Resource, Book or Booklet

A book by Wendy VanderWal-Gritter that encourages a new, "hope-filled, relational way forward for those in turmoil regarding a response to gay and lesbian Christians."

May 6, 2014 0 1 comments
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“I have a prayer request for you, will you commit this year to pray for God to answer this petition?” I replied, “On one condition.”

April 22, 2014 3 0 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

This webinar will show how adding a FOCUS to your missions program can result in more people being part of the missions strategy and more effective ministry being accomplished.

April 2, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog

Last month, I had the priviledge of accompanying a work team from a church in Minnesota as they visited schools and churches in five communities in Guatemala. Three years ago they did an exploratory trip to these communities via Vid y Pampanos (Vine and Branches), a World Renew Partner in the...

March 14, 2014 1 0 comments
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Brandon's idea of a responsible global citizen has much to do with being trustees of the biblical story and practitioners of the love of Jesus towards neighbor, friend, and foe alike.

March 13, 2014 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

Last week, a colleague sent me a link to a blog post entitled "How Support Raising Keeps Parachurch Ministries White" (read it here http://ministerdifferent.com/support-raising-white). The piece contributes to ongoing conversations we have been having at the denomination's global missions...

March 5, 2014 1 3 comments
Discussion Topic

       " No issue in missiology is more important, more difficult, more controversial, or more divisive for the days ahead than the theology of religions.
This is the arena where differing truth claims among world religions challenge Christians to articulate their understanding of the...

March 2, 2014 0 1 comments
Blog

What does it mean to be a responsible global citizen?

February 20, 2014 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

New Film From the Heart of Guatemala City
Through Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM) and CRWM missionary Joel Van Dyke, the CRCNA supports Guatemalan leaders seeking to share Jesus' love and grace with at-risk youth in Guatemala City. In 2010 the film production company Athenikos ...

February 19, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog

Recently Mary Dykstra (Global Volunteer Coordinator for World Renew) and I (Wendy) were interviewed for the Transformational Networks blog by Bethany Beachum (Nehemiah Center). Below is an excerpt of that interview. I invite your questions on the topic of global volunteers and partnership.

February 11, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog

One of the kindest signs of community that we as a family have experienced in our Neland CRC congregation is the way the whole faith family contributes to an educational fund that helps parents meet the heavy tuition load while their kids are in school. In a similar way, I witnessed in November how the “Love Cambodia” congregation, one of World Renew’s local partners, blesses their surrounding communities. 

February 4, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog

Watching Downton Abbey has become a worldwide phenomenon. Lots of diverse people have become invested in the fortunes of the Crawleys: upstairs and downstairs. It occurs to me that one of the fundamental story lines in that series has important parallels to the future of Christian Reformed World Missions...

January 28, 2014 0 20 comments
Blog

In the mid 2000’s Christianity Today took notice of research by Calvin College Professor, Kurt Ver Beek, on the lower than expected benefits of sending volunteers out from North America. Ver Beek has lived in Honduras for 30 years and he was there for the duration of Hurricane Mitch (which took 14,000 lives in 1998). The North Americans who flew south to serve in the aftermath of the storm were his case study.

January 21, 2014 0 4 comments
Blog

In the world of missions, disaster response, and community development, there are a lot of organizations. A LOT. World Renew works in partnership with a lot of them. 

January 14, 2014 0 2 comments
Blog

In the spirit of the 12 days of Christmas, I challenged myself to think of 12 reasons to love Muslims. Here goes and we will see if I can do it.

January 6, 2014 0 22 comments
Blog

10. Getting Involved in Global MissionsThis post definitely has staying power! Written in 2009, it provides a comprehensive list of ways to get involved in missions, overseas and in North America. You'll also find links to helpful resources.

December 31, 2013 0 2 comments
Blog

Why not start the New Year with a fresh slate when it comes to promoting your missionaries? If it's been awhile since your church updated its website or newsletter listings, now is a great time to make sure everything is still accurate. If you have done this recently, why not use the checklist below to consider additional ways in which you might let your congregation know about the missionaries they support?

December 17, 2013 0 0 comments
Blog

In his book, Journeys of the Muslim Nation and the Christian Church, David Shenk describes three meetings experienced by a Christian college group in Israel and the West Bank.“First, they met with a Hamas leader. He explained the theology of Islamic jihad. He stated that in the present circumstances violent confrontation with Israel was the only alternative, that jihad was necessary.

December 10, 2013 0 2 comments
Blog

Advent is upon us. The lands of Israel, Assyria, and Egypt were the lands where Jesus was born, was a refugee, and did identify as his home. As we remember his first coming, and watch these countries come into and out of the news, let us not forget to pray for them.

December 3, 2013 0 0 comments
Blog

"Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it." 1 Peter 2:11 (The Message)

November 21, 2013 0 0 comments
Blog

Joel Hogan worked as a Christian Reformed World Missions missionary for seven years in Tacloban, a city of about 200,000 people on Leyte island, which was in the eye of  Typhoon Haiyan that hit the Philippines last Friday. In fact, he lived on a road leading from a Christian Reformed Church in the Philippines (CRCP) congregation near the water and the airport. 

November 14, 2013 0 0 comments
Blog

People tend to fear what they don't know. Knowledge reduces fear and allows people to take a step of faith and engage the stranger in their midst. Many Muslims have immigrated to North America and have become our neighbors. Do you have a basic understanding about what Muslims actually believe or practice? And where would you start to witness to your faith...

November 12, 2013 0 14 comments
Blog

I walked out of the train station and heard the familiar strains of French and English being spoken, sometimes both languages used interchangeably. Montreal has a large population of Muslims and our denomination is committed to reaching out to Muslims.

November 7, 2013 0 1 comments

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   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.

The article demonstrates the decay in what is called evangelicalism. It is loaded with unchallenged assumptions and conclusions that are mystical and outcome based. It demonstrates theology by personal opinion and preference rather than a revealed standard in God's word. If you question at any point you, you are questioning the "Spirit's movement."

 

Greg begins by saying, "I thought we were all Christians." Instead of looking in scripture to see what a Christian is, and if what he thought was correct, he unconditionally accepts what this man says and widens his christianity to be more inclusive. He concludes that pretty much anyone in any socio religious context who says they follow Jesus is in fact a Christian. At any rate we cannot question if they are or not for at least a lifetime or even several generations.

 

"An insider is a Muslim who converts to Christianity, but who remains in the Mosque for a period of time." A period of time, that sounds so reasonable for a new believer, right? This wording leads churches astray into thinking that #1, there is a conversion and #2) it is just a small period of time and, after all, they are moving forward and growing out of Islam.  It is nothing but "IM soft sell", after all it is hard and you can't expect someone to leave right away so give them time - up to a life time or several generations...

 

"Despite the many misgivings in the mission community, there are examples where insider movements have arisen spontaneously, without the intervention of western missionaries.  Where, when, and how can they be verified, what do they believe, or is it enough that someone claims there are these people somewhere who love Jesus?

 

"Insider movements in many cases reflect the desire of Muslim converts to maintain their Muslim identity as they take on a new identity in Christ." This is called remaining comfortable in your rebellion against God. No matter what religion you came from, to keep it is to not obtain a new birth. Jesus and the rich young ruler are a perfect example of this.

 

"I am personally more comfortable with cultural insiders as opposed to those who we would call religious insiders. But ultimately, we have to give space to those who are following the Holy Spirit and who discern God’s leading to remain in their cultural and religious community." Truth and theology based on liquid opinion not revelation. What spirit are they following?

 

"We won’t really know how effective this strategy is until the second and third generation." In summary, the whole debate is about strategy not truth or theology. What you believe matters.

John 4:23 - 24 Jesus speaks of true worshipers who worship in spirit and truth. Revealed truth in the plenary inspired word of God is conspicuosly absent in this article.

I find ironic that the INSIDER MOVEMENT proponent use westernization of the converts as the excuse why Muslims should remain in their culture. 

I am an MBB from Saudi Arabia and know others like me who ha e no desire to stay inside a mosque whatsoever. After all we were freed from the bondage of the DEVIL when we became FREE in CHRIST. Why on earth do we want to stay in the temple of demons. 

In addition, who said Islam and Islamic practice is cultural? In assuming this one would insult the many ARAB Christians and Non-Arabs who live in those areas. Such assumption stems out of western ignorance.

Further more, extraction from ones community and culture is a BIBLICAL MODEL. What do we make of Abraham's story, Noah's, The Israelites of the EXODUS account, the Exiled people of God, to name a few. The whole purpose of extraction is to make ONE unique and set apart, not to mention God's sovereign purpose to extract us out of our COMFORT ZONE! After all, why do we need Gen. 12:1-3 or Matt. 28:19?

Finally, it is rather hypocritical to claim that the whole purpose of the IM method is to prevent the Werernization of new Muslim converts, when in fact the IM method is a western method!

A piece of advise to the IM proponent: please stop using my people as your test lab object for YOUR GLORY.

 

 

 

 

 

There's a lot of misinformation that has been circulating about Insider Movements, but this ideology can be clearly traced historically to Western sources, and it's something that has almost completely been rejected by national believers. 

As a Lebanese Christian who does ministry among Muslims, I urge any readers to take a hard look at Insider Movements and realize that they are syncretistic, deceptive, and are not of God.

In my experience, when Muslims come to Christ, they overwhelmingly want to leave Islam behind and gain a new identity in Christ. This doesn't mean that they have to lose their witness among their families, but it does mean that they must gain a new identity, and give Christ the glory for their changed lives - if they remain in Islam, that glory goes to Islam. 

Fortunately, this is something that they naturally want to do, but unfortunately many Western workers convince them to return to Islam. This is a sad thing, and requires them to repent for leaving Islam - again giving glory to Islam and reinforcing the stereotype of "once a Muslim, always a Muslim".

I pray that Westerners would begin to listen to the nationals, who are crying out against the Insider Movement ideology. The nationals understand their own culture, and how to be Christians in it.

For some good perspectives on Insider Movements, I would recommend this report on a conference on this topic: http://biblicalmissiology.org/2011/10/03/insider-movements-a-critical-as...

You defined an 'insider' as "An insider is a Muslim who converts to Christianity, but who remains in the Mosque for a period of time;" however, this definition is a very misleadeing. Even within ministries that are strongly opposed to IM, it is not uncommmon for new converts to remain within the Mosque for a time. Staying in the mosque for a short period of time alone does not make one an 'insider'. The primary difference is that some remain in the Mosque while they learn and grow through dicipleship, knowing that there will soon come a time when they need to take a stand for Christ and break from the Mosque while others remain in the Mosque with no intent to ever leave. IM teaches that many Islamic doctrines and Scriptures can be harmonized with the Christian Scriptures and that one SHOULD remain in the mosque if at all possible. True 'insiders' continue to affirm Mohammad as prophet (often the supreme prophet), the Qur'an as God's inspired word (often the preeminant word of God), and many reject a belief in Christ's divinity and/or his attoning work on the Cross. It is this kind of syncretism and combined with the commitment to remain in the Mosque that defines an 'insider'; it is much more than simply remaining in the Mosque for a short period of time after conversion.

Here is a part of the Heiderberg Catechism on which Banner Editor Bob DeMoor had Sermon recently):

 

26.Q.What do you believe when you say:I believe in God the Father almighty,Creator of heaven and earth?A.That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,who out of nothing created heaven and earthand all that is in them, 1and who still upholds and governs them    (this is the key phrase that God is in control)by his eternal counsel and providence, 2is, for the sake of Christ his Son,my God and my Father. 3In him I trust so completelyas to have no doubtthat he will provide mewith all things necessary for body and soul, 4and will also turn to my goodwhatever adversity he sends mein this life of sorrow. 5He is able to do so as almighty God, 6and willing also as a faithful Father. 7

 

Can anyone argue with the statement "God is doing a new thing?" It seems to me like it has echoes of the hyper-spiritual French prophets who castigated any of their opponents with the phrase, "If you criticize this, you will be quenching the Spirit." Funny how that has a way of disarming any kind of critical analysis.

   Sad that the voices of Bengali Christians who have seen the Insider experimenters from the West swarm their country with all their new techniques are not represented here. In their film, Half-Devil Half-Child they chide the Westerners for treating them like lab rats. The insider featured in that film tells in his own words that he is lost out in the woods. 

May we not be too quick to declare that God is doing a new thing, when in fact experimenters are doing so.                                  Shalom
W

 

 

What deceptive definitions: religious insiders. Sorry but I don' t buy your  argument. 

The one, true God works in ways we do not understand and this seems like one of them.  My prayer would be that these insiders would be able to find ways to fellowship with other believers and continue to grow in Christ.  I can certainly see the precarious position they would be in.

Thanks Greg for your nuanced treatment of a controversial topic.  Your conclusion is right on.  No matter what position we hold on insider movements, it cannot be denied that God is at work drawing Muslims to Jesus in many suprising and wonderful ways.  Muslims responding to Jesus and moving towards him need our prayers and our love especially since there is a great price for many of them to pay to follow Jesus. We need to align ourselves with what God is already doing to call Muslims to faith in Jesus the Messiah. 

Thanks for sharing your experience. Just because it's related and because I think you and certain readers might like it, here's a link to 'Halal Monk', an interfaith webproject that collects the conversations of a Christian theologian with influential spiritual leaders and important artists of the Muslim world.

It must be exasperating when CRWM has been doing most of those right along.  There must be some underlying malaise in churches that pastors don't know how/can't overcome.

 

Thanks for your comments. I think in general this has been a productive discussion. I did not intend to imply that we should bridge to the Bible by understanding the Quran better. The Bible stands on its own as God's special revelation - a further one is not needed. However Muslims have a natural curiosity about Jesus. Where does that come from? The Quran. So in that sense the Quran is a bridge. We can also appreciate other aspects of their faith such as their devotion to prayer and to fasting (as it is Ramadan) which can spur us on to live out our own Christian faith more fully. My main point is that respect opens doors to both better relationships and also opportunities to witness to the Gospel. I hope that is clearer.

Bert, I agree with you that the quran will not help us to understand the bible better.   But what I think was meant by the phrase (could have been said better), is that christians can use their knowledge of the quran to lead moslems to the bible.  There are some similar sayings and there are some references to Jesus, which provide a kind of natural link to talking about the truths found in the bible.   I agree with you that  "Bridge" is a poor term, because it suggests we need to cross the bridge of quran in order to understand or receive scripture, and that is not so. 

I agree you you there, but the statement:

[quote]The Quran is a helpful bridge to the Bible{/quote]

is wrong. Read and understand it, yes. Bridge to the Bible, absolutely not.

     Even those of you who view all Muslims as evil or not to be trusted or worse, shouldn't have issue with someone trying to better understand where they are coming from. "Know they enemy" yes? Only a very small percentage of Christians that I've encountered have even a modicum of knowledge about their own faith and what our Bible teaches, so I am very distrustful when they claim to understand Muslims and the Quran. I whole heartedly endorse those Christians who have a mature faith & have spent plenty of time in God's Word to help us understand our Muslim bother & sisters. You go Greg!

 

It seems to me that saying that we should respect the Quran the way Moslems respect it, reveals an ignorance of how moslems really regard the quran.   We can understand how they respect it, but the only way to respect it the way they do is to accept Mohammed as the true prophet of Allah, and to follow all the precepts and commands in the quran.  Which we cannot do. 

Just to see what happens, I'm repeating my earlier comment, which has dissapeared:

"It is likely that Muhammad encountered both Christians and Jews in his travels as a caravan trader."

------------------------------------------------

It's not only likely that he encountered both Christians and Jews in his travels.  He also tried to kill them all!  The Koran, no matter how you spell it, is a Satan-inspired book.  Stay away from it!

Yes, they are dangerous waters but waters in which we must dive.

[quote]The Quran is a helpful bridge to the Bible[/quote]

Those are very dangerous waters you are treading in.

Hi Lou, We have been providing grants to other organizations which in turn hire and pay people (which is what is happening with Rev. Bahago) for a long time, much longer than 15 years.  Of course, a much much larger piece of our ministry is training and equipping national leaders who are not depending on CRWM for their income at all.  CRWM is doing much more than sending career missionaries.  Some may lament that, but others are very glad that we are responding to a changing world by changing ourselves, changing in method but not in purpose.

Hi Harry,  If a missionary raises more than their full costs, the amount will be carried over to the next year.  This has not been a problem so far, but we hope.  Our budgets include projects that we are definitely committed to and which are financed on the same basis as career missionaries as well as those that are COI, conditional on income.  Sometimes missionaries also have side projects that don't fit in either of these categories.  I'm not sure what sort of project you are referencing.  Please email me at svanzanen@crcna.org and we can address this.

Shift of policy over "the last few decades."   As recently as 15 years ago some of us WMers were very firmly turned down on this (hiring/subidizing nationals) even while our ministry colleagues (CRWRC) were doing so.  Oh boy...  I guess we priced ourselves out of the market, and this shift looks to me like a market based decision.  There is a biblical one: equality!

Steve van Zanen raises a very interesting point. The logical (possibly unintended) consequence of this model might be that when a church supports an idividual missionary it will deduct this support from it's Ministry Shares for WM so as not to support the same mission organization (WM) from two sides.

The other consequnce is that if a missionary raises more money than his/her budget needs who gets the surplus amount?

Last year I tried to have an amount designated for a specific missionary program to assist with some out reach ativities that the missionary had suggested to me. My approach was to FIRST ask WM to include that project as an amount in that missionaries budget for that purpose.  I was uncerimoniously turned down. Only WM knew the needs of the missionary.

There was a recent update on the trip posted on the Banner website.

Extreme Heat Temporarily Halts Sea to Sea Bike Tour

Please continue to pray for the riders.

Wendy, your post awakens memories of long discussions about mutuality in global relationships. Because money plays such a large role in our lives, it distorts so much of what should be learning from one another. I wanted to add one or two ideas to what we can learn from African churches, namely, suffering and poverty. While each of these are mainly negative ideas, each contains a source for learning about life and our mission before God. I used to wonder at Christ's prediction that we will suffer for his sake, when I live a life that is mainly free of such suffering. We all  have troubles, but these, of course, pale in comparison to  our brothers and sisters in Africa, for the most part. When we enter into relationship across international boundaries, we get to share -- or be in solidarity with -- the suffering of others, to some degree. And we can, at times, see how God helps some rise in spirit above poverty, how they can experience joy in the Lord in times of need. Of course, I do not condone either suffering or poverty, but in a mutual relationship, each brings his or her own experience to the table, and those experiences form a whole greater than anyone person at the table.

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