There is a lot of communication happening on the “contextualization” front. For some years, some missionaries have been using ministry forms which are highly indigenous in nature and rely on sources from within other religious traditions to make their case. Others have been highly critical of this approach. This dialogue has a language all its own and goes way beyond what the uninitiated may think.
As churches in the US begin to find out just what missionaries they fund are doing, I expect there will be a backlash; in fact, this has already begun. In the past few months this debate has begun to gather steam. Ergun Caner, President of Liberty Theological Seminary, has given a scathing interview about the Southern Baptist Convention’s use of the “Camel Method,” a strategy that uses the Quran to share Christ. He later would have to recant the charge that IMB President Jerry Rankin was a liar!
FYI, I am C-4 proponent. C-5 is, at best, a transitory phase of the development of the church. It should not be a goal for missionaries to shoot for C-5 believers or churches.
Here are a few resources for you to educate yourself on this topic. If you have more resources, please send them on through to me!
A Proponent Makes His Case
These articles are by John Travis, a pro-Insider Movement author. From here you can find other resources that are quoted.
The IMB’s Statements on Contextualization
Here the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention outlines their position on contextualization.
St. Francis Magazine
This resource has carried a number of critical articles about the more extreme versions of contextualization. This issue has lots of good info on both perspectives and tons of good links. You can spend a couple hours on these resources and still be learning new things! Highly recommended (you can download the whole issue and put it on your reading device!).
My experience with the Common Ground Movement
This is a critique from a CMB (Christian of Muslim Background) with a story
about how this strategy may be perceived as deceptive by a Muslim (a
conviction I share).
Note: There is a difference between the Common Word movement and the Common Ground movement. The former is more ecumenical/cooperative in nature while the latter is more about missionary strategy. Sometimes I see them lumped together, but this isn’t really fair. You can find the official site on the Common Word here, and this is a critique from John Piper.
Edit from original article…
I have been emailed about my lack of inclusion of the Common Path website. I didn’t know it existed. Here is the link for those that want to see what C-5/IM advocates have to say on the issue: Common Path Alliance
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