Monday, July 8, 2013

Insider Movement: Followers of Isa Almasih

Theological reflection
Conversion in Islam is more complicated than any other religions comparatively. Conversion is universally understood as a person who changes his world views, religion, and allegiance.[1] Therefore, there is a need realize few theological aspects of conversion. Should a Muslim need to adopt Christianity/Churchianity to have eternal life? Not at all. Salvation is based on God’s grace; it cannot be earned by rituals or work.

Theologically, and from the perspectives of institutional churches, no one can be regarded as Christian if he is not part of visible church. On the other hand, John Ridgway describes that “Jesus encouraged others to be insiders.”[2]  And Jesus also mentioned that He has many sheep which is not in this folk.

In addition, practically Muslim insider/converts cannot access Bible, Christian Scripture, and sacraments such as Baptism and Eucharist. The prevailing attitude of Islam does not tolerate these kinds of other religious observations. Does every person need Mosaic revelation, Bible to get salvation. I don’t think so. A Muslim can be touched by the work of Holy Spirit from Kuran and even from hearing Mullah in Mosque. Because, the redemptive work of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit does not bind with the channel of Christian religion.

Insider movements cannot be or will not be accepted by traditional churches as it lacks lots of religious principles of Christian religion. However, it facilitates thousands of insiders to be faithful follower of Christ not the Christian religion.
Missiological implications
In accordance with Muslim insider, any category of religious conversion means potentially much nuisance in Islamic society since Islam is a socio-religious community. In some context, conversion causes death penalty. Sociologically C5 offers room for keeping the social relations of an insider and transforming them. [3]

Islam is more of Theo-centric religion. By being an insider, there is a probability to preach about Islamic Christ[4] not Christian Christ. In addition, being followers of Esua and by calling themselves as Muslim.[5] An insider, they can utilize “Kuran” to communicate Christ to Muslims. Kuran and Injil are exceedingly regarded in Islamic society. Subsequently, as an alternative of presenting Christ from the Bible, Kuran and Injil have to be used as bridges to present the comprehensible notion about Christ. These things would be of assistance for the missionaries to categorize the God-fearers in the Muslim community.

But is it hypocrisy? It cannot be considered so. It can be considered only as hypocrisy if Christ is not presented in Islamic Scripture. Following Christ in Islam is absolutely possible as Christ is considered as one of the Prophets of Islam and a person who was sent by God to give salvation and will be returning on the day of Judgement.

Muslim men do not entail baptism as he had already gone through the Old Testament circumcision. Baptism means cleansing and it signifies a witnessing act? Witnessing does not mean of changing religious identity, conversely it is about following the principles of Christ. Moreover, it is witnessing through life-style. According to Rebecca Lewis, and this kind of new spirituality adds insider into the Kingdom of God and disciples of Jesus Christ.[6]

Practical Application
The word ‘Christian’ carries connotations which are offensive in Islamic context and would in reality obscure their identity as a follower of Jesus. And more over, Islamic community is more community oriented, and their community and religion are always intertwined. For that reason, if any one wants to follow Esha nabi, he/she[7] should stay with the family. Essentially, they don’t obligate to expose themselves as Christian for the sake of political religious and social scenario.

Muslim may maintain the old practices since some of them do not conflict with biblical truth, and may reject some old practices because they may directly conflicts with biblical truth, or they may modify the old practices to infuse it with Christian meaning.
Furthermore, one can follow Christ in Islam without breaking his socio-religious identity. Including following all the five pillars of Islam. Can it be a theological struggle? There are may be problem with two of the five pillars which requires them to accept Mohammad as final prophet and requires Haj pilgrimage.

An Muslim has more opportunity to know Christ without having any outside source, making it more clear, the revelation of Kuran should be considered value one to understand Christ.

One can follow Christ in Islam without breaking his socio-religious identity. Including following all the five pillars of Islam. Can it be a theological struggle? There are may be problem with 2 of the pillars which requires them to accept Mohammad as final prophet and requires Haj pilgrimage. Nevertheless, a follower of Christ cannot affirm that all that is commonly taught about the Quran and Muhammad. Therefore certain aspect of the role of Muhammad and the Quran must be reinterpreted. Ex: denial of crucifixion of Christ. However, converted Muslim should follow all the practice and traditions of the Islam as a respect of their family and community. Thus a Muslim can remain Muslim, yet live as true follower of the Jesus, Isa Almasih

As a result, C5 believers can remain legally and socially within the community of Islam.
There is no fundamental need to convert into Christian religion.

Lewis, Rebecca. “Insider Movements: The Conversation Continues, Promoting Movements to Christ Within Natural Communities.” International Journal of Frontier Missiology no. 24: 2 (Summer 2007): 75–76.
Richard, H.L. “Unpacking the Insider Paradigm: An Open Discussion on Points of Diversity.” International Journal of Frontier Missiology 4, no. 26 (Winter 2009): 175–180.
Ridgway, John. “Insider Movements in the Gospels and Acts.” International Journal of Frontier Missiology no. 24: 2 (Summer 2007): 77–86.
Sanchez, Daniel R. “Contextualization and the Missionary Endeavor.” In Missiology: An Introduction to the Foundations, History, and Strategy of World Missions, edited by John Mark Terry, Ebbie Smith, and Justice Anderson. Nashville, New York: Broadman and Holman, 1998.
Tiwari, Ravi. “Theology of A Convert.” In Yisu Das: Witness of A Convert, edited by Ravi Tiwari. Delhi: ISPCK, 2000.

[1] Ravi Tiwari, “Theology of A Convert,” in Yisu Das: Witness of A Convert, ed. by Ravi Tiwari (Delhi: ISPCK, 2000), 225.
[2] John Ridgway, “Insider Movements in the Gospels and Acts,” International Journal of Frontier Missiology no. 24: 2 (Summer 2007): 79.
[3] Rebecca Lewis, “Insider Movements: The Conversation Continues, Promoting Movements to Christ Within Natural Communities,” International Journal of Frontier Missiology no. 24: 2 (Summer 2007): 76.
[4] Islamic Christ from Islamic perspectives with the help of their Scripture, without having changes in their worldview.
[5] Muslim means one who believes in Allah – the creator.
[6] Lewis, “Insider Movements: The Conversation Continues, Promoting Movements to Christ Within Natural Communities,” 76–77.
[7] Female are more in danger of apostasy as Islam is more dominated society.


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