Abu Daoud on Insider Movements

For a long time now this has been one of the main debates going on in misiology (I dislike the word--who combines Latin and Greek? Oh yeah, Americans). The debate goes by various names, all of which are annoying. The most recent label is Insider Movement. Nobody knows exactly what these are, or where they are happening, or how to define them. It appears to have something to do with Muslims staying within their birth communities while following Jesus. For most Muslims this means remaining within the Umma, one would think. Most Muslims and Christians throughout history agree that the Umma and the Holy, Apostolic Church do not overlap. Remaining within the Umma would appear to mean that one continues to call one's self a Muslim, if not actually go to mosque (lots of Muslims don't go to mosque, lots of Muslim women can't go to mosque at all). The whole thing is very confusing.

John Piper has recently spoken out against IM. Cody Lorance (don't know who this person is at all) responded. Our brother Warrick Farah over at the fine blog Circumpolar has summarized the two issues and offers his own two cents.

I personally find the whole incredibly annoying. Not because the discussion is not worth having, but because the people engaged in this discussion simply do not have, imho, the civilization resources to make a positive contribution to the discussion. Here is what I said in a comment at Circumpolar:

In the end I suspect that American evangelicals are just not really capable of having this conversation. As Americans we are a history-less and rootless people. As evangelicals we have, for the most part, tried to get by on the bible alone (a ridiculous project) while getting rid of tradition and ritual. A tradition that lacks an appreciation for its own rituals, history, and traditions simply is not capable of making a useful contribution to matters of religious identity for Muslims [or Christians] who are deeply invested in history, ritual, and tradition.

One attempt to define IM is here. It is the best one I've found so far.

Insider movements can be defined as movements to obedient faith in Christ that remain integrated with or inside their natural community. In any insider movement there are two distinct elements:
1. The gospel takes root within pre-existing communities or social networks, which become the main expression of “church” in that context. Believers are not gathered from diverse social networks to create a “church.” New parallel social structures are not invented or introduced.
2. Believers retain their identity as members of their  socio-religious community while living under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of the Bible
--Rebecca Lewis, 'Insider Movements: Honoring God-given Identity and Community, p 16, IJFM 26:1, Spring 2009. (Google it...)


Don said…
Although I can see why Evangelicals would be bothered by this, the more I know and look at this the more complicated an issue I realise it is.

One thing that most people don't realise about Islam is how deeply cultural it is. People think that mosques are referred to in this country as "cultural centres" strictly as a ruse to fool the dhimmis, but that's not entirely true. I know people from MENA who are entirely unIslamic in the way they live and believe and yet consider themselves Muslims.

OTOH, Evangelicals--particularly in the South--are cultural in their own way, and have made some pretty significant concessions to the culture they find themselves in. That's particularly true since Christianity no longer leads the culture in the US but follows it. Evangelicals by and large have a horror for the isolation that comes with being (and especially looking) different, so they don't have any business criticising others who are working out their situation in a parallel way.

One thing people forget is that, in most Muslim countries, it's necessary for one to register one's religion. Changing that can be difficult, both in the process and in the consequences. What "Insider" converts probably figure is that the authorities can find out for themselves whether they're "real" Muslims or not.

I can see that this could lead to syncretism, that's a real danger. But, as you point out, we've already got that with Christianity in the West, liberal and conservative.
Abu Daoud said…
Thanks Don, another problem is that Americans like everything settled right now. I suspect it will take a generation or two for these 'movements' to figure themselves out. The gravitational pull of either Xity or Islam will win out in all likelihood, and it will pan out differently in different places.
----One thing people forget is that, in most Muslim countries, it's necessary for one to register one's religion. Changing that can be difficult, both in the process and in the consequences.------

I dont think most Muslim countries punish apostasy today. Muslim scholars have a differences of opinion as to weather or not is islamicaly mandated.
But even if you look at the harsher position. Its similar to
what the early US practiced.

----all scholars, past and contemporary, agree that ... It is a person who publicizes the fact to encourage others to do likewise that commits a punishable offense------

Now compare this to one description of an 18th century Supreme court Judge...

----He defended the coexistence of the constitutional provisions relating to freedom of religion and freedom of speech and press and the blasphemy statue…------

(Repressive Jurisprudence in
the Early American Republic:
By Phillip I.Blumberg,
------One thing that most people don't realise about Islam is how deeply cultural it is. People think that mosques are referred to in this country as "cultural centres" strictly as a ruse to fool the dhimmis.-----

I agree that Muslims tend to confuse culture with Islam and thus contaminate the pure teachings of their prophet (PBUH).
One famous Muslim comedian has documented this in the US.


See also Nouman Ali Khan

I am interested in your use of the word 'dhimmi'. Why not just say 'non-muslim'?
Abu Daoud said…

Thanks for dropping by as always.

Most countries do not actually kill people for apostasy? That is indeed correct. Thank God they are not faithful Muslims who obey the word of the Prophet, "man baddal diinahu fa aqtaluuhu." (that's straight from Al Bukhari, by the way.) For readers who do not speak Arabic that means, "Whosoever changes his religion slay him."

You cannot escape, my friend, from the fact that in your religion, your deity send as a final prophet a man who commanded his people to kill any apostate. Nor can you escape the very real fact that there is an unalterable consensus among your scholars that this hadith is directly from the Prophet and therefore represents the unalterable shari'a or law of Allah.

I can tell you are not comfortable with the law of apostasy. But my friend, it is a reality which you must incorporate into your Islam/submission to Allah. You know that you do not get to choose what parts of Islam you accept (as American Christians do with their faith). You must accept the whole thing, even if you do not understand or agree with it.

Either submit, and kill the apostate, or depart from Islam altogether and experience the love of God in his messiah, who is King, Priest, and Prophet all at once, and who said, "love your enemy; bless those who curse you."

Here there is true life my friend. Your Creator calls to you. You have loved him in a mistaken way, but the doors of true mercy and compassion are open to you now. Do not harden your heart, and do not be afraid of the Prophet's sword, which will follow you after you enter the Light of God.
Cody Lorance said…
Greetings Brother Abu Daoud. For some reason I never noticed the link you posted on my site to your blog until now. Anyway, I'm glad to find you and the article. I think I understand your sentiment in this post and that is why I, by and large, do not attempt to comment upon particular forms which are normally debated regarding Islam. My expertise is in the Hindu world and that in the context in which I am immersed. My interaction with Piper, DeYoung, and others has been on the level of general missiology (a word I actually do appreciate, but I'd be fine if we wanted to call it apostology or something like that). I do not believe it is impossible for Americans to meaningfully contribute to this conversation, however. You have cited some yourself in your post (including Rebecca Lewis). Beyond that, diaspora phenomenon has resulted in a very large number of American Muslims, etc. But, I agree that it is a great challenge and that very many who wade into the conversation would be better off listening. Blessing to you!
Regarding apostasy, I am NOT troubled by it whatsoever.
For the reasons I already cited, I do not have any moral issues.

Now personally think that Islam does not teach this, but I have no issue is I am wrong.

Every culture has limits on what one can or cannot say

Even the people celebrated in the West for setting standards of freedom
(George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, etc) were ALIVE when the US government did this.

As long a people are respectful to each other and dont make public offenses (or OPENLY declaring change in faith) what is the issue?

I comfortably chat with people of other faiths without thinking of beheading them.

''''according to the consensus of Muslims jurists....any honest intellectual criticism can be allowed'''

Mualana Shafi Usmani
Maariful Quran
Commentary on Chapter 9:12-16


Some people may say ''well thats still harsh''

My reply is ''who decides that''
Thomas Jefferson, George Washington would ---agree WITH ME--- that there is nothing wrong with this.

(I think santa Claus would agree too!

But even so, this is irrelevant as to which faith I should follow
As discussed here, this subjective and does not prove much

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