PART III: Letters from a Missionary Wife, Part 3
We have printed out the document concerning our International Offices discussions with you (our home office) and have read it. J and I have talked about this and I will do the writing – this is not J’s gift. Nor mine really but we have endeavored to remain rooted in scripture upon which we find no fault. I will not declare scripture references again – we have done this already in the past.
One question – are we the couple ready to leave the mission agency if a decision is not taken on the Insider Movement issue? (we are ok with this statement but if someone else is thinking like us we would like to know or are we really out of step with the “movement”?) And if a couple is distraught about the issue – is it because they are being questioned/challenged/ called to a scriptural account for their methods as viewed doctrinally? Methods are one thing but doctrine another. We would be sorry for those who feel distraught but the fact remains – we cannot do whatever we like.
Please know before reading this – we are grateful to you, appreciate your leadership and know the responsibility you bear, and say the rest with no anger or bitterness. We write this not aimed at you personally but perhaps as a last appeal to the “movement” or the “powers that be in leadership”. You are free to share our thoughts with upper leadership – we are not however interested in any forms of ongoing debate on this or written dialogue. Our stand is clear as is our conscience. Our time is full.
Our first response – a heavy heart. It seems that things will remain as they are – more “scholars” need to be consulted. What is to happen then? We most certainly are not interested in conferences with other Christians where we are defending the simplicity of sharing the gospel as we understand it in scripture. Our ministry is full, active and praise God by His grace – fruitful – we do not want to be sidelined in our time by fellow Christians – no less on such an issue. There is work to be done and many like minded (doctrinally speaking) to work with. You are right to say that this issue should not take time away from field work – but it has.
The entire issue seems to be once again Western people with their “new” agenda. They felt we were too “western thinking” in our old approach and now have come up with something better – never mind what the MBB’s think or that true Muslims will have no idea what this is about – let’s be Western again and do what we want now under the guise of a new Muslim Followers of Jesus banner – now we feel better about ourselves culturally and hopefully we are now saving new “converts” the pain of persecution. It is westerners again imposing an agenda – C5 – and we need to consult the new gurus of these approaches to make sure we “get it right this time”. Now we need to become competent in using the Koran to our advantage, we need to feel comfortable in Islamic ways and use them, we, we, we – the gospel is the power of God – not our method. And we (J and J) feel C5 is disguising this power, removing the power – deceitful. We say this with all sincerity – if people who espouse this model would put as much effort into simply speaking a clear presentation of Christ and His work – count the cost and consider all things loss – accept suffering as part of what we do – much would be accomplished. Oh – the studies, the papers, the further education towards my PhD so I am more credible in the eyes of the world (and the church) , the conferences, the discussion forums, the blogging, the time spent reading (not scripture), the emails, the thought into defending and working out this model… it all says the gospel is insufficient in its own merits, lacks relevance, and that we can add to it by our own works. There was a day when this was heresy.
Muslims are responding to the gospel – who are we do judge what is slow in terms of response? To say that it just has not been good enough – is God at fault? With the follow up that we are involved in, what we experience is a lack of willing workers to commit to go meet those who respond to programs. They are worried about their residency, the time involved or possible persecution (theirs and converts). (The follow up partnership does not accept workers who use C5/6 – organizations see this as a method unacceptable) When we judge numbers it seems that we must believe that God is not sovereign and that it is not a divine work of the Holy Spirit that brings people to Him. We must not believe that our only responsibility is to declare a clear gospel message. It must be something we have to do – we need to help God out with our methodology and presentation of “truth” as we see it. It seems we are now questioning what the gospel really is. Sorry we are repeating ourselves – Does this make sense? We are weary of the Insider Movement issue and have only been doing a little reading about it, a little writing, and have sat through (thank God) only one conference presenting it.
We will stop now – we have made ourselves as clear as we possibly can. We are not afraid to judge this movement – we have lined it up with scripture and found it wanting. That is enough for us. We are not judging hearts – but a method, actions, and doctrines – we are called by scriptures to do this and scripture alone is the judge. Or have we become like other religions that bring in the experience, opinion and declarations of men as being equal to scripture (or holy books)? Are we merely entertaining our flesh with clever discussions and building up our worldly image as “people of faith who dialogue with other faiths to find common ground”. Paul did not speak about the Unknown god because it was common ground. He was distressed by the idolatry and grabbed the point upon which he could preach the true Gospel. But even this story is twisted to facilitate long term “contextual” approaches. To use Jesus as an example of the ultimate contextualizer as He became flesh – is to deny the declaration that He extracted from Peter – “you are the Christ, the son of the Living God”. He took upon himself all things, was a servant – yes – but He never denied the truth of who He was. C5 hides this – this is darkness and doctrines of demons. Harsh words – yes – but harsh words are for religious people who say- imply – teach- purposely veil things that are not solidly supported by scripture.
The truth is we cannot be double minded, trying to play both sides in an attempt to please all. And the statement made at the end of the document – well – it did not shed any light either way on the issue – we are aware of these scriptures about unity – but – no stand is being taken here by the leadership. Again – what we hear in this statement- are spiritually placating words (and use of scripture) to silence those who are actually attempting to question the doctrinal errors of IM. The underlying thing here again is the “grace oriented” card that seems now to trump even doctrine that does not line up firmly with scripture.
Thank you for inclusion as Team Leaders but we begin to feel involved in a movement that is confused and trying to please the flesh (desires for numbers) and not God. I know this may seem harsh to some – but our spirits are grieved by the lack of faith in “workers” to God’s grace and sovereignty. We do not enjoy being viewed by fellow workers as “lacking in grace.” I personally do not like being called a Pharisee because I do dare to judge by scripture a “method” – but we feel pushed into compromise and guilt by association to a movement losing its footing. It has become just a struggle of “interpretations” when we think many of us know in our spirits that this is wrong for mission agency to continue to apply “grace orientation” to this issue – an issue that has over stepped any such boundary.
Thank you for hearing us out. We respect all you have done and are doing. May God keep you and sustain you in all things. We press on and wait upon the Lord for our steps. He is so faithful to call His people and we still to this day marvel at the miracle of faith that occurs in the hearts of Muslims when they become believers! As is true of everyone who receives this faith.
J and J