Muslim Followers of Christ?

I just read this article from Christianity Today on Christians who wish to maintain a Muslim identity; “Muslim Followers of Christ?”

The article discusses where the dividing lines seem to fall for those followers of Christ who wish to maintain a Muslim identity and a Muslim practice and those who see Christianity as something separate from Islam.

I hope you get the opportunity to check it out.

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8 thoughts on “Muslim Followers of Christ?

  1. That was an interesting article.

    To get a bit closer to home for most of us, this syncretism is far from limited to Christian-Muslims. The Pew Forum recently released a study indicating that syncretism is alive and well among American Christians. Even among whites who self-identify as born-again or evangelical, from 10 to 15 percent believe in not-very-evangelical things such as astrology, reincarnation and the existence of spiritual energy in physical things. The figures drop to 5 to 10 percent for those who attend church services weekly, but that still sounds high to me. (Catholics are about twice as likely to believe in such things as white evangelicals are.)

    The CT article about Christian-Muslims and the Pew report raise questions to me about how much of people’s religious identity has to do with cultural identification and how much has to do with theological belief. Obviously, that varies with the person and the particular religion. In any case, I suspect that for the average person it has a lot more to do with cultural identification than many of us who partake of the religious blogosphere would care to acknowledge.

  2. Mormonism is openly and admittedly a matter of cultural identification – as a core theological matter.

    It’s the whole concept behind covenant. If you comply with the covenants, most other things are negotiable in the Mormon world.

  3. Ah, since they weren’t name-checked, I wasn’t sure. My understanding was that Jews for Jesus is sort of at the far end of the Messianic Jewish spectrum…which seems to pick up an extra level of criticism compared to the issues/debates discussed in the article.

    To put it in blunter terms, Jews for Jesus often gets accused of using Jewish culture as a means for the ol’ bait-and-switch rather than fully embracing Jewish culture as a means of worship in itself, while this article seems to focus more on those who have a much fuzzier line between culture and theology.

  4. It’s entirely possible that Wikipedia has led me astray, but there appears to be debate with the Messianic Jewish movement:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jews_for_Jesus#Messianic_Judaism_opposition

    So in some ways, it’s analagous to the debates within Muslim/Christian groups (or however we want to term them), but I think the main critique goes back to what role cultural observances play in JfJ’s purpose, and I didn’t get the sense that culture-as-evangelizing-tool is really the issue described in the article.

  5. From my numerous conversations with the Jews for Jesus around the campus at the University of Illinois, they identify themselves at the far end of the Messianic Jewish movement.

    I didn’t get a chance to read the entire article, but I did make it through most of it, and the thing that struck me the most is the attempts to define someone else’s personal beliefs. This is a topic that has been discussed around these parts, but reading the article made me understand it better. At some point, folks need to say, “Who cares what you think? I know what I believe, and if you don’t understand it, that isn’t going to terribly affect my personal belief system.” (Not sure, but I think this was kullervo’s point in the “Mormons Aren’t Christians” thread that I was reading through not too long ago.)

    I definitely believe that there are two distinct aspects of any religious community: the theological and the cultural. I tend to believe that many people are more concerned with the cultural of their religious community than with the theology. (Religious bloggers are way outside this group, and many of us tend to get shocked when someone would suggest such a thing, but I have seen a lot of truth to this statement in my experiences.)

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