by Reviewed by Cheri Pierson
Miriam Adeney’s new book focuses on case studies of Muslim women from different regions of the world. These “daughters of Hagar” experience the grace of God through the Lord Jesus Christ in challenging and often dangerous contexts.
Miriam Adeney. InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400. Downers Grove, Ill. 60515-1426, 2002, 224 pages, $13.99.
—Reviewed by Cheri Pierson, Missions/Intercultural Studies Department, Wheaton Graduate School, Wheaton, Ill.
Miriam Adeney’s new book focuses on case studies of Muslim women from different regions of the world. These “daughters of Hagar” experience the grace of God through the Lord Jesus Christ in challenging and often dangerous contexts. Adeney’s background in anthropology is revealed through the ethnographic descriptions of daily life for these women. Her purpose in writing the book is to familiarize Western Christians concerning the multifaceted lives of these women and to suggest possible mission strategies.
Adeney conducted interviews over a seven-year time period with approximately fifteen women to provide a case study foundation. Each of the women has a consistent testimony which verifies them as true believers. Interspersed with the case studies are chapters focusing on other themes such as family relations, teaching-learning styles and finances.
One major purpose is to give the reader a background for recognizing misconceptions concerning ministry to women with Muslim backgrounds. Adeney addresses five issues that tend to misdirect mission strategy if left uninformed. One issue is women’s evangelization and discipleship. In other words, can women be evangelized and discipled just like men, or should women’s evangelism be subsumed under men’s? Her thoughtful response is “sometimes.” Since Islam adamantly resists the Lordship of Christ, family members can threaten or hold others back. Therefore, it is essential that individual seekers have the opportunity to pursue the truth of Christ privately.
Adeney deals with Muslim, cultural and women’s themes throughout the book. Her purpose is to influence Christian teaching for women and about women. For example, Adeney points out that concepts and experiences about women in most societies include nurture, vulnerability, interdependence, storytelling and multi-tasking.
In addition to discussing significant themes that address women’s issues on a global level the book opens a window of understanding to the lives of people behind the veil of Islam. The book addresses many key questions in clear language and keeps the reader focused on issues. In reading her work, one is faced with the fact that no simple formula exists for missionary work among the Muslims. Adeney, however, offers a fresh and honest approach to consider, making this book essential for the missio-logist, Christian teacher and lay person who prays for this vast population in our world today. Misconceptions should be dispelled and accuracy emerge concerning Muslim women, who may hold a significant key in the evangelization of the Muslim world.