Chapter 97MUST ALL MUSLIMS LEAVE “ISLAM”?
separating the gospel from the myriad of le-gal, social, and cultural issues implied inchanging religious camps, a more straightfor-ward, less encumbered message can be sharedand (we hope) embraced. On the question of how Christians would feel if Muslims entereda church with the purpose of winning con-verts to Islam, I personally would not be fear-ful. Indeed, for a variety of reasons, non-Christians often grace the doors of churches,and many in the process come to Christ!
Reinterpreting Muhammadand the Qur’an
Can individuals be a part of the communityof Islam and not affirm standard Muslim the-ology? Yes, so long as they remain silentabout their unorthodox beliefs. Indeed, thereare millions of “cultural Muslims” who havedivergent beliefs or know virtually nothingabout Islam, yet who, because of birth andthe fact they have not formally left the fold,are seen as a part of the community of Islam.However the goal of C5 believers (unlike C6 believers) is not to remain silent about theirfaith, but rather to be a witness for Christ. Asthey share, eventually the issue of theprophethood of Muhammad and the iner-rancy of the Qur’an will arise. A follower of Jesus cannot affirm all that is commonlytaught about the Qur’an and Muhammad.
Certain aspects of the role of Muhammadand the Qur’an must be reinterpreted. Thiswill perhaps be the most challenging task of C5; to not do so will in time cause these believ-ers to move toward C4 (contextualized, yet notMuslim) or C6 (underground/silent believers).Reinterpretation goes far beyond the scope of this brief article and would require the input of Muslim leaders who have put their faith inChrist. A tremendous starting point toward re-interpretation is found in Accad’s excellent book
Building Bridges (1997).
As an Arabscholar and pastor, he suggests ways thatMuhammad, the Qur’an, and Qur’anic verseswhich seem to deny the crucifixion can be rein-terpreted
(pp. 34-46; 138-141).
He cites, as well,examples of Muslims who have successfullyremained in the community of Islam after ac-cepting Christ, some referring to themselves as“Muslims who are truly surrendered to Godthrough the sacrifice of Messiah Isa”
Guidelines for avoidingsyncretism in a C5 movement
The idea of Muslim followers of Jesus or mes-sianic mosques has been suggested by anumber of key missiologists (see Winter,1981; Kraft, 1979; Conn, 1979; Woodberry,1989). We do need guidelines, however, sothat a C5 expression of faith does not slip intoa harmful syncretism. Those working withnew believers should emphasize at least thefollowing in the discipleship process:1.Jesus is Lord and Savior; there is no sal-vation outside of him.2.New believers are baptized, meet regu-larly with other believers (this may needto be done with great discretion), andtake communion.3.New believers study the Injil (and Torahplus Zabur if available).4.New believers renounce and are deliv-ered from occultism and harmful folk Is-lamic practices (i.e. shamanism, prayersto saints, use of charms, curses, incanta-tions, etc.).5.Muslim practices and traditions (e.g.fasting, alms, circumcision, attendingthe mosque, wearing the head covering,refraining from pork and alcohol, etc.)are done as expressions of love for Godand/or respect for neighbors, ratherthan as acts necessary to receive forgive-ness of sins.6.The Qur’an, Muhammad, and traditionalMuslim theology are examined, judged,and reinterpreted (where necessary) inlight of biblical truth. Biblically accept-able Muslim beliefs and practices aremaintained, others are modified, somemust be rejected.7.New believers show evidence of the new birth and growth in grace (e.g. the fruitof the Spirit, increased love, etc.) and adesire to reach the lost (e.g. verbal wit-ness and intercession).We must bear in mind that C5 believers, atsome point, may be expelled from the com-munity of Islam. C5 may only be transitional,as Dr. Parshall suggests. Yet, would it not bemuch better for Muslim followers of Jesus toshare the Good News over months or yearswith fellow Muslims who may eventually ex-pel them, than for these new believers to