Can People Follow Jesus Within Other Religious Contexts?
In Thursday’s post, Who Is a Christian Pharisee?, I talked about connecting—or reconnecting Christianity—with its Jewish roots—called Messianic Judaism. Although this thought may alarm some, there are ample justifications. Old Testament Judaism foreshadowed and gave birth to Christianity, Jesus was a Jew, and almost all of his early followers where Jewish. It’s only through a deeper understanding of Jewish tradition that we can more fully grasp the history and meaning behind Christian faith.
However, what about religions without that historical connection? I’m not talking about melding two disparate religions together but instead of a Jesus faith existing within the context of a different world religion. The January/February issue of Christianity Today addresses this extensively and from that I draw encouraging conclusions.
Hindus, for example, tend to accept those within their faith community who worship Jesus, even those who worship him only, providing they do so within the context of Hinduism. (See “The Hidden History of Insider Movements.”)
For Muslims, it’s a bit different, but another article addresses Muslin converts to Jesus who remain in their Muslim culture, albeit more covertly. (See “Worshiping Jesus in the Mosque.”)
Other related articles in this same issue are “Why Evangelicals Should Be Thankful for Muslim Insiders” and “How Much Muslim Context Is Too Much for the Gospel?”
These concepts may be hard to accept and some may reject them outright. However, I embrace them with excitement, simply because more people are finding Jesus in more contexts. Though these settings are far different from mine, they are no less viable.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.