PART I: Letters from a Missionary Wife, Part 1

J and her husband (also J) have been in ministry to Muslims for 16 years. They have seen much fruit in follow-up ministry in North Africa, as well as in media ministry and training nationals to create radio broadcasts to reach their own people. Below are excerpts from J’s correspondence with their sending agency and its board members.

**********************************************************
Here is a quick response to the question:  Can you get an MBB’s response or perspective on Insider M?

Dear G.,

I will check into this question- the MBB’s that I personally know are not really the types that will spend time (unlike our fellow co workers practicing Insider M) writing about their perspectives – LOL!!  But I am happy to do this.

If you want an off the cuff perspective from an MBB presently visiting us;  here it is.  I explained what Insider M was about to her and after she got rid of the confused look on her face she just shook her head and said: “From one bondage into another!”  She then asked if IM was an idea from Americans.  I’m not sure what that means – LOL!!  But I interpreted it that she felt it was not an idea that nationals would have come up with on their own.

We are having great and consistent response by the way,  to the radio broadcasts to [country in N. Africa] – unprecedented!!  My sheep know My voice!  We are very excited and trusting the follow up to move on.

blessings,

J

**********************************************************

This is a portion from an e-mail from a fellow worker on the C5/6 issue.  It was addressed to me and just part of some questions put to me:

J,

As an advocate for IM where it means “inside their existing communities” and not so much “inside of Islam”, I’m wondering if some of the difference here is context.

My impression is that in Indonesia and Bangladesh, for instance, that the Muslim community will tolerate a wide range of deviant practices/beliefs, where that is probably not the case in an Arab speaking context.

That is somewhat true here in CA where many self-identify as Muslims, but are not practicing Muslims. For these there is no option for them to “remain in the mosque” as they weren’t there in the first place.

For many in our context, being a “muslim” means being an “Uzbek”. Here you are a muslim by birth but you can have little if anything to do with formal Islam.

Wanting to keep listening and keep learning,

G.

****
Dear G,

I actually did not even want to answer the thoughts presented – our eldest leaves tomorrow to start Uni in Edinburgh and our new chapter has begun in life as the “exodus” has begun of our children.  But I am compelled to answer – this IM issue burns and weighs on my heart.  I am not a debater, researcher, or advocate for anything except salvation through Christ alone based on scriptures.

I say the following with fear and trembling – I do not like conflict but there are things that must not be – and the IM causes me to feel a fresh boldness in my faith – and fresh assurance in the integrity and examples in scripture.  If as much effort were to be put into preaching a clear gospel / living a holy life set apart –  as is put into developing Insider Movement thought and practice – I wonder if there would even be an issue?

I believe we can think whatever we like, follow whatever movement we like, redefine terms and discuss word meanings endlessly to make our interpretation of contexts and practices work.  Following this kind of logic though – I have trouble with reading the scriptures of the new testament knowing the suffering, persecution and death that believers endured to proclaim the gospel.  They were salt, set apart, warned to remain true to the doctrines they were given, not ashamed……. I shed many tears knowing that the life I was calling my dear muslim friends to would bring them nothing but hardship –  it caused me much soul searching as to whether I in fact believed the scriptures to be true.  My conclusion was as Paul’s – to live is Christ – to die is gain – the cost was counted.

Let me share a personal case in another “context”- if something is true – it is true everywhere (or am I the only one who believes this?) – My husband is Maltese, his family from the island of Malta – to be Maltese is to be Catholic – it is their culture and identity.  When you say that you are not Catholic – you have rejected not just the “church” but the Maltese culture.  Is that not so??  My husband thinks not – he was Catholic from the day of his baptism as a baby – but that was set aside for the gospel when he came to saving faith as an adult.  He could no longer practice or be part of in any way in the acts and traditions of Catholicism.  And believe me they are integral to the life of a Maltese person.  He knew what it meant to do so – and knew the greater significance of freedom and saving faith in Christ.  He recognized that to follow Christ would mean the rejection of certain cultural practices in order to be faithful to Christ.  Many Maltese as you say never attend the church but identify as Catholic.  But you will see extremely strong reaction when someone identifies openly as otherwise.  But what does that mean really? Everything that I read about Paul exemplifies a life that embraced the truth of the gospel and a full understanding of what living it would really mean.  It seems our desire is to shield believers from any kind of set apartness in whatever context they are – this is viewed negatively.  I see this even in my home country of Canada.  You can’t really tell the Christians from the un believers for the most part – they are fully part of the culture in most every way and to varying levels or degrees.  Ultimately, it is when you reject cultural practices that contradict a Christian walk that the stress/persecution begins – it seems to me proponents of IM wish to avoid this reality.

The gospel is an offense to some and foolishness to others, it is something that some will face death over and others not, it is life to those who believe and death for those who reject – I only have faith in God and the scriptures we have.  And not on my pondering or good ideas.  I can be part of whatever community I may find myself in, but at some point clearly there will be practices/ traditions that will need to be rejected as they contradict the Christian walk as revealed in scripture.

Thank you for listening – I really don’t have more to share on the subject – scripture tells us that God’s sheep know His voice.  I can say this truth is without question – my father was from the Catholic culture – he knew even as a child something was not right and when he heard the gospel as an adult – he praised God because he knew it to be true.  This is the same for North Africans who have come to faith – they testify to suddenly having their spiritual eyes opened – they went from death to life. They do not feel they are rejecting their culture but in fact embracing identity with Christ – and being set apart may result.   Why do we feel we need to make a “better” way?  We as workers need only to be faithful to testify to the scriptures and the gospel – it is God’s work to bring saving faith.  If something is true – it must be true in all situations, countries, and cultures.  I feel the IM falls well short of this – I feel the movement is faulty.

2 Timothy Chapter 1:

6For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.8So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9who has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.

blessings,

J

PS.  Isn’t that scripture AWESOME!!

 

PART III: Letters from a Missionary Wife, Part 3

PART IV: Letters from a Missionary Wife, Part 4

Editor
View all posts by Editor
Editors website
Share →

2 Responses to Letters from a Missionary Wife, Part 2

  1. Thank you for sharing your insights. It takes courage to express the views you do here, and they are very helpful. I agree…awesome Scripture!

    Returning from the MK life, I initially lived increasingly as a barely recognisable Christian in the comfort of my western, modern life. I can testify to the devastating impact it had on my life and my faith. Since we know this to be a dangerous side effect of the modern, Western life it makes no sense to encourage it in believers in other countries, simply as a means to avoid persecution or to maintain family ties. It may seem easy for me to say this, but the thought of people believing they are saved and actually being led into false conversion or at the very least not learning true dependence on Christ is a terrible thought indeed. The Bible, from beginning to end, tells us what God thinks when we blend our faith with the world or other false religions and practices.

    Truly following Christ has necessarily resulted significant life changes, the loss of close friends and my husband, the need to find a new, Bible-believing church and a far greater focus on living out my faith in every area of my life. I learned that if there is no great cost for following Jesus Christ, then I should be concerned about whether I am truly following him at all. I would hate to think others of being robbed of knowing this truth.

    I hope these comments are useful or encouraging. Feel free to point out any ignorance or insensitivity I may be displaying. May our gracious Lord Jesus continue to bless you in your work and in your faithfulness to Him and his true Gospel.

  2. Pierre Houssney says:

    I love the former Muslim girl’s response:

    “after she got rid of the confused look on her face she just shook her head and said: “From one bondage into another!” She then asked if IM was an idea from Americans.”

    It’s so true, even historically, and I’m not surprised that she was able to put her finger on it- IM is an American idea from beginning to end.

    The thing that amazes me is that IMers have been able to convince themselves and others that IM is true contextualization, when it misses the heart of the culture by such a distance, and only co-opts the external features, as viewed by Westerners.

    The fact that actual cultural insiders are overwhelmingly against the so-called “insider movement” should be enough to cause the Western missions movement (which is full of people who really love Muslims and want to share Jesus with them) to abandon IM thinking and begin learning the heart of the culture from their brothers and sisters who have come to Christ from a Muslim background.

    It’s really sad that instead, so many well-intentioned people have ignored them, dismissed their informed objections as ignorant, judged their hearts as hateful of their own background, and suppressed their outcries against IM.

    I thank God that the tide is turning, and the information age is finally bringing their voices to the Western church. I just pray that the Western church will listen and respond in a Godly way.

Leave a Reply