Ascol Questions Riding the Camel

Tom Ascol has written a very important article in which he calls into question The Camel Method, a way of presenting the gospel through a high form of contextualization in which believers use the Qu’ran as a starting point for sharing the gospel. This is much I would like to say about this, but I am currently strapped with two papers and pressing deadlines. However, I would like to provide you a quote I just came across while doing some research on evangelical inclusivism. Clark Pinnock, a chief proponent of evangelical inclusivism wrote in his book, A Wideness in God’s Mercy: The Finality of Jesus Christ in a World of Religions, the following quote (emphasis mine):

“When Jews or Muslims, for example, praise God as the Creator of the world, it is obvious that they are referring to the same Being. There are not two almighty creators of heaven and earth, but only one. We may assume that they are intending to worship the one Creator God that we also serve” (96-97).

This should not alarm many of you who are aware of the attempts to say that the god of Muhammed is the Father of Jesus. If you are interested in the gospel mission of Christ in a Muslim context, let me encourage you to read up on this issue concerning the Camel Method, for what is at stake in such practices is not only fidelity to the gospel message and mission but also to the identity and exclusivity of our Savior Jesus Christ.

For a link to Muslim contextualization approaches, go here.
If you would like to download the Camel Method tract, you can find it here.
The Camel Training Manual can also be found here.

Explore posts in the same categories: Missions, Religious Pluralism, SBC

3 Comments on “Ascol Questions Riding the Camel”

  1. Trey Atkins Says:

    I am an IMB missionary no longer serving in an area with Muslims. However, when I worked in such an area, I did use the Camel method and found it to be nothing like you are describing.

    The Camel method, as I understand it and was taught it, refers a Muslim to passages in the Koran which lead to creating an interest in reading the Bible and considering who Jesus really is.

    At no point in my training on this method or in my practice of it would you say or even want to say anything close to an inclusive theological approach. Could it be abused for such purpose? Of course, what can’t.

    I am a conservative, evangelical Baptist. I found the approach to be very productive in helping Muslims open the Bible for the first time and to honestly consider the truth of Jesus, what He has done for us, and what their response must be.

    In His Love,

    Trey Atkins
    IMB, Croatia

  2. Timmy Says:

    Trey,

    Thanks for the feedback. After reading your comment on Founders blog, I assume you made your way over here (altough there is a slight chance it was the other way around . . . well not really). In any case, I am glad to hear a response from an IMB missionary (or former) in a Muslim context. Contrary to how you took it on Founders, I don’t think anyone is blasting you. Rather, I think they are asking honest questions, sharing legitimate concerns, and expressing their own opinions beit informed or uniformed on the issue.

    For clarification sake, I would like to ask you then,

    1. To what extent did you use the Koran?

    2a. Did you refer to Allah and the Father of Jesus as the same person?

    2b. How did you communicate Jesus in the context where one’s understanding [of him] is clearly different from the biblical standpoint?

    When you have opportunity, I would love to have a better understanding of how you used the Camel Method, beginning with these questions. In the meantime, I will be reading the tract and training manual for future discussion.

  3. gea3 Says:

    Timmy,

    I was doing a google check and found that I had not answered your questions from 10 months ago. I apologize for that but simply did not expect any feedback. Let me address these still relevant questions:

    1. We were taught and I would only use the Koran if there was resistance in a community. I would point the people to the place in the Koran which teaches they should read the New Testament.

    2. Short answer, no. I always distinguished between the two but did have to go out of my way. The most common word used for what we call Allah, was also the word Christians used for God. I was taught and felt strongly enough about it to take the time to distinguish between the two.

    2b. Our entire use of the Camel Method was to get a reading of the gospels. We hoped that this would in Bible reading groups. Often it was, but it was often only an individual who would take up the challenge. Our goal was to introduce them to the Jesus we know through the Bible and to allow that exposure to be the answer to their misconceptions.

    This is a simplistic answer to your questions. I hope it helps. By the way, I never felt blasted by anyone. I think it is healthy for us to work through these questions and am always happy to discuss it. Last, I am still with the IMB in the country of Croatia.

    Trey Atkins


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