Born Again Muslim

Last week I had a coffee with guy who calls himself a “born again Muslim”. His mother was the first in his Indonesian village to follow Isa (Jesus) and she met secretly for about 3 years with other Jesus followers to pray for their families. Her son soon had an encounter with Isa and he decided to follow him. He was a new person. His guilt was taken away. He was clean. His life was changed. His friends noticed.

Soon most of the viilage also believed in Isa.

He decided not to change the religious affiliation on his identity card. By leaving it as “Islam”, rather than changing it to “Christian” it was not illegal for him to talk about Isa with his friends. And by not starting a Western style church, there was nothing for the authorities to burn down, which is a common occurrence in some of these islands.

Id card indonesia

Many Indonesians who experience a religious encounter like this do not change their ID religious affiliation until all their friends have learned about Jesus. Some change it at marriage. Some will wait for their whole family to follow Isa before they make a group (oikos) decision to change it, if they decide to change it at all.

My friend later met a Christian girl and fell in love. Since you cannot marry outside your religion in Indonesia, he chose to change his identity card to “Christian”. But he still refers to himself as a “born again Muslim” who follows Isa

BTW, this guy had never heard of the term “insider movement”. This is not an intellectual missiological issue as it is in the West but rather something more personal, more practical. There are millions of people like him around the world and this movement has become quite controversial in mission circles for nearly 20 years. If you would like me to blog more about it, let me know.

Related on TSK: Emerging Muslim Followers of Jesus


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Randy Buist says:

    Really appreciated this article Andrew – thanks. I’m also interested in the last two sentences of this post… if you want to write another article 🙂
    Blessings to you & the family.

  • brambonius says:

    I second Randy about the 2 last sentences…

  • Josh Hopping says:

    I would love to hear more along these lines – especially personal stories of folks living it versus intellectual debates.

  • Foibled Translator says:

    I wold like more, but not more theory or missiology. Instead, give me anecdotes, or take a sociological approach to the data.

  • Yes. Blog more about this. It sounds to me like a key to reaching muslims (and maybe a few other repressive faith groups as well).
    Christians often spend too much time trying to change people’s TITLES and not enough time focusing on changed hearts. (“Here, put this “Christian” name tag on and I’ll add you to my list of converts.”)

  • Jason says:

    Yes blog more about it. More people need to here about this model that works in spreading the gospel.

  • Ken Silva says:

    Hmm, I wonder how this squares with the early Christian martyrs?

  • Akay says:

    Very interesting and inspiring. I would love to read more about it.

  • Andrew says:

    Good question, Ken. We talked about persecution and he told me there is true persecution which he experiences, as darkness clashes with light, world values with Kingdom values, and then their is false persecution, which sometimes has to do with Christians provoking authorities with obnoxious activities or breaking building codes etc. they try to keep the law as much as possible and keep persecution to the true variety.
    i should post on this subject soon, having seen some things in China and Egypt earlier this year.

  • Tracey says:

    So true Noah. I couldn’t agree more. I am trying to reach my Muslim in-laws by showing them the love of Jesus, not by telling them they must change. That just doesn’t fly well with Muslims. We must respect all people, and if we can reach others with the love of Christ in a peaceful respectful manner, isn’t that so much better example? Even if they never publicly declare to their government, their heart has still been changed and they forever belong to the Lord.

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