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Archive for the ‘Great Commission’ Category

The church today in America have a global warning crisis.

I hope you read that right.  I’ll say it again: The church today in America have a global warning crisis.

Warning (with an “n”) and not warming (with an “m”).

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About to go evangelize.  If you read this, pray for us!

Here’s a witty ditty about witnessing and the Great Commission:

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This is a video by Global Frontiers Missions titled “State of the World / The Task Remaining.”

It is an insightful video concerning the task of missions.

It made me have a burden not only for the lost but specifically for in countries that require creative access to those countries and areas to reach the lost.

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a-man-praying

 

Note: This is part 1 of 2 posts that will address the issue of Hindus that have been on Twitter attacking evangelistic minded Christian as being self-centered.

Christians who are praying and helping with evangelistic Relief effort with the Earthquake in Nepal have been accused of being arrogant for wanting to share the Gospel.  For example one of the Hindus who have been constantly harassing us and many prayerful Christians just tweeted this an hour or so ago against the Bible League in Australia:

#SoulVultures should shed their ego that their self certified poisonous&venomous abhrahamik religions are the best ones

On our blog an interlocutor has also charged that we

have arrogance to think that “pagans” are backward and need redeeming.”

What do we say to that charge?

First off, followers of Christ can be arrogant. That’s because Christians still have a sinful nature.  Just like everybody else.  This confirms the Bible in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  To deny that Christians cannot possibly be arrogant at all is arrogance–better to acknowledge it.  This observation however does not excuse the sin.  Instead a Christian who is arrogant needs to repent from their sins.  Lower yourself and be humbled before God.

Secondly, the need for redemption isn’t only for what our interlocutor called “pagans” (using his own words).  Non-“pagans” need redemption too.

Thirdly, I myself a sinner am also in need of God’s saving grace because of my sins.   I hope that every Hindu who have been harassing Christians would know that I don’t think of myself as any better in my own merit than what someone (in this case the interlocutor) might call “backwards.”

Fourthly, I don’t think believing people need to be redeemed by Christ on the cross is arrogant.  Instead the message of the Cross kills arrogance and instead makes us foster humility.  The Gospel says that we ALL are sinners (Romans 3:10, 3:23) who are ALL spiritually dead if it’s up to ourselves (Ephesians 2:1-3). “For ALL of us have become like one who is unclean, And ALL our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” (Isaiah 64:6a).  Even when we do outwardly what others might identify as our good deeds, still we can do it with ulterior motive, or it is fueled or done to promote our self-righteousness.  “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).  The believer of the Gospel knows he’s a begger in need of grace.  He knows that because of his lack of righteousness, God has to provide His Son to die on the Cross for his legal righteousness before God.  And any practical righteousness afterwards in a Christian life, if it is true righteousness is the work of God in his life and an outworking of the truth of God’s saving love is the motivation for his obedience.

Fifthly, a Christian that truly understands the Gospel will share this to others as another dying sinner to another dying sinner.  Ironically, if a Christian who understands and believes in the Gospel will not share this to others, he would be committing a high-handed sin of selfishness to genuinely believe the truth that there is a way of salvation and yet not share that to others.  Such a fool is arrogant, only caring for his own life and not think of others but only himself.  #HindusandcitizensofNepalslivesmatter.

Sixtly, if you have been misrepresenting praying Christians and Christian missionaries and relief workers as being arrogant and have read this explanation and still want to accuse Christians of being arrogant in their internal motivation even though you now know better, then God help you.  Continual misrepresentation even when one knows better is arrogance: You want to still keep on saying this, and you have made your desire to slander Christians as being more important than the truth.  Whenever an agenda is advanced with half-truths and lying sound bites, it is wickedness.  Repent to God for mercy for your sins.

Lastly, from some of our interaction this past week some of you have said you are without sin.  That’s ironic that you can still keep a straight face and charge Christians for arrogance don’t you think?  The most arrogant thing you can ever say or think is to think you are without sin.  It means you are perfect.  It means you can do no wrong; it means you have become a functional god.  Oh the arrogance of presuming you are a perfect god!  But your deeds reveal otherwise.  Now if you confess your sins to God, repent of it and turn to the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, He is faithful to forgive you, to change you, to cleanse you.

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world map missions

I thought I post an update of our posts dealing with Missions, Culture and being Biblical.  Many of the posts dealt with the Insider Movement although we also touch on different things.  The reason I posted this update is because I wrote a significant amount of more posts after our series was completed.

Enjoy!

Essays by SlimJim

Quick Thoughts on Question of those who never Heard

A Bad Theology of False Religions in Contemporary Evangelical Missionary Thought?

Missionary Contextualization understood in light of the relationship between Culture and the Bible

Messianic Mosques and Messianic Muslims? Taking on Shah Ali’s South Asia Report  NEW

Faulty Ecclesiology in two Insider Movement Case Studies NEW

Insider Movement’s John Travis view of Apologetics and Islam  NEW

Concerns for C. Peter Wagner on the Cutting Edge of Missions Strategy  NEW

  NEW

Is it True Anyone Can be a Missionary if they Speak English?

Missions: Distinguishing between Relief and Transformational Development

Reviews

Book Review: The Road to Reality

Review: Conquer Your Fear, Share Your Faith by Kirk Cameron, Ray Comfort

  NEW

Other Online Resources

Reformed Forum Critique of the Insider Movement and resources recommended

PCA General Assembly Report on the Insider Movement

David B.

Garner’s 5 Part Series on Insider Movement over at Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

Video: Piper Responds to the Insider Movement | The Domain for Truth

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Note: Originally I wanted to add more essays to our series on “Missions, Culture and Being Biblical” but this turns out not to be the Lord’s will because of things with pastoral ministry and my trip last week through some states in the Mid-West .  Here’s a post I didn’t get to finish until now. cfysf Can there be such thing a thing as “Messianic Muslims”?  Apparently some missiologists who are associated with the Insider Movement thinks its possible.  My contention is that this is problematic. In what follows I am interacting with the following essay by Shah Ali and J. Dudley Woodberry that was provided as “case studies” in the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement:

Ali, Shah and J. Dudley Woodberry. 2009. “South Asia: Vegetables, Fish and Messianic Mosques.” Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne, eds., 715-717.

Shad Ali is a pseudonym for a worker among Muslims in a South Asian country that is currently persecuting Christians while Dr. Woodberry is Dean Emeritus and Senior Professor of Islamic Studies over at Fuller Seminary’s school of Intercultural Studies (formerly called the School of World Missions).  Woodberry has been a leader of the Insider Movement. To play on the title of their essay, I think the concept of Messianic Muslims and Messianic Mosques is somewhat “fishy.” In their essay Ali and Woodberry gives the rationale for why they would call themselves “Muslims” rather than “Christians:”

Our Muslim neighbors defined ‘Christianity’ as a ‘foreign religion of infidels,’ so we often referred to ourselves as ‘Muslims’ (literally, ‘submitters to God’).  The necessity of submitting to God is certainly Christian (see James 4:7), and Jesus’ disciples called themselves ‘Muslims’ according to the Qur’an (5:111).  When villagers have decided to follow Christ, the people continued to use the mosque for worship of God–but now through Christ” (Ali, 716).

Response: Several problems are evident in this paragraph.  First off, while Ali’s neighboring Muslims precieve Christianity as a foreign infidel’s religion, it does not logically follow therefore that missionaries and their followers should call themselves “Muslims.”  I think it is possible for missionaries and converts to say they are Christians and explain what Christianity really means to their neighboring Muslims which involves correcting preconceptions, whether real or imagined; it is also a logical possibility to use a different term to describe their new relationship to Christ than terms used by current Muslim paradigm.  Again, just because Muslims (or anyone else for that matter) have a bad preception of Christians and Christianity does not mean we now use the same label they give of themselves to identify ourselves.  This is an issue of integrity.

Secondly, Ali and Woodberry further argue that the reason why they referred to themselves as ‘Muslims’ is because in Arabic the term “Muslims” literally means ‘submitters to God’ and this term is a legitimate designation for Christian missionaries and their convert since “submitting to God is certainly Christian.”  But this is a word-study fallacy; while it is true that etymologically the term means “submitters to God,” in the actual context of 21st Century missionary outreach the term Muslims have a deeper connotation than a mere generic “submitters to God.”  Which God?  Is it the God of the Bible or the God of the Qur’an?  A follower of Islam is using the term Muslim to refer to those who submit to the teaching of Islam (including their scripture, the Qur’an) and believe Muhammad is Allah’s prophet. The term Muslims would also be understood by followers of Islam to be distinguished from those who believe Jesus Christ is God, who believe Jesus came to die as the Savior of the sins of those who would repent.  With this understanding of the term “Muslim” within Muslims’ own community, these missionaries (and their converts) are not Muslims.

Thirdly, the writers note “Jesus’ disciples called themselves ‘Muslims’ according to the Qur’an (5:111)” but while it is true that Islamic theology sees the early followers of Jesus as Muslims, that does not mean they would designate that term today to describe current followers of Jesus since they believe Christians today have strayed from the actual teaching of Jesus (which they believe is similar to the teaching of Muhammad).

Fourthly, in the last sentence the writers mentioned about followers of Christ still continuing worshiping God in their mosque “but now through Christ;” but is it really possible to worship God in Muslim Mosque through Christ?  Remaining in a Muslim Mosque means remaining in a worship service that denies Jesus Christ as the Son.  Don’t forget the words of 1 John 2:23: “Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.”  You cannot worship and have the Father if you deny the Son (which a Mosque does deny)! Biblically, going to a Muslim Mosque to worship is to worship with nonbelievers.  Heed the words of 2 Corinthians 6:14-15=

14 Do not be [j]bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with [k]Belial, or [l]what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?


There is also dangerous implication of the fruit of the Insider movement towards ecclessiology and specifically with the church’s ordinance of baptism; few paragraphs after the above quote the two writers goes on to say:

People have only been baptized if the head of the family was baptized” (Ali, 716)

Response: I have addressed this elsewhere in this series in particular with my essay “Closer Look at Donald McGavran’s People Movement Missionary Approach versus Conglomerate Church Approach.” We must ask the question whether this is biblical: Do we see in Scripture the command that we SHOULD ONLY baptize people if the head of the family are baptized first?  Do we see any Biblical data that its okay for believers not to be baptized if one’s head of the family is not baptized?


Finally we find another theological argument for the concept of “Messianic Muslims” (and “Messianic Mosques”) towards the end of the essay:

The concept of Messianic mosques and completed Muslims (following the model of Messianic synagogues and completed Jews) still causes considerable misunderstanding among other Christians” (Ali, 717).

Response: First off, the burden of proof is upon both Shah Ali and J. Dudley Woodberry to demonstrate that Islam parallel Judaism in order for the concept of “Messianic mosques” and “completed Muslims” to work.  Secondly, don’t forget that unlike Judaism, Islam came after Christianity 600 years later and twisted the truth of Christianity so it cannot be seen as something needing Christian theological “completion” but historically it is the rejection of Christianity.  Thirdly, whereas the Bible does teach the special redemptive role of Israel and her faith in the history of redemptive history, the Bible does not give Islam the same role; and to talk about Messianic Mosques is to make a theological move that fail to take into account the unique role of Biblical Judaism.  Here Ali and Woodberry is making an analogy that doesn’t work.  Fourthly, the idea of Messianic mosques and Messianic Muslims is not something that other Christians merely misunderstood; I believe in this essay I have demonstrated there are real legitimate problem with their arguments and their position.  Fifthly, this alleged “misunderstanding” about Messianic Mosques turns out that its not coming from Christians alone but also Muslims.  Apparently from within their own essay Ali and Woodberry acknowledges that other Muslims “misunderstood” that these “Messianic Muslims” are not Muslims at all (thought they try to play off as Muslims) when the report gives account of their persecutions from Muslims.  There is the irony from the essay’s own description of the author Shah Ali: “His identity is being concealed (There is currently persecution of Christisn in his country” (Ali, 715).

Again, I think the whole idea of Messianic Mosques and Messianic Muslim is fishy.

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world map missions Our Marathon Series on “Missions, Culture and Being Biblical” was launched on September 17th, 2014. While there were other issues being addressed there was a lot of focus in our series on the Insider Movement and the problem of faulty theology driving one’s missiology and one’s contextualization of the Gospel.  I felt that Solid Christians addressing the problem with the Insider Movement and their approach towards Mission was long overdue and I am glad to see the last two years an increases of Christian theologians addressing this problem. Below is an “index” to the posts in our series.

Essays by SlimJim

Quick Thoughts on Question of those who never Heard

A Bad Theology of False Religions in Contemporary Evangelical Missionary Thought?

Missionary Contextualization understood in light of the relationship between Culture and the Bible

Messianic Mosques and Messianic Muslims? Taking on Shah Ali’s South Asia Report  NEW

Faulty Ecclesiology in two Insider Movement Case Studies NEW

Insider Movement’s John Travis view of Apologetics and Islam  NEW

Concerns for C. Peter Wagner on the Cutting Edge of Missions Strategy  NEW

Is it True Anyone Can be a Missionary if they Speak English?

Missions: Distinguishing between Relief and Transformational Development

Reviews

Book Review: The Road to Reality

Review: Conquer Your Fear, Share Your Faith by Kirk Cameron, Ray Comfort

Other Online Resources

Reformed Forum Critique of the Insider Movement and resources recommended

PCA General Assembly Report on the Insider Movement

David B.

Garner’s 5 Part Series on Insider Movement over at Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

Video: Piper Responds to the Insider Movement | The Domain for Truth

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