Piper links to a book by Greg Livingstone, founder of Frontier.
The problem here is various.
Calling for a Jewish scholar when you link to a missionary to Muslims is quite odd.
First, the tweet is wholly impure. I don't care if Piper or Livingstone is trying to be witty or clever. It is impure.
Missionaries aren't called to excite, inflame, or appeal the flesh.
The Gospel cannot be proclaimed faithfully by a Jewish scholar nor a sensual chorus-girl.
Joking about true missions in such a way displays a lack of sober-mindedness toward God, Scripture, the Gospel, biblical missions, and the souls of men.
Furthermore, Livingstone is a pragmatist (trying the "plastic liner" methodology back in '82). The fact that he's alive and has written a book about "mssions" to Muslims tells me he didn't boldly tell them the Truth about Jesus Christ, the Gospel, their sin, Hell, the offense of Islam, their idolatry, their total depravity. Muslims will slaughter Christians or at least persecute them for preaching Christ crucified. Now while he does make a couple of good points, they are overshadowed in my opinion by these things below that I deal with.
Here is an interview with Livingstone, whom Piper promotes. The quotes are italicized by me and my comments follow.
First some background:
"Greg Livingstone is a difficult man to put in a box. He’s a critic of Christian Zionism, American nationalism, and he supports President Obama’s efforts to reach out to the Muslim world. He also happens to be the founder of Frontiers, the world’s largest missionary organization dedicated to church planting among Muslim peoples. Says Livingstone, “When you live outside America you come to realize how important it is to be a Christian first and American second.” He currently resides in London, where the Frontiers international office is located. I had a lengthy conversation with him the other day via Skype. Here’s the gist of what we talked about."
Question: In recent years, there's been an increase in Muslims coming to Christ but remaining within the cultural fold of Islam. Some are calling this "the Insider Movement." What is your take on the Insider Movement and how should Christian missionaries respond to this movement?
Answer: Frontiers is getting hit on the left and the right with this. This is very current. My bottom line is we’ve got to be Bereans. It’s not a question of pragmatism, it’s a question of staying within Biblical parameters. What I like about the Insider movement is the movement’s proponents are people that love God convinced it’s not enough to see so few Muslims come to Christ. We’ve got to try something else.
So he just acquiesced to pragmatism immediately after stating "it's not a question about pragmatism".
The road to eternal life is narrow and FEW that find it, Jesus stated in Matthew. Why man thinks he is the one to determine what is enough is beyond me. I find that very arrogant. It's about numbers and that's a superficial view. Instead, they should look to making each individual a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ of Scripture. True disciples, not masses of pharisees.
Marrying Islam to Christ (ie, Chrislam) or Submission to the Lord
Moreover, there is no such thing as a "cultural Muslim". That's a brand new, totally made up Western pragmatic jargon that has zero place in biblical Christianity. There is nothing cultural about Islam--its ways are determined by the quran and hadiths; its motivation is centered on the quaran and its "Allah" and Muhammad. In fact, Islam is historically "Muhammadanism". One cannot adhere to the rules and rituals of Islam AND be a Christian. The 5 pillars of Islam, the worldview, the practices are all married to the demonic quran. One can no more be a "Muslim Christian" (which IS what this is about), anymore than one can be a Jewish Christian (see Galatians and Hebrews), a Mormon Christian, Roman Catholic Christian. In fact, we see how it is prohibited by God to copy the ways of the surrounding nations for Israel, and the society for Christians (Eph. 4-5 for example).
2Co 6:14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
2Co 6:15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?
2Co 6:16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
2Co 6:17 "Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE," says the Lord. "AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you.
To make a convert but leave them in a satanic religion like Islam and its mosques is to NOT MAKE HIM A DISCIPLE of Jesus Christ! Moreover, it is to help them starve spiritually. In other words IF one truly gets saved OUT of Islam, one needs to then find a biblical church (they did it during the persecution in Acts, we can do it now) and be discipled by biblical Christians by teaching him biblical truth from Scripture and helping him live it out. This is true for any and all people who get saved OUT of Roman Catholicism and Judaism and Mormonism, etc. They are commanded to come OUT from those goat herds. Feeding and protection will not happen in the darkness. Moreover those who stay will be overcome by the darkness and not persuade the lost into Christ. That is not what we see in Scripture. Ever. We come OUT of the darkness, INTO the light, and then go and proclaim the Gospel.We don't LIVE in the dung, hoping to make the dung attractive and nourishing.
Paul says, “I’ve become all things to all men that I might win some.” So their motivation is good but as Tozer used to say: it’s not the lukewarm Christian that’s in danger of heresy, it’s the passionate Christian. I think the Emergent movement is influencing the Insider movement. Of course, you don’t win a Muslim to Christ by saying that Muhammad was a pedophile, but you’re not going to find your Joseph of Armethia, or Nicodemus if you don’t sit in the same room and find some commonality.
What did Tozer even mean? There is no true lukewarm Christian as they are rejected by Christ Jesus as being Him.
The fact is that Muhammad, upon whom Islam is built (and is rightly called Muhammadanism as they did for generations), was a pedophile. To ignore this is to ignore its unholiness. Just like Joseph Smith who was a polygamist and that he and the LDS were racist. While this isn't the primary nor necessary tool to use in reaching Muslims, it shouldn't be ignored either. Exposing the fruit of darkness is what Ephesians calls us to do. In contrast Jesus Christ is the sinless, perfect Messiah, the Son who took on human flesh and was without sin nor the ability to sin because of His eternal and unchanging nature of being God.
There is no commonality between Muslims and biblical Christians. None. Especially so when you are talking about Western biblical Christians. This is the heart of pragmatism, thinking and using what you think is a common bridge. Biblically we start with the Truth: God is the Triune Creator, man is wholly sinful and has earned God's righteous wrath, and there's non that is good nor does good--therefore one needs to be justified by God and must bow the need in humility before the biblical risen Lord Jesus Christ who is God over all.
Paul was not saying he would become all religions to all people. He was merely stating that He would not be a stumbling block to the Jew by say, eating or doing certain things that were previously commanded by God but now released (certain foods now declared "clean", eating with Gentiles, circumcision).
Obedience when it's convenient, pretence as evangelism
Still, the ‘jury is out’ on the Insider movement. There’s very little indication so far of congregations being established with godly biblically based elders by advocates of the Insider Movement. At some point, Muslims obeying the Lord Jesus are going to join the Rev. 6:9 club. A veteran missionary among Muslims has it right when he says, “Sure leave them in the Mosque; Encourage Muslim background believers to stay with and serve their families. But the vast majority will be banished if they actually share Christ as their LORD and SAVIOUR.
The "Insider movement" doesn't need more time; it is anti-biblical. It tries to marry the world's religions with Christ and then call it "cultural". This is just as incomprehensible as "cultural Judaism". A true Christian doesn't just add "Jesus" to their cultural and religion. Furthermore, we don't obey Christ and separate ourselves from the world as 2 Cor. 6:14-18 demands "at some point" --which means "when I feel like it". We don't obey Christ when we "get around to it". This is why this is so dangerous and is not biblical Christianity nor evangelism. It's flat out pragmatism and trying to save a life instead of losing it for Christ. To stay in demonic Islam along with its demonic mosques is to deny Christ and play the harlot in order to save one's life. This didn't work for the Jews in the NT and it won't work now. When God saves a life, they MUST proclaim Him AND reject the false religion and worldview from which they came. They are not to hide and PRETEND. And this is what is so dishonest about the "Insider movement". It's deceiving, it's dishonest, it's underhanded, it's cowardly. And God says the cowardly will not enter Heaven (Rev.21:8). It is remaining a slave as well as not proclaiming freedom to those enslaved to Islam. Besides, mosques are a den of inquity, demonic doctrines, blasphemous, dark, and havens of terrorist recruitments. In addition to all that, as if that isn't enough, proclaiming the biblical crucified and resurrected Lord Jesus Christ who is God the Son and is Creator (Muslims deny all of this about Jesus) will earn persecution at BEST by the family, and slaughter at worst. Moreover, being biblically baptized will do the same. This happened in the NT and it happens even in Italy! At least Livingstone acknowledges this below.
Mat 10:32 "Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.
Mat 10:33 "But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.
Mat 10:34 "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
Mat 10:35 "For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW;
Mat 10:36 and A MAN'S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.
Mat 10:37 "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
Mat 10:38 "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
2Co 4:2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
2Co 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
2Co 4:4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2Co 4:5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake.
2Co 4:6 For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;
2Co 4:8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing;
As Grace To You says:
"Saving faith is a genuine coming to Christ (Matt. 11:28;John 6:37, etc.). But let us take care that we do not miss the clear and inevitable implication of this term. If I say "I come to the U.S.A." then I necessarily indicate that I left some other country to get here. Thus it is in "coming" to Christ; something has to be left. Coming to Christ not only involves the abandoning of every false object of confidence, it also includes and entails the forsaking of all other competitors for my heart. "For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls (1 Peter 2:25)."
Another thing that Americans need to realize is that for a Muslim to become a Christian, is a traitorous act, equivalent to an American selling atomic secrets to the Iranians. That’s why I don’t mind if Muslim background believers don’t call themselves “Christians”. For 1,400 years, people that call themselves Christians and people that call themselves Muslims have been fighting, bashing, and killing each other. The word “Christian” may be as ruined by history as the word ‘gay’. The issue is to see Muslims passing from death to life, knowing “Isa Al Masih” as their Lord and Saviour.
It's a traitorous thing for a Roman Catholic to become a Chrisitan. It's a traitorous thing for a Jew to become a Christian. Muslims don't have some sort of corner on persecution. In fact, increasingly, it's becoming a traitorous act to be a BIBLICAL Christian in the West (we are labeled "extreme" and we are persecuted, shunned, ridiculed, mocked, blocked from promotions at work, severed from family, etc.). Peter said,
1Pe 4:16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. ?
Livingstone seems to think Roman Catholics are Christians, because it was the Catholics who were warring in the Crusades (against the Muslims), not biblical Christians. It was the RCC that slaughtered biblical Christians. But "Christian" is a biblical name for what we are. We are not to hide from who we are, nor be ashamed of HIS name.
Furthermore, Isa isn't Christ Jesus. Isa is a MUSLIM PROPHET, not God the Son who was crucified on the Cross, who proved His deity, He demanded to be loved and worshiped and obeyed, who set Himself as equal to God the Father. Isa isn't a historical figure. To call Isa "Jesus Christ" is to blaspheme HIM. Let's remember that it is the quran that commands Muslims to slaughter the Jews and Christians. They don't call for the slaughter of a Muslim prophet called Isa though. Like the Jews, Muslims hate the biblical Jesus Christ who, when He took on flesh, was born of Jewish parents, but has eternally been God over all.
We are not called to respect that which is demonic in origin either. We cannot respect things that blaspheme the God of Scripture. Such a call, as made by Livingstone's Frontier organization shows they are pragmatists and seek to honor man AS an enemy of Christ than the thrice Holy God of Israel, trusting in His sovereign hand to work within the biblical mandate. Moreover Frontiers promotes Roman Catholic's Liberation theology, aka Social Justice (something Rick Warren is big on). That is NOT the mission of the biblical church. OUR mission is to be built up within a local congregation that is made up of believers only, in order to grow and be equipped to go out and proclaim Christ.
We can respect people in that they are created in the image of God. We don't need to insult them on purpose. However, we aren't to adhere to Muslim rules as that is giving credence and subjecting ourselves and the HOLY Spirit within us, to that which is demonic.
It isn't surprising that John Piper likes this guy. Piper claimed in 2012 in a tweet , "Muslims, Jews, Christians! Allah and Adonai are only known and loved through the crucified and risen Christ. John 8:19; 5:42-43" (which I dissect at the link), which again displays either deliberate spiritual harolotry or absolute ignorance of Islam. He is also friends and promoter of heretic Rick Warren who also holds to the same view. Additionally, Piper holds to anti-Zionism.
Not the only one
Frontier and Livingston aren't the only pragmatic "missionaries". I knew a man who claimed to be a missionary to the Muslims in Bangladesh for 15 years. He told me that he felt the best way to reach the Muslims was by finding a common bridge (pragmatism). He has maintained that the Muslims "have God on some level" and that they "have a partially correct view of God." This is asinine. They do not "have God in the world", they reject the one triune God (if they don't have the Son they have neither the Father nor the Son, John says), and Allah is not Yahweh anymore than the Mormon god (once a mere man who attained to godhood), is the biblical God. This is Christianity 101 folks, and it was proclaimed by this "missionary" who has spent over a decade at a well known "solid" seminary as a professor of OT here in S. California (not Fuller, not Talbot). In all that time, his best example of having a discussion with a Muslim was one that lasted merely 30 minutes, plus he lived to tell about it. The REALITY is that he didn't evangelize Muslims. He was there to translate Scripture into Bengali. He did not make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ from Muslims.