Saturday, December 19, 2015

Understanding Insider Movements

Given recent world events involving Islam, it appears Harley Talman and John Jay Travis (pen names) couldn’t have released their newest contribution at a better time. The collection of 64 (mostly) previously published articles is titled Understanding Insider Movements: Disciples of Jesus within Diverse Religious Communities.

An “insider,” according to the book, is a person “from a non-Christian background who has accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior but retained the socio-religious identity of his or her birth.” As “insiders” become disciples of Jesus, the authors suggest, they’re more readily able to win their family and friends to Christ, thus leading to a “movement” to Christ. While the church’s aim, as it appears in the New Testament, was never explicitly to encourage new believers to remain as deeply as they could in their original contexts, the Insider Movements (IM) approach seeks to strengthen and advocate for such a paradigm.

Given the volume’s title, some may expect to find a comprehensive and rigorous understanding of IM. Unfortunately, the title is a misnomer and the work won’t prove particularly helpful in ministry among Muslims. A glance at the Table of Contents reveals that advocates of the IM trend wrote most of the chapters. No chapter raises or treats the many missiological and ecclesial concerns that several Christian leaders—such as Doug Colemen, Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung, Fred Farrokh, John Piper, Jack Riddle, and J. T. Smith—have voiced against the IM paradigm. Understanding Insider Movements, then, isn’t actually about “understanding” Insider Movements. Read more

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