Insiders Movement

A very interesting article - thanks, Lloren.

For years our church supported "missionaries" to the Middle East. I put missionaries in quotes because technically they could not be missionaries - it was illegal in the nation they were living. We could make no reference to them by name in printed material or on the internet. They had a business purpose for being there. They adopted much of the culture of the nation (the wife even wore a burka when they went out) in order to reach their neighbors and coworkers. When someone they knew accepted Christ they had to be "Insiders" because to do otherwise was life threatening - I don't mean inconvenient or ostracized, I mean they could be killed.

I know some will say that they need to take the next step and "identify with Christ." Some will even mention Daniel, who was true to his faith no matter what. I say, "Amen," but I also wonder how many festivals to other gods Daniel attended during his years in Babylon. He went through a three year acculturation process before he was allowed to hold an office in the kings court. His name was changed, his clothing, the things he studied, they language he used and God only knows how much more.

In fact, Jeremiah warned the people of God that to not become an "Insider" was contrary to God's will. They were to intermarry, start families and businesses, plant crops and live their lives in their new place. To do otherwise would be disobedience. God would understand and even bless them. He would not forget. It was all part of his plan to prosper them, to give them hope and a future (Jeremiah 29).

A good topic - I'll be curious what others have to say.
That was an interesting article, particularly this quip: "Such movements have been observed among a number of religious groups, most notably among Jews, Muslims and Hindus." I would argue the Jews already serve the same God as I do, they don't have to change anything except believing in Christ as the Messiah and being born again of Him. In fact, I would argue more Christians need to embrace our Jewish heritage and start observing some of the High Holy Days that God commanded, particularly Passover. But I digress.

Reading Abba's post gave me some conflicting thoughts. At first I thought about Missionaries wearing Burkahs and I instantly thought of Leviticus where God basically said over and over "Stop acting like the pegans". But then his point about Daniel hit home. Be a Jew to the Jews, a Greek to the Greek, and a Gentile to the Gentiles. That being said, I think intent has a lot to do with it. The missionaries, I would argue, are not what this article is talking about. The missionaries are there to make converts, and they adapt cultural norms that have religious backgrounds in order to make that task easier.

I think what this article is talking about is people who get converted but keep the traditions and ways of their old faith, I would say this is wrong. Baptism was all about making a public confession of faith, where everyone could see you. I think when you convert it should be time to stop the ways of your old religion and take on the ways of Christ. This is obviously particularly true if you are doing anything specifically forbidden, such as having false idols in your home.
I think it depends on what aspects of the culture you keep. If you continue to practice other religions (even if you're not "practicing" just going through the motions) then you are entirely in the wrong. If you follow some cultural norms (as long as they don't have religious or anti-Christian aspects to them) then I don't see it as an issue. However, as little as we may like to hear it, we are called to follow the narrow path. Which if that means death, persecution, etc. then that is what it means. So while I don't want to see fellow brothers and sisters in Christ being persecuted or killed for their faith, I don't think that we should do anything that counters what is in the Bible to stay "safe."

Just my .02