World Mission of the Church - Lesson 16

Becoming a Missionary (Part 2)

As you consider becoming a missionary, it is helpful to recognize areas in the world where the population predominantly identifies with another religion. Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism are popular with large population groups in the 10-40 window. There are also large immigrant populations in locations throughout the US.

The map referred to in the lecture with the world religions color coded is not available to us.

Timothy Tennent
World Mission of the Church
Lesson 16
Watching Now
Becoming a Missionary (Part 2)

V. Categories of missionaries

A. Long-term regular missionaries

B. Long-term pioneer missionaries

C. Nonresident missionaries

D. Asynchronous resident missionary

E. Tentmakers

F. Short-term missionaries

VI. Correlation between world religions and unreached people groups

VII. Why study other religions instead of just preaching the gospel?

VIII. Islam

A. Five Pillars

B. Continuity vs. discontinuity

C. Legalism vs. Grace

D. Christology

E. How the Bible and the Quran can or should be used

  • For people who are pastors or will serve as pastors, this course will expose you to what you need to know about missions to be effective in the local church. This is also a foundational course for people who are preparing for missionary service by considering topics dealing with practical and theological aspects of missions. For everyone, regardless of your vocation, this course will challenge you to become a world Christian. (Note: It is helpful to know that a pericope [pair – ik – o – pay] is a section of scripture containing a teaching or describing an event.) 

  • Mission is the reconciling work of God in the world. Missions is the obedient, Spirit-led strategy and implementation of plans to fulfill God's mission in the world. The basis of the Torah is not untethered from a global heart of God for the nations of the world.  Even in the Writings and the Prophets, the covenant is being celebrated in the context of the nations of the world, including ramifications of both blessing and cursing.

  • Mission is the reconciling work of God in the world. Missions is the obedient, Spirit-led strategy and implementation of plans to fulfill God's mission in the world. The basis of the Torah is not untethered from a global heart of God for the nations of the world.  Even in the Writings and the Prophets, the covenant is being celebrated in the context of the nations of the world, including ramifications of both blessing and cursing.

  • As the early Christians experience missiological breakthroughs, they will cite the Old Testament because they see these events as a fulfillment of what had already been written. The Abrahamic covenant is cited to demonstrate how God is using the Messiah to bless the nations. The theology of Great Commission found in culminating texts in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and reinforced in Acts 1:8. Jesus repeated the Great Commission to his disciples in different ways and at various times. Matthew’s account begins by saying that Jesus is giving authority by the Father for the extension of His kingdom. God has given us a mandate to present the Gospel publicly to the world, not just to separate into a cultic community. The only main verb in the passage is, “make disciples.” God’s command is to disciple all people groups, not just people in each country.

  • As the early Christians experience missiological breakthroughs, they will cite the Old Testament because they see these events as a fulfillment of what had already been written. The Abrahamic covenant is cited to demonstrate how God is using the Messiah to bless the nations. The theology of Great Commission found in culminating texts in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and reinforced in Acts 1:8. Jesus repeated the Great Commission to his disciples in different ways and at various times. Matthew’s account begins by saying that Jesus is giving authority by the Father for the extension of His kingdom. God has given us a mandate to present the Gospel publicly to the world, not just to separate into a cultic community. The only main verb in the passage is, “make disciples.” God’s command is to disciple all people groups, not just people in each country.

  • The verses that contain Mark's version of the Great Commission first appear in later copies, but there are good reasons to treat these verses as part of the inspired text of the Gospel of Mark. In Mark, the proclamation is to be made to all creation. The emphasis in Mark is preaching. The emphasis in Luke is witnessing. The emphasis in John is sending.

  • Acts 11:20 describes the first time the Gospel is intentionally preached in a cross-cultural situation. A church was planted in Antioch and Saul and Barnabas discipled believers there for a year. The Antioch church sends them out, and they come back and report to them what happened. Both local evangelism to your own people group and cross cultural evangelism are important. 

  • There have been changes in missions between 1792 and the present. Many people credit William Carey with beginning the modern missions movement. The Moravians were taking the Gospel to places all over the world, even before Carey began his ministry. The eras overlap because it takes a while for new ideas to catch on. A key figure in Beachhead Missions is William Carey. In Carey’s book, “An Inquiry,” he challenges the inaction of the church in cross-cultural missions. He says God has given to the Church, the responsibility of spreading the Gospel   to other parts of the world, summarizes missions history, gives anthropological data and discusses practical issues people give for not going. Ultimately, people need to be open to the call of the Holy Spirit and willing to respond to the challenge. Carey’s motto is, “Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.” He and Judson wanted to plant churches in a new country. 

  • Hudson Taylor went to China as a first era missionary. Taylor travels inland and pushes the limits of what the missions organizations were willing to do. Frontier missions focused on the interior areas of countries, used a faith missions model for organization and funding, and recruited lay people, including students and women. Contextualization is preaching the Gospel in a way that is sensitive to the recipient.

  • The close of the second era, Beachhead Missions, came in 1974 when Ralph Winter gave his address at the Lausanne Conference on world evangelism. As a result, people began looking at missions in terms of people groups rather than geographic areas. The fourth era of missions emphasizes “by whom” the Gospel is presented. Lausanne II and the Global Consultation on World Evangelization took place in 1989.

  • In this lesson, you will learn that the “ten forty window” is one of the places where there is a concentration of unreached people groups. A window is a way to recognize the big picture while realizing that every local context is unique. The main focus is to look at each of the five mega-spheres and identify what is unique about each one.
  • The “ten forty window” is one of the places where there is a concentration of unreached people groups. A window is a way to recognize the big picture while realizing that every local context is unique. The main focus is to look at each of the five mega-spheres and identify what is unique about each one.

  • It’s helpful to summarize what you need to know as a pastor to communicate to people about missions and what the pathway is to getting prepared to serve as a missionary. Every continent should be a sending and receiving continent. Short term missions is the best thing and worse thing that has happened to the local church.

    Previous to the beginning of the audio, there was a video shown that is not available to us. It was an account of the breakthrough of the gospel into a culture.

  • By studying this lesson, you'll gain insights into the top ten key aspects of 21st-century missions, including their holistic approach, indigenous leadership, partnerships, technology, urbanization, short-term missions, Global South's influence, contextualization, business as mission, and diaspora focus.
  • Some mission boards are associated with a denomination and some are independent. Most missions organizations belong either to the IFMA (Interdenominational Faith Missions Association) or EFMA (Evangelical Foreign Missions Agency). Fundamentalist missions organizations each have a specific focus. The steps you go through before you go to the mission field are designed to help you get good training and build a team that will support you. Churches are tending to provide a larger percentage of support for fewer missionaries. Terms are usually 3-4 years at a time. Your first term is usually spent just learning the language and culture. Missionaries spend time between terms connecting with people and preparing to return. People often are more receptive to the Gospel when they are living in a culture other than their native culture. Air travel and email have made asynchronous relationships possible. People with professional training have access to some countries that won't allow people to come in as missionaries.

  • As you consider becoming a missionary, it is helpful to recognize areas in the world where the population predominantly identifies with another religion. Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism are popular with large population groups in the 10-40 window. There are also large immigrant populations in locations throughout the US.

    The map referred to in the lecture with the world religions color coded is not available to us.

  • Hinduism is practiced by a large percentage of the people in India. It also has an impact on the culture and politics of India. Buddhism teaches that there is one path to spiritual enlightenment, as opposed to Hinduism that teaches that there are many. 

  • Understanding world religions affects our strategy and the way we do our ministry around the world. 

    Most people who need a gospel presentation are members of another world religion (e.g., Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism). We study other religions so we know the context of belief of that people group. Identification vs. extractionist model. By understanding the teachings of different religions, you can explain the gospel in terms they can understand. Muslims agree on many parts of the Old Testament but don't believe in the Trinity or that Jesus is God. Religions in China and Japan emphasize sincerity, orderliness and personal and public conduct based on precedent. 


Recognizing the responsibility of all Christians to complete Christ’s commission, this course gives an overview of the strategic and historical progress of worldwide missions today. The ways in which a local congregation can fulfill its worldwide biblical mandate are also considered.

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Dr. Timothy Tennent

World Mission of the Church


Becoming a Missionary (Part 2)

Lesson Transcript


[00:00:00] Okay, let's get started back. As I told you the first day of class, the purpose of this class is to give an overview of missions. Kind of everything you need to know, kind of the basics you need to know in order to effectively at least engage in some discourse about missions today and hopefully be an effective pastor in knowing at least some of the issues. I compared it to going through a house and we kind of pass through each room and we kind of point out a few things, but we keep moving. And I'm actually am skipping running until ten and jumping to number 11. Number ten, which which is three more hours of actually discussion about, you know, if I was a pastor in a local church, this is the kind of things you might face in terms of mission strategy and mission boards, our mission committees and your local church. But we've said a lot about that already. Actually, several major points that I didn't want to make had already made in response to questions you asked. So I felt like we really need to finish the course by going to the last room in this quick survey and talk about missions and world religions, which we have not yet discussed at all. This will be the concluding portion of our course. So we'll have this lecture and then I'll say I will say a bit about the final exam and we have up to date, of course, evaluation. So all that will take place today. Lord willing, listen to what religions the importance of this I think is somewhat now self-explanatory. 


[00:01:56] I looking at the the math that's in front of you. This map is actually meant to show you where the dominance that is worried. The majority of people in countries are affiliated with the three major non-Christian religions is actually includes kind of a nonreligious section as well, but a mainly interested in the the green, the yellow. And actually this particular way it's shown the strain here is not that way on a computer, but for some reason, the way it's shown, it's hard to tell the difference between the yellow in India and kind of the orange in Southeast Asia. I'm not sure you can tell the difference, but on my computer it's like really dramatically different. But it's it run through that machine and it says to you, I can see automatically that it's not clearly there. But the green represents the heart of Islam. The yellow represents the heart of Hinduism, which is found in India and Bhutan. And then over there, once you get past the India goes on out and spreads out into that just beyond Bangladesh there. And going on down is a darker color orange, which is the heart of Buddhism. And it's also with the same for what you find over in Japan when you look at that, interposed the 1040 window over it, then immediately you realize that there is a huge correlation between where most non-Christian people groups live and the dominance of Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. So maybe that's like saying the obvious, but the whole point is that most of the people groups in the world today that need to have a gospel presentation or some gospel effort work in their midst are peoples who are already members of another world religion. They're already Muslims or Hindus or Buddhist or Dallas, Confucianism, non religionists, whatever the case may be. 


[00:04:01] But they already have certain kinds of commitments that we need to address. If you look at the countries that have the most unreached people groups in them, and that will be represented by the kind of diagonal lines, the black diagonal lines, and the green represents the countries that are predominantly found in the 1040 window where most of their geography is in that that window. Then you can see once again, there's quite a correlation between the unreached or least evangelized countries and the 1040 window. We will see a point we made all along, but if you notice, that's not totally true. If you look up, you know, and you can see, obviously Spain is cut in half. I had a person who literally was told by a church they would only support that they moved into the southern part of Spain. And it's like totally irrational because there's no statistical reason why work in northern Spain is any less strategic than southern Spain. But it's this idea, the 1040 window, it wasn't going to be on the window to sell. But you also can see, you know, this is talking about places even like Poland. And you can see like, I don't know, it's hard to see if have actually should have. Estonia and Latvia and the upper parts in there highlighted Bosnia. You can see that just because it's in northern 1040 window doesn't mean it doesn't need identification and work. But there is a major correlation between world religions and unreached people groups. Another factor, again, to break out of the geography a bit is to recognize what this means for ministry right here in the US. Now, this is a schematic of cities where the majority of peoples within the city limits are minorities. 


[00:06:02] And you can see there's a quite remarkable correlation of what's happened in the Northeast and over in the Southwest in terms of the likelihood of meeting immigrant populations. So working in the Northeast is very strategic in that way. And so you're going to find all major world religions represented in a place like the Northeast. New York is an obvious example as well as out in Los Angeles. So the purpose of this section is to talk about how understanding more religions affects our strategy and affects the way we do our our ministry around the world and why it's important. Some people often will say, well, you know, why would a Christian waste their time studying something they know is false? It's a kind of a basic question what would you spend your time? So in Islam, why not just preach the gospel wherever you are? But it's important to recognize a couple of factors that I want to just bring out. The first have already made the point that if you're going to work with people groups, this is the context that they're in both here and in the temporary window. And we have to know our target audience. Just today, in my quiet time, I was reading the passage where Jesus is calling Peter and just starting a new buy. The kind of basic point that in that passage in Luke, Jesus says to Peter, Let down your net and you'll catch this great group of 30, which he does. And then, of course, Jesus says, I will make you fishers of men, and He leaves everything and follows Christ. Now you can ask the question, the kind of basic question I would ask, at least within that text. Why did Jesus tell Peter that his net down? It says a lot about Jesus meeting people where they are. 


[00:08:00] That would be very unlikely if you said to me, and if I was just joking with Dr. Verner yesterday or a couple of days ago when he was down stuck down in Boston, we should have supper together and he was stuck in Boston. The riders to pick him up didn't show up. They were lost and they couldn't be connected. And so his cell phone had gone dead and he couldn't call. And so he was down there in this subfreezing temperature wondering why did God bring them to Boston? He's locked out of the museum where he was taping this thing on the Nubians for this television show. In desperation, he pulls out his cell phone and turns it on and it and it gives him just an extra 2 minutes to call and let people know that he needed to be picked up and all that. And so he said, praise God, God gave me 2 minutes on my cell phone. And so I jokingly respond, said, in that great 21st century miracles, you know, like miracles that God couldn't have done in the 18th century. I mean, there's not too many people in the history of the world that can say as an answer to prayer, God gave me two more minutes on my cell phone. I'm totally prepared to accept the fact that God in his gracious power is able and may, if he so likes to give someone two extra minutes on their cell phone that was previously dead because God meets people where they are. And it's part of my theology. It's not just that God became a man, God became a particular man, and he interact with particular people. And Peter was a fisherman and God met him where he was. 


[00:09:33] Jesus entered into his worldview. And so for Peter, a fisherman, he's been called B, you know, God met him where he was. He met him as a fisherman, and then he called him something greater. But he use analogy of fishers of men. And to the blind man, he says, I'm the light of the world, to the hungry, the feed, the 5000 on the road of life. I mean, this is all the Christ ministry He takes to where they are, and he shows how the Gospel illuminates their situation in a unique and powerful way. So in my experience, especially in the modern period, to approach Muslims or Hindus or Buddhists without honoring their contacts creates all kinds of difficulties and problems with proper communication of the gospel. Just to borrow a little, a few couple slides from another course that I use, we often use that kind of this basic chart to show that if you are from culture A, you're a gospel communicator and you are targeting culture, be that there call the receptors. Okay? What is your methodology for targeting from one culture to another culture, the gospel message and what's often has been done and still does called the extraction is model where you for someone to come into your worldview. This is the basic thing that a lot of churches do where if anybody comes to our church and comes into our church building and the course the Gospels preached here, that whole thing presupposes that somebody has to make the movement into your church building to hear the gospel preached. There's no movement out to where they are. And so it actually belies the thrust of the Great Commission, which is not be a wonderful community, and they'll come to you, but go out and show the kingdom of God in the way you live and proclaim. 


[00:11:19] So rather than extraction list, we see biblically an identification, a model where we're actually called to go into their frame of reference, learning their language. We don't ask someone who is in Latvia who doesn't know the Lord. First learn English, then you'll understand my gospel message. We realize, No, the burden is on us. We have to learn Latvian. We have to look at the gospel and where they can understand it. That's just part of the challenge and the privilege of being a communicator of the gospel. This is the challenge. And each of the world religions, I want to just say a few brief things about each of them here this morning. And let's just begin with Islam. The purpose of this is not to talk so much about the particulars of Islam, what Islam believes, because we don't have time for that. We'll say a few things about it, but this is more giving some concluding reflections about Islam. Having spent a lot of time and experience working with Muslims over many years, myself and many others that have the extreme the way this is a picture of Madinah. It's a well known city in Saudi Arabia in that green capped mosque you see there is very, very famous like this. It's the second most famous mosque in the world. Muslims rank mosque in terms of the most sacred to the you know, down to the like the top 50 or so. But this is the number two. And this is where Muhammad is buried in Medina. And the ironic thing about it, of course, is that when Muslims go in Mecca to pilgrimage, they will travel to Mecca to perform various rituals. And then those who go on extended. It's called the Hajj. The extended pilgrimage will actually visit the tomb of the Prophet. 


[00:13:12] This is called the Tomb of the Prophet, and it's considered to be the highlight of one's life to actually visit the remains of Muhammad. And you have your name changed. They will know that you've been there. So that's significant of a of an event in the life of a muslim. Now, that itself says a lot, doesn't it, because it's a highlight of a muslim is to visit the dead body of their their greatest leader and teacher. And just the good news of the gospel that there's no place to go to visit the remains of Jesus because he's alive. Praise the Lord. It's not too early to say Praise the Lord as we serve a risen savior. But okay, that's another that's a sermon. But Islam is a monotheistic religion found in Arabia in the seventh century, emphasizing the oneness and holiness of Allah and the Prophet Hood of Mohammed. Allah is the their name for God is the Arabic word for God. And it is a strongly monotheistic religion. And strongly emphasizes that in their theology. His eye is one in the shamash my Israel El Nino accord, that great Chema Paz in Hebrew that Ehud is one which does not actually speak to the question of metaphysical oneness and kind of like a non Trinitarian sense at all. But that's exactly how the Muslims take it as a statement against the Trinity that there is no Triune God. So this is a lot of anti-Christian baggage. It's brought into this come to oneness and the exalted this of of Allah. Therefore Allah cannot come off of this throne. And therefore, the incarnation is impossible. There's a lot of anti-Christian sentiment that lies behind a number of these things, at least potentially. And the special role of Muhammad that you're certainly aware of, the word Islam is an Arabic word for submission. 


[00:15:24] And the word Muslim refers to one who submits to God. So much of Islam is is organized around the concept of submission to the will of a law that is revealed in the Koran and in the Hadith. Hadith is another very important document in Islamic thought throughout Islamic world, the will of God has been summarized into five major categories of five major things that one is to do. This is a strict works righteousness. If you do these five things, God will accept you. And Heaven is based on whether or not you have performed these five things. There's all kinds of ways this is nuanced throughout Islamic history, but just for our purposes today, this is summarized in what's known as the five pillars of their faith. And just briefly to mention those, the first is what's called the confession of faith and call this the Shahada. It basically goes like this. There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the prophet of Allah. So that confession is what brings you into the household of faith outside of the Islamic faith. They call it the Dar al Islam, the House of Islam. So you made the confession, the Shahada, you now belong to the community of Islam. Once that confession is made, you take on the yoke of various commitments in being a muslim. The next is what's called ritual prayer. They call this a lot, which refer to various kinds of daily prayers that are made traditionally five times a day. Muslims are to pray facing Mecca. Certain prescribed movements that are gone through in the Muslim ritual of prayer. This is not spontaneous prayer. They have that in Arabic. It's called the Dua. But this is a salat. This is ritual prayer, a certain kind of prescribed prayer and spontaneous prayers. 


[00:17:23] We maybe would know it would be very, very uncommon in Islamic circles, mainstream Muslims for sure. The third is almsgiving. This is a commitment to give to the poor and give to further Islamic causes missions. Other kinds of ways that's interpreted in Islamic thought is quite varied. You might imagine, to further the cause of Allah around the world. This involves a lot of money given to build mosques in European cities in North America. And so it comes in a lot of ways, a lot of debate currently about how this money can be used to promote these so-called jihads, you know, against the West. And it's a big, big discussion among Muslims say this is one of their five pillars of faith. And then fasting what they call som. This is a special fast that occurs during a particular period of time. And the ninth month known as Ramadan is the ninth month of Muslim calendar and they will fast during the daylight hours of that 28 day period. So it starts from sunrise to sunset. A lot of very prescribed things. They can eat at night, perfectly legitimately, but they refrain from eating or even drinking or sexual intercourse. Other things are prohibited during that period of the ninth month. And that's an annual event for the entire life of a muslim. The only exceptions being made if you're pregnant, you can make it up at a later time or if you're sick and so forth, or on a journey. There are certain exceptions, but basically that is the rule for the time of Ramadan all over the world, which is why the coalition has talked about, you know, whether they should bomb during the Afghanistan war, especially should we be bombing during during Ramadan. 


[00:19:07] That was all related to this particular part of their their faith. And then finally, as I mentioned before, the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, is designed to occur once in your lifetime. You are to visit this great mosque in Mecca, which contains a very ancient structure, which they believe that Abraham constructed, known as the Kaaba. Inside that Kaaba is a stone called the black stone, which represents monotheism believed to be a gift from Gabriel to the human race. Allah through Gabriel to human race. So you have a number of strong commitments by Muslims confession of faith, prayer, alms, giving, fasting, pilgrimage. The interesting thing about these, and the reason I bring these out is this actually illustrates quite nicely the challenge. One of the challenge of working with Muslims, and that is it has been clearly demonstrated historically. That all of these were borrowed from Jewish Christian practice that Muhammad was exposed to in the seventh century. And therefore these are essentially acts of righteousness that he observed in the Christian community and in them, the Jewish commune or a number of Jews in Medina, for example, had more Jews and Arabs at the time of Muhammad. So this is it's not at all unusual that he would or unexpectedly, he would have a lot of exposure to Jews. There were several Christian communities also that had fled to Arabia during both the Roman and later Persian persecutions. If you know your church history, you know that the first 300 years the church is massively persecuted in the Roman Empire, and then the next 300. You have the same thing happening over in Persia. When it becomes accepted in the West and becomes persecuting the East. And so you basically have hundreds of years of Christians fleeing southward in the course of a court in Arabia, which is the kind of the last place to go. 


[00:21:04] So when you're dealing with Muslims, you cannot help but be struck by both the continuity and the discontinuity present in Islam. And anybody who is talking to a muslim or witnessing to a muslim or interacting with a muslim must be always aware of this fact that Islam represents continuity and discontinuity in terms of continuity. There are hundreds and hundreds of things in the Koran that are brought directly from the Old Testament right into the Koran, even things as specific as the world being created in six days, God fashion, Adam, and all of this. I mean, there's a lot of very specific things that you would find remarkably well. I already know this story. You know, the story of Noah and so many of the prophets are mentioned and Abraham is considered be the father of faith in the Koran is a lot of continuity, but a lot of discontinuity. A lot of things are admitted or changed or altered in some way that create difficulties for an authentic discussion of the Koran. Some of some of the Bible. But there are many things. If you were to say, what are the top ten things that a muslim believes about God, there'd be a great number of those things that we would also affirm as Christians, as well as Jews. So in fact, Muslims have a little prayer beads that they use. In fact, it's considered to be often the source of the Catholic prayer beads. But this thing called the Subha, and it's a ring of 33 beads, which they will go through and count and they go through it three times, which is, of course, 99. These beads each are present. One of the names of Allah in the Koran. And they will recite these names as a part of this ritual prayer. 


[00:22:52] I've seen Muslims, you know, sitting on Marketplace, you know, doing this in Arabic. It's very, very common thing to see called the Subha. Well, the amazing thing about that, if you would actually look down and you would go, is students in our Islam class, do we go down and look at every single name in this list? And so can anybody find a name or some reference to a law that is not biblical. You know, as the creator, he's the ever existent one. He's the holy one. He's the mighty one, you know, on and on and on and on and on. And of course, what you'll find is that there's nothing in the whole list. It's particularly offensive to Christian proclamation. The problem is what it omits, not what it affirms. That's so true. And this often with Islam. But I have a quote here that I'll have on the one year later where this Muslim said to a Christian, I think this kind of makes the whole point. He says, you know, we Muslims and Christians could get along really well. A few people just give up the idea of Christ and the Trinity. That, of course, really is the point. Islam has taken the heart out of Christianity and has retained so much else. And so that continued is continuity is always there. The heart has been taken off, in fact, and out it for it was it was just powerful analogy. The professor of Islamics out there spent many years with our people in college, Kristie Wilson in Kabul, Afghanistan. And then the Woodbury, who is his name, was the pastor, along with Christy Wilson of this international church in Kabul. And they both were expelled, which is why Christie Wilson came to Gordon Conwell and taught him for many years back in the seventies when the Russians invaded. 


[00:24:36] But after many, many years when they just the recent invasion of Afghanistan, he was able to go back in to Kabul and visit after all of these years away. And when he got there, the Christian believers got up to Woodbury, said, We have something very precious we want to give to you. And they said we actually have the pulpit bible from that church that we've saved, hoping that you or Dr. Wilson would come back. And after Wilson, of course, has passed away. And so they pulled it out and gave it to him and said, we're just so sorry that unfortunately a muslim at some point took a rifle and shot it and it sent a bullet through the entire Bible. And he opened it, looked at it, and he showed the Bible. I've seen it myself. And the Bible goes into the you know, it's packed. We look at Genesis first, right? And it passes through the Bible, You know, how bullets will explode. And so it kind of goes passes through basically the whole Old Testament. And then the Bible take it to the Gospels is when it begins to explode out and it just tears it all out. So he used that as an analogy. He's that's so much like what Islam has done. They pass through the Old Testament pretty much affirming almost everything you find there. But when they get to the gospel, they start really, really wreaking havoc on what we call the Bible. He's this could be a Koran now. So a Koran is a Bible with a hole in it, with a big hole in the gospels. That kind of discontinuity is constant issue when you're talking to Muslims, because there's so many things that we agree with. 


[00:26:10] There's issues that we have to press ahead. Another factor is legalism versus grace earned versus imputed righteousness is perhaps the the proper way of placing it. Because for Muslims, the acts of obedience are clearly laid on the Koran as to earn God's favor. This is how one finds oneself acceptable to God. This is totally incompatible with Christian theology. This is incompatible with the biblical declaration that every mouth is silent. So for God. So one of the problems that some Christians have had when they try to reincorporate back into Christian practice by Muslims. Okay. There's nothing wrong with praying five times a day. There's nothing wrong with going to on pilgrimage. In fact, the original pilgrimage in the Koran, they actually began by asserting going to Jerusalem and even in the Quran itself, when they pray, they didn't pray toward Mecca. They tried toward Jerusalem. In the Koran. In the Koran, Mohammed announces the change where now that's are facing the Kaaba once he has all this conflict with the Jews. But this is borrowed from Christian practice. Daniel prayed, facing Jerusalem at the time of prayer. And because even the New Testament, the apostles go up to the temple at the time of prayer. So this is very, very part of the worldview of Christians and Jews of his day. So when Christians have tried to bring it back, in theory, there's nothing wrong with bringing it by. But what happens when it comes back is often brought back as a legalistic thing. And so once you how do you reassert the gospel end of that? Because obviously praying five times a day is a wonderful thing. But how does it become an expression of one's love and gratitude to God's grace? These become big issues. 


[00:27:57] The third big thing, I would say, that dominates. Christian Muslim interactions is in fact Christology. Now I have my own view on this, which I readily admit. My view is a minority view among Christians who work with Muslims, but I have yet to be convinced that I'm wrong. And so I keep persisting in my views. And there's many who agree with me, including Dudley Woodberry, who has a doctorate in Islamic studies and has spent his whole life with Muslims. And he publicly mentioned at a conference that he agree with me, which I appreciated because I've had so many people who tell me I'm crazy. But what I have argued in my book, Christian Religious Roundtable, is that and many people misunderstand what I'm actually saying and not saying, my basic point is that the Koran does not actually overtly contradict biblical Christology. In the Koran. It does not, in my view, contradicted or it simply does. It simply denounces all forms of Christian heresies, Christological heresies. So what I've done is I have analyzed the Quran and identified five basic categories of Christological statements in the Koran. The Quran has about 35 references to Jesus in the Koran. And you look at what he's he's denouncing and what you actually find out when you study carefully is that Muhammad, we think he's denouncing the Trinity. For example, when early is announcing tri theism, we think he's announcing our view of Christ really is denouncing Arianism or Apollinaire Arianism or adoption, as in all kinds of heresies, because most of these groups have fled in Arabia were heretical. So I've never actually seen in the Koran an explicit knowledge of Muhammad ever actually heard Orthodox Christology and then therefore refuted it. Now, that being said, the Quran never affirms biblical Christology. 


[00:29:52] I think it's just important to be clear that a lot of what we often take as Christ bashing or Christological bashing in the Koran is actually bashing. Things that we also reject is my view. The reason that's important, in my view, to hold that line unless proven otherwise is because in my experience talking to Muslims, if the conversation gets into a big debate about the Koran. Then it just is always a dead end point. And so if we can keep the conversation. Christ. Then that's a very, very powerful thing to keep on the table in a discussion. And so I'm prepared to tell a muslim. Yeah, that scripture verse there are that they call they don't call them verses, but they they call them is that I does in fact say that. And I essentially agree with what Muhammad is saying there, because Muhammad is not actually attacking the Christian view. He's attacking a caricature of the Christian view. It's like someone saying to you, you know. Denouncing you because they say, you know, I can never be a Christian because Christians believe that. Well, let me give you a actually a rather than a hypothetical thing, a muslim example. Muslims always often say, how can Christians believe in the Trinity? Now, when evangelical hears that without knowing about Islam, that's why this whole part of the course is important. That's why we have to understand what Muslims actually are thinking. Because if I'm a Christian evangelical from Gordon Cornwall, here's a muslim say to him or her. Why do you people believe in the Trinity? Well, naturally, that would appear in every possible scenario. And just hearing the words, if you didn't know about Islam to be an attack on the most important central doctrine of the Christian faith, the Trinity, I mean, that is got to be at the heart of Christian proclamation. 


[00:31:51] You can't compromise that and be a Christian. So your thought would be, Wow, I'm sorry, but that's essential to our faith. But what I learned, you must always ask. And this is good advice, by the way, for Buddhist Hindus as well. But when a muslim says to me. Why do you people believe the Trinity you should always respond to? Well, what do you mean by Trinity? That is really a valuable thing to say back. What do you mean by Trinity? NELSON Well, there's no town. There's all kinds, as I might say, but they might say something like, well, you people believe that Allah had intercourse with Mary, and the result was Jesus, and you believe you worship this trinity that's in the Koran. The Koran has that laid out that Christians believe that Mary is God and one member of the member of the three, the Trinity. So when you hear that, you just you just have to gasp in horror. How could you think that? We believe that if that's what Trinity is and I don't believe that we know. No, Christian believes that. Well, then, of course, the big question then, what is the Trinity then? So that's the that's where the gospel comes in, because then they actually have never heard the Christian message. I had a good friend, Fred Pastor, who spent 35 years working with Muslims, and I always do a little empirical study. I said to him, What were the three biggest things that you found? You know, barriers to working with Muslims? And he said the number one problem I encountered 35 years with Muslims is not Muslims rejecting the gospel, but getting them to actually hear it. Actually here it. Because the Quran is full of so much misinformation about Christ. 


[00:33:34] That they think we've affirmed that and we're actually not affirming that. So there's that. That is a huge kind of problem there. So we have to you have to deal with it however you deal with it. And people have different ideas about how to deal with Christology in the Koran. Some take it as the Quran is filled with many, many offensive statements. I find the Quran a bit more benign on this point, but I'm the first to say everyone agrees that the Quran never affirms biblical Christology and therefore that is a huge problem in working with Muslims. And finally, in general, one has to deal a lot with how the Bible and the Koran can or should be used. As you can tell from my discussion, I do believe it's helpful to be very well acquainted with the Koran. I mentioned before in passing the class that if you're passing on the gospel of John, Muslims will ask you, have you ever read the Koran? If they will know, I never read it, then why should I read your gospel? So it's very helpful to have a working knowledge of the Koran. A huge number of Muslims have never read the Koran but love to quote it. You know, I'm saying, in other words, Oh, it says so and so. I was like with this big debate I mentioned before I had done in Connecticut, these are official Muslim representatives. These were clerics. And there are three of us that represent Christianity. We had this debate on whether Islam is a religion of peace. And at one point, even in that debate, even with this same person, this particular Muslim said the Koran says that and she went along deal with that. The Koran teaches. 


[00:35:15] And when my time came to respond, I said to the person with the greatest respect, the Koran does not ever say that. Cite me a story sura and I chapter verse type me, Soraya. It's not in the Koran for he came back and said that he's right. It must be in the Hadith. Is this is like a way of saying, Oh, it's out there somewhere. And like the commentaries, it was so amazing that even people at the highest level will have an idea of things that are in the Koran, you know, even even things like praying five times a day or not is not in the Koran that is in is actually but nowhere in the Quran to say pray five times a day. But every most every Muslim believes it's in the Koran. And we'll tell you that. And so when you're talking to a muslim and they're saying, well, the Koran says this, the Quran says that it's actually good to have him read the document and you'll have some feel for what is and what isn't in there. So it's just helpful in my mind. But in whatever case, part of the discussion between Muslims and Christians has often to do with the Bible and the Koran, because they affirm Abraham, they affirm Jesus repealing the Koran. He's called the word from him. They say Jesus born without sin. That's in the Koran. So there's all kinds of positive statements about Christ that everybody agrees is there? And therefore it automatically comes up in the conversation when you're talking to Muslims, the Bible and the Koran. Okay. Yes, lots of comments. The Hadith means traditions. And what happened is, after the death of Muhammad, his immediate followers, what they called the companions of the prophet, sometimes those related to him, some of those just very close to them recorded things that Muhammad said or did. 


[00:37:00] And these have been verified and put into this law. Our Barbara has a whole the whole of the oldest collection is called Albert Cortez Hadith. And our library has the full set of them. It's a kind of extensive collection of sayings of Muhammad, and they are regarded as revelatory by Muslims. And so Muslims will use the Hadith and the Koran together, which is not commonly known. But if you understand Islam, it's very definitely a part of the how you have to deal with Muslims. Jeremy John, one of our students, my Bind and he read the entire thing like all 13 volumes. And depending on a database from asymptomatic stuff. And so we actually have a student here that's actually plowed through it all and even tells you how to use the bathroom, how to wipe yourself. I mean, everything imaginable that Muhammad did is recorded. That's really interesting stuff. The Talmud. Yeah, it functions that way, but they actually regard it. I mean, Muslims in their own writings, they compare the they compare to our gospels because they their ideas of the Gospels are for people talking about what Jesus did and said. And that's how the Hadith operates for them. So they actually view our New Testament at the level of their Hadith, and they don't believe that there is any thing that compares to the Koran, including our Bible. So that's why knowing about the Hadith is important a little bit in the discussion. Just to summarize the one major stumbling block, I'm just trying to give a you know, if I had to say, what is the chief stumbling block of Muslims, though? There are many. I would say the number one is the incarnation of Jesus Christ. You have to really, really be clear about your understanding, incarnation, what it is, what it isn't. 


[00:38:51] You'd be surprised. Of the theological questions I've been asked about the incarnation that I never even heard Christians ask. Well, okay. When Jesus died and you say he's the low goss of God and is the low goss, how is the low goss of God tied into the body of Jesus during the three days that Jesus died, the God Jesus die, or just the human side of Jesus die? And, you know, all these questions that maybe you've always often wondered but never had the courage to ask Muslims or ask them. And in my book, actually, the muscles are constantly asked me these questions and I respond to them in the book, you know, try to and in the book, but is certainly very much a part of the kind of questions that are asked about Christology, who actually devote a whole chapter to Muslim questions on Christology. And then really did that because this really is the kind of the big stumbling block. Christ is the main stumbling block for Muslims. And once they get that right, a lot of things will fall into place. But this is really the big challenge. And if you keep the conversation on that, you'll do well. Rather than get off into a big debate about whether Muhammad was a moral man or immoral man or whatever. As I told you this quote, If you could just give up the Trinity and the City of Christ would be all right. I found Muslims are much closer to God. I mean, I'm not saying that a particular Muslim particular person in general in terms of the theological base. A muslim would be much closer to God than a Unitarian Universalist would be, who calls himself a part of the Christian community. 


[00:40:30] There's a lot of familiarity talking to a muslim. You have more common ground with a muslim than a Unitarian in Boston who calls himself a Christian and baptized. Theologically, I'm saying I'm not making any reference, any particular Muslim, particularly Unitarian, but I'm just saying that in general, there's a lot of common ground that you can at least begin talking about. But you'll find at one point the big brick wall will be the Christian proclamation about Christ. Okay. Any other comments about this before we just a quick comment? Yes. There are just like we have like Protestant and Catholic. The two major divisions, they have Sunni and Shia. Sunni as the majority, about 80, 85% Shias a minority. But in certain countries like Iran and Iraq, they're the majority. It's just part of the problems in Iraq. Within those subdivisions, they have other groups. But there are groups around and not so much by the things that would divide us, but by interpretations of Islamic law, like all schools of law and interpretation. So one of the ones that you hear a lot about nowadays is the Wahhabi, which is the group that bin Laden belongs to a very, very strict fundamentalist group within a certain school of law in Islam. So they have the same kind of visions because it's all based on their legal system rather than some of the things that we would think about. Yes. What if the. Well, that's an interesting question, because the jury's still out. On one hand, it was devastating because the missionaries all had to flee. The missionaries were working in Afghanistan quietly in various ways. There have been a number of problems with how that's been able to reengage. But now missionaries are back in to Afghanistan. 


[00:42:25] There's a lot of possibilities. But I think that, you know, it's like everything else, it has its pros and cons to it. And we've the jury's still out on how the long term benefit will be, especially with Americans working in these places with American military presence there. Other thoughts? Yes. There are Muslim missionaries that are empowered. They have what they call. They don't call it the Great Commission. They have a certain text in the Koran, which in English would go call men to the path of my Lord. And they use this this term cause the word in Arabic is de la and they call this the devil. And they believe that every Muslim has the responsibility to issue the devil the call. And so, therefore, that has fueled all kinds of missionary activities. It doesn't happen maybe quite the same way, but because a lot of it's done through business and trade as much as it is through full time missionaries, where we would do it, they would sponsor to come and work in various fields in the US or whatever, get jobs. So this more of the Moravian model, I would say, than kind of the full support model that we talk about here in the classes much. Yes. Right. Do we have. Well, it's both of those. I would say the vast majority of Muslims are cultural Muslims who would not be particularly concerned about what the Koran teaches beyond the five pillars that I mentioned and somehow or another connected to that. A lot of Muslims are, especially in places like Turkey, couldn't even actually remember the five pillars. They know about prayer and all that. But there's occasionally you'll find Muslims who just can't quite think of all five pillars. So that tells you the level of knowledge is extremely low. 


[00:44:16] But that being said, you have these madrassas and these these Muslim schools that are that are really, really full time instruction and people are really dedicated to learning. You have a whole class of Islamic clerics that spend all their time studying the Koran and the Hadith, and they've become experts on it and certain interpretations of certain passages of knowledge like we do. They even have Muslim scholars who are scholars of the Christian Bible to teach Muslims how to respond to Christian objections and all that. They are a little more more savvy than we think in terms of interacting with the West and with Christians. And they've done a lot of things to intentionally target the West. They have goals of how many Muslims they want to see in America, and they see all that is happening to the typical life of a mosque. The preaching of the word or preaching the Koran is not as significant a place as it would be for us. They do have a Friday noon day time, which is the time when the clerics call the imams and the Sunni tradition will speak. But often it's not the kind of expositional stuff that we would expect. And there must be obviously different for everybody. Let's try to move on. And that's just to give you a little taste of this and some of the issues. That's the main thing we're interested in. And I know all this is kind of scratching the surface on so many more things that could be looked at.