Can a new follower of Jesus Christ remain a Muslim and still
be a genuine believer? That’s what many in the insider movement are saying. It’s
a troubling new trend in Muslim missions. If you’re not familiar with this approach,
I encourage you to read the recent Solid
I co-wrote with Greg Koukl called, “Muslim Followers of Christ? – A Look Inside
the ‘Insider Movement.’”
A number of my friends and colleagues have contributed to a
book addressing this movement. Each has written on a topic they are uniquely
qualified to address. The book is called, Chrislam:
How Missionaries are Promoting an Islamized Gospel.
It’s an important work because it’s the only single volume (that
I know of) that tackles the wide range of subtopics that arise from this
particular missions approach. For example, there are articles dealing with the
role of persecution among converts from Islam, missiology, the proper role and
boundaries of contextualization, the concerns with Muslim-friendly Bible
translations, testimony from former insiders, and much more.
I cited Samuel Zwemer, the famous 20th century missionary
to Muslims, in the recent Solid Ground
article that Greg and I co-wrote about the Insider Movement. But I wanted to
include the full quote here because he explains one of the main reasons why the Insider Movement can’t work: the chasm between Muslims and Christians is unbridgeable.
Islam is an anti-Christian religion. Zwemer writes the following in his
article, “The Chasm” in The Moslem World,
published in 1919.
The yawning chasm between the devout Moslem and the devout
Christian, between the orthodox Moslem and the orthodox Christian is a problem
that faces every colporteur and Bible woman, every teacher and preacher. It is
real and deep. The chasm cannot be bridged by rickety planks of compromise. Syncretism
would be equivalent to surrender; for Islam thrives only by its denial of the authority
of the Scriptures, the Deity of our Lord, the blessedness of the Holy Trinity,
the cruciality and significance of the Cross, (nay, its very historicity) and
the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ as King and Saviour. And this denial is
accompanied by the assertion of the authority of another book, the Koran, the
eclipse of Christ’s glory by another prophet, even Mohammed, and the
substitution of another path to holiness and forgiveness than the way of the
Cross. These denials and assertions are imbedded in the Koran and are the
orthodox belief of ninety per cent of the people. On every one of these points the true Moslem stands arrayed in armor against the missionary and the Truth, of which he is the custodian and the preacher.
A lot of people are skeptical about my talk titled, “Homosexuality:
Truth and Compassion.” Many homosexuals scoff at the title. Many Christians are
suspicious that compassion means compromise. But truth and compassion is about Christians
balancing their convictions with a love towards homosexual men and women. It doesn’t
mean compromise, although it might not be easy to practice either.
What does it look like? Let me give you one example (of the
many I’ve heard across the country). I was privileged to meet a couple who lives
this principle out in their lives. Their daughter is a lesbian. She’s 31 years
old and lives in a recovery home for homosexuals who struggle with substance
abuse. Although she disagrees with her parents’ stance on homosexuality, she knows
they love her and care for her.
Routinely, their daughter comes to visit and stays the
weekend at their home. She enjoys time with her family. And she doesn’t come
alone. She often brings several homosexual men and women over from the recovery
home to spend the night. Why? They all crave and enjoy the selfless love these
parents give them. They come over and feel like part of the family. They even
call the couple “mom” and “dad.”
During one Thanksgiving holiday, this couple not only
invited their family over for the day, but also invited several of the homosexual
men and women from the recovery home. Together they found common cause to give
thanks for what they have. More importantly, this couple fostered a vital
relationship between two communities of people who are too often at odds with
Frankly, it was refreshing to hear how this couple is
living a healthy balance between truth and compassion. They are uncompromising
on their moral stance and relentless in their love for their daughter and this
This couple is also seeing the benefits of their efforts. Many of
the homosexual men, recognizing the value of the love shown them, are opening
up. One confessed, “I haven’t had any male influence in my life in years since
my dad left when I was five.” Another man, when asked to come to church with
the family, commented that he’d like to go, but thought he couldn’t because he
was homosexual and HIV+. The couple told
him it didn’t matter. Now he comes to church with them. In fact, many of the homosexual
men and women often come to church with them.
These opportunities have been possible because
this couple refused to react to homosexuality in stereotypical ways. Instead,
they decided to treat these men and women with love and respect – the same way they treat any other people.
They saw people who were hurting, welcomed them in, and showered them with love
and attention. It is a priceless gift that is expressed by the commendable
character of an effective Christian ambassador.