Are Muslim insider Christ followers real believers? Are they Muslims or Christians? Does that matter? The topic of insider movements is controversial within the church. The debate rages on, opinions differ widely, and convictions often are defended aggressively. The set of voices sorely missing from this hot debate has been that of the insiders themselves. This book finally breaks that silence. Henk Prenger researched the views of 26 Muslim insider Christ followers who are leaders in their movements. You will be surprised by their insights. Prenger presents their views on 21 theology-proper topics such as God, man, the gospel, sin, Satan, the cross, heaven and hell, the Bible, and our mandate. He plotted these views in a theological/missional framework with four paradigms: Fundamental, Ecumenical, Integral, and Global. This M-Framework is a powerful catalyst for honest conversations about theological paradigms that inform how we approach insider movements and the kingdom of God on earth.
- ISBN: 9780878084982
- Pages: 364
- Binding: Paperback
- Published: 2017
- Publisher: William Carey Library
This study is what is most needed today in the debate over what are called insider movements—a study of the actual theological and missional beliefs and practices of 26 indigenous leaders of these movements in Asia and Africa. These deal with such topics as views of God and Jesus, varied relationships with traditional churches, development of biblical understanding over time, and suffering from Muslims and traditional Christians. The author finds them generally more orthodox than commonly portrayed. It certainly moves the discussion forward.
The research developed and presented in Henk Prenger’s groundbreaking work is both unique and important. The uniqueness is not only found in the fact that he has interviewed both “alongsiders” as well as “insiders” but that he has investigated the theological convictions and presuppositions that underlie their praxis in mission. This, in turn, is also why his work is so important: his findings challenge a good deal of the presuppositions about so-called insider movements and their theological underpinnings. I hope many will read this crucial work, and I pray that these results may in part serve to reframe how discussion and debate concerning insider movements takes place in the future.
We are greatly in debt to Henk Prenger both for what he studied and how he did it. His research topic is one many have wondered about: what actually is the missiology and theology of Muslims who follow Jesus? Through meticulously researching the views of 26 leaders of insider movements in seven parts of the world, he has gone a long way in helping us answer these questions. How he carried out this massive research project is also noteworthy. A long-term field person himself, Henk established trust with both alongsiders and insiders, assuring them that their stories would be told, but in ways that guarded anonymity and safety for them and the movements. Without such trusted relationships and safe protocols, research of this nature could put people in harm’s way. This is truly a landmark study; no other field research on the convictions of insider movement leaders has gone to this level of depth, detail, and analysis.
It’s helpful to hear how outsiders view contextualization within a Muslim insider movement. More helpful, however, is hearing the voices of those within the movement. Henk Prenger’s grounded-theory study of Muslim insider movements does just that by giving voice to central figures within the movement.
Prenger’s careful and detailed thesis offers answers we have sought over the last few years. It chronicles the reply to key theological questions by new Christ followers among Muslim peoples. We may not like all the answers—we usually like things to be clearly and carefully delineated. You will likely be challenged by some of the material, but I hope you will also see newer believers who are in the process of “working out their salvation.”
Theologies of Islam are neither the preserve of theologians nor of professional missionaries or missiologists. Such theologies are helpful as signs of deeply inspired Christian concerns about making sense of Islam, but a genuine theology of Islam that promises to move beyond the traditional Islamic positions can only emerge from among the “insiders.” Henk Prenger’s work demonstrates that this is not merely wishful; Islam and Muslims are not static entities and Islamic dynamism is not necessarily oppositional. Insider movements furnish one with a solid evidence of a vibrantly natural re-conception of Islam from within; the insiders’ radical experiences are already coalescing into emerging theologies that remain as yet truly uncontrived. This work underlines the sadly forgotten traditions of Christian thought which saw Muslims and Islam in genuinely relational terms. They saw Islam as a context for the operation of “the spirit of Jesus” and Muslims as kinsfolks worthy of love, hospitality, and sacrificial substitution.
This book contributes an important voice to an ongoing controversy in Western mission communities with regard to the emergence of so-called insider movements. The theological and communal preferences of communities which describe themselves as Muslim but follow Christ have been hotly debated in a variety of venues during the past years. Full of extensive quotes gleaned from interviews with leaders of some of these groups, Prenger has given them voice in a way which will be of great interest to people engaged in these debates.
Introducing the Debate
Views on Allah and Isa al Masih
Insider Movements and the Theologizing Process
Conclusions and Recommendations
Summary M-Framework Plots by Context Variable
Additional works consulted
Additional M-Framework figures
Jan Hendrik Prenger