Discussion Topic

"Exploring Cultural Intelligence" will be presented by Pennylyn Dykstra-Pruim (designer and facilitator of the “Building Your Cultural Intelligence” workshop) on October 30. This free, one-hour webinar will outline the key skill areas of cultural intelligence and explore how Cultural...

October 8, 2013 0 0 comments
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SEC volunteer coordinator “Jan” (we can’t use her real name because she is currently serving in a closed country) launched the Skype club concept in March 2012, and has already started 12 international clubs. Hundreds of international English language learners are asking to be included in a Spotlight English Club. “We are limited only by the lack of volunteers available to lead these Skype clubs,” Jan says.And that’s one reason she is requesting what she calls “couch potato ministry volunteers.”
October 8, 2013 0 0 comments
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“With the erosion of organizational loyalty, many see dwindling motivation for younger generations to support missions unless a direct connection between church and missionary can be established. Detachment, even distrust, describes younger generations’ attitudes about institutions, and it becomes evident in the offering plate. Donors want to know ‘how my money is being spent.’ Motivation for giving seems to be shifting. These factors will make it increasingly difficult for denominations to fund missionary salaries from large pooled accounts.”
October 1, 2013 0 2 comments
Discussion Topic

This article in the online Banner caught my attention: Leadership The Color of Love. 

The author writes, "How does a church balance the call to minister locally and at the same time not neglect the Great Commission’s mandate to go to the ends of the earth? In our church the answer lies...

September 30, 2013 0 1 comments
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World Renew believes that God calls Christians everywhere to love their neighbors and to care for those in need. As many North Americans have discovered, when they respond to this call they are as blessed as those they serve. By working through local churches to equip Christians like Yan, they experience the blessing of serving others.
September 24, 2013 0 0 comments
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As we share the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15), we have to speak of more than sin; we have to speak about shame. After recently preaching on this subject in a church in Canada, I was struck that I had hit a cord with my listeners. We in the West are also struggling with shame. Anyone who has struggled with a mental illness, or the family members of such a person, has dealt with shame. Recent cases in the news of cyber bullying have led to suicides due to shame. To live in the shadow of suicide is to live with shame. A Professor commented that young people are leaving the church because they have issues with shame that the church is not addressing.
September 17, 2013 0 3 comments
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With the start of a new school year, your mission committee might be looking for some new and interesting ways to promote missions within your congregation. In addition to the excellent missions education resources available from Christian Reformed World Missions, you may want to check out the following websites.
September 10, 2013 0 1 comments
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So something I have been thinking about recently related to the sustainability of the way I live and simplicity is that it is hard to say no to free stuff.  
September 3, 2013 0 0 comments
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When I tell people in the CRC what I do for a living, I tend to get the same question in response: Why? And I get it. I recently took a position developing a new project for the denomination: LEAP. I understand the skepticism I encounter. Does the CRC need another program to solve problems that are certainly not programmatic? No, we really don’t.
August 26, 2013 0 2 comments
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I’ve noticed a disturbing trend online and in the church in general; it’s the controversial issues that get all the attention. I know this isn’t new. I grew up in the 90s, and even though I was in grade school I remember hearing about our church potentially leaving the denomination over the women in office issue.
August 20, 2013 0 8 comments
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During this anniversary year the history and current ministry of Christian Reformed World Missions will be celebrated in a variety of ways.  At www.crwm.org/125 you can see a painting, order a book, read stories, watch videos and learn about events that will be happening in...
August 12, 2013 0 0 comments
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The topic of the insider movement is one of the most heated controversies in the area of ministry to Muslims. An insider is a Muslim who converts to Christianity, but who remains in the Mosque for a period of time. 
August 6, 2013 0 9 comments
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New church starts are crafting their culture. One of the most significant roles any new congregation will address is the formation of their DNA. For missional churches, the essence of their culture will be incarnational.
July 30, 2013 0 0 comments
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Steve Van Zanen, Director for Missions Education & Engagement for Christian Reformed World Missions, has been researching what churches identify as needing from missions agencies. Through a survey of a random sampling of Christian Reformed pastors, the following were identified as the most important resources and services that CRC congregations most need in order to engage in international missions more effectively.
July 23, 2013 0 1 comments
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When you pastor a congregation of only 26 people, six new members is a pretty big cause for celebration.
July 16, 2013 0 0 comments
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I have on my desk an NIV Study Bible and a Quran (The Meaning of the Holy Quran) translated by Yusuf Ali. I study them both. By studying the Bible, I hope to deepen my faith in God. By studying the Quran, I hope to better understand the religious experience of my Muslim friends, so that I can share with them my understanding of truth as it is found in the Bible.
July 9, 2013 0 10 comments
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CRWM is committed to sharing God’s Word worldwide. But to cover the cost of this work, CRWM has had to increase missionaries’ support-raising goals.
July 2, 2013 0 4 comments
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An excerpt from the Sea to Sea devotional about riding through Shiprock--a good reminder to all of us to shine in the darkness!
June 26, 2013 0 1 comments
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From time to time I receive emails from concerned church members over controversial Bible translations. The translations in question are seven Wycliffe/SIL projects in Muslim contexts where the translators sought to put the Word of God into language that could be easily understood by the intended audience. This kind of translation is called a Muslim Idiom Translation. At the center of this controversy are the names God the Father and Son of God, which we call divine familial terms.
June 18, 2013 0 0 comments
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One of the key principles of global partnerships is reciprocity. Partnerships are a two-way street. Usually when I meet with churches, they want to do something or send money for something. They might even have glossy brochures detailing all the buildings they have provided throughout the world or how many children they have sponsored.
June 11, 2013 0 2 comments
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 “We help Christians and Muslims; what matters is the need, not the background of the person,” explained Pastor Jihad.
June 4, 2013 0 1 comments
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“We are partnering locally with Latter Rain Ministries (Pastored by Bishop Reginald Blackmon) to share the gospel in Fort Wayne, why don’t we partner with a CRC church in El Potrero, Honduras to share the gospel of Jesus Christ globally?” Pastor Jim Halstead challenged the Community CRC church family during a Sunday morning worship service in the summer of 2011.  
May 28, 2013 0 0 comments
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Much of my work involves helping churches discover their unique gifts and talents that they can contribute to the work of World Renew. Sometimes I hear, "my church is too small to really get involved," or "we have a hard enough time paying our ministry shares; we can't take on another offering or missions project."Sometimes I want to say, "Yours is exactly the kind of church I want to work with!"How much easier is it to relate to churches in developing countries when you DON'T have all the financial resources or answers? 
May 22, 2013 0 3 comments
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Owning the task does not mean that missionaries are abandoned—quite the opposite. When a missions team workswith their missionaries to discover a common purpose, the partnership and commitment to the task deepen. To use asports metaphor, the church shifts from merely cheering on the sidelines to being a part of the team.global
May 13, 2013 0 0 comments
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Cultural Intelligence is a crucial skill not just for short term mission teams, but for everyone in today's society. 
May 7, 2013 0 2 comments

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Thank you for all of your responses to this post. It is good to discuss these issues. I want to respond specifically to Elizabeth because this is a question that I often receive in seminars. Can you tell me which specific verse (Sura, ayat) you are referring to in the Quran? It would help me in formulating an answer. Thanks.

 

 

 

Thanks for this Greg!  What I appreciated the most about your '12 reasons' was your reminder for us to think of ways God is already at work in those we meet, including Muslims.   

Isn't it great that the triune God is always at work in this world ahead of us and if we are willing, offers us daily opportunities to share with others our unique relationship with God that has come to us through Jesus with those we meet!  

You have done us a favour by reminding us of some common human bridges that if we are wise enough to recognize them as we interact with Muslims will enable us to become more effective witnesses for the living Jesus. 

 

Danielle:   With respect to Islam "being a religion"  I was also of that understanding at one time,  but found that  Barnhardt's use of the  word 'masquerade'  (refer to Hebrews 4:12,13) made the correct distinction i.e. Islam is a politcal system masquerading as a religion.

Thanks for this, Greg! I find that I can talk openly about God and find common ground much more easily with my Muslim friends than with my secular ones. 

In response to Barnhardt's comments on Islam, Islam is most definitely a religion, but it operates without the separation of church and state that we're so used to and which is a pretty recent invention in the West. 

We are to love Muslims yes - by earnestly praying for the Holy Spirit to enable them to come to saving faith in Christ.  The Qur'an or holy book of Islam emphatically rejects the divinity of Jesus and  his death and resurrection - the very heart of the gospel. The Qur'an brands the Christian worship of Jesus as the Son of God blasphemous. As to the Muslim who had to stop the car for prayer time, one may wonder whether it was devotion or legalism that is, a strict obedience to Islam. The Pharisees strictly sought to observe the Law of Moses and as for me, when a Roman Catholic I never missed Sunday Mass. And it wasn't always genuine devotion. It was primarily because I believed it was a mortal sin deserving of hell punishment unless forgiveness is obtained, normally through the confessional booth at church. 

Greg...........AMEN to all 12 statements!..............Dean Koldenhoven

Recently I read in the Qur'an that the Muslim's duty in obeying Allah, they are to annihilate the people of the Book.  I take it that the people of the Book are Christians who love their Bible.  Can you help me understand the language in the Qur'an.

Thank you for sharing this wonderfully Biblical piece, Greg! Well said.

Thanks Ben! I fixed it. Too many Joels over there at World Missions ;-)

Hi Wendy,

#3 on the list "Can We Be Friends?" was written by Joel Huyser, not Joel Hogan.  I worked with Joel Huyser and Darryl Mortensen in Nicaragua and consider them both as friends til this day!

Thanks,

Ben Meyer

Thanks for this, Greg.  What he (or you) say about the importance of power in Muslim culture jibes with what we experienced working among Muslims in West Africa.  Power and success (e.g. wealth) met with automatic respect and was considered a sign of God's blessing, no matter how (often illegitimately) the power and success were achieved.  Likewise, suffering and poverty were disrespected and considered a sign of God's disfavor, even if the suffering was for a just cause (for being honest, for example).  

    It's so important for Christians not to respond to violence with violence, but rather to go the way of the Cross.  This also reminds me of N.T. Wright's argument in "How God Became King" that it was precisely in Jesus' death in weakness on the Cross that he defeated Satan and became King.

Thanks for the article Greg. This kind of information helps me to better understand the Muslim faith in todays world and how christians should respond. The Egyptian christians (as other presecuted christians in the world today) must be recieving special strength from God to practise forgiveness as has been described. We will continue to pray for them.

Thanks for  your input Greg.   There is absolutely no need for you to be sorry.  As you correctly concluded, "Ami" is given as  a pseudonym. The author (whoever he is) likes to be assured he can rest at night in his own bed,  unlike Geert Wilders who, for his own safety  has to sleep in a jail cell when in his home country.

Nevertheless, "Ami's" book was written in 2007, is registered as ISBN 0-9781206-0-4 and I think  represents the positons of both faiths, Muslim and Christian in an unbiased manner.

As for Wild Bill, he is a colorful character but no one, or any one group, has sued Wild Bill for libel nor are any suits pending.    Secondly, Bill is known to be a strong and discerning Christian....not afraid to separate fact from fiction.   North America needs more men with similar backbone, present respondents excepted of course.

Thankfully my Christian faith does not preclude me from reaching out to people of all persuasians, including Muslims.  I appreciate your concern in that regard.

    Your 2 sources of 'Truth' Ed are most interesting. I am sorry, but obviously there is no such person as Ami Ben-Chanan. I suppose it was a play on words from the Jewish musician, Chanan Benami. And to cite 'WildBillfor America', obviously he has an agenda that doesn't include truth as a priority. Just as I wouldn't seek truth about civil rights from a white supremist, we should be so very careful who we trust to guide us, our Pastor's included. In times such as there we can be so easily lead astray. I pray that your Christian faith doesn't preclude you from reaching out & trying to love our Muslim neighbors. 

Why do you prefer the King James version of the Bible?   And can I ask what is your favorite verse in the new testament? 

 I picked up a book in Toronto some time ago written by Ami Ben-Chanan wherein the author compares the Quran and the Bible.  His hope is that the reader will understand the origins of these Books and find theTruth contained in its pages. (Quran-Bible..Comparison).  The book was distributed at a gathering of people honoring the Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders who is solely responsible for rolling back some earlier decisions that allowed Muslim culture to  thrive  alongside Dutch traditions.  To keep his head attached to his shoulders Geert required the protection  of 9 security people including 4 RCMP officers,

Many folks who confess to believe the Bible  have only a vague understanding of the Truth contained between the pages of Scripture.   I would encourage a thorough study of the Truth in Scripture first before picking up the Quran.

With respect to Truth, check out the website of : WildBillforAmerica,   who provides some insights into the practices of the  Islam faith, as follows: (direct quotes)

-Islam is committed to brutally eliminating all who do not worship Allah

-Sharia Law does not permit Muslims to befriend Christians or Jews

-Muslims in the Middle East live under horrible oppression

-The Muslim community is shamefully silent about Muslim attacks

-In those countries where the Muslim population is greater than 6%, violence skyrockets.  France, Spain, Norway, Sweden, the Philipines are some examples

-wherever  Islam sprouts, violence and bloodshed follow.

As Christians we are encouraged to spread the love of Jesus Christ  to all peoples, which include Muslims.   However, in order to witness effectively it is wise to first understand the mindset/culture/faith of the people being witnessed to.

 

Those attending were primarily working with World Renew for their partnerships, although it is common for their partnerships to include both World Renew and CRWM components.

Webinars can be found at www. crcna.org/webinars under the "archived" tab.

 

I am glad Ruth that you are having talks with your two Muslim friends. It sounds like you have a good relationship with them. Both the incarnation and the Trinity are major stumbling blocks for Muslims. But keep at it. There is no magic solution. If you are honest about your faith and are interested in their faith, and care about them, doors will open. These things take time. Sometimes God intervenes in miraculous ways and provides dreams and visions. But generally it is all about being good friends and modeling what life as a follower of Jesus is all about.

Webinars are archived and can be accessed after their viewing date - so you will still be able to listen to the webinar.

I have 2 muslims living in my home.  I have grown to love them greatly!  They are quiet, fun-loving, respectful young men.  I have recently attended a mosque with one of them.  He wants to convert me.  I would love to understand more deeply what they believe.  We have had some conversations, but they can't get beyond Jesus being God and the Trinity.  How do you get beyond these topics?  I would love to listen to your webinar, but am unable to due to my work schedule.  Is there an on demand version? Or is there some other way to get the information you will discuss?

 

Ruth Lamour

 

Yes, I am a regular reader of the Bible-- I prefer the King James Version. Respect for all. 

Yes, I am a regular reader of the Bible -- I prefer the King James Version. 

Shawn, are you a muslim now, and would you read the new testament of the bible? 

Been Muslim for 20 years -- ask me anything. Nothing is taboo

Greg Sinclair's statements are in keeping with the words of Jesus when He stated; "Love God...Love your neighbor!"  May God bless you Greg in your work with the Muslims and Christians!                                        

I am surprised by some of the negative comments that are posted! By the way....Sharia Law will not be the Law in the U.S.A. The Constitution of the U.S. is THE Law! There are some "peoples of culture", that may want to be ruled by a different law, but that does not matter. Only the Constitution matters!

If there are people that consider the Muslims as their enemy, Jesus had a back-up plan for that...He said; "Love your enemies!"

I l love the Muslim people! We have great dialogue with each other concerning our faith. We work together on different projects together with Trinity Christian College students and Muslim students and adults.

If a Christian is unsure of their own faith, then maybe you shouldn't have dialogue with the Muslims!

Keep the Faith Greg!                  Dean Koldenhoven Palos Heights, IL    Member of PH CRC

   No disrespect to Ed, but I'll defer to Greg's take on this subject. Greg ends his post with "What questions do you have...". Seems like Ed has his answers already, but as for me - lots of questions! I will register for the webinar now.

I respect what you have to say but I love the way you folks run your geography. Chicago and Ontario! (Unless of course you mean Ontario, California) How would you like it if we Canadians referred to other areas as Vancouver B.C. and Texas. Suggest you use Greater Chicago area and Greater Toronto area as much more appropriate and similar size wise. 

Greg:  In Leviticus 19:33 God said" love" and added "do not mistreat him (neighbor)".  However in Judges 6:16 the Lord said to Gideon "I will be with you and you will strike down all the Midianites together".   On the one hand, do not mistreat and on the other hand stike them down.

So obviously some discernment is required.

When Jesus sent out the twelve disciples he warned them to "be on your guard against men" (Matt 10:17).  and  he encouraged them to be "shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves". (Matt. 10:16)   In  other words: to prevent harm to yoursellves," know the folks you are dealing with".

How many Christians really know and understand the Islamic faith?   I would venture very few.  Nonie Darwish in her book "Joys of Muslim Women" provides a number of  insights into the workings of Islam including:

>in the Muslim faith a man can marry a child as young as 1 year old and consummate the marriage by age 9

>Radical Islamists are working to impose Shariah law on the world, teaching that non-Muslim (including Jews & Christians)  are to be subjugated or killed.  (Sadly and to their dismay,  Holland and Britain are finding out what Shariah law is all about as is Dearborn Michigan).

>Islamic scholars agree that those who criticize Islam or choose to stop being Muslim should be executed.

 When witnessing to a Muslim neighbor we would do well to follow what Reagan did with Russia "Trust but Verify".  Similarly,  Jesus gave excellent advice to his disciples.  We would do well to heed it. 

Sincerely,

Ed Tigchelaar

 

 

 

Greg, thanks for the update on this innovative and creative work.  I love not only what is happening in Montreal, but also the collaboration that it represents.  I am very pleased not only to be working with Christian Direction, but also to see the partnership of Diaconal Ministries Canada,Classis Eastern Canada, Montreal CRC, CRWM and CRHM.  I hope to see more of these kind of partnerships in the future as we work to spread God's name and renown in diverse settings among diverse peoples.

posted in: Mission Montreal

In order to get enough medical care support; we used to follow several resources. Therefore in rural regions we have found different medical care organizations are providing beneficial medical care support to the people in different circumstances. So I am sure that the future of health or medical care depends upon quality health care service in different regions with proper support. Quality health care support consits of emergency room; urgent care centers; effective health care reform programs and proper utilizations.

The meeting was billed as sponsored by both agencies, including CWRM.  Any partnerships developed with them?

Good suggestions for the planning processes.

The name has changed, but the mission has not. It is true that while we are funded primarily through the CRC, we have recently made agreements with the RCA as well. Internationally, we work with a number of denominations. 

This article may help: http://worldrenew.net/about-us/news-events/name-change-exploration-update

If there are further questions, I encourage you to call the office to speak with someone. 1-800-55-CRWRC.

In the past I supported CRWRC because I thought I understood the purpose of mission and how it was carried out.  I thought the concept was offer no strings attached aid thus earning the right to be heard e.g. the people ask "Why are you doing this for us?" and the worker explains about our denominational practice of loving God and being a good neighbor.

To me, "World Renew" means nothing but "generic do-gooder." I suspect more than the name has changed. The neo-CRC plan is to become "stealth non-denominational" in the same way that the LDS is "Christian?"

Don't the Catholics, the OPC, the LDS, the Muslims . . .  want to renew the world? For that matter, our imperialistic US politicians and patriotic organizations want to renew the world in the "American" image.  

 

Choices, choose to follow God's commission or choose to provide for aesthetics. The choices are never simple or easy. As congregants' resources shrink, so too do church resources. My question is how do we address the olde saying: Give until it hurts? If I give willingly the 'hurt' is less, the joy is more.

Thanks for your comments to date. I am especially encouraged when people find freedom in Christ. We can only thrive as a church when we have an open healing environment centered on Jesus. I hope this leads to a wider discussion on shame. I suspect there is even shame in talking about shame. It also leads to a fuller gospel more easily shared.

 

Greg, Well said. Good example about the stigma that we heap on the heads of many people, such as your example of people living with mental illness who in turn believe the stigma and fill with shame. If we are going to present that wonder of the new life that comes through the work of Jesus Christ, we need to see Christ not only as Sacrifice for our sin, but also as Reconciler between us and the Father, Healer of broken lives, Cleanser of shame, Victor over the powers of evil, Restorer of shattered relationships, probably more. That gives a much deeper sense of what he meant when he said that he came to bring life to the full.

This is a broad topic that deserves our attention. There truly are many people around us dealing with a deep sense of shame in their personal lives. Anyone who grew up with any type of abuse in their lives needs to know how Jesus can free them from their shame. For me, the shame of sexual abuse haunted my life until I realized the shame of the cross and could identify with Jesus in that way. I was completely freed in Christ. But it's not a topic that the Western church discusses very much. I think we as believers could help make the connection with people who are in desperate need of a Savior.

Thanks for the great resources Wendy! I attended several Advancing Churches in Missions seminars with David Mays from 2000-2010. The Lord used him to help me and many others develop a mission mindset for the Kingdom of God. He was influential in helping us seek think of missions locally and globally!

A webinar would be a constructive way to focus the missional work we want and are called to do. Thanks

Hi Greg-Yes I would be willing to do a webinar to share the Go and Tell Evangelism Seminar (Go and Tell is an easy and practical way to equip you to become a fisher of men (Matthew 4:19) based on the Heidelberg Catechism. This three hour seminar will provide you with the tools to “be active in sharing your faith” (Philemon 6) with others.)  I am praying that the Lord of Harvest will raise up more workers from the CRC to go into the harvest field (Matthew 9:37-38).

I am wondering if Jim Halstead would be willing to do a webinar so more people can benefit from his Go and Tell seminar. With the current process it would need to be voted on.

Thanks Shannon. I look forward to seeing where God takes this new initiative and the CRCNA into the future.

posted in: Taking a LEAP

Salaam: Thank you for clarifying on the "spirit of the Holy." I do recognize the danger of "Christianizing Islam," and realize that there are nuances to these discussions. I do not wish to imply any kind of Logos interpretation to the word of the Quran. Point well made.

 

Greg:  As much as I appreciate your willingness to understand Islam from within and have immersed yourself into Yusuf Ali's translation, I fear you may be inadvertently Christianizing Islam.  Yusuf Ali's own notes to his translation debunk the idea that Jesus was the Word of God. Ali strongly stresses that Jesus was a word from Allah, and Ali suggests that this has nothing to do with the Logos doctrine as could easily be read from your comments. 

From his book:

39. While he was  standing in prayer in the chamber,   the angels called unto her:
"Allah doth give thee glad tidings of Yahya, witnessing the truth of a Word from
Allah, and (be besides) noble, chaste, and a Prophet,  --of the (goodly! company
of the righteous."
301. Notice: "a word from Allah", not "the word of Allah", the epithet that
mystical Christianity uses for Jesus. As stated in Sura 3:59 below, Jesus
was created by a miracle, by Allah's word "Be", and he was.

Secondly: the Arabic speaking "....the spirit of the Holy is never called the Holy Spirit in Islam. This is the trick of the translators; they make the spirit of the Holy out to be the Holy Spirit. In Islam the spirit of the Holy is not holy, but he is a property of the Holy, a slave of Allah (Abd Allah), and at the disposal of Allah...."[i]  Many Muslim commentators, as well assert that the spirit which appeared to Muhammad was Gabriel and that he is equivalent to the Holy Spirit  (see 2:97 and 16:102). Finally, in his "Ten Most Common Questions asked by Christian Missionaries against Islam" Zakir Naik asserts that he sees nothing unique about the spirit being associated with 'Isa as Surahs 15:29; 32:9 talk about Allah breathing his spirit into human beings.


[i]               Abd al-Masih, "Who is the Holy Spirit in Islam?" http://grace-and-truth.org/AM-WhoIsTheHolySpiritInIslam-Lecture.htm (Accessed 2013/01/24)

                Masih shows that a knowledge of Arabic is necessary to avoid Christianizing the Qur'an. With regards to the phrase 'the spirit of the Holy.' "This means, in Islam, when the Holy Spirit is written, it is never a spirit who is holy in himself. The word holy is not an attribute or an adjective, it is a genitive which means the spirit is not holy in itself but the spirit is property of the holy one. Here you have to distinguish the grammar in Arabic. This means holy is Allah and the spirit is his slave. The spirit is never of divine origin in Islam, even if it is wrongly translated in the different Qur'anic translations to blind the Christians. When we speak about the Holy Spirit in Islam, keep in mind, it is never the Holy Spirit, it is the spirit of the Holy, which means a slave of Allah. Just as Jesus is a slave of Allah in Islam, never Holy or divine in himself, so the spirit is not Holy or divine but he is a property of Allah, the Holy."

 

 

 

Thanks for articulating the purpose and vision of LEAP so well.

posted in: Taking a LEAP

Community CRC will host the Go and Tell seminar on Saturday, September 7, (9:00am-Noon). Go and Tell is an easy and practical way to equip you to become a fisher of men (Matthew 4:19) based on the Heidelberg Catechism. This three hour seminar will provide you with the tools to “be active in sharing your faith” (Philemon 6) with others.
Community CRC (3434 Lahmeyer Road, Fort Wayne IN 46815). COntatc Community CRC for more info at fwcrc@hotmail.com or www.fortwaynecrc.com

This is a great post, Wendy. On one hand, I couldn't agree more. However, on the other hand, I really think that these issues have an effect on our work in the Great Commission. Whether that's really what all the debate about is questionable, but the concerns are still there.

As we try to live out the Great Commission, both locally and globally, as institution and organism, what message do we bring to people who experience economic, cultural and spiritual crises or oppression? What power of the good news do we really propose to aid people in their distress? What kind of a savior do we wish to introduce them to?

There are aspects of the Belhar that could be taken to mean that all poor/disadvantaged/oppressed people are really God's chosen (elected) people. Is that really the good news we're bringing to our communities and the world - or is the gospel someting more, or even completey different? As we try to teach people all that Jesus has commanded - with the context he commanded - are we now willing to say that homosexuality is no longer a broken aspect of fallen humanity that requires the blood of Christ for atonement? - Some are willing to change the good news of the atonement in just that way. And, how do we come to a conclusion over these issues when one paragraph of NT scripture may be deeply important for us to obey today, while the next paragraph can be said to have its meaning diluted - not because of the work of Christ, but because of the passage of time or the relative progress of western culture?

These issues that seem to take up a lot of ink (or bytes) are definitely important for the Great Commission we are called to - especially in our contemporary context. I only hope that the glory of Christ and the power of his Gospel the level we're choosing to work out these issues on. If it's out of a lesser desire, and to a lesser glory, then we really can't blame people for choosing to leave the argument for clearer air.

The Lord has blessed us with many salvations at Community CRC (Fort Wayne IN) in the past several years. Community CRC mission statment is "to equip the body of Christ to fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandment one disciple at a time." I have just written an Evangelism Training Seminar called Go and Tell-an easy and practical way to equip you to become a fisher of men based on the Heidelberg Catechism. This tool has equipped many in our church to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. Philemon 7 says, "I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ Jesus."  Please contact Pastor Jim Halstead at Community CRC if you would like to know more about this evangelism seminar. www.fortwaynecrc.com

Interesting and wise words! Far too often I've thought the same thoughts Wendy. What holds my spirit together is personal rembrance of the Great Commission. Often, too often, I just 'go' on my own to witness the Gospel a habit I learned from my evangelist grandmother Jansia Eiland Harper. Witness is missional wherever a Christian sits, stands, walks, talks and travels. Online witness can be used to show God's Love and Grace (without the point-counterpoint arguments :) ).

Thank you Wendy for this posting. I continue to experience similar comments when I travel in Africa and ask : What would you have me do? Prayers and returning are often the top responses. Encouraging people to believe that THEY can achieve using their own meager resources by working together in Christ's name has yielded consitent results on small scale projects.

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