Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Thursday, February 21, 2008

    Future Forays involving Muslim Domains

    Patterns today among Muslim communities and groups are telling and can provide Christians insight into planning for more effective evangelism in the future among Muslims as well as planning for how to equip and build up saints so as to not be deceived or led astray by Muslims in the future.

    Though the warfare on the spiritual battlefield will be the same, tactics will need to adapt to the changing environment and conditions. It's clear that ... many places, the face of Islam is changing and will continue to undergo change so as to look different in the near future, particularly due to the effects of westernization and modernity. These changes are now being seen in places such as college campuses, European and American Muslim communities, the practice of Muslim leaders thoughout the world, etc. See For Muslim Students, a Debate on Inclusion for insight into the types of changes in process.

    While others I'm sure are more seasoned and experienced and are already seeing these changes, my projections would be that we will continue to see more splintering of the Muslim community along typical lines such as liberal vs. conservative; literal vs. non-literal, legalistic vs. licentious, etc.; each of which must be examined as to how it will not only affect the Muslim faith but also how it offers opportunities, challenges and roadblocks to Christian evangelism as well as how it affects the role of the church in equipping saints for standing firm and dealing effectively in the new environment.

    I suspect the battleground will include everything from pockets of traditional isolated hardline non inclusive resistant groups to those who besides their theological doctrines (and associated and resulting practice) will look outwardly no different than anyone else on the street, even to those who while they look no different outwardly are of a jihad mindset and secretly plot with against their neighbors to do them physical harm and bring death. The point being many of the former identifiers on a physical level of those who are different will not be as present or evident. This will do several things. First, it will require believers to be more discerning, it will require the state to be more creative and on top of things, etc. But as believers, these are not times we must fear or dread, but rather both appreciate the good that comes with the changes and take advantage of them as well as to be aware of the new challenges that will come both spiritually and physically.

    One good is that we will continue to see the melting of the peoples of the world into one. Another good is that many of those who formally would have been isolated due to their Muslim heritage and environment will be more assessible, engagable and open. Another good is that rather than emphasis and distraction being placed on physical and geographical differences more emphasis will be placed on theological, doctrinal and ethical differences. Another good is that faults and errors within the Muslim faith and traditions will be open to greater scrutiny and the thoughts, attitudes and practices of its adherants challenged. Another good is that we will again have opportunity to see the face of the Christian faith advance from being more of a western look to seeing more of the unity and peace as those from every tongue and tribe and nation come together in one body ("Red and yellow black and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus love ALL the children of the world). Another good will be the advancement of the church's thinking and work as greater perspective and additional scholarship is brought to bear. Another good is that cultural as opposed to biblical Christianity will more and more be challenged. Another good is that we ourselves will be challenged in areas we've grown comfortable or are not living consistent with the truth. These are just to name a few, but to point out that the future possesses great promise.

    At the same time, we must understand that these changes will also bring a greater spread of Muslim teaching and resources, a greater exposure of our children and immature to that which is false, not biblical thought forms, attitudes, and practices which oppose, challenge, and seek to supplant our own; greater numbers of those who will blindly hold to pluralism, a greater challenge to the churches personnel and resources in confronting Islam at home as well as abroad; a greater amount of false teaching to defend against, etc. Again, these are just to name a few, but to point out why it is important that the church and its members not blindly and unwisely fail to prepare and get caught behind the curve.

    Much more can be said, but the purpose of this post is simple to bring the matter to attention and encourage greater conversation and planning among God's people.

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