Mission to Muslims in the light of God's mission (missio Dei) : a study of select evangelical churches in Eldoret Kenya
Lagat Omwenga, Rebecca Jepkemei
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Christianity and Islam are both missionary in nature, but they are founded on different beliefs, values and practices, especially with regard to mission. The former believe in Jesus Christ and recognise His divine role as the saviour of the world, while the latter regard Him as a prophet who, after all, was rejected by His people, the Jews, as a result of which God sent Mohammed as His last messenger to the world. These varying and often conflicting beliefs have made it increasingly difficult for the Christian evangelical churches, including those at Eldoret, Kenya, to advance mission to the people of other faiths, the Muslims in particular. The differing views can offend the very essence of mission, namely God‘s mandate that is founded on the entire Bible. A proper understanding of mission as a concept is essential for effective mission to people of other faiths. Theologians refer to the Christian understanding of mission as the missio Dei. There is hardly any dispute among missiologists that God in His triune nature is the initiator, implementer and sustainer of mission, but the concept of the missio Dei is yet to attain an acceptable definition. Its nature and content remain problematic to theologians, missiologists, churches and other stakeholders in mission. This study critically examines mission to Muslims by five selected evangelical churches in Eldoret, Kenya, in light of the missio Dei. These are the Reformed Church of East Africa, the African Inland Fellowship Church, the Faith Baptist Church, the Presbyterian Church of East Africa and the Anglican Church of Kenya. The research investigates how and the extent to which these churches have sought to implement the mandate. Mainly using data collected from oral interviews, the study finds that mission engagement to Muslims is slow and disjointed. The churches face challenges that include the lack of a concrete understanding of God‘s mandate i.e. mission, internal wrangling, financial constraints and neglect of the women and the youth. The study concludes that there is a need for the selected churches to reassess and reconsider their missionary approaches with a view to enhancing their ways of engaging with Muslims. In the final instance the study formulates a viable model for that purpose.
- Theology