Reading Bryan’s post yesterday made me think of something (because of the context not the content of what he wrote) I had just read in Faith Undone by Roger Oakland. Now I do not, by any shape or form, agree with everything in this book. There are times when the spirit and content of the book makes me want to throw it across the room. He does bring up some good points, however.
He mentions a Charisma News article by Andy Butcher (“Radical Missionary Approach Produces ‘Messianic Muslims’ Retaining Islamic Identity”) written in 2000 about Youth With a Mission’s work in Muslim countries.
“Messianic Muslims” who continue to read the Koran, visit the mosque and say their daily prayers but accept Christ as their Savior, are products of the strategy (allowing converts to hold onto their religious traditions), which is being tried in several countries, according to Youth With A Mission (YWAM), one of the organizations involved…. They (the new converts) continued a life of following the Islamic requirements, including mosque attendance, fasting and Koranic reading, besides getting together as a fellowship of Muslims who acknowledge Christ as the source of God’s mercy for them.
This was at the root of my comment on Bryan’s post. We do need to find common ground as we reach out to Muslims in order to share our faith in Christ. What happens after they come to Christ? To me it seems like being a “Messianic Muslim” means I’m a Muslim, but I’ll add Jesus and you won’t really see any changes.
Now I recognize there is much persecution that goes on in Muslim countries in regards to people who place their faith in Christ. I’m sympathetic to this, and understand that this is very hard and that the discipleship process doesn’t happen overnight. That is a far cry from actually pursing it as a strategy. Many emerging church leaders embrace methods like this. Take for instance what Brian McLaren said in his book, Generous Orthodoxy.
I must add, though, that I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain with their Buddhist, Hindu or Jewish contexts.
The only context I can even see that happening, at least in terms of what McLaren wrote, would be Messianic Jews since that would be very similar to what was going on with the Church in Jerusalem. But Buddhism? Hinduism? Islam? This is like follow Christ, but go ahead and participate in idolatry here, and false religion there. I don’t see this gelling with Jesus’ words in Matthew 16.
If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done, (Matthew 16:24-27, ESV).
What do you think?