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Welcome to the July issue of Lausanne Global Analysis. We look forward to your feedback on it.
In this issue we focus on two key developments within the world of Islam, the emergence of the women’s piety movement and the Turkish Hadith project; we analyse how OMF has ‘stayed aligned’ during 150 years of ministry; and we conclude with some important reflections by Lausanne’s outgoing Global Associate Director for Regions on the identity of the Movement and the principles which will guide it in the future.
‘Women in mosques are not new in Islam’, writes Moyra Dale (Lausanne Catalyst for Islam). There have been women leaders and teachers throughout its history. However, the women’s piety movement is a contemporary phenomenon, with unprecedented numbers of women involved in the Islamic revival movement. They are taking up authority in the area of religious texts and teaching. It is still within conservative Islam, but they are reforming the role of women within it. There is a place to meet and work alongside women in the Muslim piety movement. We need to bring a robust understanding of the place of women in Christ to our meeting. ‘In the end, the basic place of meeting between Christian and Muslim is our shared regard for Jesus the Messiah; and the most fundamental point of difference is not the place of women or of violence, but who we believe the Messiah to be’, she concludes.
‘While some Muslims pursue a vision of a forward-thinking, rationalist faith, others look backwards to what they see as a pristine age when Muhammad established the first Islamic community’, writes Peter Riddell (Vice Principal Academic at Melbourne School of Theology). For the latter group, the Hadith are crucial in realising their vision. Some Muslim groups are seeking to select from these prophetic traditions in ways which complement rather than contradict 21st century values. In 2013, the Turkish Ministry of Religious Affairs published a new selection of Hadith accounts, placing particular attention on shaping reader attitudes on women’s rights, the environment, and other contemporary topics. The Turkish project is not going to turn the world of Islam upside down overnight. ‘However, it may well prove to be a small but valuable step on a long journey towards a genuinely critical examination of taboo subjects that cry out for detailed scrutiny: the historicity of the sacred texts and the life of Muhammad’, he concludes.
‘Few movements last 150 years’, writes Julia Cameron (Lausanne Director of Publishing and Senior Editor). Last year marked that anniversary for the China Inland Mission/OMF International. It has retained its original beliefs, vision, mission, and values; and has adapted with the times. It has remained anchored, while forward-looking. The key, under God, is to appoint successive leaders who, rooted in Scripture, can distinguish between principles, policies, and practice, and thus ‘stay aligned’. We need to keep active in identifying the next generation of leaders, and then in helping them learn lessons from history, for a movement’s culture goes deeper than policies and practice over the period that any current generation could have observed. ‘Seeing ourselves in the sweep of history, as guardians only for the moment, brings a right sense of humility’, she concludes.
‘I would like to suggest some phrases which describe the nature or identity of Lausanne’, writes Lindsay Brown, outgoing Lausanne Global Associate Director for Regions. It is a movement and not an organisation. It is an evangelical movement. It encourages worldwide evangelism. It seeks to emphasise partnership and cooperation. It is a catalytic movement. It seeks to encourage cultural sensitivity or contextualisation in addressing gospel-related issues. Lastly, it seeks to create opportunities for networking. Looking ahead, Lausanne will hopefully avoid duplication, seek to partner, focus on cutting-edge issues, function as an ‘honest broker’, avoid domination of any one perspective, live under the authority of Scripture, and work for depth through networking. ‘As we move forward into the future under the leadership of Michael Oh . . . and as we seek to be faithful to God’s calling to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, we would appreciate your prayers and engagement with us’, he concludes.
Whether you are planning to read the full articles or just the executive summaries, we hope that you find this issue stimulating and useful. Our aim is to deliver strategic and credible analysis, information, and insight so that as an influencer you will be better equipped for the task of global mission. It’s our desire that the analysis of current and future trends and developments will help you and your team make better decisions about the stewardship of all that God has entrusted to your care.
Please send any questions and comments about this issue to [email protected]. The next issue of Lausanne Global Analysis will be released in September.