Scott Seaton was a Presbyterian pastor in Atlanta in 1998, minding his own business, when he read an article in Evangelical Missions Quarterly about the “insider movement” in Muslim-majority countries—part of evangelists’ efforts to be more culturally sensitive to Muslims they are trying to win to faith—for example, planting churches that aren’t like Western chapels, but reflect local sensibilities, like sitting on the floor instead of in pews. The movement then was controversial, and 13 years later is increasingly so—and more widespread.

Insider movement adherents urge Muslim converts to retain their Muslim “culture,” even continuing to call themselves Muslim, retain some Muslim practices, and remain in a mosque while acknowledging Jesus Christ as Lord personally, and most likely privately. At its extreme, individuals within the movement have published translations of the Bible that remove phrases supposedly offensive to Muslims, like “Son of God,” which some Muslims claim is offensive because it insinuates that God had sex with Mary to create Jesus.

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