New SEBTS Online Course on Islam

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Many if not most Christians need to understand Islam, both as a religion and a culture, in order to pursue faithful witness to Christ in the 21st century. Questions about Islam’s origins, iterations, practices, and its relation to Christianity must be considered in the effort to understand and witness. To support these efforts, Dr. Ant Greenham addresses such questions and more in Southeastern’s new online course on Islam, starting Fall 2014.

Fair warning to the students who take advantage of this opportunity: Dr. Greenham is firmly committed to theological truth. Because his primary allegiance is to the Lord Jesus Christ, the course on Islam is not exactly politically correct! But it is precisely what followers of Christ need.

Politically correct or not, Dr. Greenham is a more than able instructor. He served in the 1980s as a South African diplomat in Israel, where he first met Palestinian Muslims. A decade later, he opened the South African Embassy in Amman, Jordan. He and his family lived there for over four years and were warmly embraced by the Arab culture. He has also immersed himself in the world of Shi’ite Islam, when in 1999 he visited Iran for five weeks as a guest of the Iranian government.

Such experiences paved the way for research he and his wife did in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel in January 2003. They studied why Palestinian Muslims turn to Christ. (This topic later served as the subject of his Ph.D. dissertation.) Dr. Greenham found that Palestinians’ conversion factors are broadly applicable to other Muslims too. The work has been published under the title, Muslim Conversions to Christ. During his 2011–12 sabbatical, he and his wife returned to Jordan, where they worked for a mission organization and resumed contact with Muslim friends. He has also taught in the field of world religions for over seven years. Greenham draws on all these experiences and more in this brand new Islam course.

We hope you participate in this course. Through it you will gain a better understanding of Islam, its nature and practices, and the beauty of Muslims coming to faith in Christ. Above all, the course will help you serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission, wherever Muslims are found. Dr. Greenham looks forward to meeting you online, if not in person, in Fall 2014.

Global Context Series: 20 (or So) Books for the Globally-Minded Christian to Buy (and Read)

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Over the past few years, we have posted approximately twenty installments in the “Global Context Series.” In this series, we posted notices or reviews about books that help Christians get to know the global scene as a whole, or a particular region or country in particular. We want to reissue this series in a single post so that you can perhaps find the right book for the area and people of the world that most interests you. The links below follow the titles of the original posts in the series.

The books are not necessarily the best books available on a particular subject, but they are among the best books that I have read on that subject. I try to tell you a little bit about the author, the style of the book, its readability, and of course a little bit about its content. I hope that you will find this series helpful. I hope you will enjoy the books, and will find them to be a stimulus to love God as you learn about, and learn to love, the people in God’s world.

Preface

International:

“The Clash of Civilizations”

“The World is Flat 3.0”

“Hot, Flat, and Crowded?”

“A New Christendom With New Faces”

“The Post American World”

Africa:

“An Obsession with Power and Control”

Central Asia:

“The Ayatollah Begs to Differ”

“The Great Game”

“The Ayatollah’s Democracy”

Central Asia / Afghanistan:

“The Kite Runner”

“A Thousand Splendid Suns”

“Ghost Wars”

East Asia / China:

“Chinese Lessons”

“Out of Mao’s Shadow”

Europe:

“Europe, Islam, and Christianity”

“The Penguin History of Europe”

Europe / Russia:

“Stalin’s Children”

North Africa / Middle East:

“How Conflicts Within Islam Will Shape the Future of the Globe”

“The Crisis of Islam”

“The Arabs in History”

South Asia:

“Freedom at Midnight”

“On India, Calvinists, and Cow Dung Shampoo”

“The Reluctant Fundamentalist”

Looking at Insider Movements (6): Resources for Further Study

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By: Doug Coleman

In this final installment I’ll point to some resources for further study and make a few summary remarks about the Insider Movement debate.

Publications by proponents exist almost exclusively in the form of journal articles. The majority of these have appeared in just a few journals, several of which are freely available online. Most of the positive articles have been published in the International Journal of Frontier Missiology (www.ijfm.org) and Mission Frontiers (www.missionfrontiers.org).

Critics have offered a number of responses via articles published in St. Francis Magazine, which can also be accessed free of charge online (www.stfrancismagazine.info/ja/). Also, the web site Biblical Missiology (biblicalmissiology.org) was founded to address concerns about IM methodology (yours truly is not the founder or a participant, by the way). Most recently, the folks there have focused on issues related to Bible translation, particularly controversy related to translation of Sonship and familial terminology.

I have previously mentioned my own dissertation available either from the SEBTS library or for sale here, or in Kindle version. It focuses solely on biblical and theological issues. However, another excellent dissertation critiquing selected missiological elements of IM was completed and submitted at Southern Seminary last year. It also gives an excellent description of the development of IM. You can access it for free here.

Finally, i2 ministries has sponsored conferences critiquing IM, and has published a book as well: Chrislam: How Missionaries Are Promoting an Islamized Gospel. I have not yet read the book because it was released after I returned to the field last year and I have not been able to obtain a copy. See a review and lengthy discussion in the comments section here.

At the beginning of this series, I noted that the tone of this debate has often been less than charitable. I do believe this is worth debating, even vigorously, because the consequences of the outcome are potentially quite serious. But the debate doesn’t require ad hominem arguments or presupposing motives. Furthermore, participants in the debate should work hard to avoid misrepresentations or mis-characterizations, unintentional or not. Unfortunately, I almost always find myself issuing qualifications when I recommend resources from both sides, often not because I disagree with the content, but because I find the tone or other comments objectionable.

I don’t claim that my own writing navigates the waters perfectly, but I can say that fairness, charity, and accuracy have been my highest secondary objectives. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to share some of what I’ve learned and interacting in the comments section. I hope it’s been helpful.

[Editor's Note: Doug Coleman is a SEBTS alum who lives and works in Central Asia. His SEBTS dissertation was recently published as A Theological Analysis of the Insider Movement Paradigm from Four Perspectives: Theology of Religions, Revelation, Soteriology, and Ecclesiology (Pasadena, CA: WICU Press, 2011). We asked Dr. Coleman to publish a critique of the Insider Movement here at BtT, in the form of a six-part blog series.]