Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Factors Influencing Palestinian Muslims Coming to Christ

Muslim Conversions to Christ: An Investigation of Palestinian Converts Living in the Holy LandMuslim Conversions to Christ: An Investigation of Palestinian Converts Living in the Holy Land

Abu Daoud summarizes:

Greenham in Ch 5 provides two lists of categories explaining why Muslims convert:

Lesser Importance are
1) political Instability,
2) Rejection of Islam,
3) Christian Media,
4) Personal Crisis,
5) Community,
6) God’s Honor.

The categories of “Greater Prominence” are
1) Reading the Bible,
2) Role of Believers,
3) Truth of Jesus’ Message,
4) God’s Miraculous Involvement,
5) Person of Jesus.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

my head is spinning

Just finished this book. I’m interested in your thoughts if you’ve read it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Qur’an as a bridge to…

People use the phrase “the Qur’an as a bridge…" differently. 

Here is what I have heard:  “I use the Qur’an as a bridge to…

  1. relationships
  2. the Bible
  3. faith

In your opinion, what could be the implications of view #3?  (Hint: we get the kind of disciples we preach for.)

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Book We've Been Waiting For

For those of you who don't know about Todd Ahrend or The Traveling Team, consider this your invitation to go hear them speak whenever you can.  I consider it a privilege to call Todd my friend, and I couldn't be happier about the book he recently published, The Abrahamic Revolution.  This book concisely, accurately, and passionately handles the most important topic in the Bible - the fulfillment of the promise that God gave to Abraham once upon a time.  Before reading this book, one could perhaps claim ignorance (although I don't know quite how) of this grand biblical theme .  But after reading it, you should remember the words of David Livingstone who said, "Sympathy is no substitute for action."  This is the book that the Church has been waiting for.  Get it, read it, and find your place in doing it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

New Apologetics Website for MBBs

Evidence for God's Unchanging Word is a network of Jesus' followers from across South Asia. We are committed to promoting the seldom-heard evidence for the reliability of God's Word. We believe that God has spoken to mankind through his unchanging Written Word, and we promote the neglected Taurat, Zabur, and Injil. We believe that the Qur'an testifies clearly to the eternal validity of these Scriptures and to the unique role of Jesus as sinless "Messiah" or Savior and Living Word of God. It is through Jesus that we have experience forgiveness and reconciliation with God, and a new meaning and motivation for life.

We are committed to accurately following the Scriptures, not man's cultural traditions. Just as Jesus was wrongly opposed and condemned by Jewish religious authorities, so too Jesus' authentic followers throughout history are regularly condemned by both Muslim and Christian clerics alike, clerics who too often are more concerned with their narrow cultural traditions than with bold obedience to God's Word. Jesus didn't call himself Christian or Muslim, and his followers simply called themselves "the Way."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My take on the DG national conference: The difference between evangelism and missions

I wasn't able to get to Minnesota last month for the Desiring God national conference, Finish the Mission, so I did the next best thing and downloaded all the talks. And while I certainly enjoyed them, I was struck by one continual note that was just a bit off key throughout the conference. Although the conference was meant to highlight the "task remaining" in world evangelization, there was a continual blurring of the lines between evangelism and missions. The evangelistic mandate is the call for the local church to preach the gospel to all those in the surrounding culture/vicinity who are not yet saved. The missions mandate is the call for apostolic teams (Greek: apostolos = sent ones) to carry the gospel beyond into cultures and vicinities where there are no local churches to evangelize a given people group.  Both are equally important in Scripture, but they are grossly misunderstood.   John Piper is actually one of the voices within evangelicalism that has consistently gotten the distinction right; and this is perhaps why I was a bit disappointed to hear speakers at his conference such as Ed Stetzer saying that he disagreed with Michael Oh when he referred to Japan as the "mission field" - contending that the USA is an equally valid mission field.  Sure Ed, God loves lost people in America just as much as he does those in Japan, but that's not the point!  The point is, don't blur the lines between evangelism and missions by making it seem as though there isn't a different calling (a different job to be done) in reaching the USA and Japan.  In the former, our role is to help local churches evangelize their own neighbors, while in the latter, our job is to start local churches that don't even exist yet, so they can evangelize their own.   That's the difference, and it's an important one.  If we call everything missions, then nothing is missions!

Here is another way to see the difference, using another of the conference speakers' own ministries: When Michael Ramsden speaks to a  group of secular university students in London, that would be evangelism.  But when he speaks to a group of Muslim students in Southeast Asia, that would be missions.  The reason is that the secular students in London could walk into any church on Sunday if they chose to, and hear the Gospel.  So they are lost, but not unreached.  But the Muslim students have no church to walk into in their city, even if they wanted to, so they too are lost, but they are also unreached.  Missions then, is what it means to take the Gospel to the unreached so that a local church can emerge in their city, whereby they can hear the Gospel from their own people some day.  The issue at hand is access to the Gospel - unsaved people in reached people groups have it, while unsaved people in unreached people groups do not!

I hope this brief post doesn't come across leaving folks feeling as though I did not thoroughly enjoy what each speaker brought at the DG national conference.  To the contrary, I did enjoy every talk.  However, I felt it was imperative that I take a minute to voice this one concern.

For more on this crucial distinction, have a look at this excellent post by Dr. Tim Tennent:
There is a big difference between evangelism and missions.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Christ at the Checkpoint

This is exactly the type of conversation that evangelicals need to start having if there is any hope to see a meaningful dialogue and witness for Jesus in the Middle East.  We've got to end the love affair with Zionism!  Check out Christ at the Checkpoint.

Shane Claiborne on Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 from Christ at the Checkpoint on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Should we be seeking after signs and wonders?

From Strauss, Encountering Theology of Mission (p. 252):

Church history and the testimony of contemporary missionaries suggest that when the gospel first breaks into a people group or geographic area, the miraculous is frequently present. But the question of how normative such signs and wonders should be for evangelism and outreach where the church is already established and the necessity of signs and wonders for a successful church-planting movement is still an issue of debate among evangelicals.

We must remember that miraculous signs can be duplicated by Satan (2 Thess. 2:9). Furthermore, Jesus reserved his harshest criticism for those who demanded a miraculous sign as evidence of who he was and as a precondition for trusting him (Matt. 12:39). Perhaps the most balanced conclusion is that any biblical theology of mission must put God's power at the center of effective mission and must emphasize that prayer and dependence on God are foundational to the missionary task. It is never wrong to pray for God's miraculous intervention, trusting him to provide it in his time and his way. It is always wrong to demand God's miraculous intervention or to believe that without signs and wonders we cannot be effective in planting the church.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Hoskins on the Hadith

From the conclusion of Ed Hoskins’ article in the Oct 2011 Issue of EMQ, What Muslims Really Believe—The Islamic Traditions (requires subscription):

To Muslims, the hadith are familiar stories that play a practical role in their daily lives. By tapping into these, we have a bridge that makes spiritual conversations relevant and accessible.

I conclude with five thoughts.

1. The hadith fill in the gaps of understanding left blank by the Qur’an.

2. In my field-testing, I found no significant gender, geographical, or language ability differences. Well over ninety percent of all Muslims were familiar with my randomly-selected hadith.

3. Knowledge of the Islamic traditions can give us greater understanding and compassion for our Muslim friends and acquaintances. It did both for me.

4. Using the hadith builds near-instant rapport and facilitates deeper sharing. Every time I mention one, I get a smile. That’s rapport which opens the door to greater sharing.

5. Bridges for communicating biblical truth abound in the hadith. The traditions are packed with topics like the “golden rule,” “control your temper,” “God looks at the heart,” “blessed are the merciful,” “feed the hungry,” “separate me from my sins as far as the east is from the west,” and many more. To date, I have thirty-eight single-spaced typewritten pages of these.

More can be found in Hoskins recent book A Muslim's Mind: What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Islamic Traditions (2011).