This is intentionally going to be a simple post. (And note, included picture isn’t mine.)
This morning’s chapel service sparked a series of reactions when the speaker gave two positive instances of what is known as the Insider Movement or IM.
By way of background, the message was based on Peter and John’s questioning by the Jewish leaders in Acts 4 and I believe the sermon/message started out well (“those rooted in Christ should expect persecution”) and reminded everyone (or me at least) that one of the privileges of ministry is for us to do things so that our enemies see Christ in us. I just wish the speaker provided a more proper segue from persecution to the second half of his message.–examples of Insider Movements activity.
Insider Movements may be defined as “popular movements to Christ that bypass both formal and explicit expressions of Christian religion” (Kevin Higgins, 2004). The term covers people or individuals who come to [move to] Christ, but without the expected set of activities–identifying with Christ, making a public declaration of one’s faith, etc–in order to be more effective in outreach. In other words, applied to the Muslim religion, a Muslim may come to faith in Christ but still identifies himself as a Muslim and does so for the purpose of “evangelizing” other Muslims, particularly those in his family group.
To his credit, the speaker never commended IM as the sole way of evangelizing. I agree when he said that it was “an approach” to missions work, but certainly not the only one. The two stories he presented were positive cases from people who see IM in terms of practicality. I am in no position to either commend or condemn their actions, certainly while absent more information. There was one instance in the second story (which involved the army general) which kind of resonated wrong with me. Can a Christian submit to or publicly state the Shahada, or the “coming to faith statement of Muslims–“There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is the messenger of Allah”?
I appreciate the speaker challenging the thinking of his listeners and offering examples of what is becoming (if it hasn’t already) a very polarizing issue among Christians in general and missions workers in particular. I also applaud, if they can be verified, accounts of people of the Muslim persuasion positively affected by the works of Christian missionaries, particularly in building up of communities. It is also admirable how our missionary brothers and sisters are seeking ways to reach out to non-Christians. These are topics certainly worth further study and discussion. However, knowing what I do about Islam, Allah, and Mohammed, as well as everything those terms stand for, I can never in good conscience recite the Shahada, because doing so would be a personal compromise regarding the person and work of Jesus Christ. (Mohammed is the last messenger/prophet of Allah and, given that the latter supersedes the former, that would make Mohammed greater than Christ, resulting in Mohammed’s message nullifying Christ’s perfect work.)
(If only Mohammed’s message was to repent and turn to Christ…)
A few resources on Insider Movement:
Step by step, thinking…