Contextualization and the Insider Movement: A Local Church’s Response

Greg Strand – February 5, 2013 6 Comments

Collin Hansen interviewed John Piper last year regarding the “insider movement”: “Piper Responds to the Insider Movement.”

Hansen states the following about this six minute interview:

John Piper depends on many experienced missionaries and pastors at Bethlehem Baptist Church who help him discern the related issues: whether new followers of Jesus Christ can stay in the mosque, continue to call themselves Muslims, refer to Jesus as the “Son of God,” and so on. In this interview, he tells me what he appreciates about the impulse behind the Insider Movement and why Westerners struggle to understand the consequences of belief among Muslim-background believers.

Piper also raises an important problem with the Insider Movement not always appreciated by its proponents: the staunch opposition of many Muslim-background believers who have sacrificed so much to follow Christ and reach their friends, family, and neighbors with the gospel.

Regarding contextualization, Piper believes that C4 is as far as one should go.

One of those involved/engaged in missionary outreach to which Piper refers in this interview is his former colleague at Bethlehem Baptist, Erik Hyatt. Hyatt served as Pastor for Global Outreach from 2002-2011, at which time he transitioned into Bethlehem’s Church Planting Residency as training to church plant this fall.

In this piece linked below, Hyatt shares how he and Bethlehem Baptist had to come to terms with contextualization among Muslims. Through this, they developed questions for missionary candidates, “Questions and Biblical Guidelines for Missionaries among Muslim Peoples.”

Greg Strand


Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

6 responses to Contextualization and the Insider Movement: A Local Church’s Response

  1. I had missed this post until you mentioned in your last comment. Thanks! I think this is one of the most well thought out sets of questions I have yet seen. It is an excellent resource.

    • I am glad you read this, as it is very helpful, not only as a guide but also as a model for what local churches can and ought to be doing on some of these important matters.

  2. Duane Alexander Miller May 4, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Thank you for this post on insider movements. I thought you might be interested in a recent article I published on the topic of the origins of IM thinking, all the way back in the 1930’s. Here is the link:
    Duane A. Miller

    • Thank you, Duane, for reading and interacting with this post. I appreciate the link to your brief article on some earlier origins of the IM strategy.

  3. Greg, It looks like this topic is again heating up the blogosphere.

    Do you know if Reach Global has taken a position on contextualization?

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