I am part of the Biblical Missiological Group, which has members from around the world, most of whom are scholars in the Islamic Studies field and/or are missionaries to the Muslim population. Our common thread is our deep concern with the Insider Movement that is changing the face of missions to Muslims and is heretical in nature. We often send articles and comments to each other via email. This morning an article was emailed to me, entitled, “Recent Changes in Christian Approaches to Islam” by Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo of Barnabas Aid ministries.
The article was very informative, and I want to suggest to everyone to take the time to read it. This Insider Movement issue is not simply a mission’s issue. Through the article mentioned above and a number of others I have read and researched, I am finding that an entire other agenda is being perpetrated using missions, and in effect the Church. What I am finding is a strategic plan to spread Islam. After 911, many Islamic organizations set out to publicly redefine the image of Islam, to give it a PR scrub down, to reinvent what the world thought about it, saw in it, and understood it to be. In that push for a new and improved image, many politically-correct ideologues grabbed hold of the spin, the verbiage, and the agenda, even large portions of the Church. It baffles me to think that any well-meaning Christian involved in the Insider Movement could not see through what is going on. I am hoping they are simply uninformed.
Hopefully this article will help shed light on the quickly-growing problem that is gripping not only our nation, but the world.
Often when movements pick up speed, there is a large amount of money coming from somewhere. We have all heard the phrase, “Follow the money”. It does not take much research to find millions being paid into the States from multiple sources driving this agenda. Soohkdeo states in his article:
“Numerous dialogue programmes have been organized by local interfaith organizations and councils of churches. Two major academic centers providing programmes centered on Muslim-Christian relations: Hartford Seminary in Connecticut… and the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (CMCU), founded at Georgetown University in 1993. Through research, publications, academic and community programmes, CMCU seeks to improve relations between the Muslim world and the West and to enhance understanding of Muslims in the West. In 2005 it received a $20 million gift from Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Saudi Arabia in order to strengthen and expand its many programmes; its full name is now the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.”
Through some research done by our Shouts of Joy Ministries staff we found that John Esposito is the leader of CMCU. $20,000,000 was given to this man’s organization, from a Muslim leader, from a predominantly Muslim nation. Why?
When researching Mr. Esposito I found this article, “A Western Dhimmi’s Unending Propaganda for Islam- Part II [on John Esposito]” by Jacob Thomas, March 2, 2008, in which Mr. Thomas writes about Esposito.
“Georgetown professor John Esposito, director of the Saudi-financed Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding has a reputation as an apologist for radical Islam.”
“Esposito displayed contempt for anyone calling for the theological and cultural reform of Islam. He described Middle East Forum director Daniel Pipes and Princeton professor Bernard Lewis as ‘among the Darth Vaders of the world,’ and Pipes and Islam scholar Robert Spencer as ‘Islamophobes‘.”
Thomas goes on to say,
“To tell the truth about Islam is not a sign of Islamophobia; on the contrary it indicates the courage of men who defy the reigning orthodoxy of political correctness, and fearlessly recount the history of Islam and expound its tenets with complete honesty and objectivity.”
The CMCU, lead by John Esposito, has ties with the “Leadership Group on US-Muslim Engagement” mostly through Georgetown University. Sookhdeo states about that group:
“A Leadership Group on US-Muslim Engagement has been set up, which includes high-ranking bipartisan leaders from politics, religion and business. Its brief is to pursue engagement with the Muslim world based on common ground and to chart new directions for furthering this goal. Among its many recommendations is a dramatic expansion of interfaith dialogue initiatives. It urges that highly visible and well-publicized interfaith events should be held in the US, the Middle East and Asia to promote mutual respect based on shared religious values and to educate the public.”
This concerns me. Islamic leaders are paying handsomely for U.S. organizations to promote a pro-Islam agenda through politics and religion? How is this possible and why would these organizations be willing?
The article by Sookhdeo also states that
“In 2003 the US Justice Department gave a million dollars to the Fuller School of World Mission to work on peacemaking with Muslims. U.S. Congress funding, as well as British Foreign Office funding, has gone into conferences, consultations and Christian organizations with the aim of bringing about reconciliation between Islam and Christianity. ‘Ecumenical’ relations were redefined to include Islam as well as Christian denominations. Concepts such as the ‘Abrahamic religions’ and the ‘Abrahamic covenant’ were introduced to consolidate Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Interfaith policies were to be developed to influence all aspects of life, especially the media and education. The apparent aim was not just to rehabilitate Islam after 9/11 but to legitimize and establish it.” (See the following two articles refuting the “Abrahamic religions” idea: “‘Insider Movement Refuted” and “Subsumption Theology.”)
In August of 2009, I became surprisingly aware of a number of large evangelical churches and ministries actively promoting the legitimizing of Islam. I could not believe what I was hearing and reading. Common Path Alliance and Jesus in the Quran are both Christian organizations that actually twist orthodox theologies into this distorted rhetoric of the “commonalities” between Islam and Christianity. In doing so, they actually redefine Christ as Isa in the Quran and omit the familial language of God in the Bible, to name a few.
In the process of exposing this heretical teaching of the Insider Movement and confronting both local and national organizations for promoting the method, it has confused me why these people consistently try to evade the truth of what they are actually doing. When someone comes forward to confront these folks, they all seem to use the same tactics and even the same deflective phrases. They first attack their confronter personally. After that they respond to direct questions with this weird sort of political spin verbiage that doesn’t really mean anything. Bottom line: They are not owning what they are teaching and using in the “dialogues” with Muslims and they are not sharing openly and honestly about what they are truly doing. Why? If they sincerely believe in this method of missions why not be forthright and open about it? Why not engage in an open forum for debate and inspection? Why not endeavor to educate the church where biblical theologians can be present and ask pointed questions that speak to the heretical nature of a number of the fundamental ideas espoused? I believe that what we have here is not a group of people seeking the truth but ones choosing to stay in ignorance, who are willingly being used in the politically correct agenda of spreading the false religion of Islam.
Sookhdeo goes on to state in his article:
“It should also be noted that many mission agencies are keeping secret their support for the Insider Movement, for fear that donors will stop giving to them in protest. Some of their missionaries also keep their identities secret, presenting themselves as ordinary foreign workers rather than as preachers of the Gospel. This apparent lack of integrity calls the Christian ethical basis of the Movement into question.”
Notice here in the Feb 4, 2009 article titled, “Muslim leaders and Christian volunteers host religious dialogues in Saharawi camps” by Timothy Kustusch about Christ the Rock Community Church (CTR), a large Evangelical church in Menasha, WI, that has hosted Jesus in the Quran conferences. They are well known advocates of the Insider Movement and also use this method of missions in their work in Africa. Janet Lenz is the Director of Missions and she is quoted as saying,
“We didn’t come here to convert anyone,” assures Janet (Lenz). “We’re trying to open up conversation so we can better love our fellow man.”
On an interesting note, the leadership at CTR also declined denouncing this teaching when confronted by local ministers and have evaded answering specific questions about their use of this heresy to even their own members.
I know that it is hard to believe that a large evangelical church could collect money for missions and then send out missionaries who are actively seeking to present themselves as people who simply desire to love their fellow man without even having a secret agenda to convert these bound people. But this is the reality. Listen to this quote taken from the “Jesus in the Quran” conference that CTR hosted back in August 2009.
“Our goal in the morning, we lay out a foundation for the Kingdom of God. We become really clear about what we are doing when we are trying to talk about our faith or sharing our faith: that it’s the message of the Kingdom of God, that we’re not interested in any Muslim converting to Christianity…”
The presenter is referring to the Insider Method of missions he uses and teaches at large Evangelical Churches all over the country. (See Pigeonholing Christianity with Islam for more information.)
Sookhdeo writes about this problem:
“The contemporary Church in the West is being cut adrift from its theological moorings, strand by strand. The value formerly placed on reason, debate, creeds and doctrines is increasingly dismissed as unimportant, particularly in the Western Protestant evangelical tradition. Instead, the Church has embraced postmodernism, and has defined the Christian faith in terms only of love and grace. These concepts now shape missiological approaches too. A faith that was once noted, particularly in the Islamic world, for its definite convictions is now being massively transformed.”
Leaving a Christ-inspired agenda of converting souls at home is not the only problem that lends to promoting the spread of Islam. It is also that groups like the CTR mission’s team take upon themselves beliefs and practices of Islam and in effect legitimize and over time spread them. I have read a number of articles expressing this same idea that Christians are being affected by Islam and taking on their beliefs when using this Insider method for missions.
“In light of these theological trends, we believe that some evangelical Christians in the West, in their concern to forge peaceful relations with Muslims, may be implicitly accepting some aspects of Muslim theology. In particular the danger inherent in the Yale response to A Common Word, some evangelical endorsements of interfaith dialogue, and the Insider Movement is the implicit reducing of the Biblical Jesus to the status of the Qur’anic Isa, and the consequent reducing of Christianity to something compatible with Islam. Elements of the Muslim view of history and politics are also being endorsed.”
This idea of sitting down with Muslims and having dialogue with them in mutual respect gives on the surface the idea of plurality of the faiths that does not exist. It also gives place for Muslim ideologies to be propagated. Sookhdeo also comments on this idea in his writings,
“Most notable, however, is the view of Islam espoused by the movement. In many programmes of interfaith dialogue with Muslims the Christian participants presuppose a pluralist view in which Islam is seen as a redemptive religion, Muhammad as a valid prophet of God and the Qur’an as a revelation from God. This implies that the Islamic view of Islam and Christianity as interlinked facets of one monotheistic, prophetic religion is correct. In its more extreme forms it contradicts the Biblical teaching that Jesus Christ is the ultimate and unique agent of God’s salvation for all, or affirms Islamic understandings of God, Christ and scripture that are at variance with New Testament norms.”
High ranking, wealthy Muslims are pumping enormous amounts of money and energies into promoting the spread of Islam. They are using the Christian Church to do it. The Insider Movement whether aware or not has taken up that agenda and is promoting Islamic propaganda. They are using the same terminologies, the same pigeonholing theologies, the dialogues, and the legitimizations that in effect build the popularity of Islam. Privately confronting the leaders who adhere to these ideas in the Christian Church appears to be having no effect. The only way to address this travesty is to pull the funding and to publicly expose the truth of what they are doing. If you are giving monies to missions you need now, more than ever before, to be keenly aware of what those particular missionaries are doing in the Muslim parts of the world. Ask the right questions. Demand the truthful answers. Tell your friends who also give to missions. Comment on national blogs that list articles about this issue. Use your voice. Use your resources. Spread the unadulterated gospel of Jesus Christ. The real and only foundational defense we have to the spread of Islam is the spread of the Truth. That truth is the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is why it is so utterly important that our missionaries are aware of this demonic agenda and reject it forthrightly. The Church needs to take up once again the headship of Jesus Christ and promote His agenda only.
As British Statesman Edmund Burke so aptly said, “Evil flourishes when good men do nothing.”