In Christian missiology, an insider movement is a group or network of people from a non-Christian religion who consider themselves followers of Jesus while remaining relationally, culturally and socially a part of the religious community of their birth. Though members of insider movements do not typically join Christian churches in their area or region, they may see themselves as part of the wider Body of Christ. It has been observed that as members of these groups follow Jesus and the Bible, they personally reject, reinterpret, or modify the non-biblical beliefs found in their religious communities. This process makes them different in some ways from their co-religionists, yet when groups can faithfully follow Jesus without formally disassociating themselves from their religious communities, insider movements can occur. Such movements have been observed among a number of religious groups, most notably among Jews, Muslims and Hindus.
Over the past 15 years there has been considerable debate among students of missiology as to whether there can truly be faithful followers of Jesus who remain vitally within their former religious culture. Many observers of insider movements have concluded in the affirmative based largely upon their personal relationships with these followers of Jesus. Critics of insider movements are extremely skeptical that persons or groups can effectively reject or modify non-Biblical beliefs and practices within their cultural/religious communities due to the strong social and spiritual pressure of those communities. Therefore, critics believe that any attempt to stay within a non-Christian religious community will lead to a blending of religious beliefs that is syncretistic, untenable, or heretical. (See essentialist view of world religions below).
Lewis (2007) offers the following widely used definition of an insider movement:
- An insider movement is any movement to faith in Christ where (a) the gospel flows through pre-existing communities and social networks, and where (b) believing families, as valid expressions of the Body of Christ, remain inside their socio-religious communities, retaining their identity as members of that community while living under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of the Bible.
Higgins’ (2004) definition is similar to that of Lewis:
- A growing number of families, individuals, clans, and/or friendship-webs becoming faithful disciples of Jesus within the culture of their people group, including their religious culture. This faithful discipleship will express itself in culturally appropriate communities of believers who will also continue to live within as much of their culture, including the religious life of the culture, as is biblically faithful. The Holy Spirit, through the Word and through His people will also begin to transform His people and their culture, religious life and worldview.
The Bible describes Jesus as preaching to Jewish, Samaritan and gentile communities and his apostles and the early church did the same. According to insider movement advocates, Jesus preached about the Kingdom of God, not about forming a new religious tradition. Over time, however, this basic message of faith took on cultural and linguistic expressions of the peoples and societies where the message was being embraced. The most prominent of these expressions was Christianity, which began as a Greek community and movement of Jesus followers.
In the last two centuries, millions of people from animistic, tribal, and ethnic religious traditions responded to the gospel message, but relatively few responded from the larger, often state-supported faiths of the world's major religious traditions such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Judaism and Sikhism. Due to the effects of Western colonialism, mission efforts were often seen as attempts to “Christianize.” These colonial period mission efforts often combined faith in Jesus with aspects of western culture (see Westernization) and the religious forms and practices of Anglicans, Catholics, Presbyterians, Baptists, and other missionary sending denominations from Western countries.
As Western colonies began to gain their independence in the later half of the 20th century, mission practitioners and missiologists began to question many paradigms of colonial mission practice. Concepts such as people movements, indigenization, contextualization, and incarnational ministry began to challenge earlier methodologies.
At the same time, some adherents of the world’s major religious traditions became attracted to Jesus, yet were not drawn to the religion or institution of Christianity. In the 1960s, for example, numbers of Jews, after significant study, came to the conclusion that Jesus was indeed the long-awaited Messiah. Yet they had no emotional or cultural link to the Christian religion, which was often seen as a part of Christendom, and associated with countries that had historically mistreated Jews. Therefore, when these Jews embraced Jesus as Messiah, many opted to remain within Judaism rather than convert to Christianity. Since the 1980s, similar phenomena have been seen among those of other non-Christian religious cultures, most notably among Hindus and Muslims. It is important to note that many Jews do not regard Messianic Jews as being true Jews anymore. Furthermore, some Jewish followers of Christ have come to consider that the term 'Messianic Judaism' was a mistake, because it placed 'the emphasis on rabbinic Judaism instead of Jewish culture'.
Proponents of insider movements claim the term does not refer to the blending of two or more religions, morphed into a new religion, as found in the Chrislam sect of Nigeria. Rather, in their view, insider movements refer to grass-roots movements to Jesus, often beginning with healings, dreams, care shown by Christ-following friends, and other spiritual encounters. The way is then often open for further discovery of Jesus through the Bible, radio broadcasts, and other means. If these groups of people who decide to follow Jesus choose to remain within the non-Christian religious communities of their birth, observers often refer to them as insider movements. According to this framework, insider movements are not initiated by outsiders, nor are they a type of missionary strategy or methodology. Rather they are a social phenomena which emerge as entire families, communities, and social networks decide to follow Jesus together within their cultural tradition.
The essentialist view and the cultural view of world religions
Underlying the question of following Jesus within various religio-cultural systems is an understanding of the nature of world religions. An essentialist approach suggests that each major religion has a core set of beliefs that differs from all the other major religions. Religions are seen as monolithic, with a prevailing interpretation of core doctrine that defines the worldview of its adherents. A cultural approach to world religions, however, holds that they are a conglomeration of diverse communities, defined more by traditions, history and customs than a singular stated core theology. While the essentialist view has traditionally been held, current research in the field of religious studies challenges the essentialist view (see Religion). Evidence points to a great variety of doctrines and practices within each of the major religious traditions. In practice, many Hindus, Muslims and Christians follow religious traditions with very minimal personal understanding of core beliefs.
In terms of insider movements, opponents generally adhere to the essentialist viewpoint, and hold that any mixing of religious traditions involves confusion and compromise. Those who support the validity of following Jesus as a part of an insider movement, on the other hand, tend to adhere to the cultural view of religions, rejecting an essentialist view, although they do affirm two essentials: a commitment to living under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of the Bible. They note the diversity of thought and practice within any given religious label, and see leeway in non-Christian communities for a legitimate expression of following Jesus to develop. They thus contend that a Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist follower of Jesus does not necessarily create confusion or compromise, but can represent an appropriate expression of personal identity.
Religious identity and cultural heritage
Supporters of insider movements contend that many religious adherents, especially outside western nations, treat religious identity as the key component of their cultural heritage and a function of birth identity. (See Cultural Muslim, Cultural Christian, Cultural Judaism.) There is a perceived or actual fusion of religious identity and practice with most or all other aspects of life. Furthermore, in some cases, legal and political restrictions make changing religions impossible, thus to be a part of that culture, one must remain nominally a part of that religion. Proponents of insider movements affirm expressions of faith in Jesus that emerge within non-Christian religions (insider movements), holding that they provide opportunities to follow Jesus for individuals and families so inclined, especially when it is exceedingly difficult or unimaginable for them to leave the religious community of their birth. Those who oppose insider movements contend that leaving one’s non-Christian religious community should be encouraged for all who follow Jesus, regardless of the difficulty or impossibility of changing religious identity, and that the faith of those who do not leave the religious communities of their birth is tenuous.
Insider movements among Hindus
Among Hindus there are few documented cases of insider movements but there are many notable "inside individuals" who lived out the principles of insider movements.
Kali Charan Banurji (1847-1907) commented in 1870 that "In having become Christians, we have not ceased to be Hindus. We are Hindu Christians, as thoroughly Hindu as Christian." Today this might be considered a case of multiple religious belonging rather than following Christ as a Hindu, but Banurji influenced his nephew, Brahmabandhab Upadhyay, whose pilgrimage as a Hindu following Christ is widely known.
Kandaswamy Chetty was a well known south Indian who identified with Christ but rejected conversion to Christianity in the early 20th century. Manilal Parekh (1885-1967) was a Gujarati who was baptized as a Christian but opposed the Western and institutional nature of Christianity in India, later identifying himself as a Hindu disciple of Jesus before still later seeking to develop a new syncretistic faith. K. Subba Rao (1912-1981) of Andhra Pradesh developed the most significant movement of Hindus following Jesus, as documented in a number of studies.
A study of Churchless Christianity in Tamil Nadu by Herbert E. Hoefer drew attention to the widespread phenomena of Hindu discipleship to Jesus in contemporary India. Hoefer declined to consider this a movement despite impressive numbers, mainly because there was no indication of interaction among the numerous individuals who were following Jesus as Hindus. Hoefer noted a movement in Sivakasi where three generations of Hindu women have followed Jesus, as recently studied again by Eliza Kent. More recently, Paul Pennington (2017) offered biblical exegesis aimed at dismantling Christian practices that are offensive to Hindus and showing ways that Hindus can follow Jesus without renouncing their Hindu cultural traditions and heritage.
Insider movements among Muslims
Development of missiological thinking on insider movements within Islam
An early published writing on the topic of Muslims following Jesus while still remaining a part of their own religious community is a 1941 article by Henry H. Riggs. Riggs stressed that in much of the world, religion, politics and culture are highly interrelated and that Jesus needs to be brought into existing social and religious groups in order to make following him a viable option. In 1969, a Southern Baptist missionary, Virginia Cobb working among Muslims in the Middle East, stressed the centrality of Jesus in Christian witness: “We are not trying to change anyone’s religion. Religion consists of affiliation with a group, cult, ethic, dogma and structure of authority…The New Testament is quite clear that none of this saves. It is possible to change all of them without knowing God….[O]ur message is a person we’ve experienced, not a doctrine, system, [or] religion…”
Articles on this issue began to emerge in mission publications in the mid-1970s. John Wilder, a Presbyterian missionary to Muslims in South Asia, observed that thousands of Muslims were open to Jesus, yet few were taking the step of accepting him as savior. He believed a major problem was in having to leave Islam and joining another religion, an act viewed by Muslims as “the ultimate betrayal, a stab in the back to family, clan and nation.” Wilder suggested a way forward was to follow Jesus in ways that were culturally appropriate and still honored family and community. Martin Goldsmith highlighted the inseparability of religion from life in Islamic societies:
- Islam is within the whole warp and woof of society-in the family, in politics, in social relationships. To leave the Muslim faith is to break with one’s whole society…Many a modern educated Muslim is not all that religiously minded; but he must, nevertheless, remain a Muslim for social reasons...This makes it almost unthinkable for most Muslims even to consider the possibility of becoming a follower of some other religion.
In that light, British mission leader John Anderson wrote that a great “sin” of missionaries was trying to persuade Muslims who accept Jesus to leave Islam. He asserted that by pushing Muslims who follow Christ from “the culture of Islam” missionaries had unintentionally “robbed Islam of the most powerful reasons why it should reconsider Jesus Christ.” In 1979 Harvie Conn and Charles Kraft published important articles in this discussion on the nature of Islam, Muslim culture and new ways to follow Christ. In 1989 Dudley Woodberry produced a seminal article that showed strong links between Muslim beliefs and practices and those of Jews and early Christians, as well as mentioning, without naming the country, one of the first case studies of an insider movement. In 1998 Evangelical Missions Quarterly articles by Phil Parshall and J. Travis described and critiqued six types of Christ-centered communities found in Muslim majority regions of the world.
In the year 2000 the International Journal of Frontier Missions devoted an entire issue to this topic. Since then numerous articles have appeared in mission circles, bringing greater clarity to insider movements (also referred to as Jesus Movements), such as those by Rick Brown, Kevin Higgins and the 2010 article by Travis and Woodberry in Mission Frontiers. A further study by Doug Coleman published in 2011 analyzed insider movements based on available literature at the time from four perspectives (theology of religions, revelation, soteriology and ecclesiology).
Authors and missiologists whose articles illustrate both sides of the debate are Gary Corwin and  Timothy Tennent, with responses by John Travis, Phil Parshall, Herbert Hoefer, Rebecca Lewis, and Kevin Higgins. More recent articles showing both sides come from J.S. Williams, Joseph Cumming and four articles in the January 2013 edition of Christianity Today. That same year the Evangelical Review of Theology paired four critics with four associates of IMs to discuss biblical theology, ethics, and scripture translation. In 2015, Harley Talman and John Jay Travis edited and published Understanding Insider Movements, the most comprehensive work to date, addressing historical, biblical, theological, missiological, ecclesiastical and sociological issues surrounding IMs. It generated an extensive, mostly critical, rejoinder edited by Ayman Ibrahim and Ant Greenham.
Genealogies of the development of the ideas surrounding IM and contextualization from a critical perspective have been composed by Matthew Sleeman (surveying literature from 1998 to 2010) and J. Henry Wolfe. From a supportive viewpoint, Harley Talman traced the history of the IM thought and practice going back to the late 19th century. Jans Hendrick Prenger surveyed the main documents and organizational postures in the IM debate. In so doing he sought to remedy a serious omission: “the major stakeholders that are mostly still missing from the scene of the investigation are the insiders themselves.” (See the next subsection.)
Examples of insider movements among Muslims
The initial stages of most movements within Islamic cultures can be traced back to one or more Christians who initially shared their beliefs with a Muslim. In addition to the case mentioned by Woodberry, a few of the early case studies to have been published were Rick Brown's “Brother Jacob and Master Isaac: How One Insider Movement Began,” as well as John Travis' "Messianic Muslim Followers of Jesus." More recently, Prenger conducted field interviews of twenty-six leaders of Muslim insider movements across Asia and parts of Africa. While they held to a range of theological and missional paradigms, he found them to be quite healthy theologically. Additional glimpses may be found in two important studies of recent movements to Christ among Muslims. Though not labeled as such, they appear to include some IMs.
Insider Movements among other religious traditions
William A. Dyrness provides case studies of insider movements in varied religious contexts, including Latin American indigenous peoples, African traditional religions and Buddhist communities in Asia. Banpote Wetchgama, leader of the “New Buddhists” argues that Buddhists must retain the heritage of their ancestors, just as Jews of the New Testament decided to preserve their Jewish heritage. Additional sources on Buddhist insider developments are Marie Bauer and Peter Thein Nyunt. but the literature is scant in comparison with Hindu and Muslim movements.
In their 2019 book Seeking Church, Duerksen and Dyrness discuss the struggle of Christianity in Japan and the hope of some in that context for a new expression of “church.” Duerksen and Dyrness also reference some of the contextual practices of U.S. Native American Christ-followers and insider movements among Indian Hindu and Filipino Muslim communities. They argue that though some of these expressions of “church” are new, the process God is using to help shape such Christ-following communities is not. Rather, these movements, and church movements past and present, illustrate how churches and Christ-following communities have always expressed their faith in Christ via the norms and practices of their cultural and religious contexts. In general, the phenomenon of following Jesus without joining a Christian church or branch of Christianity or repudiating ones own religious community is also acknowledged in the statistics of the World Christian Data Base. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary estimates that as of 2020 approximately 7.4 million non-Christians were following Christ from within the context of their own religious and cultural traditions. These include messianic movements as well as hidden and media believers. The Center's estimate for the year 2000 was 4.6 million so these movements grew at 2.4% per year from 2000 to 2020 or twice as fast as Christianity as a whole. While the vast majority are either Hindus or Muslims, 13% (nearly 1 million) are from other non-Christian religions.
- Joseph Cumming, "Muslim Followers of Jesus?" Christianity Today, December 2009 http://www.christianitytoday.com/globalconversation/december2009/ and Timothy Tennent, "Followers of Jesus in Islamic Mosques," IJFM 23:3 (July-Sept 2006), pp. 101-115 http://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/23_3_PDFs/Tennent.pdf, and other articles in St. Francis Magazine, http://www.stfrancismagazine[permanent dead link]
- Rebecca Lewis, "Promoting Movements to Christ within Natural Communities," International Journal of Frontier Missions, 24:2 (Summer, 2007), pp. 75-76, http://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/24_2_PDFs/24_2_Lewis.pdf
- “The Key to Insider Movements: The ‘Devoted’s’ of Acts,” IJFM 21:4 (Winter 2004): pp. 155-165. http://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/21_4_PDFs/Key_Insider_Higgins.pdf
- John Ridgway,"Insider Movements in the Gospels and Acts," International Journal of Frontier Missions, 24:2 (Summer 2007):77-86. http://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/24_2_PDFs/24_2_Ridgway.pdf
- Stephen Neill, A History of Christian Missions, New York: Penguin, 1977.
- Carol Harris-Shapiro, Messianic Judaism, Boston: Beacon Press, 2000.
- Don McCurry (ed.), The Gospel and Islam, Monrovia: MARC, 1979.
- Herbert Hoefer, Churchless Christianity, Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2001, and Dudley Woodberry, "Contextualization Among Muslims: Reusing the Common Pillars." In The Word Among Us, Dean Gilliland (ed.), Dallas, TX: Word, 1989, pp. 282-312. Woodberry's footnotes document that all of the five pillars have Jewish, Christian or biblical origins and can thus be redeemed and reused by Muslims who follow Christ.
- Lipson, Juliene G (April 1980). "Jews for Jesus: an Illustration of Syncretism". Anthropological Quarterly. 53 (2): 101–110. doi:10.2307/3317731. JSTOR 3317731.
- Stan Telchin, Messianic Judaism is not Christianity: a loving call to unity, Grand Rapids: Chosen 2004, p.154.
- Jan-Erik Lane and Svante O. Errson state, “In the essentialist approach to religion, the emphasis is placed on its core ideas. The core of a religion is a set of beliefs or values which are in some sense fundamental to the religion in question, at least in the eyes of its virtuosi. It may be a controversial task to specify this core, but often religions have key sources from which one may distil its core beliefs or values. However, one may have to be content with laying down a variety of core interpretations of a religion since these will have been interpreted differently at various times. For instance, Christianity received a number of authoritative interpretations when it was established as a state religion, but this did not prevent it from later splitting into several core sets of beliefs and values. The same process has taken place within Islam.” Culture and Politics: A Comparative Approach, Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2005, p. 147.
- Cf. Gerald Larson on India’s religious context: “Both ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’ are broad terms used for convenience, but they can be misleading. It should be understood that neither ‘religion’ is monolithic – any more than are religions elsewhere. Each has internal faiths with their customary practices. Custom and tradition may carry as much weight for individual and group conduct as does religious “law,” of which each religion has several schools… Much more satisfactory… is to identify the individual according to how he or she identifies himself or herself and the groups to which he or she owes primary allegiance – and perhaps secondary and tertiary allegiance… Moreover, identifiers and allegiances may change according to circumstances. (Gerald James Larson, Religion and Personal Law in Secular India: A Call to Judgment, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2001, p. 2.)
- Cf. Lewis and Slater, “Umbrella terms as Christianity and Buddhism are deceptive. They tend to obscure the rich diversity of belief and practice to be found within these and other traditions.” (Hywel Lewis and Robert Slater, World Religions: Meeting Points and Major Issues, The New Thinker’s Library, London: Watts, 1966, p. 2.)
- Gary Corwin, "A Humble Appeal to C5/Insider Movement Muslim Ministry Advocates to Consider Ten Questions" http://www.strategicnetwork.org/pdf/kb20284.pdf
- For a critical survey of the development of the concept of world religions see Tomoko Masuzawa, The Invention of World Religions, or, How European Universalism Was Preserved in the Language of Pluralism, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005, which includes incisive analysis against conceiving of Buddhism as a single religious tradition. Against Hinduism as a singular tradition see Richard E. King, Orientalism and Religion: Postcolonial Theory, India and “The Mystic East,” London: Routledge, 1999. On the erroneous development of the idea that Islam is a monolithic religious tradition see Dietrich Jung, Orientalists, Islamists and the Global Public Sphere: A Genealogy of the Modern Essentialist Image of Islam,London: Equinox, 2010, ISBN 9781845538996. Regarding Christianity see the classic work of Wilfred Cantwell Smith, The Meaning and End of Religion: A New Approach to the Religious Traditions of Mankind, New York: MacMillan, (1962).
- Rebecca Lewis, "Insider Movements: Honoring God-Given Identity and Community" http://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/26_1_PDFs/26_1_Lewis.pdf; Kevin Higgins, "Identity, Integrity and Insider Movements" http://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/23_3_PDFs/Higgins.pdf
- As has been reported in literature on the topic (e.g. John J. Travis, "Appropriate Approaches in Muslim Contexts." In Appropriate Christianity, Charles Kraft (ed.), Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2005, pp. 397-414. John Travis and Dudley Woodberry, “When God’s Kingdom Grows Like Yeast: Frequently-Asked-Questions About Jesus Movements Within Muslim Communities,” Mission Frontiers, July–August 2010. http://www.missionfrontiers.org/oldsite/2010/04/24-30.pdf[permanent dead link])
- Martin Goldsmith, “Community and Controversy: Key Causes of Muslim Resistance,” Missiology 4, No. 3 (July 1976), p. 318.
- David Zeidan, "Muslim and Jewish evangelism – comparing notes", UK: Barnabas Fund, pp. 10-12 http://www.lcje.net/papers/2007/intl/Zeidan.doc
- A massive insider movement was claimed to exist by Sadhu Sundar Singh in the early 20th century, but the claim is completely lacking in substantiation. See Sadhu Sundar Singh and Timothy Dobe, "Flaunting the Secret: Lineage Tales of Christian Sannyasis and Missionaries" in History of Religions vol. 49 no. 3, Feb. 2010, pp. 254-299.
- From Kaj Baago, "The First Independence Movement Among Indian Christians" in Indian Church History Review vol. 1 no. 1, June, 1967, pg. 67.
- See his paper "'Why I am Not a Christian': A Personal Statement" in Kaj Baago, Pioneers of Indigenous Christianity, Madras, India: The Christian Institute for the Study of Religion and Society and the Christian Literature Society, 1969, pp. 207-214.
- Parekh is introduced in Robin Boyd, Manilal C. Parekh, Dhanjibhai Fakirbhai, Madras: The Christian Literature Society for the Department of Research and Post-Graduate Studies, United Theological College, Bangalore, 1974.
- See The Movement around Subba Rao: A Study of the Hindu-Christian Movement around K. Subba Rao in Andhra Pradesh, Kaj Baago, Madras: The Christian Literature Society, 1968, and especially Exploring the Depths of the Mystery of Christ: K. Subba Rao's Eclectic Praxis of Hindu Discipleship to Jesus, H. L. Richard, Bangalore: Centre for Contemporary Christianity, 2005.
- Pasadena: Willian Carey Library, 2000
- "Secret Christians of Sivakasi: Gender, Syncretism, and Crypto-Religion in Early Twentieth-Century South India," Journal of the American Academy of Religion vol. 79 no. 3, pp. 676-705.
- J. Paul Pennington, Christian Barriers to Jesus: Conversations and Questions from the Indian Context (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2017).
- “Shall We Try Unbeaten Paths in Working for Moslems” in The Moslem World, Vol. 31:2 (April 1941), pp. 116–126. This article was based on the report of the "Near East Christian Council Inquiry on the Evangelization of Moslems," Beirut: Library of the Near East School of Theology Beirut, November, 1938 http://isa4all.blogspot.com/2009/12/idea-of-jesus-muslims-is-not-new.html
- Virginia Cobb, paper presented to Teheran Conference of June 1969. In "The Commission," September 1970, Atlanta: The Interfaith Witness Department Home Mission Board, Southern Baptist Convention. Accessed at http://levantium.com/2007/11/25/virginia-cobb-an-approach-to-witness/
- Wilder is a seminal thinker in the discussion of insider ministry. In 1977 he presented what would be called today C4 and C5, although not all of the descriptions would fit many the actual groups designated as C5 today. John W. Wilder, "Some Reflections on Possibilities for People Movements among Muslims," Missiology 5:3 (July 1977):302-20.
- Wilder, p. 307.
- John D.C. Anderson, “The Missionary Approach to Islam: Christian or ‘Cultic’?” Missiology: An International Review 4(3), 1976, p. 288
- Harvie M. Conn, “The Muslim Convert and His Culture.” In The Gospel and Islam: A 1978 Compendium, Don M. McCurry (ed.). MARC: Monrovia, California, 1979, pp. 97-113; Charles H. Kraft, "Dynamic Equivalence Churches in Muslim Society." In The Gospel and Islam: A 1978 Compendium, Don M. McCurry (ed.), MARC: Monrovia, CA, 1979, pp. 114-22.
- Woodberry, “Contextualization Among Muslims: Reusing Common Pillars.” In The Word Among Us: Contextualizing Theology for Mission Today, Dean S. Gilliland (ed.). Dallas, TX: Word Publishing, pp. 282- 312. Reprinted with more complete footnotes in IJFM, vol. 13:4, 1996. http://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/13_4_PDFs/03_Woodberry.pdf
- Phil Parshall, “Danger! New Directions in Contextualization,” Evangelical Missions Quarterly 34(4) October 1998): 404-410.
- John Travis, “The C1 to C6 Spectrum: A Practical Tool for Defining Six Types of ‘Christ-centered Communities’ (‘C’) Found in the Muslim Context,” Evangelical Missions Quarterly (October, 1998): 407-408.
- IJFM, vol. 17:1 (Jan-Mar 2000) http://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/17_1_PDFs/ijfm_17_1.pdf
- (“Biblical Muslims” IJFM 24:2 (Summer 2007):65-74. http://ww.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/24_2_PDFs/24_2_Brown.pdf[permanent dead link]
- “Acts 15 and Insider Movements Among Muslims: Questions, Process, and Conclusions,” IJFM 24:1 (Spring 2007): 29-40. http://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/24_1_PDFs/Higgins.pdf
- “John Travis and Dudley Woodberry, "When God’s Kingdom Grow Like Yeast: Frequently-Asked-Questions About Jesus Movements Within Muslim Communities," Mission Frontiers, July–August 2010. http://www.missionfrontiers.org/oldsite/2010/04/24-30.pdf[permanent dead link]
- Doug Coleman. A Theological Analysis of the Insider Movement Paradigm from Four Perspectives: Theology of Religions, Revelation, Soteriology and Ecclesiology (Pasadena, CA: WCIU Press, 2011).
- “A Humble Appeal to C5/Insider Movement Muslim Ministry Advocates to Consider Ten Questions, with Responses from Brother Yusuf, Rick Brown, Kevin Higgins, Rebecca Lewis, and John Travis. International Journal of Frontier Missions 24:1 (Spring 2007), pp. 5–20, http://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/24_1_PDFs/Corwin.pdf
- “Followers of Jesus (Isa) in Islamic Mosques”(IJFM, vol. 23 Fall 2006, pp. 101-115. http://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/23_3_PDFs/Tennent.pdf
- See "The integrity of the gospel and Insider Movements," http://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/27_1_PDFs/27_1_Lewis.pdf, “Four Responses to Tennent” IJFM 23:3 (Spring 2006), pp. 124-126. http://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/23_3_PDFs/fourresponsestotennent.pdf
- “Identity, Integrity and Insider Movements: A Brief Paper Inspired by Timothy C. Tennent’s Critique of C-5 Thinking,” IJFM 23:3 (Fall 2006):117-123. http://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/23_3_PDFs/Higgins.pdf
- J.S. Williams, “Insider/Outside: Getting to the Center of the Muslim Contextualization Debates”, St. Francis Magazine, August 2011, pp. 59-95. http://www.stfrancismagazine.info/ja/content/view/573/38/
- Joseph Cumming, "Muslim Followers of Jesus?" Christianity Today, December 2009
- "The Hidden History of Insider Movements".
- Evangelical Review of Theology 37, no. 4 (2013).
- Harley Talman and John Jay Travis, editors, Understanding Insider Movements: Disciples of Jesus within Diverse Religious Communities (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2015).
- Ayman S Ibrahim and Ant Greenham (eds.), Muslim Conversions to Christ: A critique of insider movements in Islamic contexts (New York: Peter Lang, 2018).
- Sleeman, Matthew (August 2012). "The Origins, Development and Future of the C5/Insider Movement Debate" (PDF). St Francis Magazine. 8 (4): 498–566.
- Wolfe, J. Henry (2011). Insider Movements: an assessment of the viability of retaining socio-religious insider identity in high-religious contexts. USA: Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (dissertation).
- Harley Talman, “The Historical Development of the Insider Paradigm,” in Harley Talman and John Jay Travis, editors, Understanding Insider Movements: Disciples of Jesus within Diverse Religious Communities (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2015).
- Jan Hendrik Prenger, Muslim Insider Christ Followers: Their Theological and Missional Frames (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2017), final paragraph of chapter 2.
- Rick Brown, “Brother Jacob and Master Isaac: How One Insider Movement Began,” IJFM, 24:1 (Spring 2007): 41-42. http://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/24_1_PDFs/Brown.pdf
- “Messianic Muslim Followers of Isa: A Closer Look at C5 Believers and Congregations,” IJFM, Vol. 17:1 (Spring 2000): pp. 53-59. http://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/17_1_PDFs/Followers_of_Isa.pdf
- Prenger, 312.
- David Garrison, A Wind in the House of Islam (Monument, CO: WIGTake Resources, 2014) and Jerry Trousdale, Miraculous Movements, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2017). Taking care not to get embroiled in the controversy, these authors have sought be describe various movements (without overtly endorsing or opposing them).
- William A. Dyrness, Insider Jesus: Theological Reflections on New Christian Movements (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2016), 91.
- Marie Bauer, “What Happens When Buddhists Follow Jesus? A Peek into the Transformed Lives of Southeast Women,” Resonance, A Theological Journal Vol 4.1. https://theologicalresonance.com/journal/what-happens-when-buddhists-follow-jesus-a-peek-into-the-transformed-lives-of-southeast-asian-women/
- Peter Thein Nyunt, “Emerging Indigenous Leaders for Jesus Movements in the Myanmar Buddhist Context,” in Becoming the People of God: Creating Christ-Centered Communities in Buddhist Asia, edited by Paul De Neui (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2015). Nyunt’s Missions Amidst Pagodas (Carlisle, Cumbria, U.K.: Langham Partnership, 2014) reflects some insider-based theory.
- Darren T. Duerksen and William A. Dyrness, Seeking Church: Emerging Witnesses to the Kingdom (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2019).
- Todd M. Johnson and Gina A. Zurlo, eds. World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed December 2019).
- Bishop, Bryan. "Boundless: What Global Expressions of Faith Teach Us about Following Jesus", Grand Rapids: BakerBooks. ISBN 978-0-8010-1716-2
- Coleman, Doug. A Theological Analysis of the Insider Movement Paradigm from Four Perspectives: Theology of Religions, Revelation, Soteriology and Ecclesiology (Pasadena, CA: WCIU Press, 2011).ISBN 978-0865850385
- Dyrness, William A. "Insider Jesus: Theological Reflections on New Christian Movements", Downers Grove: IVP Academic. ISBN 978-0-8308-5155-3
- Hoefer, Herbert. Churchless Christianity, Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2001. ISBN 978-0-87808-444-9
- Ibrahim, Ayman S. and Ant Greenham (eds.), "Muslim Conversions to Christ: A critique of insider movements in Islamic contexts." (New York: Peter Lang, 2018). ISBN 978-1433154300
- Kraft, Charles. Appropriate Christianity, Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2005. ISBN 978-0-87808-358-9
- Talman, Harley and John Jay Travis, editors. "Understanding Insider Movements: Disciples of Jesus within Diverse Religious Communities", Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2015. ISBN 978-0-87808-041-0
- Muslim Followers of Jesus
- Following Jesus
- Follow-up Reflections on Churchless Christianity
- Christ-followers in India Flourishing
- Jesus Movements: Discovering Biblical Faith in the Most Unexpected Places
- High Stakes: Insider Movement Hermeneutics and the Gospel
- Updated link to the Travis-Woodberry article, "When God's Kingdom Grows like Yeast"