Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Essentialist Fallacy

The essentialist fallacy is committed when an evaluation is made of an “insider” or MBB on the basis of some supposed “real Islam” and not on the basis of how the specific believer relates to the particular context, including his or her local Muslim community. Neither insider proponents nor traditionalists are immune to the essentialist fallacy.

Examples of this fallacy abound in evangelical missiology. I would be interested to see readers of Circumpolar point to some in the comments below.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Muhammad the Spurned Lover

One does not read very far in the Qur'an before it becomes obvious that Muhammad was in some ways a spurned lover. Not that any women turned him away, rather that he longed to be part of the people of God-- but they would not have him.

Mohammad came close enough to Jews and Christians to be attracted to their God. He wanted them to accept him into their story, into their knowing the one true God, but he wanted it on his terms.

In the early Medina years he was not so much about building a community as he was about trying to join one. But again, he only wanted to join if he there was room for him along side the great historical personages of their faith. Of course, we all know that in the end neither the Jews nor Christians allowed him that place, so he made his own.

This desire to share a spiritual inheritance is a major, yet unresolved, motif in Mohammad's narrative. It is unresolved because exactly how Islam relates to its predecessors still hangs like a whiff of smoke in the air, noticeable, but just barely.  It also carries missiological significance.

Our presentation of the Gospel to Muslims must touch this deep nerve. One that offers them a place among the people of the true and living God - but not on their terms, not on our terms - on God's terms.

It seems to me that history is rhyming. Once again globalization is bringing many Muslims close enough to us to see our God. Many them are already wanting to share that narrative, and many more will in the coming years. The looming question to us is, "Will we act like "gatekeepers" who control the door, or like fellow beggars who have found crumbs and want to share?"