Still More From Sherry Weddell

Still More From Sherry Weddell October 10, 2012

…on Christian missionary activity in the Muslim world.

If you are inclined to grumble that this should be ignored because it is being done by Pentecostals and Evangelicals and not us good Catholics who have the fullness of truth, I urge you to think again. God will happily use anybody who seeks to obey him and is not choosy about their level of scholarship. If we are too self-involved in our liturgy wars, culture wars, political wars, and aesthetic wars when God invites us to the wedding feast, he will go out into the highways and byways and invite the poor, lame, blind and crippled.

As Mary has urged us to do…

…we Catholics should be taking the lead here. If we are neglecting that work and handing it over to eager Pentecostals and Evangelicals, it’s hardly their fault when they respond and we do not.

A million Muslim conversion a year. Think about that. Unprecedented in the history of Christian Islamic relations. That is the real “Arab Spring” and the only real hope for the Islamic world. We should be focusing on fostering that, not yet another war to further drive the Islamic world further from the gospel. I sometimes wonder if all the temptation to war-mongering among “conservative” western Christians is hell’s strategy for thwarting the progress of the gospel. The replacement of trust in God with trust in American projection of geopolitical power is of a piece with the secular messianism that dominates our national discourse.

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  • beccolina

    There’s grumbling over this?! God bless them for their courage and committment.

  • Sherry Weddell
  • Ted Seeber

    Given Islamic secular culture, and it’s emphasis on morality, I have to wonder if we’d just offer them Catholicism if they’d jump at it. Perhaps even a form of Catholicism where they get to keep the Quran and praying 5 times a day.

  • Sherry Weddell

    Ted – there is a whole movement of “muslim background believers” experimenting with various levels of “inculturation” along the lines that you describe. It is controversial because there are MANY difficult theological, spiritual, and cultural issues to be resolved. There was a good evaluation over at St. Francis magazine (a historic Christianity friendly website about mission to the Muslim world) of this movement a few years ago.

  • kenneth

    It should not be ignored, but it should be viewed with a good dose of skepticism, at least as far as the claims that Christian conversions are taking the Muslim world by storm. We have apparently unsubstantiated claims by groups raising money for missionary work that they have converted a million Muslims. Not a million a year, a million over a decade or two.

    That’s not implausible on its face, but what’s the source of those numbers? Are there any census or surveys or any sort of methodologically sound estimates to lend support to those numbers? What, exactly, is a “Muslim Background Believer.” Are they secretly baptized and practicing Christians who just maintain outward Muslim identity for safety? (Is Crytpo-Christianity even possible? I truly don’t know). Are these people Christian, or flirting with conversion, or are they just Muslims who find some merit in Christian doctrine? If it’s the latter, that’s not exactly news. Islam has always had some limited areas of agreement and mutual respect.

    The bit about the Kuwaiti prince is even shakier. That’s based on an anonymous disembodied voice broadcast by an outlet with an obvious interest in believing such an account. More interesting, we have a man who says he’s ready to accept martyrdom for his faith, but won’t publicly stand for his beliefs.

    One final consideration is that talking up strategies of mass conversion in Muslim countries will do no favors for the actual Christian communities who are already hanging on by a fingernail in many of these countries. This stuff is pure gold for hard-line imams and terror groups who will cast drones and missionaries as the right and left arms of the same crusader body.

    • Sherry Weddell

      Kenneth- the Muslim background believer term is widely used all over the world by groups from all different backgrounds. The phenomena of whole Muslim families and communities coming to Christ first showed up in the 70’s/80’s and is well into its second generation, I know people who are now meeting second generation Christian leaders who are the children of MBB’s. I’m not publicizing anything that isn’t already widely available on the internet and well documented. The much publicized claim of a Muslim sheikh a few years ago that 6 million Muslims a year were becoming Christians in Africa was bogus. But the extraordinary growth among the Muslims of China, North Africa, Iran, Indonesia, etc. have grown exponentially in the 21st century – most during the past 7 years. Martyrdoms are still occurring and all the truly hush-hush stuff never makes it to the internet or in print because everyone involved has an acute sense of what is at stake.
      I studied this at a graduate level and have tracked it ever since so I have a reasonably good idea of what is real and what isn’t. But nothing says you have to believe me.

  • Kirt Higdon

    I know a priest (French/Algerian) who has a Moslem father and have met a nun (Ghanan) who has a Moslem mother. I had a friend and work colleague who was a Lebanese Shia Moslem. He tended to scoff at all religions, but had great respect for the Virgin Mary. He married a Christian Syrian woman and converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity. That’s just my limited experience and I have never lived in a majority Moslem community or country. But just based on that, I certainly reject the notion that Moslems are unreachable. I’d recommend highly Peter Kreeft’s book “Between Allah and Jesus: What Christians can Learn from Moslems”.

  • JoFro

    I, in all honesty, think it is useless trying to convert Muslims when our culture has now become so debased. Muslims look at the West (and hence Christianity and Christians) as “moral cowards” or “wimps”. Our women are seen as easy prey and our men are too spineless to do anything. I’ve always believed that if you want to reach out to Muslims, we need to deal with our sh*t first….

    • Sherry Weddell

      We aren’t “converting” anyone to western culture as such. We are calling them to follow Jesus Christ as Lord in the midst of the Church in the power of the Holy Spirit for the sake of the world. The vast majority of Catholics aren’t western anymore and there are thousands of “Catholic cultures” now.