show themselves. If they really are members of Christ's body, just a radically different expression (and I do believe that), then they will demonstrate it by building their movement around the Bible, and it alone. If they truly are heretics as some seem to think, then it will manifest itself in due time. Or in the words of Gamaliel in Acts 5, "Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

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Salaam Corniche

January 19, 2013  1:03pm

"Hey, chill, Moses, the golden calf just jumped out of the fire" said Aaron to Moses (Ex 32:24). So what does this have to do with this article? It sounds a lot like the statement, "Hey, chill you theologians, this insider movement just spontaneously ignited, and you should not question what God is doing." Fast forward a few years and the sons of this same leader, Aaron are incinerated by Yahweh for "doing what [Yahweh] had not commanded them." (Lev. 10:1). Like father like sons. Aaron set the standard for compromise and his sons paid the death penalty. "Unfair," you cry out. "This movement is of God!" Is it? Just because something appears to be working has absolutely no bearing on whether Yahweh has commanded something. Aaron had no problem calling his new religion a "festival to Yahweh." How many died due to a plague for his theology? (Ex 32:35). Buyer beware.

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Gary M.

January 19, 2013  12:02pm

There is no where in Scripture where Christ or even Peter or Paul command us to call ourselves Christians. If these followers of Jesus believe in him as Lord God, repent, and are baptized then they are true believers. I believe that all Christians should support this movement. Wouldn't it be great if these "Muslim" followers of Christ were to become a mass movement within Islam and counter and diminish the fringe extremists. To Eldon: Christ said, "I and my Father are one". He therefore proclaimed himself to be God. Mormons believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he is their savior. They do not believe that he IS God. That is why almost all Christian Churches do not accept them as a true Christian Church. If the people in this movement hold the same view, that Jesus is not God/Allah, then I would bet that most Christians would not accept this movement as Christian.

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Eldon Orr

January 19, 2013  10:01am

When one becomes a Muslim, after his profession that Allah is the only True God and that Muhammad is His Messenger, the new professing Muslim is told to go bath himself completely. It is the substance of baptism without the ritual. Speaking of which, Jesus never uttered the formula (Father Son & Holy Ghost) found in Matthew 28:19, that was amended into the Gospel after Nicea. For that matter, Jesus never proclaimed himself to be God either, rather recommended us to worship the One he worshipped and addressed as "the only True God" in John 17:3, Whom he also called "MY God and your God" in John 20:17. When the Quran states the fact that Allah "begets not", it is a rebuke to the pagan notions of Gods CARNALLY begeting sons and daughters. That needs to be understood within the context of "Allah... has no son". The term as used in the OT has nothing to do with the Most High taking a wife and siring children. It's a shame this even needs to be addressed after ~1400 years of Islam on earth.

Gene Daniels

January 19, 2013  6:39am

Dear Audrey, The word "Allah" is simply the Arabic word for God. Arabic speaking Christians have been using it for almost 2,000 years. Would you propose people learn a new language so they could worship God correctly? One of the great historical realities of our faith in Christ is that is has crossed many cultural and linguistic barriers and maintained the same core meanings across time and space. The 'people of the gospel' simply represent another cross-cultural leap by the one faith. It might seem huge to us right now, but is it really all that different from when Protestantism slowly emerged from the Catholic church? Many people then were absolutely sure the new Protestant movements were heretical, but history has shown them wrong. Perhaps we in the 'mother church' of this case should to be careful lest we repeat the same mistake. We must be careful to evaluate new movements strictly on the basis of the Bible, not on how closely they adhere to our church culture.

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gary matson, jr.

January 19, 2013  2:50am

If the people in this movement believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. If they believe that Jesus Christ is not just the Son of God, but He IS God. If they have repented of their sins and are following after Christ. If they have been, or desire to be and truly intend to, be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then they are saved. They are true believers. They are true Christians. If they want to refer to God (God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) as "Allah". I doubt God cares. However they absolutely must believe the four points above and that Jesus was and is much, much more than just a good prophet.

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audrey ruth

January 18, 2013  11:39pm

Re: "Muslims believe there is a Creator of heaven and earth, and his name is Allah." I understand that Muslims believe this. I also know there is a monument in front of the main mosque at Mecca which reads: "There is one (g)od, and he has no son." So I am concerned about the syncretism which is very evident in this article (and I do not see syncretism in the apostles' letters). I do not understand why Muslims such as this one continue to call God "Allah" after they've received Jesus as Savior, since "Allah has no son." The title here is "Worshiping Jesus in the Mosque". What if Christians began "worshiping Allah in the Church"? Would we be okay with that too? (I have heard of Chrislam) In the book _I Dared To Call Him Father_ by Bilquis Sheikh (sp), she made it clear that baptism irrevocably stamped her as a Christian and that she had to flee Saudi Arabia after she was baptized in order not to be killed as an infidel. Did this article say what country this believer lives in?

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Cory konners

January 18, 2013  11:28pm

If the Church and the country continue on the path we are on, we will all be worshipping in mosques in America. Evangelicalism: a religion devoid of the power of God. Where in the Bible is there conversion without putting off the old religion entirely? Contexualization with another religion hostile to God, doesn't exist

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Gene Daniels

January 18, 2013  3:11pm

gary matson, The "people of the gospel" do practice water baptism by complete immersion. I cannot say what percentage of believers have been baptized, but I do know they teach and practice it. The question you raised of at what point the larger Muslim community rejects a person over Jesus is complicated and different from place to place. But generally water baptism is a huge issue and therefore in many part of the Muslim world, water baptism is usually done with only other believers present. Some have called this "secret" baptism, but I don't like the implications of that term because I consider the the degree which a new believer shares their faith with others to be a better measure of how 'secretive" their faith is (That might raise questions about how "secretive" many American Christians are with their faith). But to be clear, this is my opinion, I really can't answer this for Abu Jaz.

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gary matson, jr.

January 18, 2013  3:01pm

As an orthodox Christian (conservative Lutheran) I find it puzzling that the article does not mention nor do any of the previous commenters mention, anything about the "sign" of being a follower of Christ: baptism. I am aware that most evangelicals hold the Baptist view that baptism is simply our act of obedience/public profession of faith, but it still IS a command of Christ to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost if you are truly one of his followers. I'm not trying to open a debate on the purpose of baptism, but I would be interested in knowing if the "converts" in this movement are ever baptized. Lutherans, Catholics, Anglicans and Greek Orthodox could not accept the "conversion" of someone as a true follower of Christ if the person refuses baptism. It is my understanding that Muslims do not consider that a Muslim has converted to Christianity unless the person is baptized. Just believing in Jesus doesn't bother them, being baptized does. Am I correct?

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John Stauffer

January 18, 2013  10:40am

Because of character limits I want to now give references to my above comments. Please see 1 Corinthians 1:10-31 ; 2:1-5 ; 3:1-4 ; 4:14-21 and 5:7-13. Of course these are not all inclusive nor complete, but if we will use the teaching of Paul to warrant the claim of the now Chrisitan that remains in worship as a muslim then he should take time to read everything that Paul has imparted. Also, even as Christians from our first faith we must read continoulsy the Bible, Scripture and apply it with tenderness and compassion in bringing new converts along as Paul has taught. Blessings, Dr. John Stauffer, DMin

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John Stauffer

January 18, 2013  10:35am

I have read and re read the article. First CT does the Christian a service by providing this unusual approach to accepting Jesus as savior. I have also read and re read the previous comments concerning the article. Descriptors were used that were then interpreted other than the obvious intent. On commentator used the word, "disappointed" to describe her thought of this type of article being in CT. A responder then implied that instead she was, "angry". I beleive that her comments were clear. She was disappointed. In response to the reasoning of the apparent converted muslim is as follows. I understand his rational but find that in referring to Paul's writings he must then use the whole story. I could cut and paste, but choose to give references as a warrant to my claim that once a person comes to Jesus (Isa) then all things become new. I do not believe that a new convert will understand everything at once, but Paul clearly points the path of how to bring new converts along.

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Gene Daniels

January 18, 2013  10:12am

My dear brother Hussein, (I assume you are a brother in Christ) I am very sorry if you felt the title was misleading. The fact is, I did not choose the title, that was decided by CT. And actually I do not like the title since as you said, the article did not mention anything about the mosque, either way. But it was not my choice. As for "my agenda" that is simple. In all the debates about 'insider movements,' it is always foreign missionaries who are telling this or that about what certain people do or believe. I wanted people in American to hear directly from such a follower of Jesus who has stayed his socio-religious community. I can say with all honesty, I neither push "for" these kinds of movements nor "against" them. I find that some of them are quite biblical, like the one Abu Jaz describes. I have seen others which have many problems. But the article was not about my opinion, it was a chance for the CT readers to hear a voice they would otherwise never hear.

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Hussein wario

January 18, 2013  9:45am

Gene Daniels, Since you write under a new pseudonym, I don't know who you are and have a question for you, related to the article you have written. You responded to Rene stating, "My only involvement was to give someone like him voice." (By the way, I am aware of your interviewee and his work though I have never met him.) You give the impression that you do not have an agenda. Would you please explain how your article did not mention ( I read it on 1/16) once Abu was worshiping Jesus in a mosque and yet you gave it a misleading title? I hope to hear from you soon. Thanks.

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Dave B.

January 17, 2013  12:07pm

Dear Rene Williams, please try to see the gospel from other people's eyes - and cultures. We need to read, understand, and interpret scripture from the scripture settings and grounding itself - not from our given understanding of who God/Jesus is. Gene Daniels response was gentle and apt, and I thank him for his tremendous work among Muslims. God bless you, brother, and those that work with those in challenging, indigenous environments, where it is prudent (and Biblical!) to reach others for Christ. Raphael F, I came from a nominal Hindu background. My father was angry that I seriously wanted to follow Jesus, as he thought it was a distraction to my education. Though the best thing that could have ever happened to me - to anyone - following Jesus, I was disheartened that my new found faith was very foreign to the culture and music that I was used to. Praise God, I have done some work in helping others to worship Jesus in a language, culture and music that folks are familiar with.

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Gene Daniels

January 16, 2013  9:44pm

My dear sister Rene, you wrote: "I'm so disappointed in CT for continuing to publish these sympathetic articles..." Was it really something in the article that made you angry or was it the presuppositions you brought to it? "Isa is not Jesus, Isa is a fabrication of what works, what is expedient and what gives missionaries their newfound 'success' in the Muslim world." The movement, 'people of the gospel' which Abu Jaz is the leader of is not the product of Western missionaries. It is an internal, indigenous response to the gospel. My only involvement was to give someone like him voice. BtW, do you call on Yeshua or Jesus? Jewish believers might just as easily say that you are worshiping a false image of the son of God because you call on him as Jesus, by the Greek pronunciation. It is the meaning behind the name that matters. If the name 'Isa' is filled with biblical content for Abu Jaz (and it is) then it is the Jesus of the NT he is talking about.

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Catherine Seebald

January 16, 2013  4:34pm

I rejoice in those in the Arabic culture who believe that Jesus is the Messiah and who want to follow him. However, it has always been my understanding that to be Muslim is to be an adherent of Islam, just as to be Christian is to be a follower of Jesus Christ. If by "Muslim community" Abu Jaz actually means his Arabic culture, I have no problem with that, but I think it's important to separate the Muslim faith from the Arabic -- or any other -- culture. For far too long, the western institutional church has required new believers in other lands to forsake their own culture and embrace the culture of the western world. This was a detriment to the gospel, and often resulted in fractured families and communities, not because of their new-found faith but because of the cultural differences. But to mix faith in Christ with the Muslim religion makes me think of the scripture where God says "come out from them and be separate."

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Eldon Orr

January 16, 2013  4:00pm

Dear brother Kenton, Doesn't the term "heir of God" naturally IMPLY that God has died or will die, so that His "heir" will come into his inheritance? I realize that "heir of God" is NT terminology, but as with "Son of God", we need to be careful that we do not give the wrong impression by conveying the most simplistic meanings and phrasings of our terminolgy. "Heir of God" means the one appointed BY God to Rule and all Muslims believe that Isa Al Masih (Jesus the Messiah or Christ) is returning to rule justly upon earth, because that is exactly what Muhammad taught! Peace be upon all the Messengers of the Most High and peace upon the believers.

Eldon Orr

January 16, 2013  3:50pm

I say Alhamdulillah, along with the brother in this article! As 1John 5:1 says that WHOSOEVER believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God... then ALL believing Muslims ARE already begotten of God: that is a major Truth of utmost importance for all people of Faith to realize. Yet many Christians do not even know that Muslims believe that Jesus IS the Messiah! Grace and Peace to the Believers.

Rene Williams

January 16, 2013  12:38pm

I'm so disappointed in CT for continuing to publish these sympathetic articles. Maybe this publication should change its name to Religion Today? The Insider Movement has been soundly rebuked using biblical foundation as rightly labeled as heresy. This is simple syncretism. God does not house himself in cultic temples. He never has nor will because he cannot deny himself. We are to preach the gospel without excuse and not deny Christ by pandering to false religions. Isa is not Jesus, Isa is a fabrication of what works, what is expedient and what gives missionaries their newfound 'success' in the Muslim world. Isa is a false Christ, not the Son of the Living God, the eternal, unchanging Creator of the universe.

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Chris sxpcitos

January 16, 2013  6:00am

Gene! (and all American Christians), this comment: "many of them also feel that a Muslim-focused church is going too far." is beyond ridiculous. Do you think that if you picked up a first century Christian (let's say James) and put him into one of your Protestant Evangelical Churches in America, he would even recognize it as the same religion? You Americans have created thousands of "American-Focused" Churches which have nothing to do with true Christianity, now you have the gall to point to this man and say his "Church" isn't "American Church" enough. I really wish you would stop and think for a second. Is Christianity Western? Is it American? Where did it come from? No. It came from the Jews and Greeks in the first century. If we are to be honest, we have to admit that the only true Church left is Orthodox Christianity. They are the only ones that are unchanged, have Apostolic Succession and who haven't been corrupted by false teachings such as an infallible Pope.

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Kenton Slaughter

January 15, 2013  10:04pm

I think it's very encouraging to see such genuine love for Jesus (and recognition that true gospel-centered faith is not culturally determined). But I do think its important to distinguish between cultural forms and basic "Christian", biblical practices. For one, the "church" (ekklesia in Greek, the assembly) is merely those of like faith who meet regularly together for the purpose of growth in Christ. Secondly, separation from the existing culture is inevitable to some extent. For some this may take time, but Christ foretells it. Thirdly, something not mentioned is the "Son of God" debate, which on the side of the insider movement has tended toward using just "Word of Allah" or "Masih". I think it would help if we used the Arabic term for "heir of God" instead. Such would be foreign to Islam, but true to what "Masih" means in its original context and to our gospel hope. Jesus as God's heir connects to his status as the ruler whom God appoints over his kingdom.

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M Adisu

January 14, 2013  7:12pm

What is it like to follow Christ embedded in American culture?

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Raphael F

January 14, 2013  5:43pm

Dave, I am just curious on how your family and community viewed you after you converted to Christianity? I, too became Christian 10 years ago and left Buddhism for good. The community that I was in didn't respond hostile toward me because as Chinese, they don't take religions seriously..

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Ifeanyi Onah

January 14, 2013  3:19pm

This is a fulfillment of prophecy that Jesus would reveal Himself to people of other religions. Having tested their convictions about Jesus and the fruit of holy living in such lives one can only conclude we are one family. May we support such in every way. Perhaps the words of Gal 2:9 are apt: and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me... May these fellow soldiers and workers receive the right hand of fellowship, not the left of interference in Jesus' name. Amen

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Dave B.

January 14, 2013  1:15pm

This is very encouraging, and very inspiring. As a former Hindu, some of us have similar ministries in reaching out to other Hindus. In addition to advantage of reaching other Hindus from 'within', we enjoy worshiping Yeshu Masih (The Lord Jesus) in our indigenous culture and music. There are very similar concerns and challenges that are outlined in this article. However, we give thanks to God to know that other similar outreach and expressions are found in other religious cultures! We thank God for Gene Daniels and Abu Jaz; God bless you and keep you. How we praise God for you and your work!

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