Over at goodreads the Rev. Dr. Fred Farrokh has posted his review of Two Stories of Everything: The Competing Metanarratives of Islam and Christianity. Here it is:
How do people best learn? How, therefore, should we teach? Historically, Christians have emphasized communicating “propositional truths.” An example would be the famous tract, “The Four Spiritual Laws.” Now the pendulum has swung away from propositional truth teaching to “storytelling,” since much of the Global South communicates truth through stories, parables, humor, etc. Both paradigms can boast a biblical basis. Duane Miller encompasses and eclipses these paradigms by suggesting that the best way to understand and appreciate Islam and Christianity is through their respective “metanarratives.” I could not agree more.
Duane Miller has distilled hundreds of Bible, Qur’anic verses and Islamic hadith into coherent grand-narratives which feature similarities and differences. His experiences living in the United States, Europe and the Middle East provide abundant illustrations in an amazingly brief book. Dr. Miller gives the Church a “C” in fulfilling Jesus’ Great Commission; he grades the Islamic “Umma” with a “D” for fulfilling its respective obligation of advancing the Islamic narrative. It is an even-handed treatment of the world’s two largest faiths and their communities. He handles many hot potato questions, such as “Is Islam a religion of peace? And, “what is the future of Christianity in the West?” Truly this book is an educational treasure.
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 PDF at my academia.edu site (link in the sidebar) or click here: Miller-Dixon Interview JAM.
I just received from Wipf & Stock, the publisher of Living among the Breakage: Contextual Theology-making and ex-Muslim Christians, an excerpt from the book.
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.
–The Dry Savages, II
And how TS Eliot ties in with Peter Berger and his brilliant work on modernity. And then how that ties into religious conversion. You know you want to…
And it’s all right here in this free PDF!
Pharos Journal of Theology, which is published by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, has recently published an article of mine on the new Christians of North Africa, specifically in Tunis. Here is the abstract:
In the last few decades a substantial number of Tunisians have converted to Christianity. This article seeks to better understand their context and based on two weeks of fieldwork in Tunis in the summer of 2014, this article outlines the history of three of the principal churches in the city—one Catholic, one Anglican, and one Reformed—describes some facets of their worship and spiritual life, and then, based on interviews with church leaders and members, explores key challenges facing the churches. Utilizing the framework of Shoki Coe’s contextual theology, the findings are then analyzed in order to better understand the priorities, aspirations and ministry strategies of the local churches.
You can download the PDF from the journal’s website or from my own academia.edu page.
In 2014 the book Islam and the Last Day: Christian Perspectives on Islamic Eschatology was released by MST Press (Wantirna, Australia). In that book I published a chapter on how some ex-Muslim Christians agree or disagree with Islamic eschatology, and how they envision certain features of apocalyptic and eschatological realities.
I have recently posted the PDF of that chapter at my academia.edu site. It can be read HERE.
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.
I recently published this article in the Journal of Asian Mission (Vol 15:2, October 2014). Here is the abstract:
Multiple studies exist on why some Muslims convert to Christianity. This article will summarize the findings of these studies and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. The article ends by suggesting some modifications to possible reasons or categories for better understanding the reasons given by Muslims converting to Christ.
Check it out at at my academia page.
The full title is “An Exploration of Christ’s Converts from Islam: Reasons Given for their Conversions”.
An article of mine was recently published in St Francis Magazine, Vol 10:1, April 2014. The title of the article is “Religious Freedom in Israel-Palestine: may Muslims become Christians, and do Christians have the freedom to welcome such converts?”
Here is the abstract:
This research represents a continuation and elaboration on Miller’s research for the Christianity and Freedom project, presented in Rome in December of 2013. This article seeks to understand the challenges and context of Christians who are also ex-Muslims in the Holy Land. Attention is paid to the difference between the contexts in the West Bank and Israel, and how the established Christian Churches sometimes safeguard their own precarious sense of security by turning away Muslims who seek to know more about the Christian faith and converts from Islam.
Download it at my Academia.edu page or from St Francis Magazine.