“Insider Movements”— Outside Orthodoxy?

Can someone say "yes" to Jesus and "no" to the church?

A recent Christianity Today article by Timothy Tennant profiles the growing number of "insider Christians" in Hindu and Muslim nations. These disciples worship Jesus while remaining engaged with their religious communities.

The piece joins an ongoing debate regarding these believers… and, tangentially, others who for one reason or another practice a form of "churchless Christianity." At one point in the article, Tennant touches the heart of the argument by asking, "Can someone say ‘yes' to Jesus and ‘no' to the existing local expressions of the church?"

In tandem with Tennant's piece, CT published a 2011 interview with "Abu Jaz," a leader among a significant insider movement in eastern Africa that calls itself People of the Gospel. His testimony includes a powerful personal encounter with Christ, and is a compelling story of finding and following Jesus among the mosques and minarets of his culture.

These believers are understandably hesitant to call themselves "Christians"—a term often associated ...

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