Contextualization and "Encroachment" in Muslim Evangelism


Fred Farrokh, a former Muslim of Iranian background in his article, "Contextualization and "Encroachment" in Muslim Evangelism" uses the example of an Islamized Lord's prayer to demonstrate the shock that a Christian would have if a Muslim "repurposed" this prayer all in the name of outreach. Yet he argues that this is the very thing that some Christians are advocating in outreach to Muslims.

As an example he writes,

Our God, who art in heaven;

Hallowed be Thy name.

Thy kingdom come

Thy will be done to help all people submit to Islam

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into the temptation of thinking God should have a son.

Deliver from the evil of associating partners with the Almighty.

Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever.


Farrokh's abstract to his very provocative article reads ...

This essay seeks to assist Christian messengers by describing the encroachment that is occurring in missional experimentation when Christian messengers utilize Qur’anic textual bridging, the reinterpretation of Muhammad by Christians, and the misuse of the term Muslim. Encroachment occurs in ministry to Muslims when Christian messengers enlist and redefine sacred Islamic texts, persons, and identifiers in a way that usurps from the indigenous communities those texts, persons, and identifiers. Informed Muslims rightly consider these methods deceptive, since these methods seek to create common ground between the biblical and Islamic faiths that does not exist. The essay concludes by recommending alternative contextualized-evangelism strategies that foster more fruitful cross-cultural communication among Muslims and which will not cause unnecessary offense among them.

This article is a very useful tool to analyze current approaches to contextualization, especially those in the context of outreach to Muslims.


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