The Focus of
Mission is a
“Kingdom” Focus
You cannot enter the Kingdom of God
unless you are born again. Isa al Masih
(Jesus), Injil
Mission as Transformation
God’s Story
Community’s
new story
Community’s
Story
Our shared
story
Our new
story
Our Story
Kingdom of God
Christian
KINGDOM
+ Humility,
teachablness
+ Love
+ Grace
+ Faith
relationship with
God
+ Born again
(new heart)
+ Forgiveness
+ Service
SDA
2
1
Muslim
Who is Allah?
More specifically can “Allah” be considered a correct term to be
used to translate elohim or theos of scripture? This is an initial
question that is frequently raised in discussions of Islam.
• Christians have used the word Allah from pre-Islamic times until
today. It is the translation of elohim and theos used in all
Arabic translations of scripture and in religious speaking in the
Christian Arabic world.
• From the beginnings of contacts between Jews, Christians,
and Muslims there was use of Allah that enabled them to
enter into common discussion about biblical content and to
dialogue with one another.
• YHWH in the Arabic Bible is transliterated as yahwah or
translated as rabb (Lord), corresponding to the Jewish custom
of using adonai in place of saying the divine name.
Allah, cont.
• Allah has been used in Biblical translations in nearly all
languages used by Muslim communities in the Middle
East, Africa and most of Asia. The most obvious
exception would be the use of khoda in Persian. Swahili
retains the traditional name for the Supreme Being,
Mungu. In the Bangali translation, Ishwar, the Hindu
common word for the Supreme Being is used in the
traditional William Carey translation (1809). However,
the recent Muslim Bengali Common Language Bible
(2000) uses Allah.
• When Malaysia attempted to pass legislation forbidding
the use of Allah in non-Muslim publications or Bible
translations, Christian and other faith communities
objected since they have no other word to use in its
place.
• Allah is the linguistic cognate of Elloh, Ellohim.
Three Abrahamic faith
traditions
• All three Abrahamic monotheistic religions claim to
worship one supreme being, the Creator of the
universe, Lord, Sustainer and attribute similar
characteristics of omniscience, omnipotence,
omnipresence. However, each of the monotheistic
faiths will describe characteristics of the supreme
being or certain roles and relationships differently.
However, this would be insufficient argument to
justify using different words for the supreme being.
As Kenneth Cragg notes:
• “We reduce everything to chaos if we suggest that
disparate predicates do not relate to the identical
‘subject’ to whom they are ascribed, as if there
could be, in truth, ‘gods many and lords many’
corresponding to all the confused concepts,
however, numerous and contradictory. Thus, the
answer to the vexed question, ‘Is the God of Islam
and the God of the Gospel the same?’ can only
rightly be ‘Yes!’ And ‘No!’ Yes, as the common
ground of all we say in partial unison: No, insofar as
our convictions diverge.” Kenneth Cragg,
Muhammad and the Christian, (London: Darton,
Longman and Todd, 1984, p. 124, quoted in
Thomas, Ibid.
• “All of these people use the same word ‘God’ to refer
to the same entity, yet they have different concepts of
who God is. The significance is this: One cannot
change a person’s concept of God merely by
changing the name he uses for God. Any name that
denotes God for someone will evoke that person’s
concept of God. What is required for
reconceptualization is new information about God that
will change the concept itself, and that is the task of
the Bible” Rick Brown, “Who is ‘Allah’?” International
Journal of Frontier Missions, 23:2 Summer 2006, p. 81
Allah, the moon god?
The accusation that Allah is the Arab Moon-god as proposed
by Robert Morey in his book The Moon-God: Allah In The
Archeology Of The Middle East, has been dealt with at some
length by M S M Saifullah, Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi and
Abdullah David and will not be covered here. In brief, Morey
simply plays fast and loose with the “archeological evidence”.
The noted article systematically reviews the archeological
examples and notes that there is simply no evidence to
support Morey’s position. “Reply to Robert Morey’s MoonGod Allah Myth: A Look at the Archaeological Evidence,”
www.islamicawareness.org/Quran/Sources/Allah/moongod.html.
“There is no inscription that identifies Allah as a moon god or
as a pagan deity. This contrasts with the Hebrew, Greek,
Latin, and English words for God, all of which descend from
words that were commonly used by pagans in reference to
pagan deities. So the name Allah is freer of pagan roots than
are these other names!” Rick Brown, Ibid
The missional bottom line
“As far as Islamic texts such as the Qur’an are concerned,
Allah is the same God as the God of the Jewish and Christian
scriptures. However this claim is viewed, contextualization
has to engage with the understanding of God that already
exists in the culture, no matter how dim, distorted or
incomplete individual Christians may believe that
understanding to be. Whilst this engagement will certainly
not be uncritical, wholesale rejection of all notions of ‘God’
found in the Islamic context will leave very little basis on
which to develop a contextualization. It is therefore
necessary to reserve expressing judgment on the ontology
behind the linguistic form, in order to avoid a complete
disjunction with the culture, and allow the possibility of some
bridge to communication of Biblical Christology existing. This
accords with Paul’s use of ό θεός to refer to the God who
made the world and everything in it, without implying any
identification with pagan gods such as Zeus.” Martin Parsons,
Unveiling God: Contextualizing Christology for Islamic
Culture, (William Carey Library: 2005), p. xxx.
1. Who Are We?
2. Who Are
They?
Five Important Questions for Mission, Part I
Jerald Whitehouse, April 14, 2012
“Christian” Heritage
• Early Christianity
o Spiritual power – changed lives
• Christendom shift – 313 – 380
o Christianity becomes socially acceptable and
advantageous to join (313)
o Church buildings replace house churches
(323)
o Church and state partner in coercing faith
(380)
• Monasticism – Platonic dualism invades the
church
• Church councils
o Theology raised to the esoteric, no relation to
“Christendom Shift”
“I have been describing a paradigm shift in
Christian mission as it came to be coupled with
violence. We have moved from Christianity
(defined by faith in Jesus Christ) to Christendom
(defined by the effort to promote the lordship of
Christ over all of society by coercive means). We
move from a Christianity that spreads because it is
attractive to a Christianity that spreads because it
is advantageous and, finally, because it is
compulsory. And this movement changes mission
fundamentally. It represents a paradigm shift – a
‘Christendom shift’ – that, I have argued,
represents a tragic distortion of the missio Dei.”
Allan Kreider “Violence and Mission in the Fourth and Fifth
Christian Heritage, cont.
• Eastern church (Nestorian) excommunicated at
Council of Chalcedon 451
• Inquisition – 12th – 19th cent.
• Crusades 1095 (Urban began preaching about) –
1400
• First Crusade (1099) slaughtered noncombatants,
women, children without discrimmination.
“The memory of the Crusades lingers in the
Middle East and colours Muslim perceptions
of Europe. It is the memory of an
aggressive, backward and relligiously
fanatic Europe. This historical memory
would be reinforced in the nineteenth and
twentieth centuries as imperial Europeans
once again arrived to subjugate and
colonize territories in the Middle East.
Unfortunately this legacy of bitterness is
overlooked by most Europeans when
thinking of the Crusades.”
Akbar Ahmed, quoted in Carole Hillenbrand “The
Crusades, Islamic Perspectives”
• “They [the crusades] caused Muslims great
offence and inflicted on them profound and
lasting psychological scars. . . Those who support
the present ‘demonisation’ of Islam in the
Western media would thus do well to bear in
mind this history of psychological damage and
religious affront. Many Muslims today still
remember with pain – centuries later though it
may be – what was done in the name of the
Cross.” Hillenbrand, “The Crusades, Islamic
Perspectives”
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Mission as Cargo, Communication or Transformation?