Thursday, 1:00-5:00 p.m.
Essential Pre-Conference Seminar (with 30-min break)
"Uncommon Ground" Jay Smith
Brief description: This is a personal and in-depth presentation of his own paper, "Assessment of the Insider's Movement's (IM) Principle Paradigms in Ministry to Muslims". Scroll down for a more detailed description. This stand-alone part of Legacy 2012 is essential for pastors and other leaders in churches that have missionaries on the field, because more missionaries are embracing all or some of these popular but dangerous Common Ground, or IM teachings, also known as "Chrislam" in its more extreme forms. (See longer description below.)
All Plenary Sessions, Thursday p.m. through noon Saturday
1. What is the Gospel? (or, the Supremacy of the Gospel in Missions) David Garner Thursday, 7:00-9:30 p.m.
2. Using Romans to Preach the Gospel to Muslims (including a case study on the life and ministry of Kamil, a Muslim who became a Christian) Rev. Bassam Madany Friday, 9:00-10:30 a.m.
3. What does it mean for the Gospel to Penetrate Life and Culture? Bill Nikides Friday, 2:00-3:30 p.m.
4. Is the Gospel Exclusive to Christianity? (or Does Christianity Own the Gospel?) Jay Smith Friday, 7:00-9:30 p.m.
5. The Consequences of the Gospel: Should the Gospel Lead to Extraction and/or Persecution for Muslims who Embrace Christ as Lord and Savior? Abdu Murray Saturday, 9:00-10:30 a.m.
6. Restoring the Gospel to Missions Georges Houssney Saturday, 11:00-12:30
Essential Pre-Conference Seminar with Jay Smith (See bio in speakers page)
Topic: "Uncommon Ground": What's Wrong with the Insider Movement?
Thursday, June 14, 1:00-5:00 p.m. (with 30-min break)
*Especially important for pastors and church leaders.
This is Jay Smith's personal and in-depth presentation of his paper, "An Assessment of the Insider Movement's Principle Paradigms in Ministry to Muslims." It has this title because this analysis is based on Jay's first-hand experience of attending an annual conference which purports to identify and build on commonalities between Christianity and Islam. Jay does not believe that such commonalities are warranted, nor does Legacy.
In this pre-conference seminar Jay Smith will first present 17 of the principle paradigms of the Insider Movement and then share his assessment of them.
The Insider Movement and its advocates is not an aberration representing a fringe group, but seems to be increasingly popular, especially amongst the young. What’s more, from the adulation expressed by many we should expect that this movement will become increasingly mainstream within Evangelical Christianity.
In this assessment Jay has identified what he believes are 16-17 of the core beliefs or principle paradigms of the 'Insider' philosophy, also known as Chrislam in its more extreme forms. An "Insider" is defined as “One who embraces Jesus, yet remains as a light in his ‘oikos’ (household) so that as many as possible might be saved” (Matt 5:15). There are many different definitions and practices within the movement. A recent definition calls it, “a popular movement to Christ that bypasses formal and explicit expressions of the Christian religion”. To be more specific, an ‘Insider’, as he understands it, is someone who considers Jesus as their ‘Lord’ and ‘Saviour’, yet who stays inside their culture (in this case their Muslim culture), inside their biological family (what they define as one’s ‘oikos’), continues to call themselves a Muslim (as defined in Sura 5:111), therefore believes the ‘Shahada’ (that God is one, and Muhammad is his prophet), continues to go to the mosque, attempts to pray five times a day, participates in the Ramadan fast, and some believe can go on the Hajj (pilgrimage). As one might imagine, there will be variations on this definition depending on whom you talk to and where they are ministering. In this pre-conference seminar Jay will present these principle paradigms and his critical assessment of them.
1) What is the Gospel? (or, the Supremacy of the Gospel in Missions) Rev David Garner Thursday, 7:00-9:30 p.m.
What is the Gospel? This question itself is striking. In this day and age of personal choice, personal autonomy, and personal pursuit, can we even speak of one Gospel? Is it not the height of arrogance and prejudice to claim that Jesus Christ is the only way and therefore deny the legitimacy of other faiths? Our contemporary world, even the religious one, insists that Christian exclusivism is neither right nor moral. Some insist that it is not even Christian! But what does God himself say? It seems backwards, if not wholly preposterous, for humans to assume and to assert what God can and cannot do, to tell the God of heaven how we can get to him. It is quite another thing to grasp the genuinely good news, what the God of heaven and earth has done for our redemption, forgiveness, faith and freedom. This session will explore the teaching of Scripture on the life-giving freedom of the good news, which is centered in Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God.
2) Using Romans to Preach the Gospel to Muslims (including a case study on the life and ministry of Kamil) Rev. Bassam Madany Friday, 9:00-10:30 a.m.
The inspired writings of the Apostle Paul cannot be ommited from our evangelism to Muslims. least of all his letter to the Romans. In Romans God gives the church through the pen of Paul an exposition of the saving gospel that is essential to Christian missions and every kind of evangelism, everywhere, for all times.
The theology of Romans has always played a major role in the history of the Church. Augustine found materials in it to combat the heresy of Pelagius who denied original sin, and thus the necessity of Redemption. Luther was converted through his reading and meditation on its major themes; Calvin taught that Romans has the key to the understanding of the whole Bible. Romans was written to a church that Paul had not organized. It was in a strategic part of the world: the center of the Roman Empire. The church members needed to know in a systematic way, what the Gospel was all about.
First, Paul dealt with the corruption of mankind. (Rom. 1-3:20) This is extremely necessary to emphasize to Muslims whose concept of the Fall is generally superficial at best. Muslims believe, as do Jews, that they can achieve their own righteousness, and thus they do not submit to the righteousness of God. If there is no Fall and no corruption of the human nature, there remains no reason for Redemption, and the coming of the Redeemer, Jesus. Paul continued by dealing with the unbelief of the Jews (Rom. 3:21-8), and their ultimate salvation. (9-11) Then Paul gave us the outline of the method to approach the Muslim in Chapter 10. This was the approach used by Rev. Madany for 36 years in his radio ministry to the Arabic-speaking world. It also is the focus of his short but excellent book, The Bible and Islam.
3) “What does it mean for the Gospel to Penetrate Life and Culture?” Bill Nikides Friday, 2:20-3:20 p.m.
4) “Is the Gospel Exclusive to Christianity?” or “Does Christianity Own the Gospel?” Jay Smith Friday, 7:00-8:00 p.m.
Today, there are increasing voices within Christian mission circles who are trying desperately to accommodate Islam, both contextually, and theologically. While cultural Contextualization is exemplified in the early ministry of the church, one would find it difficult to find any examples of theological Contextualization, for the simple reason that much of what Islam believes and practices stands in direct contrast to that of Christianity. In order to show just how much better the theology of Christianity is, and how much more relevant the practices of Christianity are, I will be comparing and contrasting seven areas which we supposedly share in common, but really don't; including: our scriptures, our views of women, our views of the Kingdom of God, our views of God, our understandings of Jesus, our stances on peace and violence; and finally concluding by asking which faith is more relevant for the 21st century. After traversing these seven comparisons, there should be no question concerning just how exclusive our Gospel really is.
5) The Consequences of the Gospel: Should the Gospel Lead to Extraction and/or Persecution for Muslims who Embrace Christ as Lord and Savior? Abdu Murray Saturday, 9:00-10:30 a.m.
Title of paper: "A Misguided Mission: How the Insider Movement Robs Converts of the Blessings of Persecution"
The Insider Movement (IM) is, in part, an attempt to prevent or eliminate suffering and persecution of “converts” from Islam to Christianity, [as well as unnecessary extraction of these converts from their social networks]. While the Insider Movement’s proponents will deny that their goal is to eliminate persecution per se (finding it to be a Biblically-based part of the Christian life), avoiding persecution is an inevitable result of the movement. This is because the Insider Movement encourages “converts” from Islam to maintain their Muslim identity, while maintaining a form of Christian identity privately so that the convert will not be shunned by [or extracted from] the Muslim community, which would deprive that community of an indigenous Christian witness who could positively impact that community for the gospel. In this paper [and plenary talk], I challenge the IM proponents’ denial that they seeks to avoid persecution and further argue that regardless of their intentions, the IM has the effect of preventing persecution. I argue that this is an unbiblibcal intention and result. First, while persecution is a horrific experience [that may result in extraction], Scripture makes clear that persecution is an inevitable and even necessary part of a life that serves Christ. Scripture also makes clear that persecution can be a blessing that brings us closer to God amidst—in fact because of—turmoil. My own experience as a Christian from a Muslim Background (CMB) is consistent with this Biblical data. When we try to eliminate persecution from a new believer’s life, we rob him of a true conversion experience and the blessings that come along with it. Moreover, according to Scripture and Church history, persecution actually strengthens the Christian witness within a community and encourages evangelism in other communities as well. Accordingly, while the Insider Movement seeks to prevent converts from suffering persecution, it succeeds in prevent converts from experiencing God-given blessings that lead to kingdom advancement.
6) Restoring the Gospel to Missions George Houssney Saturday, 11:00-12:00 a.m.
The last four decades have witnessed an incredible surge in missionary activity. The Lausanne Movement launched in 1974 at the world congress in Switzerland. Sparked a worldwide revolution of innovative approaches to missions. Inspired by a strong desire to see the Great Commission fulfilled in our lifetime, myriad mission agencies took the challenge and began to implement major changes in their mission statements and strategies. Speakers at the Lausanne Congress raised concern for “hidden people”, those unreached by the gospel. The Muslim world, which had been virtually ignored, suddenly jumped to the forefront of missions. New mission agencies began to emerge for the exclusive purpose of reaching Muslims. Thousands of people-groups in the Muslim world and everywhere else were identified. Plans to reach them were drawn up, and efforts began for the implementation of those plans.
Yet we have lost something of extreme importance. With the horizontal growth has come a loss of depth: the purity of the gospel. We have concentrated on programs and activities; we have become enamored with cultural diversity, methodology, and statistics at the expense of compassion for the lost souls of people from every nation, tribe, and language. The value of the individual has been downplayed as we have aspired to see group conversions, which give more statistically significant results. The simplicity and purity of the gospel has suffered greatly at the hands of our sophisticated and well-articulated missiological theories. Boldness has given way to cultural sensitivity even secrecy. The transformational power of the gospel has been surrendered to low-key methods of church planting and people movements. “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news” (Isaiah 52:7) has been replaced by air waves, mass media, and other impersonal channels of communication. The private prayer lives of godly men and women who labored on their knees in former times have been been replaced with public concerts of prayer. and high-powered prayer teams who spend massive dollars and time praying around “Jericho” without ever talking to a soul about the Lord or making an attempt to stay in the land and take possession of it. Consequently, the national church has often been undermined. Traditional missionary approaches have been mocked and set aside in favor of better, more effective, expedient, and missiologically correct methods. I have felt the deep pain of finding no viable body of believers after traveling to locations where thousands were reported to have come to Christ. When I asked where these thousands have gone, no clear explanation was given. Yet reports continue to be mailed to donors without any attempt to qualify exaggerated statistics. Such incidents have escalated over the years, and I wonder if the interest in statistics, theories, and methods has caused us to lose our compassion for people who are lost. Creating new and innovative programs appears to be more important than seeing believers grounded in the Word of God and growing into “living stones” in the body of Christ.