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.
And here is the third and final interview where Al Fadi, a Christian from Saudi Arabia, interviews me on various topics. These include Christians in the Holy Land, that time I had an audience with the Pope, and yes, the controversial Insider Movements. Al Fadi is founder and president of CIRA International.
Some time ago Dr. Roger Dixon and I published an article/interview (me interviewing him) on his experience and work in Indonesia. This was published in the May 2014 issue of the Journal of Asian Mission (15:1). Here is a section on his experience of what are typically called ‘insider movements’:
DAM: One topic of great interest today are insider movements. Proponents of IM claim that these movements exist as a work of the Spirit and apart from the initiative of Western-based missions and missionaries. I have been looking everywhere for a ‘real’ insider movement, and can’t find one. Do you know of anything that matches up to the stories we hear of movements initiated by the Spirit without foreign involvement?
RD: I understand your concern for some verifiable facts. They are hard to find.
Either the foreigners who report these movements will not identify the persons involved, or if they do, ask that the researcher not contact them because it would insert a “foreign” element (whereas they have already been a foreign element themselves). My repeated statement/conclusion is that if these reports [of Insider Movements commenced by the Spirit independent of Western missions] cannot be verified by independent research, we can’t really accept them as confirmed results by the normal social-science standards.
None of those claiming great results will respond to this. They just claim that we have to accept the reports of these people who write under pseudonyms about unknown people groups in unknown countries. It is puzzling. I have not heard of any IM groups in Indonesia or elsewhere that were not started by foreigners—mainly Americans. Though there is a strong IM strain in Korea now and some reports coming from them. Again, I personally do not know of any successful insider movements.
This is not a categorical rejection that genuine IMs exist, of course, and I am grateful to Dr. Dixon for his precise choice of words.
Check out the introduction, which explains why I chose a line from Eliot for the title of the book. The whole epigraph is:
There is no end, but addition: the trailing
Consequence of further days and hours,
While emotion takes to itself the emotionless
Years of living among the breakage
Of what was believed in as the most reliable-
And therefore the fittest for renunciation.
Al Fadi, from CIRA International, interviews me more on my research on converts from Islam to Christianity. Here is a second installation for his excellent podcast “Let us Reason.”
The first question is about the main challenge faced by ex-Muslim Christians. Guess what? It’s not persecution. If you want to know what it is, listen along. Also, want to hear about what a baptism looks like at an Iranian church? Listen along. Finally, how do congregations of ex-Muslim Christians form new convert identities for their believers? Listen along.
The interview begins with Al Fadi asking me about my own conversion to Christianity, and then about what motivated me to learn about Islam and then research religious conversion from Islam to Christianity. Here the great story about a church of MBBs that was planted accidentally! (At 14 minutes or so.) Near the end he asks about the main factor that attracts some Muslims to the Christian faith.
The podcast was published on December 31st of 2016. You can find the original at iTunes, or just listen to it right here:
Here is one question I was asked, specifically about the challenges faced by converts.
DWTX: And what do [converts from Islam to Christianity] find most challenging?
Miller: The greatest challenge these believers face is not persecution. Persecution is very real, and the traditional sentence in the shari’a for apostasy from Islam is execution. Shari’a states don’t always carry out this punishment, but everyone knows it, including Christians. But the greatest challenge faced by these believers is the formation of a stable, new identity. In the West we are used to categorizing life and identity, but most societies are not like us. Islam, for all its faults, provides a comprehensive way of life—political, spiritual, legal, familial—that provides a way of making sense and ordering the entirety of life. When women and men leave Islam for Christ they are given a new spiritual order—the Christian faith—but what about everything else? Also, in much of the Muslim world, ethnicity and Islam are tied up together. I have seen this very clearly in Turkey, for instance, where there is a small but growing church consisting of Turkish Christians.