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Oover the past half century, many Hindus, Muslims, and other peoples of the major religions have put their faith in Jesus, often as a result of miraculous encounters with God through dreams, healings, or the reading of Scripture.

These new Jesus ...

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Displaying 1–31 of 31 comments

Kevin Higgins

February 06, 2013  1:34pm

Greetings again...as with many of you, I carry a pretty large responsibility in my work, a pretty heavy travel schedule, and a participation in a number of virtual groups, etc. All of these require time and frequent inability to check additional postings and comments such as those in this forum (important as they are). All that to say that I will likely not post further in THIS forum on the topics raised. I am happy to keep in the discussion with those of you who have my contect information (as several of you do). Blessings....In Jesus, Kevin

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Kevin Higgins

February 06, 2013  1:29pm

Scott, Roger, and others...as we have each noted the limited charatcers in a comments section greatly curtails discussion in depth in this format. Scott, I noted your request about devotional reflection on Father and SOn...in this string and in the other group we are part of. I think you are making an extremely important suggestion. I have been giving it further thought and hope to engage that. My only delay is due to my experience in such matters: if I hastily reply it leaves my comments open to a lot of misinterpretation and thus increased confusion (not the fault of my readers, but the fault of my own half-conceived ideas when I try to reply too quickly). Re: the use of pseudonyms, Roger your clarification helps. of course social science verification parameters require what you describe. But they also can put people at risk (not just in "insider" contexts, but in many), hence accepted Human Research Subject ethical guidelines need to be followed in any such research. Kevin

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Mike Tisdell

February 04, 2013  8:55pm

Debra starkey, Sincerity to a religious system is not the same thing as saving faith. The human prophet called Isa in the Qur'an is not the same person as the incarnate God called Jesus in Scripture. It is far more than just a question about the name used, it is a question about who he truly is. While a true believer may identify himself as a "follower of Isa", he should quickly be moving away from the false religion of Islam and embracing the universal church of Christ. Is it possible that some may have come to saving faith through errant IM ministries, maybe? But those promoting the Insider Movement are placing obstacles in the path of those who really might be genuinely drawn to Christ instead of pointing the way to him. True saving faith only comes when we enter into a relationship with Jesus, God's only Son and follow him; it does not come by identifying oneself with the imposter called Isa in the Qu'ran. Those who truly know him will not reject the Christ described in Scripture.

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Roger Dixon

February 04, 2013  12:21pm

Kevin & others, I was probably not clear in my statement which wasn't meant to say no one could use pseudonyms but to emphasize that social science guidelines indicate that any research or opinion has to be open to checking, replication, etc. in order to be taken seriously. We can't simply believe whatever is put out there as fact without checking it. Too often these missionary stories have been proven to be mirages.

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Salaam Corniche

February 04, 2013  7:06am

Mr. Travis Greetings from someone who works among ex-Muslims who are now in Christ. Call them xMsinChrist. Non of this nonsense of "dual-religious identity" or multiple religious identities--sounds like a psychological disorder to me, nor hand-wringing over alligator tears of how this politically incorrect term is bothering the Holy Spirit, God's truth is God's truth. Jesus is mighty to save, mighty to keep, and mighty to sustain to the end. Mr. Travis, I have a question for you. Someone who worked in your area and documented trends in a paper kept confidential due to reasons you are aware of, interviewed an expat who observed the fruit of your C5 labors. What did he say? ""If you cut open the heart of a local person, what you find is Islam." How do you live with such an observation of the fruit of your labors?

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Debra starkey

February 04, 2013  1:18am

I am saddened by the lack of regard people have for the real point of the article: People of Muslim cultural background are coming into a saving faith, meeting Jesus and loving Him and opening their hearts to the Father’s love to be guided by His Spirit into greater understanding, in a living, vital relationship. I am over sixty years old and have lived within a Muslim context for almost half my life and I am still overseas. I have many Muslims friends, who have true faith in Christ as their Lord and Savior and have walked with OUR FATHER for over twenty years. Their love for Jesus is valid, their walk is true, and they are Muslim. Stop holding the hand of the Holy Spirit and let Him do His job...He has done this kind of work before. Trust Him.

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Dave M

February 04, 2013  1:00am

My wife and I have been living and ministering among Muslims in two different regions for over 25 years. We know and love numerous Muslim Christ followers. Their faith is strong and vibrant and they are bold in the face of persecution. I have heard some of these Muslim followers of Christ call themselves, “New creations in the old environment.” As one of them stated to me, “We who are Muslim followers of the Messiah must understand that we are the new wine and if we are to reach our people we must create new wineskins. The old wineskins of Christianity have never held the gospel for our people. Our own families and our own villages are the new wineskins. We who are the new wine must place ourselves into these new wineskins.” There are those people who do not understand how these movements brilliantly reflect the glory of Christ. But these are not the countless thousands of Muslims who now are passionate about Jesus and devotedly follow him as “new creations in their old environment."

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Scott Seaton

January 31, 2013  11:12am

Kevin, and all who advocate for Muslim Idiom Translations (MIT) or Insider Movements (IM): To add on to what Mike says, including the quote by Carson, I would love to see MIT and IM advocates write devotionally and affectionally about the Father, Son and Spirit. Instead, all I see IM advocates teaching in regards to the Father and Son is why other terms can be used, e.g. why one can call God "guardian" instead of Father, or why one can call Jesus "representative" instead of Son. It is my long held impression that IM publications invariably limit, obscure or redefine the excellencies of the Father and Son. Sadly, I can't think of instances where IM advocates write to help us delight in the Father and Son, though I sincerely wish I could. What effect does that have on our own hearts? So please: write and publish a piece about the Father, Son and Spirit that leads us to worship, and leads us to passionately extend that eternal love of God the Father, Son and Spirit to others.

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Mike Tisdell

January 31, 2013  10:05am

Kevin, I would also add D.A. Carson's book "Jesus the Son of God: A Christological Title Often Overlooked, Sometimes Misunderstood, and Currently Disputed" to the list. As Scott said, 1000 characters is hardly enough room to give a response, but this small book does a reasonably good job at describing what Scripture means when the title "Son of God" is used in many different contexts. His book concludes, "To be frank, it would be good to see less energy devoted to taking away from the theological richness of the multifaceted biblical affirmations of Jesus’ sonship, and [see] much more energy expanded on understanding and then learning how to teach all that the Bible does and does not say about Jesus the Son of God." and I can say that I definitely agree with him.

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Mike Tisdell

January 31, 2013  9:56am

Kevin, Is there any published work that describes how your "thinking has greatly changed?" What aspects of IM have you now rejected? And how did you come to the conclusion that your previous thinking was wrong?

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Scott Seaton

January 31, 2013  8:48am

Kevin: thanks for your question and for engaging. It would be impossible in just 1,000 characters (or 1,000 books) to define what "Father" means, as it is used for God the Father. Words like "familial", "loving," "providing," "source", "life," "protector," "eternal," "identity," etc. only are a beginning. To pick one term like "guardian" and say that it is an acceptable synonym is woefully reductionistic, and thus points people in the wrong direction--especially when done in a Bible translation, thereby suggesting that supposed synonym is God's own choice of terms. It isn't. God eternally exists as Father, Son and Spirit, and he reveals himself as such. He invites us into the outward, eternal love that the Father, Son and Spirit always have for one another, because it is their nature, their identity as Father, Son and Spirit. For a readable, winsome and biblical portrayal of why this is so important, I commend "Delighting In The Trinity" by Michael Reeves.

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Kevin Higgins

January 31, 2013  1:44am

Sosipater, just to clarify one or two points....I have never claimed insider movements are some sort of a golden bullet to solve a problem...I do not see this as pragmatism or just doing what works...I do believe that God is doing MANY things in our day to bring MANY people to Himslef, including Muslims...and one of the things I believe God is doing is bringing Muslims to Himself in what people are calling insider movements. But it is not the only way, not is it a magic solution for problems we all face. Also, re use of pseudonyms etc...I know of a critics of IM who also use pseudonyms...(Roger, at least one is in your own organization). There seems to be a bit of a double standard here. The movement that I am most involved in has faced a good deal of persecution from other Muslims....some of that has been the natural consequence of sharing their faith. But in one instance it erupted because an email was made known to some local Muslim leaders...an email with names, not pseudonyms.

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Kevin Higgins

January 31, 2013  1:35am

Scott, a follow up thought....You mention the verses about acknowledging Jesus as Son and God as Father...with which I agree. I am sure YOU would agree that to be able to acknowledge Jesus as Son of God in any way that means anything, one needs to know the meaning of what they are saying. The words are not a magic mantra....they are meant to convey meaning. It would help me to read, if you are willing, your understanding or your definition of what "Son of God" and "Father" mean in your own words. Kevin

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Kevin Higgins

January 31, 2013  1:23am

Scott and David....a few things. First, David: the document you are quoting is from 2007. It was not intended for publication, and my thinking has greatly changed. I have know idea where you got a copy of a personal document that was sent to you without permission. Scott...I fully understand your concern. I am on record in numerous places, both written and in public presentations, saying that I feel we need to be developing publications of the scriptures that would combine original language, essentially literal translation (not just inter-linear, though that is one strategy), and also translations that seek to present the meaning of the text. I am not just suggesting these be separate publications, but one...providing access to the text in at least three ways, and providing the means by which a movement can continue to grow in its application and understanding of scripture. Kevin

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Don Dent

January 29, 2013  8:54am

Thankful to John for this summary of insider movements. I have met many such believers in a number of countries. Praise God for what He is doing among the nations! Not all "movements" have such a clear faith as John's example. It has been helpful for me to note several characteristics of groups like this to see if they match the biblical norms: 1. CONVERSION - Do these people know they were hopelessly lost without Christ and did they make a turn in their lives when they met him? 2. CONVICTION - Do they have a clear biblical understanding of who Jesus is. Can they affirm what Isa says about himself in John's Gospel? 3. CONFESSION - They don't have to use the term "Christian", but do they openly confess they follow Jesus? Have they followed his command to confess him through baptism? 4. COMMUNITY - Yes, they need to stay within their social setting. Do they gather into a community of faith within that larger cultural group? Are they worshipping and discipling in his Name?

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Roger Dixon

January 26, 2013  4:31pm

Just a short reply to one of Jeff McNair's comments. We understand the need of some to write under a pseudonym. He says: "Finally, one cannot do this work and write about it internationally and not have pseudonym." Missionaries have worked among Muslims for centuries without using pseudonyms. This type of concealment has only been used extensively in recent years by some who are promoting "security." There is no way to verify anything anyone has written if the general missionary community does not know who they are. The IM people are not the only ones using pseudonym but they use it extensively to conceal any investigation of their claims. Okay with that, but don't expect us to believe their stories. We have known too many examples of hysteria, exaggeration, speaking evangelistically, etc. to accept these stories at face value on the basis of an unknown writer. I would think the magazines and journals would also.

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David Irvine

January 26, 2013  1:19am

quotes from Muhammad, Islam, and the Quran Kevin Higgins October, 2007

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David Irvine

January 25, 2013  11:49pm

Kevin, you have said: “Muslims can keep their qibla (facing Mecca and the shrine built by Ibrahim), worshipping the Father in Spirit and Truth, coming to faith in groups, and remaining Muslims.” “Muslims worship the true God even if their knowledge of Him is not 100% complete. The Quran can be quoted and it has truth in it.” “there is truth and revelation from God in other religions… the Bible and the Gospel are what COMPLETES the revelation… The Gospel can be said, in this sense, to fulfill and complete Islam.” You also explain that “Islam was seeking to CONTINUE the biblical teaching, not seeking to contradict it.” These are important ideas for people looking into the Insider Movement worldview and shift in theology to understand.

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Scott Seaton

January 22, 2013  4:58pm

Kevin Higgins: I agree with your statement that "God's truth transforms them." But what happens when God's truth itself is transformed, before it gets to them? The agency you represent recently published thousands of Bible translations in South Asia, in which "guardian" is used instead of "Father", and "intimate chosen beloved One" is used instead of "Son." The Bible declares God is Father, Son and Spirit--and these new translations do not present him as such, and thus can not be God's truth. The outstandingly great news of the gospel is that the eternal, familial love of the Trinity--the infinite, outward flowing love that God the Father, Son and Spirit eternally have for each other by their very nature--can be ours! To be in Christ is necessarily to know God as Father (Jn 17:3). "We have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God." (I Jn 4:15). That is God's truth.

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Sosipater Zelophehad

January 22, 2013  4:00pm

Kevin, since "Insider Movements" are the "golden bullet" to the relative numerical lack of Muslims believing in Jesus allowing them to retain a Muslim identity there should be no need for anonymity with regard to such people and places. These insiders should continue to fit into their society as they always have and have no persecution to fear because of their new-found faith. Your appeal to keep things secret and mention of persecution are proofs that the premise behind Insider Movements is not valid. On another note, have you publicly retracted your October 2007 paper, "Muhammad, Islam, and the Quran," which has been publicly referenced by Jamie Winship in his Jesus in the Quran seminars as support for his teaching that Muhammad is a prophet?

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Kevin Higgins

January 22, 2013  9:05am

Friends, it is understandable that articles such as those in the recent CT stir up such emotion. I know that those posting with concerns and alarm about insider movements do so with honest concern about what they perceive and understand. Most of the posts do not reflect reality on the ground. I want to offer one or two points. 1) Verifiability? I know people have questions and concerns. I have introduced outsiders to the leaders I know...meaning, outsiders who were not necessarily convnced of this. The leaders, the insiders, I know, have welcomed this. But that is very different than publishing data and names and places in a public forum. 2) Secrecy? The movements I am connected to share their faith openly and in the face of great danger (several deaths, imprisonment). 3) "Mixing religions"? Our leaders study whole books of the Bible together and apply it to life, worldview, etc. God's truth transforms them, making clear what needs to be rejected or changed, and what can be retained.

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David Bogosian

January 22, 2013  12:08am

John Travis has raised an important issue for us to consider: "Do we accept Muslims who have embraced Jesus as their Lord and Savior as brothers and sisters in Christ, or not?" Interestingly, such Muslims have an easier time embracing us than we do them. Recently, a group of Muslims who follow Jesus came to the largest local church in our city and asked the senior pastor this very question. After explaining who they are, they asked, "Do you accept us?" They want to know and we need to have an answer. This seems to be the same question the Church faced in the Book of Acts regarding the believers in Antioch who wished to follow Jesus without becoming Jewish. Most Jews, especially Pharisee background believers, wanted the Greeks to be circumcised. Yet being circumcised would have cut them off from Greek society (e.g. participating in public bath houses, etc). When it became evident that the Holy Spirit was with them, all debate ended. So it should be here.

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jeff mcnair

January 21, 2013  10:48am

There is a degree of foolishness to some of the comments above. One commenter indicates the author should speak specifically of the places where insider movements are occurring. One only needs to read the news to understand that is not a good idea. The author himself worries about the publication of his position paper in a general sense. Are there times in scripture where God's purposes were acted out secretly in difficult situations? Think of Rahab and the spies. The demand for full disclosure in a public venue does not make sense. Another commenter does not appear to recognize the difference in the placement of words to distinguish culture from faith. There is a huge difference in saying a Muslim who worships Jesus and a Christian who worships Buddah. I wonder if Americans like myself understand the impact of being an American who worships Jesus in the context of this discussion. Finally, one cannot do this work and write about it internationally and not have pseudonym.

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audrey ruth

January 20, 2013  7:07pm

Re: "groups of Muslims who follow Jesus" Let's transpose that statement to read "groups of Christians who follow Buddha". Is everyone here okay with that? Please note, I do NOT oppose any Muslim coming to know Jesus the Christ as his Savior and Lord. That is something to rejoice about! The problem as I see it here is that of Muslims trying to have a foot in both worlds, not unlike compromised Christians. Sosipater Zelophehad's post is quite eye-opening. If Muslims really believe Yahweh is a "tribal god", what does that say about their faith? Brother Andrew's organization, opendoors.org ministers to MBB's (Muslim-background believers). They have a Muslim BACKGROUND, but they are now believers in Jesus the Christ. "Muslim" is not their identity anymore. They have become NEW CREATURES in Him. Old things have passed away and all things are become new. "Behind the Sun" (or "Beyond the Sun") is a DVD produced by Open Doors which tells of true conversions of former Muslims.

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David Irvine

January 19, 2013  2:58pm

John Travis says that Evangelicals should be thankful for Muslim Insiders. Who do we thank? Do we thank the people and organizations that hold up letter perfect statements of faith for the traditional, funding churches to see, while practicing syncretism and pluralism in the field? Do we thank John Travis for his decades of work in promoting this shift in theology and missiology under a pseudonym? Insider Movement proponents have effectively redefined God’s word into man’s cultural image, changed biblical revelation and inspiration into ongoing “incarnational” new truths from within other religions, and fragmented the body of Christ into religious identities that are mutually exclusive and hidden. Is this what evangelicals are to be thankful for? If Daniel had practiced this travesty of theology he would have prayed behind closed windows. Are we so easily led astray? God is light not a syncretistic mystic who hides behind pseudonyms to peddle his wares.

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Roger Dixon

January 19, 2013  10:39am

As a career missionary having lived 33 years in Indonesia, I read with interest the articles in CT and question their thesis that the so-called “insider movements” of today are helpful to the Kingdom of God. The articles by "John Travis" and "Gene Daniels" in this issue of CT contain many questionable factors. For one they do not use their real names. Another is the refusal to name the people or areas described. Travis writes: "(This is not the time to widely publish details of these movements, thus exposing people on the ground to unnecessary risk.)" In other words, he is saying that you cannot investigate his report. A third item is the fact that they are not trying to guide people out of their former religion. In the past, an insider movement meant that the person inside the culture came to faith in Jesus and sought to move out of their unbiblical religion. The "insider movement" described here seeks to keep people in their previous religion while following Jesus. How bizarre is that? A fourth point is these reports by unknown people about unknown people have no value according to social science standards because they cannot be examined or replicated. With all the dissimulation in our society today how are we expected to take these reports of unknown people at face value, particularly when the reporters are not revealing their own identity or telling you what country and which people they describe or even what mission agency they represent? How curious is that? What is CT thinking publishing unverifiable reports? Also, CT is not a house publication of a mission agency that knows the missionaries and peoples involved. Let these IM people explain how they are producing Bibles that change the meaning of terms for Jesus like “Son of God” and “Lord.” Let them be open and honest and then we do not have to wonder if we are being misled into present-day myths. Roger Dixon, PhD

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Salaam Corniche

January 17, 2013  2:34pm

Dear CT. There is no bigger trump card than to say "you might oppose what God is doing." I think I just saw it. Christian history demonstrates that this card has been used to defend all kinds of aberrational theology. Secondly, all kinds of wierd stuff has come down the pipe by claims to being "biblical." Are these clever moves to make me less than spiritually discerning? Oh, then I am told to be prayerful and careful. I wish that the article had given me the injunction to "take every thought captive to Christ." Then I would see that this is nothing but Western missiological experimentation. Why do ex-Muslims speak out strongly about this non-sense, and why does the West not listen? In the movie Half-Devil/Half-Child Bengali believers are furious at being used as lab rats. Not only that, they detest being used by Western spin doctors/gurus with slanted stories and pragmatic theology. Wake up ask "Are nationals thankful for Muslim Insiders?" The movie says NO! Shalom

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Sosipater Zelophehad

January 17, 2013  1:53pm

I have met one non-Western "insider," Mazhar Mallouhi, who is part of the same missions organization as "John J. Travis" (a pseudonym), said to be the largest missions organization focused solely on Muslims. In the book, "Pilgrims of Christ on the Muslim Road," Mallouhi states: 1-the revelation of God in Christ is not necessary to know God (p. 91) and there are many Muslims "a million miles closer to God" than he is (p. 193) 2-he “fully expect[s] to see Gandhi when we are privileged to enter God’s presence in eternity.” (p. 123) 3-when the Psalms state, “The God of Israel,” this presents a tribal God. (p. 181) 4-he cannot picture God sending anyone to an eternal hell becaue God is love and He is just (p. 198) 5-"We are part of several groups of Muslim mystics, Sufis; sometimes we meet in our home, other times in theirs. But we walk together this spiritual journey toward God." (p. 193) My question to Travis, Christianity Today, and other pro-IMers: "Who has bewitched you...?"

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Dave B.

January 17, 2013  12:30pm

Hello bro. Khalil Mansour, I am sure that these "Insider Movements" have caused a lot of huge controversies. Hey- Jesus & Paul were not without controversies! You stated, "Many of these "followers of Jesus" have adopted a mixture of the two faiths, and really don't know who they are. They have little teaching..". It is not that unique following of Jesus is the problem; it is when syncretism steps in. "little teaching" - it is our moral and spiritual responsibility to see others are well taught. I have identical challenges that are associated with the Insider Movements (with Hindus). I think Paul could have been deemed an "Insider" - 1 Cor. 9:19-22. Many Hindu converts I know (rightly) refuse to call themselves "Christians", because of (bad) connotations. Instead, they call themselves, "Yeshu Bhakta" (Followers of Christ). I understand that "strong converts" don't want anything to do with the Insiders. Give them another 10 years of maturity, and they probably might change that!

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Khalil Mansour

January 16, 2013  3:15am

Unfortunately, Mr. Travis, and many other spokesmen for the Insider Movement have neglected to mention the huge controversy that this movement has caused among people working with Muslims, and Muslim converts themselves. Many of these "followers of Jesus" have adopted a mixture of the two faiths, and really don't know who they are. They have little teaching, but their mainly "Western" teachers, who know very little about Islam themselves, tell them that it is no problem to stay a "Muslim", worship in the mosque, etc. Most of these "Muslims" come from parts of the Muslim world, like Bangladesh, where the teaching of Islam is very weak. The Muslim converts I know, Arab Sunnis, who have tried to live a double life and appease their families, have so compromised their faith that they have no witness at all. The converts who are strong are shocked when I tell them about the main principles of the Insider Movement and they want nothing at all to do with it.

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CHAPLAIN BROWN

January 15, 2013  11:09pm

It will be a great day for the Church when we become Jesus centered rather than than church or religious tradition centered.

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