New book alert: Identity Crisis

The folks of the Lausanne Movement recently have let us know about what appears to be a valuable, new book: Identity Crisis: Religious Registration in the Middle East (Gilead Books, 2016) by Jonathan Andrews (likely a pseudonym, I’m guessing).

The books addresses an important issue I noted on multiple occasions in Living among the Breakage, especially in my chapter on liberation theology in the texts of ex-Muslim Christians (Chapter 5).

I have not yet read the book, but I did read the Lausanne synopsis which looks promising. Here is a section from that synopsis:

It is often claimed that Islam is a religion of peace. What is meant by ‘peace’? Armed conflict can be stopped by one party surrendering unconditionally to the other. This brings ‘peace’ in the sense of an end to conflict, although the victors are able to impose whatever conditions they choose on the vanquished. It does not guarantee peace in the sense of stable, harmonious, and respectful community relations.

In Egypt, inter-communal strife is often followed by a ‘reconciliation meeting’. In situations involving Christians and Muslims, what typically happens is that Muslims seek draconian terms that marginalise and disadvantage the Christians, irrespective of the rights and wrongs of the situation. In such cases, criminal behaviour is overlooked, even exonerated. Religious registration is at the root of such practices, creating a context in which those who think of themselves as the majority feel that they are entitled to exploit others. The system undermines the rule of law.

This is indeed accurate and happens not only in Egypt but also in Israel-Palestine, and probably elsewhere too. The difficulty is that the system of organizing Muslims under Muslim rule into dhimmis is as old as Islam itself.

Anyway, I’m always happy to hear about new research about the challenges facing ex-Muslim Christians and the issue of religious registration is one of the main ones.

Read the whole Lausanne synopsis HERE.

Oxford History of Anglicanism, Vol 3

I am happy to share with you all that volume 3 of the Oxford History of Anglicanism is now available. My own chapter is ‘Anglican Mission in the Middle East up to 1910’.

Volume 3 focuses on the partisan era and Anglicanism’s expansion into a global community up to 1910. Volume 4 concentrates on Anglicanism in the contemporary period and its history after the 1910 EdinburghWorld Missions Conference.

More info on volume 3 can be found at the OUP website and much of my own chapter can be read at books.google.

“Is the West finally winning the war against ISIS?”

I was recently interviewed by David Virtue, of VirtueOnline fame, on the state of Anglicanism in the Middle East, the Islamic State, the future or Christianity in MENA, and, of course, my new book, Living among the Breakage.

Here is my answer to his question on the Islamic State:

VOL: Is the West finally winning the war against ISIS?

MILLER: It depends on what you mean by winning. If you mean that they are losing land, then I would say that Iraq, supported by the West and Iran, is winning the war. But over the long term, I’m not very optimistic. The loss of territory for the Islamic State will result in enormous flows of migrants into Europe. Inevitably, a substantial number of those refugees will want to Islamize the countries that receive them as refugees. And among those, a certain number will utilize strategic violence in order to try and effectuate what they understand to be a divine mission. So if by winning you mean eradicating the religious convictions that animate movements like the IS, my answer is resounding no.

Read it all HERE.

Early Church 6: What would Jesus Do? Become a monk: the rise of monasticism

This is the last of six lectures I gave at Christ Church in San Antonio in Sep/Oct of 2016.

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Me at Christ Church, San Antonio

In this lecture I talk about how the church handled the transition from being a persecuted church of the martyrs to being a church with imperial permission and then imperial favor.

We explore how church leaders dealt with a large influx of converts whose motives were not always entirely sincere, and the initiative of St Antony of the Desert who asked, what would Jesus do? And then, he did it, imitating Jesus of Nazareth in poverty, chastity, and obedience.

“Evangelicals in Northern Africa and Egypt”, chapter in Evangelicals around the World

I am pleased to share that my chapter on evangelicals in Northern Africa and Egypt which was published in Evangelicals around the World: A Global Handbook for the 21st Century (Thomas Nelson, 2015), can now be read in part at books.google.com. You can also buy the book at Amazon.

Also, my chapter on the topic can now be read in PDF form HERE.