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I've recently finished Doug Coleman's work on the Insider Movement Paradigm (IMP) and I am gratefully appreciative that such a work has been produced.
Coleman approaches his discussion outlining the difficulties of "pinning down" the IMP due to the scarcity of scholarly writings, as well as the many facets of this methodology. But Coleman helpfully brings some clarity to the discussion by reflecting exegetically and theologically on the IMP and its advocates.
The positives of this work were the solodified exegetical discussion focusing on some of the most important passages in this discussion. Particularly helpful were his sections on Acts 15, and some of the so called OT "insider examples". This I believe was a necessary discussion, since missiology seems to be diverting from other theological disciplines, particularly biblical exegesis and systematic theology. Coleman helps to quench the divide by discussing this very important missiology strategy in light of biblical theology and exegesis. He is right to ground missiology in other theological disciplines.
Advocates of the IMP will hopefully welcome this dissertation and be willing to interact with the challenges Coleman discusses. While certain IMP advocates attempt to isolate saving faith from religious adherance, Coleman successfully challenges this assumption through careful scriptural exegesis in conjunction with discussion on union with Christ. This, I believe, was a crushing blow to the IMP as it exposed its underlying assumptions, anthropological over-emphasis, and lack of biblical support. In fact, if Coleman's conclusions are correct, then the whole IMP system is acting contrary to Scripture and promoting idolatry and syncretism.Read more ›
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In this review, I will review two recently published books which are similar in many ways. Both books are related to Insider Movements. The two books are:
A Theological Analysis of the Insider Movement Paradigm from Four Perspectives: Theology of Religions, Revelation, Soteriology, and Ecclesiology by Doug Coleman, WCIU Press, 336 pages, $24.99.
Insider Movements: Biblically incredible or incredibly brilliant by Jeff Morton, Eugene, OR: WIPF and STOCK publishers, 126 pages, $18.00.
--Reviewed by Scott Hedley, a Bible translator in Asia.
But what are Insider Movements? Rebecca Winter (2009) defines IM this way: Insider movements can be defined as movements to obedient faith in Christ that remain integrated with or inside their natural community. In any insider movement, there are two distinct elements: 1. The gospel takes root within pre-existing communities or social networks, which become the main express of `church' in that context. Believers are not gathered from diverse social networks to create a `church'. New parallel structures are not invented or introduced. 2. Believers retain their identity as members of their socio-religious community while living under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of the Bible.
Coleman's dissertation might be the first analysis of Insider Movement articles in the format of a Ph.D. dissertation. For this reason, he is to be commended. Morton's book is less extensive than Coleman's dissertation.
Both authors make it clear that they are opposed to Insider Movements.Read more ›