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First Page

78

Last Page

95

Abstract

"The enormity of the task still facing Christian missions is almost incomprehensible. Nearly 4.1 billion people are still in need of the gospel (Johnstone 2014:65). In some ways, the task of reaching the unreached is most difficult among Muslims. With nearly 1.3 billion adherents, Islam represents a significant challenge to the spread of the gospel. Or does it? Given the complex nature of the relationship between Christianity and Islam, could it be that the inability of Christian missionaries to shed the social, cultural, and political trappings of the West and Christendom have limited the effectiveness of the gospel? Might the cleansing of the gospel of its cultural trapping result in the release of its power among Muslims? If this is to be done, the “leaven” of the gospel must be separated from the “lump” of dough that is culture (Whitehouse 2008:7). As the gospel has spread from its origins in Judea to the far corners of the world, it has repeatedly changed its cultural form and shape. Is it time for the gospel to once again change its form and shape (Walls1996:6)? Many who have spent time in missionary work among Muslims—who have sought to distinguish between the “leaven and the lump”—recognize the existence of what are called “insider movements” and promote them as viable contextualized models of Christian community. In this paper, I give an overview of the history of these insider movements, then describe paradigms for understanding the concept of identity as it relates to “insiders” before examining the theological lenses through which insider movements can be viewed. Finally, I will briefly address several lessons that can be learned from this overview of insider movements. I use the term “insider movement” generically to define the broad concept of someone coming to Jesus while remaining within their cultural, social, and communal context."

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