Wednesday, July 11, 2007

And I thought "camels" were cigarettes

"For years, evangelists and church planters have been using the Koran as a bridge to draw Muslims to the Gospel. This highly effective tool is controversial and complicated for Christians not familiar with the Koran. Camel Training settles the issue of using the Koran as an evangelistic tool and the Camel Method makes it easy to speak to a Muslim about Jesus’ holiness, power and position."
The Camel - How Muslims are Coming to Faith in Christ!

Camel method of teaching
Curriculum offers Texas Baptists help in forming relationships with Muslims
Is Camel Method leading thirsty world to oasis of truth?
Memorandum: The Camel Method
The Camel's Secret...Should Christian's Be Telling It?

Yes, I thought "Camels" were cigarettes. I often find I'm out of touch with what's going on in the real world. While reading at
Bart Barber's blog, I ran across a mention of this Camel idea of evangelism for "reaching" Muslims. I guess I thought most Christians believe the Bible is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness and that the Gospel found in its pages are what we are to preach concerning the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe this "Camel" concept is unbiblical and rooted in a man-centered gospel that relies on methodology rather than Holy Spirit conversion. Nevertheless, for those who wish to read more, I have provided links about the "Camel Method" both pro and con.

Added note: Bart Barber will be reviewing The Camel: How Muslims Are Coming to Faith in Christ. He has posted a "before" thread -- Reading The Camel: Before -- and afterwards will post the review.

Related: Ann Holmes Redding, an Episcopal priest, claims to also be a practicing Muslim. Read more about it here and here.

More: Bart Barber has started his review, Of Muslims and Mormons, here.


Anonymous said...

There is a huge difference between the pronunciation of "Jehovah" as "Yaweh" and adopting the Arab name "Allah" in an English speaking context. We may as well adopt the modernist view of God as Mother, since God is without gender.

In my mind, nothing replaces the plain language of scripture when we are addressing issues in English. My name would be Jacob if I adopted the same idea as "camelism".

Sometimes I think we attempt to appear more intellectual than our actual brain's capacity.



Writer said...

R. L.,

Since Muslims think our Bible is "corrupted", I can see the problem with them not trusting what the Bible says.

I'm not saying I support the "Camel" method. I don't know enough about it to know one way or the other.

The first I hear of it was at Jeremy Green's blog.



R. L. Vaughn said...

Jim, thanks for your points. I tend to agree with them.

Les, the first I heard of it was a mention in the comments at Bart Barber's blog; then I followed the trail to Jeremy's blog and later googled the subject. So my knowledge of it is only four or five days old, and I haven't studied it extensively. My first reaction was negative and that this is "really weird stuff" (one of the labels I used). I do understand your point about them not understanding the Bible, and so would reject any supposed truth based on it. But the whole thing comes off as a manner of deception to me.

Certainly I need to read more about the "Camel" method to understand the details of it, but I don't have any expectation of changing my mind on the matter.

Kevin said...

I want to respectfully remind you that Paul used the pagan philosopher's own poets and idols as a bridge to share the gospel with them (Acts 17).

Don't throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. Trust me--bridges help. Email me and I'll tell you a little more about this privately (don't want to post too much info in a public format).

Just my two cents. I'm just a guy with a computer.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Kevin, welcome to "Seeking the Old Paths." Thanks for stopping by and posting. I encourage you to come back again and post. Perhaps you just don't want to post too much in a public format, but please know that this forum is open for discussion and your opinion is welcomed. So feel free.

Concerning "Camels", as I noted before, it strikes me wrong but I have only briefly and quickly read about it, so I am open to correction. Concerning "bridges", I don't think they are right or wrong, nor necessarily even "spiritual". Bridges (though not necessarily under that name) are just a part of the way people relate to one another. For example, to carry on a conversation with you (generically), I will likely look for something that you are interested in. In the realm of preaching/teaching/evangelizing, I don't think anyone is objecting to a Christian telling a Muslim something like "even the Koran says that Jesus was born of a virgin." The objections seems to go deeper than that.

From some of the articles linked, I glean that Greeson believes that Muslims who come to correctly understand Surah Al-Imran from the Koran become "Complete" Muslims; that he encourages them to call themselves Muslims rather than Christians; that the converts retain their Korans; and that some Christians missionaries actually distribute the Koran. Further, it seems to me the contextualized use of "Allah" for God increases the likelihood (whether deliberately intended or not) of Muslims confusing whether one is speaking of the God of the Koran or the God of the Bible (or that there is a difference).

Finally, I think we have bought into "how-to-ism" and some kind of idea of "methodology conversion" -- we don't make converts because we don't use the right methodology (so we need a "12-step" how-to book). J. Gerald Harris ends his article in the Christian Index with a story about D. L. Moody:

"A woman once came up to Moody and told him she didn’t like his method of sharing his faith. He replied, 'I don’t much like it either. What method do you use?'

She answered, 'I don't have one.' To which Moody then replied, 'Then I prefer my method.'"

The implication is that since the lady "didn't have a method" that she was not sharing her faith, and that any method is better than no method at all. Perhaps I'm just too much of a hardshell, but lashing our ship to a particular methodology seems to imply that the power of God is weak and we must be sure we're evangelizing with the correct method.

Kevin said...

Hi Robert,
I'll be emailing you, since what I'm sharing is a bit sensitive. I guess this quote is what struck me the wrong way:

"I guess I thought most Christians believe the Bible is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness and that the Gospel found in its pages are what we are to preach concerning the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ."

It just seemed as though you were bashing any evangelistic technique other than a three point sermon. Now that I've heard some of your points I do understand them and sympathize with them.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Kevin, I will look forward to hearing from you. Thanks.