Unexpected Grace: A Life in Two Worlds by Farifteh V Robb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Some years ago while completing my research for a PhD I interviewed Farifteh Robb. That led to the publication of a brief article titled “The Secret World of God: Aesthetics, Relationships, and the conversion of ‘Frances’ from Shi’a Islam to Christianity” in Global Missiology. At that time Robb was not discussing her history publicly, but I’m glad that she decided to do so.
This books brings a welcome contribution to the growing literature by converts from Islam to Christianity. Robb’s strong background in literature allows her to reference great authors and work in a way that other converts cannot. The fact that she ended up in Anglican Christianity as opposed to evangelical or charismatic Christianity is also rare for such conversion narratives. My favorite thing about the book was reading her personal recollections of what life was like in Tehran before, during and after the 1979 revolution.
Finally, the author has a light and witty style. Her sense of humor is much appreciated.
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Photo by AMISOM Public Information – Flickr, CC0, Link Mogadishu, Somalia
I recently attended a consultation in East Africa. Our goal was to formulate a strategy for evangelizing the unreached of East Africa and the Horn Africa, almost all Muslims. This talk was my own contribution to the consultation and was well received. It is an expansion of an earlier talk I gave in November of 2017.
I begin by arguing that persecution is not the main pastoral challenge for converts, rather is the formation of a firm, new Christian identity. I found this in my own research presented in Living among the Breakage (2016), and earlier research by Kathryn Kraft (2013) and Seppo Syrjänen (1984) contain similar findings.
Here I present ten points that can be used for people counseling and providing guidance for Christ’s converts from Islam:
A Firm Identity in Christ: The Pastoral Challenge for ex-Muslim Christians
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…
Read the rest of my article at the New Wineskins blog.
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.
Read it all at the EMQ website.
What do people say when they are asked about their motives for converting from Islam to Christianity? In this lecture I draw on existing research plus my own field experience among Christians from a Muslim background to provide an answer. This is the third of the four Copenhagen lectures. (See also Lecture 1, Lecture 2, and Lecture 4)
In the 1960s we saw the beginning of a historically unprecedented series of movements from Islam to Christianity. In this lecture I present a summary of some key elements of three of them–Indonesia, Iran, Algeria–and then offer an overall analysis of three categories of factors facilitating conversion in the modern and late modern context.
This is the second of my four Copenhagen lectures.
Delivered at St Nathaniel’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Copenhagen, Denmark.
During my time in Denmark I delivered this talk at St Nathaniel’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Copenhagen. More details can be found here.
This is the fourth of four Copenhagen lectures, all of which are now available at YouTube.