Wednesday, April 28, 2010

On the Baptism of Muslims

Baptism is the decisive turning point for an inquirer or seeker
to become identified as a Muslim background believer. What we
may think of as ‘secret baptism’ is not really secret when one
Muslim baptizes another Muslim and some of their family and
friends are there. Those who have been baptized gather very
naturally into their family or friendship groups. They protect
each other and provide for each other’s physical and social needs.
The timing of a Muslim background believer’s baptism should be
the prerogative of the man or woman of peace who won them to
the Lord and is discipling them. I know of many occasions when
Barnabas told me that a person he was discipling was not ready
for baptism. It often involved a lack of comprehension of the
Gospel and the security issue. We have had people who join the
believer’s movement to spy out other believers either for the local
government security services or for the fundamentalist Muslim
movements. Sometimes a Muslim’s baptism is delayed until they
can lead other family members or friends to the faith and join
them to establish a believers group. In most cases, baptism gives
new courage to the Muslim background believer and the Holy
Spirit empowers him or her to grow stronger in their faith.

Register, Ray. 2009. 'Discipling Middle Eastern Believers' in SFM 5:2, p46.

What Abu Daoud is reading, and Blogging

Hi All,

Just have not run across much material for the blog lately. Don't get me wrong, I read and write massive amounts, but blogging doesn't communicate some things well. For example, I'm reading Qur'anic Studies by John Wansbrough. It is petty amazing, but extraordinarily dense. And to copy a two or three sentence clip from it would require a page or two of background.

I also just recently completed the venerable conversion narrative of Bilquis Sheikh, I Dared to Call Him Father. Nowadays you can find conversion narrative books easily, but she converted in Pakistan in the 70's, so really just at the beginning of the growth of Islamic Christianity. A short book, inspiring, Catholics will like the role of the doctor-nun who tells a searching Bilquis to pray to God like she would talk to her father--hence the name of the book.

Am trudging also through Yusuf Al Qaradawi's The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam. Al Qaradawi was at Al Azhar, but I'm not sure what he's up to these days. Anyway, this is summa of what the name says. For example: if you find an animal which has fallen into a well and you can't cut it's throat to kill it, can you stab it in the rump and eat it? (Answer: yes.) Also, food given to Muslims by Christians and Jews is hallal, unless it is known that it was dedicated to someone other than God.

To round off the list, am also done with Secret Believers by Brother Andrew and Al Janssen. Not an academic book, but does a good job of giving examples of how complex mission in an Islamic context can be. Also, they don't romanticize much: two of the first converts get killed near the end of the book. One young Christian girl is kidnapped, forced to convert, forced to marry, made a slave....and so on. An easy read.

Germany: Muslim group comes out in support of crucifixes in school

A German Muslim group weighed into Germany's debate about crucifixes on Tuesday, saying it was fine for them to hang in German school classrooms because religion ought not to retreat from the public sphere.

The Central Council of Muslims, which supports the right of devout women to display their faith by wearing a headscarf, spoke out amid a storm over the views of a secular Muslim woman who was set to be sworn in Tuesday as a regional government minister.

"Religion needs to be visible in public space. That applies to all religions," Ayyub Axel Koehler, the German-born president of the Council, told the German Press Agency dpa in an interview in Cologne.

From HERE. HT to Islam in Europe.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Abp. Gabriel of Khartoum on Changing the World

The Christians, any environment they live in today, need to be of that type, I.e. Christians who have those principles in themselves, who proclaim them and live according to them, and are ready to suffer for these principles. It is that way of living which will change the world and our country. It will not be changed by powerful people; it will be changed by simple people who have determination, courage and power from Jesus Christ who himself was poor and a victim of human cruelty, but who has finally overcame evil by his passion, death and resurrection.

Gabriel Cardinal Zubeir Wako,
Archbishop of Khartoum
Khartoum, Easter 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010

On witness to Muslims

Regarding the question of witness to Muslims, I find these words to be illuminating:

The Master, by residing in the Tao [Logos],
sets an example for all beings.
Because he doesn't display himself,
people can see his light.
Because he has nothing to prove,
people can trust his words.
Because he doesn't know who he is,
people recognize themselves in him.
Because he has no goad in mind,
everything he does succeeds.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Temple Gairdner on the Church and Islam

For the church or congregation which desires to be, sets out to be, and succeeds in being a home for those converted to Christ from Islam, is in itself a gospel--preaches thereby the best, highest, and most Christlike gospel of all: the gospel that will be most easily understood and most easily loved by those without, and will most powerfully attract them to come in: let alone the fact that precisely such a church will certainly be the one most forward in preaching to non-Christians in the ordinary sense of the word.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Anglican Nigerians reaching out to Muslims

A Nigerian Anglican archbishop told 825 mostly Anglicans and Episcopalians that included 20 bishops and three archbishops that the outbreaks of violence in Northern Nigeria is a result of tens of thousands of Islamists becoming Christians resulting in the formation of 49 new dioceses.

The Rt. Rev. Edmund Akanya, Archbishop of Kaduna and Bishop of Kebbi from the Anglican Province of Nigeria told conferees at the New Wineskins conference for Global Missions that outreach to Muslims in Nigeria with the gospel is "second nature" to Nigerian Anglicans and that Anglicans "face this challenge every day."

"After experiencing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior I went into mission. Up to 20 years ago we were dependent on missionaries. Now we have a thriving church with our own missionaries reaching out to Muslims, animists and pagans," he told the missions-minded audience many of whom had come from half way around the globe to plan mission strategies to reach the world for Jesus Christ.

From HERE.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A strange episode with corruption and the Gospel

The other day I was visiting a small city which doesn't get many foreigners at all. I went into the barber's to get a shave (you can do that here, it's cheap too). We got into a conversation about history and I said that I have studied religion a good deal. The barber was impressed as I listed off the Islamic caliphates and where they were based. The place had a lot of people in it, just young guys hanging out with nothing to do.

Anyway, after a while he laid out carefully and intelligently the argument for Islam: the Gospel and Torah are corrupted, they were once integral but are not now. So God sent a final revelation, the Qur'an, through the last Prophet, to be a sure foundation and revelation to humanity. What is your response to this, he wanted to know.

I pointed out a few basic things: if God could not preserve the first three books, then why would he be able to preserve the fourth? (This is a question that has no answer, he said.) I also mentioned that the the Qur'an does not say the these books are corrupted. I said that 'tahriif' is simply an Islamic tradition, like the face veil, and you can take it or leave it as you like. I finally pointed out that in the Qur'an God tells Muhammad, "If you are in doubt about anything, ask the people who have read the book before you." Now how can God tell Muhammad to ask these people for advice if their Scriptures are corrupted? All pretty standard stuff.

Then something surprising happened. The other barber who had been listening jumped in, Yes, this is true, the Qur'an does not say the injiil is corrupted at all.

This surprised me a lot. I have never heard a Muslim who was not a follower of Jesus or an academic writing in some journal defend the integrity of the Gospel/injiil. Strange.

Anyway, I lent my NT to the first barber and told him next I'm back in his city I would go to pick it up, and see if he had found any corruption in it. Not sure when I'll be back down there, but God willing he will read it and we'll have a good conversation next I see him.

Abu Daoud

Friday, April 09, 2010

Against Rome

I had a recent heart-breaking conversation with an ex-Muslim. He continued to go to the local RC church and request baptism. He had read the entire Bible multiple times by that time. The priest put him off at first, delaying him. Then he told him he could not because his bishop had forbade it. And eventually assaulted him verbally in front of some other friends of his (who were Christians) and said that if he came to mass again he would call the police. Ultimately, he told him he was fighting against God who had determined that he be born into a Muslim family.

He will be baptized, but almost certainly not into the Catholic Church, because they have refused him. Now who is at fault for this man not being in communion with 'the vicar of Peter'?

One bright spot: some of the young laity who had witnessed some of these things told the priest that he had not acted correctly.

The branch that does not bear fruit is cut off and thrown into the fire.

Abu Daoud

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Abdul Asad: How Islam sharpens our theology

Yes, thanks to Islam, I have delved back into Church history and been forced to re-examine the creeds and confessions of the Church, and to be able to articulate their nuances not merely for the sake of theological reflection with other Christians, but for the sake of the salvation of many people who need to understand these distinctions!

Indeed. Since moving to dar al islam I have vastly expanded my knowledge of the Trinity and the Incarnation. Part of that, I suppose, is the natural process of learning more with time. But really, When you are living in an Islamic context knowing the Trinity becomes not a simple hobby or curios, but something central to your witness.

The whole post is at Circumpolar. I left a comment over there too, check out the whole thing.

Friday, April 02, 2010

The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Qur'an

Joseph Kenny OP: Using the Church Fathers to Answer Muslims' Questions

Well, what can I say, I love this guy. His translations are very straight forward and readable, while still being technical enough to not lost some of the philosophical foundations. I also think that his project of supplying sections of basic historical documents to answer Muslim questions is great. It looks like it's a work in progress, but give it a visit:

Muslims Query Christian Beliefs