Sunday, April 3, 2011

When God’s Kingdom Grows Like Yeast

In the July-August 2010 issue of Mission Frontiers “Setting the Pace” is an article called When God’s Kingdom Grows Like Yeast: Frequently-Asked-Questions About Jesus Movements Within Muslim Communities by John Travis and Dudley Woodberry.

From the intro:

In Matthew 13:33 and Luke 13:20 Jesus likens the Kingdom of God to yeast, a substance that transforms from the inside out. In the days surrounding His death and resurrection, Jesus instructed His followers to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom to all peoples of the world. Today numbers of Muslims have accepted this good news, allowing the yeast of the Kingdom to transform their lives and their families, while remaining a part of their own Muslim communities. Since there is a variety of perspectives on this phenomenon, even among the Islamic Studies faculty where we teach, we here seek to address some frequently-asked questions about it.

  The article answers the following questions:

  1. What are some examples of this type of movement to Jesus within Muslim communities?
  2. If Muslims confess Jesus as Savior and Lord, why would they not simply want to join the Christian religion?
  3. Why is the phenomenon of Jesus movements within Muslim communities only being observed in recent years?
  4. It is an interesting idea that the Kingdom could move like yeast within a person’s original religious community. However, are there not risks associated with Jesus movements remaining inside such communities?
  5. How do movements remain faithful to Jesus and the Bible when Islam contains teachings that are not compatible with biblical revelation?
  6. By not calling oneself a Christian, could not this be viewed as a form of denying Christ, the very thing Jesus warned of in Mark 8:38 and in Matthew 10:32-33?
  7. What does it mean to retain an official, social and/or cultural Muslim identity?
  8. Are Jesus movements within Muslim communities the only type of movement among Muslims today?
  9. What is the C1-C6 spectrum?
  10. How do these movements start?
  11. Scripture teaches that in Christ we are “one body” (Ephesians 4:4-6). Even though Jesus-following Muslims do not join traditional Christian churches or denominations, do they see themselves as part of the Body of Christ?
  12. Fellowship and commitment in a local expression of the Body of Christ is central to life in Christ. Do Muslim followers of Jesus gather together, or are they simply individuals who have believed in Jesus?
  13. Some have said that Jesus movements within Islam exist so that Muslims can avoid persecution and suffering for their faith in Christ. Is this true?
  14. It has been said that some Christians have assumed a Muslim identity in order to relate to and have an audience with Muslims. Does the existence of Jesus movements within Muslim communities suggest that Christians should take on a Muslim identity in order to reach Muslims with the Gospel?
  15. What about the traditional Christian sacraments of baptism and communion? Are these followed in Jesus movements within Muslim communities?
  16. Would Jesus-following Muslims still repeat the confession, “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is God’s Messenger”?
  17. Do Jesus-following Muslims still refer to God as Allah?
  18. How do Muslims who follow Jesus communicate with fellow Muslims about Jesus and the Bible?


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