Turkey’s government is concerned about deceptive practices of some western missionaries

counterfeit-us-dollarFor several decades some missionaries[i] from organizations like Frontiers, Wycliffe, SIL, YWAM, and others have adopted a form of contextualization known as C-5 contextualization (or “Insider Movements”). These missionaries believe that followers of Christ should remain in the religion of their birth i.e. a Muslim should remain a Muslim, a Hindu should remain a Hindu, etc… Many of these missionaries suggest that asking someone to convert to Christianity is wrong. In Muslim contexts, “C-5 believers” frequently hold views about Christ that mirror the beliefs of the general Muslim population. They may continue to identify themselves as Muslims, continue to affirm Mohammad as God’s prophet, continue to affirm the Qu’ran as God’s word, and reject a belief in the divinity of Christ. Western missionary organizations promoting C-5 contextualization have produced new translations of the bible that harmonize the place and people names with those used and the Qu’ran and replace terms like Father, Son, Baptism, etc.. with alternative language that Muslim audiences find “less offensive.”

For more than a decade the Turkish church has expressed its serious concerns about the methods used and translations produced by these western missionaries. In 2007, Thomas Cosmades[ii] (one of the leading biblical scholars and translators in Turkey), in an open letter, expressed his concerns about a translation being produced by Frontiers. When those concerns were ignored, the Alliance of Protestant Churches wrote a warning letter to the churches in regards to the later published “Muslim friendly” translation.

Today, the pleas of the Turkish church remain unheeded and now leaders (mostly Muslim) in the Turkish government have taken notice of these practices and issued a warning about these missionaries, their practices, and their bible translations. The following is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the Turkish news yesterday (January 19, 2014).

TURKEY’S CiA (MIT) warns government (Prime Minister and Ministry of Religious Affairs) about foreign Christian undercover missionaries posing as Muslims operating under a branch named C-5 in a mission agency called Frontiers. Also mentioned by name are Jeff Carvey in Bursa and Bruce Privatsky in Tekirdag. The article also mentions the attempts of creating a Muslim-friendly Bible translation to entice Muslims. ​

The complete article (in Turkish) can be found here.

The news article (in English) is now available here

C-5 contextualization and its accompanying translations are hindering the evangelistic work of our brothers and sisters in Christ in many parts of the world because it is angering the Muslims they are trying to reach; Muslims who believe Christians are trying to deceive them. When Muslims react in anger to the deceptive methods that our western missionaries have employed, it is our brothers and sisters in Christ who live among them that suffer. Please listen to the pleas of our brothers and sisters in Christ and make sure the money you give to missionaries is not being used to promote the deceptive practices of C-5 contextualization, practices that hinder the Gospel and endanger our brothers and sisters in Christ. More information on this issue can be found on the Biblical Missiology website.

 


[i] While the leadership of these organizations remains supportive of these methods, many of their own missionaries reject these new methodologies and are very concerned about this new direction in missiology.

[ii] Thomas Cosmades went to be with the Lord in September 2010.

A Year of Deception

YBW-cover-cropG. K. Chesterton said in his book “Orthodoxy” that:

“the new rebel is a skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty; therefore he can never be really a revolutionist. And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in his way when he wants to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it. . . . As a politician, he will cry out that war is a waste of life, and then, as a philosopher, that all life is waste of time. A Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant, and then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself. . . . The man of this school goes first to a political meeting, where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts; then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes on to a scientific meeting, where he proves that they practically are beasts. In short, the modern revolutionist, being an infinite skeptic, is always engaged in undermining his own mines. In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men. Therefore the modern man in revolt has become practically useless for all purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything he has lost his right to rebel against anything.

Chesterton well understood where Postmodernism was headed and his description of modern man’s inclination to doubt everything is exemplified in the Emergent church movement today. In Emergent circles it is common to have “question and response” sessions; “question and response” rather than “question and answer” because they believe that there are no absolute answers to any of life’s biggest questions. Rachel Held Evens, who has embraced this kind of postmodern theology, is rapidly becoming one of the most popular voices of the Emergent Church and over and over again in her writing she demonstrates the rebel against everything attitude that Chesterton described so well. Her new book, “A year of Biblical Womanhood: How a liberated woman found herself sitting on her roof, covering her head, and calling her husband master” is just one more example. It is rife with examples of poor biblical exegesis, false assumptions, and it appears frequently to be deliberately misleading but, like most of Rachel’s writings, she is consistent in her call to rebel against everything. Trillia Newbell has written an excellent review of Rachel Held Evans latest book and cites many examples from the book itself. She concludes with this thought “This book is not ultimately about manhood and womanhood, headship and submission, or the complementarian and egalitarian debate. At its root this book questions the validity of the Bible.”  I believe she has hit the nail on the head.

An Very Unexpected Ally

SCOTUSTwo citizens of Greece, NY filed a lawsuit against the town in response to a prayer given by a clergy person invited during a city council meeting because the prayer specifically mentioned Jesus’ name. The plaintiffs argued that prayers were an establishment forbidden by the First Amendment because some of them were explicitly Christian. The defense has wisely argued that if the government were to censor the prayers of the clergy that it would truly be establishing a state religion. The fact that Muslim, Christians, and Jewish leaders are free to pray according to their own conscious demonstrates that the state is not establishing any religion. The case of “Town of Greece v. Galloway” is now headed to the Supreme Court and surprising almost everyone, the Obama administration as come along side of the defense in this case. While I don’t often find myself in agreement with the Obama Administration, this is one time I believe they are truly making the right choice and deserve our praise. More on this story can be found here, at (surprise) the Huffington Post of all places.

Why are Millennials leaving the church? A response from Trevin Wax

Trevin WaxTrevin Wax’s response to an article by Rachel Held Evans about why “Millennials” are leaving the church separates the rhetoric that’s repeated so frequently by the voices of the Emergent church movement from the reality that the church is really facing. The millennial generation has raised many valid concerns that desperately need to be answered by the church and it is truly time for the church to take the time to understand their concerns and truly seek to provide a biblical response. By remaining silent for far too long, we have allowed the voices of the Emergent church movement, like Rachel Held Evans, to provide all of the answers, answers that are spiritually bankrupt and leading a whole generation away from the truth of the Gospel. It is time for the church to step up and fill this gap.