Recap of “The Insider Movement Conference: A Critical Assessment II”, 2010

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What did we accomplish?

Jesus was worshipped

Our conference maintained a prayerful spirit, a Christ-centered theology, a love for His church, fire for His name and love for God and others. We worshipped God. We learned from the Word and applied it as the highest authority over our lives. We made the love of Christ central to what we were doing in our time together.

False teaching and methodology was exposed

The Insider Movements (IM) methodology needs to be discussed and assessed until IM is no longer an Evangelical option for Christian missions to Muslims. The methodology was exposed and talked about in the context of such a conference because false teaching was assessed openly and publicly in the Bible.

The highlight of the conference was the interview by Bill Nikides of Anwar Hossein. IMs have thrived on two things: positive anecdotal stories by proponents or a tiny handful of genuine “insiders” and the absence of eyewitness scrutiny by the visible church. Anwar’s story was enormously important. We now have people from the inside personally testifying to dishonesty and duplicity in some groups, falsification of results, and ignorance of the Bible. Much of the conversation revolved around the creation and circulation of illegally produced insider translations that distort the text, omit part of John 1, replace “Son of God” and rephrase “Father” texts. The Bengali Bible Society, representing the visible Muslim background and Christian background churches in the country expressly prohibited its circulation, but in spite of this, the new translation circulated throughout the country until the Bible Society filed a court stay. The importance of this cannot be overstated: insiders claimed persecution, their proponents, trainers, and financiers, which are western, attempted to force Bibles the nationals themselves consider false translations onto their own people. This seems to be a clear implementation of neo-colonialism in missions.

To be clear, our group stands on the shoulders of Samuel Zwemer, Raymond Lull, Henry Martin, Richard Bell, al-Kindy, Carl Pfander, St. Clair Tisdall, William Goldsack, James Levi Barton, Sir William Muir, I. Lilias Trotter, Arthur Jeffery, Temple Gairdner, E.M. Wherry, Arthur Jeffery, J Christy Wilson Sr…who have honored the church and loved the Bible, translating its message into the language of diverse cultures and preaching it faithfully without subverting its message.

Media materials created

The ability to get the media message out to all the pastors, churches in North America, mission organizations, foundations and those interested in missions is vital. It is crucial to influence structures strongly committed to the IM paradigm. The creation of websites, DVDs, papers and a book (see below) is a strategic part of changing the face of missions.

www.insidermovements.org

www.stfrancismagazine.info/ja

www.bibmiss.wpengine.com — You’re Here!

www.i2ministries.org

A book will be published

Insider Movements: A Critical Assessment

Based on the first two conferences, Insider Movements: A Critical Assessment, brings together voices from scholars, former practitioners of IM, Christians from a Muslim background, pastors, missionaries, and mission organizations harmoniously critiquing IM. Included is a thorough presentation of the insider paradigm followed by chapters dealing with problematic IM exegesis and interpretation, deliberate mistranslations of the New Testament, the ethic of hidden truths of some IM proponents, and an examination of IM missiological foundations.

Conference speakers and topics included:
1. Joshua Lingel, “Insider Movements: A Critical Assessment”
2. Bill Nikides, “Lost in Translation: Insider Movements and Biblical Interpretation”
3. Ergun Caner, “Medieval Mormonism”
4. Dave Talley, “God’s Commands for Dealing with Pagan Religions and Pagan Religious Practices”
5. Adam Simnowitz, “In Danger from False Brethren (2 Cor 11:26)?”
6. Abdu Murray, “A Misguided Mission: How IM Robs Us of the Blessing of Persecution”
7. Emir Caner, “The Insiders Movement Equivalent of Limbo: the CAMEL Method”
8. Bill Nikides interview of Anwar Hossein (a believer who previously worked with the IM)
9. Georges Houssney, “Would Paul Become a Muslim to Muslims: 1 Cor 9:19-23?”
10. John Span, “The Confusion of ‘Kingdom Circles’: a Clarification”
11. Jay Smith, “Experiences in Ethiopia with IM”
12. David Cook, “The Islamic Traditions on Insider Movements”
13. Elijah Abraham, “Jesus of Christianity and Islam”
14. Brian Lenney, “Confrontations with IM in the Local Church: a Report”
15. Roger Dixon, “Muslim Replacement Theology”
16. Jeff Morton, “IM means Inappropriate Missiology”

For a brief summary of each speaker’s topic, click the button at www.insidermovements.org

Significance of the Conference

Key themes
First, insider movements buttress their practices with unorthodox, anachronistic interpretations of isolated biblical texts in a way that ignore the overall redemptive flow of Scripture and its principle motifs of covenantal, exclusive faith against the idolatrous religions of the nations.
Second, the conference unearthed aberrant understandings of Christianity and religion in general. IM methods depend on a view of religion that is sociological and cultural, ignoring the fallen, even Satanic spiritual freight they carry as ungodly imitations of the truth.
Third, IM ignores the spiritual dangers of false religion, coaxing Muslims who profess Christ to remain embedded in a poisonous faith system that eventually must corrupt and distort its practitioners.

Overall impact
This is the first conference to consider insider movements with virtually all of the important participants: missiologists (both for and against), specialists in the understanding of Islam (both missionaries and academics), theologians, church historians, translation experts, church men and women, Muslim converts engaged in ministry to Muslims, former insiders now part of Muslim church planting among Muslims.
Although the conference is convened for the mutual support and edification of people who oppose insider movements (it is the only such gathering in the face of many efforts dominated by insider supporters), it did have a sizable component of insiders (one national) interacting with non-IMers.
Both proponents and opponents called for further gatherings of both to focus first and fundamentally on the Scripture.
It was also strongly suggested further conferences should include a healthy mix of church men and women, pastors and other officers, seminarians and scholars from many fields, leaders of churches in geographic areas impacted by insider movements, indigenous insiders, and ordinary Christians. Too long have missiologies remained in the purview of the “experts.”
An Invitation

We hope you will join our community or start your own. Perhaps we can help you organize an Insider Movements: A Critical Assessment conference in your country and record it in your language. It is not too soon to think about next years conference.

To pre-order MP3/DVD’s of the conference, please go to: www.insidermovements.org

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About Author

Joshua Lingel is the executive director of i2 Ministries. He has pursued his area of passion and expertise, Muslim evangelism and Islamic Studies, at six universities in the United States and Europe over the past 19 years. He has earned degrees and pursued post-graduate studies at the University of Washington, Harvard University, (SOAS) University of London, Knox Seminary and Biola University/Talbot School of Theology. Focusing on Political Science and then Philosophy of Religion and Ethics for his graduate work - he later pursued post-graduate studies in origins and early emergence of Islam, contemporary issues in Islam, Radical Islam/terrorism, early Islamic archaeology, textual criticism of the Qur'an, Islamic law and missions with Muslims. Joshua has done extensive research on these subjects and knows many of the best scholars in theses fields of research. He has written papers on "The History of Quríanic Textual Variants" and "Arthur Jefferyís Project for the study of the Qurían" (Soon coming, Brill Press, 2010). Josh has been asked to participate and/or give scholarly papers at the Corpus Coranicum - Exploring the Textual Beginnings of the Qur'an (University of Berlin); The Syriac Aramaic Qur'an (University of Notre Dame) and Inrah Institute for Research of Early Islamic History and the Koran Conference 2008. In 1999 he was the recipient of the Leighton/Sandy Ford Leadership Award in Evangelism through Billy Graham Ministries. He has been involved in leading large groups in inner city evangelism amongst the local mosques in Seattle, Los Angeles and London in addition to evangelistic outreaches into the 10-40 Window. Joshua is well known as a global missions strategist, conference speaker, trainer, and apologist; networking and giving support to numerous catalytic Christian leaders and movements throughout Asia, Africa and South America. He was also on the pastoral and teaching staff of Mill Creek Four Square Church in Seattle, WA. Joshua has trained numerous groups of students and missionaries globally in Christian Apologetics to Islam and currently teaches at Biola University/Talbot School of Theology the only undergraduate and graduate course in the world offered on Christian Apologetics to Islam. Joshua is the co-Director and mentor of the Scholars with a Dream (SWAD) program, which scholarships and trains 100 Evangelicals with PhD's in Islamic Studies in the West. Most importantly, Joshua is the Founder and Executive Director of i2 Ministries, which aims to equip the global church to effectively evangelize Muslims. i2 Ministries provides intensive Muslim Ministry video courses and training curriculum for church based training structures globally. Joshua is married to Jussara and is expecting their first child.

8 Comments

  1. Carl,
    To contextualize the Gospel by pigeonholing Christianity with Islam is heresy if you go far enough (C5) and God hates it. We are all called to be “heresy hunters” as you have accused. It does bring glory to God to correct bad teaching and some of us are actually called to do so. Just thought I would set that record straight. Also I know many folks who believe and support the JIQ and IM stuff that come and read this blog, the articles and the comments and are wrestling with these issues. So please fellas keep up the good work.

  2. I want to apologize for not posting my comments. I have been traveling and going through health issues. But, I would like to respond on Carl Medearis’s comments. I do not know you Mr. Medearis and we never met. So, my response is to what you are saying and to the IM method.

    I am in agreement with Jeff Morton, I wish you were at the conference to see that our concern was the integrity of the Gospel and Scripture in which in my view that IM method have compromised.

    It is interesting that you have accused us of “insulting what God is doing through the IM method among Muslims.” I question that statement. God would not be involved in any method that associates HIS Son with Isa who is not a real person and not divine as our Lord Jesus. That in itself a blasphemy. I am an Arab, I witness to Arabs in the U.S. and in the Arab world, I witness to Muslims in non-Arab world, and I train and teach missionaries in the west and in the Muslim world. Through my travels and interactions in the Arab world, I have not seen the great success of this method nor it is favorable among the Arab believers converts or none.

    Your assumption that we have nothing to do but criticize IM’er, I differ on your assumption. First, I am not criticizing the person, but the method. Second, I am in the ministry like you and been very busy in what God called me to do. Your statement dismissed God’s call in my life totally by your accusation that we have nothing to do but talk about IM’er.

    My goal in exposing this method is not to convince you or other IM’ers to change their minds about what you are doing. To me it seems that IM’er already made up their minds and deep into selling this method. My goal is to educate churches and mission agencies in the west about it and to challenge them to stop funding IM’ers otherwise they are participating in this false approach in presenting the gospel. I am also warning the churches in the Muslim world to not give heed to the common ground conferences, Jesus in the Qur’an seminars, the IM, and the CAMEL. I have been very successful in warning our brothers over seas and in American churches who are thinking about adopting such methodologies. Biblicalmissiology is not just for us who appose the IM, but it is to educate the body of Christ about this false teaching. Last year I spoke to about 80,000 American church members and believe me, they are aware of this site and what IM is all about.

    I have met some of those who converted by IM method. You might be excited about their conversion, I on the other hand grieved by what I saw. I saw people who have been used by IM’er and converted from the darkness of Islam into some sort of Christian fog. They do not know who they are in Christ and been robbed by the IM method from the joy of suffering for Christ. So, I do not know what kind of “TON OF MUSLIMS WHO CAME TO CHRIST” you are talking about. My question is which Christ did they come to? Isa or Jesus Christ of the BIBLE.

    Yes, you can come up with plenty of verses to prove IM is from God. Many false teaching also came up with many verses to prove what they are teaching. God is not a God who allow anyone to mock HIM, we all better be careful how we use HIS Scripture to achieve whatever method we come up with.

    You are encouraging me to move on and forget about what IM is all about and just get together and sing KUMBAYA. I am sure you know your Bible, it tells us that iron sharpens iron. You want me and others who are led by the Spirit and the Scripture to stay silent and “move on” without holding anyone accountable. Then accept an invitation to just get together and ignore what IM’er are doing and pretend nothing is happening and just have praise and worship songs. That makes me an accomplice to what IM’ers are doing and guilty of teaching false teaching. With all due respect, I decline such invitation.

    You and the rest of IM’er will never understand Islam, you all think you do. You never was a Muslim and never been under that darkness of demonic spirit. IM’er legitimizes Islam like a true religion inspired by the True God, but they just lost its way. If IM’er really understand Islamic theology and history, they would also understand that Islam is not just a religion, it is a socio-political system that uses a deity “allah” to accomplish its goals that is world domination. Of course you and others will dismiss that and argue that it is a religion and converts like me know nothing. A typical attitude that I see in western missionaries, they dismiss that Christians from Muslim background can think for themselves and understand biblical theology, missiology, and Islamic doctrine. That attitude is a colonial attitude.

    I am hear to tell you and other IM’ers, you are wrong and it it an insult to the the HOLY SPIRIT’s work in my life who delivered me from the hands of Satan into the light of Christ. IM’ers are dancing a dangerous dance with the spirit of Islam that is not of GOD, if you do not believe me, you should read 1 John 4:1-4. My mother and father died believing the the Islam IM’er embracing, my sisters and brothers are sill in that darkness. IM’ers ignore Islamic eschatology and see how different from biblical eschatology. You will see that We worship a different God and that Jesus of the Bible is not Isa.

    As a Bible believer yourself, doesn’t the Bible commands you to confront your brother when he is teaching a wrong teaching like Paul did? So, why are you asking me to ignore a biblical mandate? IM’er like to use the Bible to achieve their goals, but they demand of others not to use it to hold them accountable. This is playing the victimization game, just like CAIR and the jihadists in the west.

    Anyway, I can say a whole lot more, but what is the use. You and other IM’er are so far gone and became preachers of IM, I know you will only mock what I am saying. My conscience is clare to what the Lord is calling me to do, I fear for all of the IM’er to what they will say when they stand before the Lord on that DAY. What would they say to our Lord when one Muslim gone to HELL because of the IM method?

    I have to go, I am meeting with a larger group to tell them about what God is doing in the Muslim world and warn them about IM and other contextualization methods.

    So long.

  3. Jeffery Morton on

    Ken –
    See Carl Medearis’ response below – this is the microcosm.
    On the macro level, if you want to see responses to IM critiques, you’ll have to go to St Francis Magazine. This has been the only consistent outlet for the critique IM deserves.

    There is a book coming out – this year I trust – that will also critique IM, but for responses from IMers to the Historical approach, there is nothing really out there that deals with the issues as we have raised them.

  4. Have any of the Insider’s Movement / C-5 level contextualization / “common Ground” / “Jesus in the Qur’an study” responded to any of this yet?

    In Christ,
    Ken T.

  5. Pierre Houssney on

    Carl,

    You keep saying you “could” line up verses to prove your points. Well why don’t you? That might actually encourage productive dialogue.
    That’s what this site is for: Biblical Missiology. We’re trying to understand missiology from the Bible.

    I actually don’t mind if you want to play “devil’s advocate”, it’s just that I wish you would occasionally use something from the Bible as the basis of your statements.

  6. Thanks for your comment Carl,

    I take issue it on almost every point, but no surprise there.

    First, you act as though unbiblical doctrine should be left alone, and let God sort it out. You quote the Jewish priest who said as such. Though there may have been wisdom in such a view at that time, perhaps even Spirit led, the Bible is full of examples of the errant teaching being confronted. In fact, it didn’t end with the Bible. Most of the early church councils were based exactly around such a thing. So do you disagree with the Council of Nicea? Chalcedon? others? If you believe arianism is ok, and gnosticism is fine, then by all means, continue with this view of let perceived false teaching thrive. What about Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses? Is our goal in life to tear these people down? No, our goal is the gospel and seeing Christ glorified. But IM has run up against this very gospel mission, and has caused troubles in the nations and here in the US. Nationals are upset about this, mistranslations of the Bible by IMers are causing confusion, the community of Christ is being abhorred and slandered. With all of this, how can one remain silent?

    Certainly the men and women that went to the conference are not hate mongers, as innuendoed in your comment. I know them, and they are the opposite. So do you just believe they are stupid and foolish, and have no sense better than to make up conferences for the purposes of being negative? If so, I understand your comments. I’m actually surprised as to your vehement rant against a conference that both sides were at, but you were not at, even you were personally invited. You just must hate the idea of people getting together face to face talking about a missions methodology that is actually causing trouble around the world, whether intentional or not.

    Secondly, as to the readership of this blog. It is actually quite diverse. Yes, most of the individuals who speak up are against IM. Some are pro-IM, but the vast majority are lurkers who have yet taken up a position on either side. Our site is here for those people. I get emails from them all the time, asking questions, and we are more than happy to help explain some things to them. Our site, while not just about IM (though it gets the most comments) is a place to bring more balance to a discussion that has been heavily marketed and portrayed by IMer’s alone.

    Third, you say we’re insulting God’s work. That is a very big charge, and certainly, you should weigh that statement carefully, and if you truly believe we are insulting God’s work, you should make a point to meet with us face to face like Paul did with Peter. A blog’s comments is no such place for a charge like that. The conference would have been a great time for such a thing.

    You say you could bring a chain of Muslim believers in Christ. I’d like to see them. I’d like to ask them some questions. Certainly not in an antagonistic way, as I don’t do that (those IMers who I have interviewed can attest to that), but I’d like to understand them. Are there any verses we haven’t already discussed on this site that you’d use? I also love how you say, “modernistic western missionary method” is unbiblical. I might agree there! But I’d also say post-modernistic western missionary method is certainly a horrible reaction and certainly unbiblical. IM is this post-modern method.

    You seem to state that this conference didn’t bring glory to God. I cannot vouch either way as I was not there based on some crazy circumstances. However, I have no doubt that it could have assessed IM, critically analyze it, and still glorify God. God has no fear of our questioning, and certainly when we do it with a heart of his, He is glorified.

    In a previous comment you stated that you are indeed Reformed in theology. I was actually shocked by this statement. Reformed view is that the Holy Spirit elects and saves, man can do nothing to help or hinder that. Yet IM tends to come up with the most elaborate strategies to save souls. Whether changing translations in the Bible and removing ‘Son of God’, to taking on Islamic Rituals to attract others. It seems your methods are the attractant, not the Holy Spirit.

    Certainly any methodology that relies on strategies, and not in the sole ability of the Holy Spirit to save lives is Arminian, not Reformed. I cannot imagine how any IMer can be truly Reformed. Perhaps intellectually they say so, but by their actions, they deceive their words.

    The purpose of Missions is to glorify God, and that is done through the context of His church living in community and worshiping him. Acts 2:42-47 Never did Paul argue cultural points, unless it dealt with greek believers who were already believers. No where did Paul make cultural and religious ritualistic concessions, and change the gospel to match religion. He preached the opposite. Do not partake of the alter of falsehood. He preached Christ crucified, a stumbling block. He never removed biblical, and gospel stumbling blocks. He never watered them down. He never ignored them. They were first and foremost, because Paul knew, to any man, they would reject Christ, but to those called by the Holy Spirit, none would refuse Him.

    I am not only opposed to IM because of it’s loose and free mentality to molding parts of the gospel to false religions, and tossing the rest of the gospel on the wayside. I am opposed to any mission strategy that doesn’t focus on giving God glory through the belief and absolute outpouring in faith that it is the Holy Spirit that saves, and not man’s wisdom and or strategies. Where is your faith? In strategy or God alone? If even 1% is in strategy, then your faith is wrongly placed. This is Biblical Missiology, that God saves, and Missions doesn’t. Mission’s sole purpose is glorifying God in the midst of the lost, for His glory. Let God take full credit for saving the souls. Let us glorify Him for it.

  7. Jeffery Morton on

    Carl, too bad you weren’t there. The H-bomb was never dropped. No one was called a heretic, though I know some folks were thinking it.

    Too bad you weren’t there. You’d have heard from a former Insider who says the IM in Bangladesh is nothing but a shell game played by certain western folks with nothing better to do than make up stories.

    Too bad you weren’t there to hear some truly sound, rational, well-thought out papers. Convincing the “other side” – while it is a hoped-for outcome – is not in our hands. If sound exegesis of Scripture is not enough convince folks, it’s out of our hands.

    Too bad you weren’t there to hear a plea for unity. You call for us to just move on, which is like saying “Whatever!” Unity over the truth of the Scriptures, unity about the person of Christ, unity in the the nature of the Church and unity in the truth of Islam’s reality as a false religion: if these are indeed true, it is not something from which we can just “move on.”

    Too bad you weren’t there.

    Jeff Morton

  8. Maybe if I keep making comments, it’ll keep you guys busy answering me rather than insulting what God is doing around the world. Honestly, do you have nothing better to do than host conferences that are against something? Rather than working so hard at exposing those nasty and devious “Insiders” – how about just carrying on with what God has called you to do.

    One other thought – since no one (but me, it seems) is reading this site from the “other side” then you’re only talking to yourselves anyway. And if all my friends signed in and read the things you’ve written, do you think anyone would be convinced? Your points are well-meaning, I can tell, just not convincing. (Like mine are not convincing to you)!

    I could also line up a ton of Muslim’s who have come to Christ who would testify to the exact opposite things your friends who have become Christian are saying. And I could line up verses to “prove” my points. And I could go on and on about the failure of this modernistic western missionary method that espouses a version of Christianity that is barely biblical…. But to what avail? You would not be convinced.

    So as I’ve now said in every discussion chain, why not move on? Let God decide. You are not his Heresy Police. And neither am I.

    Let’s have gatherings and conferences that simply bring Glory to God – not tear down our brothers in Christ. You acknowledge on one had that the IM folks are your “brothers in Christ” yet you call them heretics on the other. Very confusing. Do you think you’re winning an audience with them by these methods?

    Too bad you couldn’t come with me and see the fruit that we’ve seen around the Arab Middle East. You’d be shocked, I’m sure. (You wouldn’t necessarily agree with it all, but I think you’d be surprised to see what God is doing).

    I’m off to the Middle East in about 5 hours, so need to sign off for two weeks. Maybe I can find someone else to fill in while I’m gone as your Chief Antagonizer. :)

    With love and respect (believe it or not)

    carl

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