Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Developing a Biblical Missiology Among Muslims

The blog Biblical Missiology posts a set of questions that the missions committee at Bethlehem Baptist Church (Piper’s Church) uses when considering supporting a missionary.  For the most part, answering these questions, plus maybe a few others, would amount to forming a Biblical missiology for working with Muslims:

    1. How will you help a new believer express his identity in Christ within his community?

    2. In your ministry context, what aspects of the local culture may be retained and which aspects must be rejected?

    3. As a minister of the Gospel, how will you communicate your identity in Christ to those among whom you seek to minister?

    4. How will you communicate the identity of Jesus in the language and culture of the context in which you minister?

    5. What will cross-bearing look like for new believers in your context? Are new believers truly ready to suffer for Christ? How will you prepare them?

    6. How will you present the gospel in such a way that Jesus is the stumbling block (not cultural practices, leadership style, dress, customs, habits)?

    7. How will you proclaim the gospel with gentleness, respect, and with all boldness in your host context (especially in highly restricted areas)?

    8. How will you demonstrate the supreme and exclusive authority of the Bible among peoples who revere other sacred texts as supreme authority?

    9. How will you instruct the new believer in Christ regarding his relationship to his community and mosque?

    10. How and when will you distinguish the intrinsic differences between God as he is revealed in the Bible and as he is written about in the Qur’an?

Some of these questions appear to assume that the foreign missionary should tell the MBB what to do.  E.g. #9 could have been worded better.  However, it is often unavoidable that we will be asked questions like this, and most of these questions hit at core issues we face everyday. 

What questions do you think need to be modified? Are there any other questions you think would be crucial or helpful for developing a biblical missiology among Muslims?


Elisha said...

That "How" question is a tough one. You could have an answer for how you would go about doing everything. But when it comes down to it, every case will be slightly/drastically different. Forcing (in a good way) you to really be led by the Spirit in every situation. But i'm sure its helpful to have general principles and guidelines as a template.

Elnwood said...

I don't think a prospective missionary could give anything more than general or tentative answers to these questions until he or she has been ministering in that context. Even then, the honest answer will still be a lot of "it depends." A simple exercise of trying to answer these questions in a U.S. context bears this out.

It seems to me that this questionnaire would be of limited use except as a list of "things to think about as you minister."

Warrick Farah said...

I agree with you guys- I was thinking this would be really good for myself to write out responses to all of the these questions.

Additionally, see this comment for some insight:

Elisha said...

"James" seems to have been burned by this type of thing in the past. He has some valid observations. Its definitely a delicate balance that church and "worker" must strike. It would take a lot of faith (or be very stupid) for a church to raise funds for someone they haven't checked out. The church needs to know more about the person going, than his planned methodology. Methods will change depending on times and places, but if a church finds enough to like about a person's character and relationship with God, they won't need to worry about the methodology as much.

This may sound like a "nothing" answer. But like so many topics in our faith, we need to keep fighting back to the center, and be ready to correct ourselves away from getting to far right or left of center.