by A. Scott Moreau and Mike O’Rear
Perhaps no other topic has generated more recent interest—not to mention heat, light, and storms!—among missionaries than contextualizing the Christian faith in Islamic settings.
Perhaps no other topic has generated more recent interest—not to mention heat, light, and storms!—among missionaries than contextualizing the Christian faith in Islamic settings. EMQ has carried its share of articles, as have the other major missions journals. Even TIME magazine featured a cover story on the issue of evangelizing Muslims (June 30, 2003). One of the distinct advantages of the Web is that it is possible to collect the resources that have been developed and place links to them in a single convenient page,1 which is what we’ve done for this installment of Missions on the Web. You’ll find the page at <b>www.mislinks.org/topics/contxmus.htm.2 If you are Web connected, you’ll find this article more engaging by having your copy of EMQ available while your browser is open to the MisLinks page. Dive into those items that look interesting, and skip those that don’t. Our links3 offer literally weeks worth of reading. Take advantage of what we’ve pulled together and let us know if we’ve missed anything significant you have used or posted.
RESOURCES FOCUSED ON MUSLIM CONTEXTUALIZATION
First we’ll explore resources focused on contextualization issues for those engaged in ministry among Muslim populations. We start with the Southern Baptist Convention IMB catalog, “Around the World: Islam”, which has materials for ministry, including videos, books and prayer guides. Iranian Christians International focuses their efforts on ministry among Iranian and Afghani Christians who live outside their home countries. They offer a catalog of resources for training in Muslim evangelism and numerous links to Iranian Christian news, reports and numerous links to related Web sites.
Artists for Israel International has an online text entitled “New Creation Book for Muslims: Grow a Jesus Mosque”.4
Who is Isa al Masih? offers apologetic articles contextualized for a Muslim audience on topics such as archaeology, Bible, creation, dreams and visions and multimedia resources. The World of Islam CD-Rom from GMI is the best resource available. It includes “the full text of some fifty of the best books, journal articles, and academic courses on Islam; an annotated bibliography; collections of maps and photographs; and links to Web sites related to Islam.” Priced at $39.95 for students, this disk is unparalleled in content.
Understanding the motivations, fears and hopes of Muslims who have come to Christ will help us better contextualize our evangelization effort. Therefore, the next set of links we provide are stories of evangelism and conversion of Muslims. An especially interesting evangelistic method, called “The Camel Method,” is available in a Word file through Mentor and Multiply. This twenty-seven-page document is the shorter version of a full book available from WIGTake, which also published David Garrison’s Church Planting Movements.
The Network for Strategic Missions KnowledgeBase has almost 150 articles under two topics: “Christ-Followers-Muslim” (twenty-four articles) recounts the stories of Muslims who have come to Christ and “Muslim Evangelism” (124 articles), which includes a mix of articles on evangelizing Muslims and stories of successful evangelism.
Muslims for Christ is a site developed by Christians from Muslim backgrounds and is intended to generate Muslim-Christian dialogue about conversion. J. Dudley Woodberry and Russell Shubin’s Mission Frontiers article (“Muslims tell… ‘Why I Chose Jesus’” offers the results of research dedicated to finding the motivation behind conversions.
InterVarsity provides several stories of former Muslims who have come to Christ “Testimonies of Muslim Background Believers”.
The largest and most fascinating collection of such stories is found at “Testimonies of Muslims Who Become Christians”. More than 130 listings are split by country and gender—some available in Arabic.
The last site offering stories of those who have come to Christ is “Who is Isa al Masih?: Dreams & Visions”, which recounts several stories of those whose conversion to Christ stemmed from a dream or vision.
There has been strong debate over how far we can go in contextualizing ministry among Muslims before it becomes syncretism. Much of that debate has played out in journal articles of the major evangelical mission periodicals. The journal that has presented the greatest volume of material is the International Journal of Frontier Missions, which has had no less than five entire issues focused on Muslim evangelism—as well as numerous articles in other issues. We have linked to all that we could find from this invaluable resource. EMQ provides two ways for its online subscribers to search for articles. A search page offers a drop-down window on various topics, including “Muslims,” which yields thirty-five items. A search for the words “Islam, Muslim” (without quotation marks) yields 186 items.
The COMMISSION (IMB) offers the five most recent articles from their set of online publications. Entering “Muslims” in the search bar gives ten items listed by publication.
Mission Frontiers also has a search page. Typing “Islam, Muslim” (no quotation marks) into the search bar returns ninety-seven results; a search on “Muslim background believers” (with quotation marks) yields seven.
GENERAL RESOURCES ABOUT ISLAM AND MUSLIMS
Our second major set of links provides access to general resources on Islam and Muslims. The first subset of resources presents Christian responses to Islam. Answering Islam is a comprehensive site offering numerous articles under topics such as Muhammad, the Quran, Islam and Terrorism, and Questions and Answers. The site sponsors do not identify themselves, instead noting “Let our readers be Bereans. We want that Muslims come to faith because they become convinced of the truth of the Gospel through the soundness of the material we present, and we want our Christian brothers and sisters to develop their convictions about their own faith and about Islam for the same reasons: Because it is true.”
An interesting resource is the online book Islamic-Christian Controversy, written to help Christians effectively share Christ with Muslims.
Into the Light is designed to generate Muslim-Christian dialogue. It offers perspectives which help Muslims better understand the Christian faith.
Middle East Resources offers resources so Christians will be better informed about Islam. Included are articles, position papers, a bibliography, Arabic tracts and so on. We also link to the topics “Islam” (158 articles) and “Folk Islam” (twelve articles) from the Network for Strategic Missions KnowledgeBase.
While Christians write extensively about Muslims, Muslims also write about Christians, especially about the more recent trend of Christians using contextualized outreach. We offer links to several articles from Islamic authors that criticize mission to Muslims. These include (“Contextualization: A New Missionary Approach to Muslims”, “Christian Missions: The New Crusade” and “Jesus Mosques and Muslim Christians”). We also pro- vide a link to the secular critique in the May 2005 Mother Jones article “The Stealth Crusade”.
Certainly anyone who wants to contextualize the gospel for Islamic settings needs to understand Islam from both Islamic and secular sources. That is the focus of our final set of links. There are three popular sites. About Islam) is for Americans interested in gathering information on Islam. No explanation is offered about the sponsors of the site. Al-Islam.org (Ahlul Bayt Digital Islamic Library Project) makes rich multimedia Web pages available. IslamiCity offers resources for Muslims ranging from basic explanations of the faith to Arabic television and radio links to IslamiCity Marriage, a set of pages designed to help Muslims find suitable spouses.
There are also more academic sites, including the Internet Islamic History Sourcebook, which has hundreds of links and is maintained through the Internet History Sourcebooks Project at Fordham University. It provides “collections of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts…for educational use.”
The Islamic Studies-Arabic-Religion Webpage, developed by a professor at the University of Georgia, enhances the study of Islam and numerous subtopics such as Islam in the modern world, militant Islam, Islamic art, music, theology and philosophy.
Virtual Religion Index: Islamic Studies offers links to articles and essays on topics ranging from general introductions to modern movements in Islam.
The questions of contextualization in Islamic settings are sure to be with us for the foreseeable future. We hope the links provided will help those dealing with these issues become better equipped in making wise and informed decisions as they seek to communicate the Good News among Muslims. As always, if you have additional links we have overlooked, we invite you to e-mail us.
1. While some of the sites we list have Arabic and English, because neither of us read Arabic we have confined our search to those sites using English.
2. All sites listed are assumed to start with http:// unless otherwise noted.
3. By providing a link to a resource, we are not endorsing the position or theology of the resource.
4. The html page is quadruple-spaced with narrow margins. To save paper while printing, copy the entire text into your word processor and eliminate the extra hard returns before printing.
A. Scott Moreauis editor of EMQ and chair of Intercultural Studies at Wheaton College Graduate School (Wheaton, Ill.). His e-mail address is A.S.Moreau@wheaton.edu and the Wheaton Missions Department Web address is www.wheaton.edu/intr
Mike O’Rear is the president of Global Mapping International (Colorado Springs, Colo.), which is dedicated to providing access to information for church and mission leaders, especially in the two-thirds world. He also serves as Lausanne senior associate for information technology. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org and the GMI Web address is www.gmi.org/
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