Contextualization

Contextualization Gone Amok?

Contextualization is a brilliant Christian Missiology idea (C1, C2 and C3) that has gone amok (C4 and C5). As a former Muslim and a graduate of madrassa, I have concerns especially with C5. First, how can a Muslim claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ while he or she still believes in the Qur’an—a book that vehemently rejects his deity, death and resurrection? These three attributes make his salvation and lordship possible.

Secondly, some in C5 have stated that they were born into a Muslim family, which automatically makes them a Muslim and a part of the Muslim community; therefore, they cannot disavow themselves of their family, community and people. Their views are in agreement with Prophet Muhammad who advocated for fitra (every child is born a Muslim and should remain a Muslim). Sadly, they are incongruent with those of Jesus Christ (who they also claim is their savior), who taught, “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matt 10:37, NIV.) This text is just one of the examples of his teachings.

Thirdly, they seem to confuse western culture with Christianity, the same way many Muslims do. They understand Christianity only from what they hear in the news about the actions of some celebrities in the West, or from what they read in the Qur’an and the Hadith. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. One can be a Christian (follower of Jesus Christ) without embracing western culture.

Fourthly, I know of some Muslim scholars who invent excuses for the behavior of Prophet Muhammad; but I have never heard of one who wants to be a follower of Jesus Christ yet still wants to defend Muhammad. Many instances in the Qur’an and the Hadith illustrate how Prophet Muhammad’s behavior is an embarrassment. For example, he married Zainab, who was previously married to Zaid (his adopted son). He supposedly received as a revelation from Allah a decree that Zaid should divorce Zainab so that he could marry her (Surah 33). Mark you, this happened when Muhammad already had at least five wives.

Muslim scholars are mocking the advocacy of contextualization in Christianity, mostly quoting Christian scholars who are known experts in the field. One of the first hits you get when you search online is the Muslim criticism. They claim that since there is no “truth” in Christianity, Christians have resorted to desperate tactics to get new converts. Is this what we need?

I hope those who advocate for contextualization, especially for C4 and C5, should change their mind because, regardless of how they spin it, a believer cannot be a follower of Muhammad and Jesus at the same time.

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Cracks in the Crescent discusses my upbringing as a Muslim, my conversion story to Christianity and the ensuring persecution. If you would like your copy, please clink on the link below. Thank you. For a limited time only, there is an offer for free shipping, which ends Friday, December 31, 2010.


  • Hussein

    Thanks Ginger for the comment! I do not understand what the advocates of C4 and C5 levels of contextualization obsession with Islamic teachings is. They seem to be quite ignorant. Their understanding of Scripture also seem very questionable. Don’t they know that the Hadith proves that the Qur’an is a concoction of Prophet Muhammad. The salat (five daily prayers) are also his invention. There was no Night Journey, Isra Miraj, because both the Qur’an (17:60) and the Hadith (different ones) show he had a DREAM that took him to Jerusalem, then to the seven heavens. Most Muslims are ignorant of these facts, so apparently are some Christians. It is sad that Christian pastors, missionaries, teachers and laypeople advocate for the teachings of Prophet Muhammad to be adopted by Christians of Muslim background. Scripture clearly shows that we cannot be both Muslim and Christian. Indeed, narrow is the gate and “there are few that find it.” May the Lord find us faithful.

  • Ginger

    Greetings, brother.
    I totally agree with your view, it is very evident from the Word of God that Jesus and Mohammad are mutually exclusive.
    But if someone remains a Muslim and tells people he is a Christian, too—this means he is still a Muslim, because of taqiyya, he is allowed to lie and deceive to protect his religion, and also because of the reason you named, that “once a Muslim, always a Muslim” unless you recant. And everyone knows that to recant is to allow a death sentence to fall on you.
    I think that those who advocate this view—and their numbers are growing rapidly in the US especially—are on dangerous ground theologically. Perhaps they had no proper Bible training, but I am very glad you wrote on this issue and pray that God brings them back to the narrow road. Jesus said, “there are few that find it”–how true!
    God bless and keep you safe and strong in the Lord Jesus Christ.