Of Knights Templar, Venice, Constantinople, and Crusades

Some time ago I was approached about writing some entries for the newly released War and Religion: an encyclopedia of faith and conflict (ABC-CLIO, 2017). And I’m glad to share that it has now been published in three volumes.

My own humble contributions were (in alphabetical order) on the Fourth Crusade, the Knights Templar, the Sixth Crusade, and the Venetian Crusade. That last one was quite successful and does not get the attention it deserves, in my opinion.

Feel free to sample my own entries above and please do consider asking your institution’s library to acquire this valuable resource.

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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.

David Roseberry interviews me for LeaderWorks

I sat down with the Rev. Canon David Roseberry some time ago for this interview, which he titled “Are Muslims really coming to faith in Christ?”

For those of you who have followed my research on this topic, you know the answer is yes. We also talk about the role of Anglican Christianity in relation to converts from Islam to Christianity.

Do also check out David’s fine website, LeaderWorks. You will find it well worth your time.

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.

Bp Bill Musk on ‘Living among the Breakage’

Here is what the Rt. Rev. Dr. Bill Musk wrote about Living among the Breakage, my new book on contextual theology-making and ex-Muslim Christians:

“How do you discern theology-in-the-making, especially among Christian believers from a Muslim background? Miller suggests that the activity together of such a Christian group may yield some insight. He looks at a specific instance of church planting, but sadly concludes that the theology-making there is going nowhere because of a static state of patronage that is being perpetuated among the leadership. Elsewhere Miller looks at conversion and persecution narratives deriving from Christian believers from a Muslim background, discerning within them what he calls ‘liberation’ and ‘wisdom’ theologies. Such narratives are widespread. Within a specific, Iranian-originated fellowship, Miller finds an intentional emphasis on ‘Persian-ness’ with a corresponding hostility to what is perceived as Arabo-Islamic contaminations. Out of his research Miller finds some common theological themes: dissatisfaction with the theory of penal substitution (maybe deriving from an Islamic perspective on the responsibility/accountability of the individual to God); messiness around matters of ‘church’ (including the importance of baptism, the lack of welcome/family feel in immature churches, and the paucity of strong leadership); and the re-formation of identity in experiences of rapid cultural change, minority status as ‘Christian,’ persecution, etc.). Overall, Miller iterates a suggestion that theology-making among Christian believers from a Muslim background needs to find focus in an understanding/emphasis on God’s power (the essential face of a ‘Monad’ god) as finding envelopment within and best expression through God’s love (the essence of ‘Trinity’). Miller’s search is for precious expressions of Christian hope among the breakage of often poor, struggling communities of believers. It is amazing what he does find there!”
–Right Reverend Dr. Bill Musk

Defending my thesis/dissertation

Today I defended my doctoral thesis/dissertation at Edinburgh University. My external examiner was Dr. Philip Lewis from the University of Bradford, and my internal examiner was Professor Jolyon Mitchell.

I will of course share the final version when that is done. Having received my corrections I plan on submitting the corrected version before the year end. This is good news.

UPDATE: the corrected version has been submitted to the university, and you can download it HERE or HERE.