In the period of the 1970s to about 2000, there were many discussions about presenting the Gospel to Muslims. Since then, a new challenge has arisen, namely, how does one disciple new converts? This article looks at a resource from Duane A. Miller to answer that question.
On May 5th, 2021, Dr. Duane Alexander Miller had an extensive interview with a think-tank related to the Assemblies of God relating to his book I Will Give Them an Everlasting Name: Pastoral Care for Christ's Converts from Islam (Regnum, 2000). In this in-depth talk Miller sketches out why he wrote the book, and gives comments on each chapter.
The title of the book comes from Isaiah 56:5 which reads.
I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.
By using this text, Miller is showing that he is thinking theologically about the subject, and is not simply assembling a facile checklist. It is also obvious that he is no armchair theologian as he discusses the challenges, for example, of baptizing an Arabic-speaking convert from Islam, and the care and consideration of the many facets that were involved.
For readers of a Reformed background, it is interesting to note that Miller, although an Anglican, stresses learning the Apostle's or Nicene Creed, the value of catechisms, and teaching new converts about the distinctives of the church tradition where they are being discipled, the value of liturgy, and the importance of church history. Is this a challenge to the CRCNA as well?
For further reflection:
1. From the flyleaf of the book:
What are the challenges faced by Christ's converts from Islam, and how can their Christian friends help them to overcome those challenges? In this book, Duane Miller draws on years of pastoral experience and academic research to propose practical resources and ideas that have proved successful in the past. This book is not a work of clinical counseling, but a resource ready to be read and applied by the experienced pastor as much as someone who is new to ministry among Muslim-background seekers and converts from Islam. Addressing topics from church history to baptism, and from finances to prayer, the book is being published at a time when the global Church is seeing unprecedented numbers of new disciples coming from Muslim backgrounds and was written to help the Church in providing them with a new and welcoming home.
3. A book review by Phillip Hill of I Will Give Them an Everlasting Name in the January 2021 issue of the Global Missiology Journal