Insider movements examined


Can a Muslim follow Jesus and remain a Muslim? David Garner examines the "Insider Movement" approach to reaching Muslims.

UPDATE: Rebecca Lewis responds to David Garner's critique:

From Rebecca Lewis

1) When I refer to "insider movements" it only refers to indigenous field movements to Christ, not anything done by outsiders/Western missionaries or missiologists (see the wikipedia definition of "insider movement"). Garner is referring to radical contextualization strategies/methods by outsiders when he uses the term IM; I am not. All the following comments must be understood in that context.

2) Garner's critique of so-called IM ecclesiology disregards the fact that the field movements to which I am referring are functioning communities of believers, under the authority of scripture, with the criteria fulfilled that he lists from the NT for churches. Since movements only result from believers witnessing boldly, and consist of believers numbering in the hundreds if not thousands, individual secret believers are NOT "insider movements." Hence critiques of secret believers, including those by MBBs, do not apply to insider movements.

3) I believe that obedience to Christ IS the sign of faith in Him, which includes worldview and moral transformation, and is possible whether in evil cannibalistic tribes or arrogant secular-humanist universities or Muslim communities.

Contrary to Garner's assertions, in no way do I ever suggest that cultures and socio-religious communities are "neutral" or that cultures or morals are relative. I am staunchly opposed to disobedience or faint-hearted obedience to scriptural teachings due to cultural accommodation (in our own culture as well as theirs).

4) Garner fails to prove that believers must be removed from evil socio-religious contexts in order to be holy and faithful to Christ. He also fails to demonstrate that Paul and the apostles taught that people must renounce their birth identities due to their religious connotations (Jew, Roman citizen, etc) as part and parcel of asserting their supreme allegiance to Jesus Christ.

5) The fact of the matter is that all societies are religious as well as cultural. The historical record of the spread of the Gospel (both before and after the rise of Protestant missions) shows that extraction of believers from their evil societies has not been the way people groups have come to Christ. Leaving believers in their socio-religious communities is therefore not a "new missiological paradigm."

6) Especially when dealing with cultures where salvation is seen as resulting from ones works, it is important to keep the emphasis on salvation

being fully the result of Christ's sacrifice, and our humble acceptance of his gift of righteousness. Obedience to Christ's commands is only possible through the Spirit, and the greatest tendency of Muslims coming to Christ is to revert to faith in salvation by works, regardless of where they are on the C-scale. We must consistently ask them, "After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal through human effort?" (Gal. 3:3)

7) I fully affirm Garner's call for a unified global church devoid of syncretism. As we seek to get our own denominations to put off syncretism with

the culture we live in and to live in brotherly unity, humility should permeate our concern and efforts to insure that fellowships developing in other cultures succeed where we are struggling. Ironically, it is often our own churches' syncretism with materialism, immorality, secularism, and militant politics, as well as disunity, that makes insider fellowships shy away from association with "Christianity," while it is their dissociation from us that makes us question the validity of their faith. I would hope each side could learn to encourage the other, instead of condemning.