So, let’s imagine a country where the Communion has no presence. Let’s imagine a country where having a Bible is against the law and where citizens who become Christians might be executed. Let’s think about a place where there is not a single church building. In the words of John Lennon, “It’s easy if you try.”
What would establishing a missionary diocese there look like?
More Muslims have converted to the Way of Jesus Christ in the last four decades than in all the other years since the advent of Islam in the 7th Century. Something is certainly happening among Muslims and there is an openness in their society that was not there before. It’s also important to note that large numbers of nominal Christians, especially in Europe, are converting to Islam–a main reason being so they can marry Muslim women. Who has more converts? Not sure about that. I will say that Muslims converting to Christianity often pay a heavy price in terms of persecution, and that Westerners converting to Islam are afforded generous protection by their governments.
But here is the question: why are some Muslims attracted to the way of Jesus Christ? Here are some of the main reasons…
I’m glad to share a new article just published at the blog of The Living Church. I am basically asking why Anglicans have a concrete approach to music, theology, and architecture, but don’t seem to have anything like this when it comes to global mission. Here is the lead:
Like most Christians, we Anglicans tend to love our traditions and cherish our identity, from the prayer book and particular holy days, or to the very idea of being a via media, Reformed and Catholic at the same time. We are excited when a new church plant or satellite campus opens, and in some Anglican circles there has been a veritable revival in church planting in North America and the United Kingdom. We usually appreciate our diversity — that one can be catholic or evangelical or liberal, though the last decade has tested some important boundaries. We like to send our ordinands off to seminaries within our tradition, we read books by our tradition’s authors (though not exclusively, of course), and we even have our styles of architecture and hymnody.
But then something funny happens on the way to world evangelism. When it comes to cross-cultural missionary work, we quickly forget about our Anglican distinctives. This doesn’t happen in other areas, so why does it happen with cross-cultural and global mission?
Me da gusto compartir que mi primera publicación para Escritorio Anglicanoya ha sido publicada. El artículo es un analysis de este pasaje:
Vinieron los fariseos y los saduceos para tentarle, y le pidieron que les mostrase señal del cielo. Mas él respondiendo, les dijo: Cuando anochece, decís: Buen tiempo; porque el cielo tiene arreboles. Y por la mañana: Hoy habrá tempestad; porque tiene arreboles el cielo nublado. ¡Hipócritas! que sabéis distinguir el aspecto del cielo, ¡mas las señales de los tiempos no podéis! La generación mala y adúltera demanda señal; pero señal no le será dada, sino la señal del profeta Jonás. Y dejándolos, se fue.
—Mateo 16:1-4 (RV60)
La referencia de Jesús al signo de Jonás a la vez cautiva nuestra atención porque Jonás parece ser un tipo relativamente menor para Cristo dado las alusiones más pronunciadas y frecuentes a los paralelos entre Jesús y David (un rey salvador) y Jesús y Moisés (a legislador). En este documento veremos el significado de esta frase y su relación al misso ad gentes.
Or kids attend a school that Sharon and I really appreciate–Colegio el Porvenir. This school was founded by a German Protestant some 120 years ago when Protestant children in Spain had a very, very difficult time finding decent education. This is a recent class picture of our youngest daughter’s 2nd grade class going on a field trip here in Madrid.
All of this to say we’re thankful for this trilingual school, the fruit of German missionary work here over a century ago.
PS: Our daughter is the blond one on the right leaning against her teacher.
This essay introduces the concept of encroachment as another important fine-line tension which has emerged in ministry to Muslims. Encroachment occurs when Christian messengers enlist and redefine sacred Islamic texts, persons, and identifiers in a way that usurps from the indigenous communities those texts, persons, and identifiers.
Farrokh goes on to explore some popular missiologists’ encroachments—Kevin Higgins and Kevin Greeson being key among them. He also does a fine job showing that re-envisioning the ‘prophethood’ of Muhammad and filling the word ‘Muslim’ with a new meaning are also encroachments. He also mentions how the sword cuts both ways and notes some Muslim encroachments on Christian terms and vocabulary.
The fine insight behind the introduction of this new technical definition—something that has been stirring in my mind for some time—is that communities are the arbiters of their own boundaries. It is for Muslims to decide the meaning of the word Muslim. It is for Muslims to decide the significance of Muhammad being the “seal of the prophets”. It is not for Christian thinkers or missionaries, regardless of their intentions.
One can hope for thoughtful responses to Farrokh’s irenic and well-researched paper.
I’m happy to share with you Paul Martindale’s very positive review of Living among the Breakage: Contextual Theology-making and ex-Muslim Christians (Pickwick, 2016). Martindale teaches missions at Gordon-Conwell and the review was originally published in Evangelical Missions Quarterly. Here is a section:
There is tremendous value in reading through this work as it shows how the life within developing communities intersects with new identity formation, the process of inculturating the gospel in a new context, new power structures within the Church, conversion, and the development of new ‘liberation’ and wisdom theologies.
Drawing from specific case study interviews and a wealth of excellent missiological sources, Miller has helped to expand the field of ex-Muslim studies in constructive directions. Serious students of religious conversion and contextualization in former Muslim communities and church-planting in Islamic contexts will want to read and carefully consider this work.