Saturday, January 26, 2013

Review of "I was a Minister in the Nation of Islam" by Alexis Johnson

I Was a Minister in the Nation of IslamI Was a Minister in the Nation of Islam by Alexis Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have read many books by ex-Muslims over the years, as religious conversion from Islam to Christianity is one of my main areas of academic research. But I had never happened across a book quite like this.

First, I did not realize how different and heterodox the Nation of Islam (NOI) is. The most interesting aspect of the book for me was learning about the NOI and what I found to be frankly bizarre stories about its founding figures. I would have liked some more quotations directly from NOI sources, but I always say this about conversion narratives. I want to read a well-documented, properly researched treatise, the convert wants to tell their story.

Second, the main purpose of the author in this book is clearly to warn American churches and Christians and black people against what he sees as the propaganda of the NOI and specifically Louis Farrakhan. He spends a good amount of the book explaining why, in his opinion, the NOI and Minister Farrakhan are not what they appear.

Another goal of his is to offer a salvation that is not based on race or ethnicity. The universality of the offer of salvation in Christianity is balanced by a very real awareness of injustices suffered by black and brown Americans, and the sometimes patronizing (if well-intentioned) behavior of white Christians. Thus he avoids the trope of self-victimization while also not ignoring the reality of racial injustice in the past and the present.

Strengths are the material on the founder of the NOI and the rather graphic and gritty description of his life in the drug trade before his conversion to the NOI. Weaknesses are his lack of sourcing his material (sometimes) and a rather disjointed final chapter.

People interested in the Nation of Islam, racial relations and religious conversion will find this engaging and well-crafted book of interest.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

BTh Classes for Spring 2013

NETS is offering the following BTh classes, in Arabic, for Spring of 2013

Basic Christian Doctrines II (Ajaj and Miller)
Christian Couseling (Artoul)
Church Growth (Ajaj)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Complete Volume 1 of 'Mary's Well Occasional Papers'

2013 is here and 2012 is gone, and so we are now on to the our second volume of Mary's Well Occasional Papers (MWOP). We have also published a number of book reviews in our 'NETS Books Reviews'.

I thought it would be good to put all those together here in blog post with links to the PDF's on our servers, and, if they exist, also on the Academia website, as I have found that to be a very useful website.

Mary's Well Occasional Papers, Volume 1 (2012)

Paper 1) Arthur, J. Bryson: ‘Out on a Limb: a theological exploration of suffering, risk and persecution’ 
Nazareth Seminary 

Paper 2) Louy, Stephen: 'Barbarian Jews: ethnic identity in the language of Philo'
Nazareth Seminary 

Paper 3) Ajaj, Azar. 'Brother against Brother: Covenant and Dispensationalist Eschatologies in the Context of Israeli Evangelicalism' 
Nazareth Seminary 

Paper 4) Miller, Duane Alexander. ‘"It is okay to question Allah": the theology of freedom of Saiid Rabiipour, a Christian ex-Muslim’ 
Nazareth Seminary || Academia

Paper 5) Hill, Phil. ‘Do Jesus and Paul agree with the OT laws concerning marriage, divorce, and remarriage?’ 
Nazareth Seminary 

NETS Book Reviews (2012)

1) In our first NETS Book ReviewBrent Neely reviews the new book by Gabriel Said ReynoldsThe Emergence of Islam: Classical Traditions in Contemporary Perspective (Fortress Press, 2012). (Download)

2) In our second NETS Book ReviewAlex Miller, lecturer in Church history and theology, reviews Christian Zionism Examined by Steven Paas (VTR Publications). (Download)

3) In our third NETS Book Review, Phil Hill reviews Steven Paas' book Johannes Rebmann: a servant of God in Africa before the rise of western colonialism (VTR Publications, 2012, 271 pages). (Download)

4) Our fourth NETS Book Review, this one by Alex MillerCatholic, Kurd, and ex-Muslim: a book review of Out of Islam: “free at last” by Daniel Ali (TatePublishing, 2007, 162 pages) (Download)

5) مراجعة كتاب
 الجليل يشهد: شهادات حيّة لجليلييّن قبلوا المسيح فسبقونا للمجد
إعداد وتحرير: عزيز سمعان دعيم
إصدار ونشر: كنيسة الإخوة المسيحيين – عبلين
تاريخ النشر: كانون الاول 2012-12-26

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Interview with Bob Blincoe on Christian witness in the Muslim world

In the January, 2013 issue of Global Missiology (English), you can find Alex Miller's interview with Bob Blincoe, the director of Frontiers (USA). Here is a section:
It is no exaggeration to say that for the first time in history large numbers of Muslims are coming to faith for the first time. We had the sensational experience in Indonesia in the 1960s when the government ordered every citizen to choose a religion, and that is how millions of Muslims came to Christianity. But today they are coming to Christ, and to be clear I mean to the Christ of the Bible. No one is doing this so well that a strategy that works in one place can work in others, but we should pay attention. One person that has paid attention is Jerry Trousdale, who wrote the book Miraculous Movements. He has done the research on more than 30 movements of Muslims to faith in Christ. We should watch and pray for a bright future for many millions of Muslims whom the angels will gather on the last day.
Click to download the PDF, Word Doc, or see the HTML.

Blincoe, Bob and Duane Alexander Miller. ‘The Day of Salvation for Muslims Everywhere: an interview with Bob Blincoe’ in Global Missiology 10:2, January 2013.