Ad Lucem Complicit in Plagiarism?

The debate between Jonathan McLatchie and Br. Yusuf Ismail that recently occured has brought to light severe and shocking plagiarism by Jonathan McLatchie. A video illustrating the plagiarism was created by Calling Christians but published by EFDawah:

Another popular Muslim YouTube channel, MuslimByChoice also took notice of Jonathan’s dishonesty and also published the video. However, this was the second video to be produced, the first video to be published (also by both EFDwah and MuslimByChoice) was purposefully published to demonstrate one instance of plagiarism in the debate. This was to assess the response that Jonathan would give, before releasing more incidents of plagiarism. As expected, Jonathan claimed that his plagiarising of Sam Shamoun in the debate was an “isolated case”. When the second video (embedded above) was published, it was then clearly demonstrated that he had lied. The videos demonstrating his plagiairism have gathered more views than the debate itself, with several prominent Muslim and non-Muslim academics, and debaters, taking notice of Jonathan’s dishonesty.

It was then at this point I reached out to Rudolph Boshoff who not only chaired the debate under fire at the moment, but whose organization Ad Lucem was party to the debate itself, as representative of the Christian side. It should then be noted that Jonathan McLatchie was representing Ad Lucem, that is Rudolph Boshoff’s ministry in that debate. Evidentially, here is the debate poster itself:

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As can clearly be seen, Ad Lucem was party to debate. Due to his involvement, we reached out to Rudolph for comment, given that he is a party to the debate, chaired the debate itself, is a student at a seminary, a teacher himself, it became necessary to solicit his comments on this matter:

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Initially, I did not want to involve Rudolph, but as Jonathan’s deception grew and questions began to be raised, it became necessary given his role and his ministry’s role in the affair. To date, three days have passed and Rudolph’s only “statement” thus far was to be complicit in the plagiarism by removing the tag of the query posted by myself.

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Plagiarism is highly impfactful when it comes to the moral standards of interfaith debates. When we have interfaith debates we put trust that the speakers will be honest and up front, that they would use sources and cite them responsibly. Such an issue discredits the hard work that debaters put into the events, as study and research is paramount to interfaith discussion.

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The questions have been asked, the plagiarism has attempted to be covered up and the silence of the responsible parties are perhaps the most damning words of all.

Jonathan McLatchie Caught Plagiarizing During Debate with Yusuf Ismail

Several days ago I published a quick review demonstrating that most of McLatchie’s time was spent reading from the Bible (20 of 30 minutes) during his debate with Br. Yusuf Ismail. Yet of those remaining 10 minutes it has been discovered that he was not reading from his own words, indeed he has copied from an online article by Sam Shamoun entitled, “Jesus Christ – The God of Gods and the Prince of princes” on Answering Islam. This was an unashamed, word for word reading from an online article during what was presumably supposed to be a demonstration of McLatchie’s “apologetics”, apparently plagiarism is now part of his apologetics:

Direct YouTube Link: Click Here.
Watch on Facebook: Click Here.

Do honesty, integrity and professionalism no longer matter in the world of Christian apologetics?

and God knows best.

Sam Shamoun Continues to Attack James White

Despite claiming to have ceased his abuse of Dr. James White, Sam Shamoun continues to vilify and attack him. As recently as three days ago, Sam Shamoun had these statements to make about Dr. White and my colleague, Br. Yahya Snow.

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If anyone has ever listened to Dr. White’s Dividing Line program, they’d be sure to know that Dr. White is not a friend of Yahya Snow. Being a friend to both Br. Snow and Dr. White, I can publicly say that these two are not friends and that they usually publicly air their dislike for each other. Therefore, I don’t know on what basis Sam Shamoun can make such a silly comment, other than for the purpose of demonizing Dr. White and Br. Snow. I call upon Sam to demonstrate where Dr. White has ever referred to Br. Snow as his “mentor” or “friend”, or where he states that he views Br. Snow as he views Dr. Qadhi. Obviously, he can’t do this because no such evidence exists.

There is however another issue that needs to be addressed and this is the insulting language that Sam chooses to use himself, and endorse of others.

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Just so we’re clear, Sam Shamoun is an adult male who thinks its good for the Gospel to refer to others as a “loser” and to vilify Br. Snow’s appearance. These are things you’d find a five year old doing, this is kindergarten-level behaviour. I understand that Br. Snow and Shamoun dislike each other, but to create a false narrative and then to use childish insults needs to be seen for what it is. Silly, irresponsible behaviour.

The so-called “friendship” between Br. Snow and Dr. White, this “Snow-White” relationship is as real as the childhood fables that bears a similar name. Purely fictional.

and God knows best.

Missionary Mishap: How to Share the Gospel

I often come across Christians telling me how they share the Gospel. This missionary claims that using words such as “b*tch”, “fool” and “stupid” are an accurate means of sharing the Gospel.

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We recommend that Stephen study his Bible, for 2 Timothy 2:25 says the opposite:

“Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth”.

Pray for Stephen and his hateful heart.

‘The People vs Muhammad – Psychological Analysis’ Refuted

One of the most hateful and vile pieces written against the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) is the book called ‘People Vs Muhammad – Psychological Analysis’. It is expected from venomous creatures to be like this in their private gatherings but the fact that such vile and disgusting words were formed into a book which was well received by many people is what prompted me to write a refutation.

Much of the criticism is regurgitated a lot has been copied from hateful websites. Many times, the author just makes various unfounded claims in brief and conveniently moves on. Such claims also require addressing but since this would cover a lot of space, specific dedicated links are added to direct the reader to the relevant rebuttal and explanation. Therefore, it is recommended for the reader not to ignore the links and footnotes – they are as essential as the main body, if not more so in some cases. Read more

A Variant of One Letter

Can one letter make a difference?

Over the years I have demonstrated various textual issues with the New Testament. One of the more common questions I am frequently asked is to what extent a variant of one letter can impact the reliability or lack thereof, of the New Testament. Today I’d like to answer this question with a simple example.

The letter η (eta) is a defining article.

Consider the case of saying “the boy” and “a boy”, in the case of the letter η (eta) it means “the”, which specifies a noun. The car, the boy, the house all refer to something specific and not something general. Thus, we read from John 5:1 (NIV) –

“Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals.”

Some translations render the section in bold as “a feast”, however there is a variant in Codex Sinaiticus which renders the text as “the feast”, thus specifying this feast as not a general feast but as a specific feast. By inserting the letter η (eta) before the noun “feast” (ἑορτὴ), the context of this passages changes entirely. The NET Bible’s commentary explains:

“The textual variants ἑορτή or ἡ ἑορτή (Jeorth or Jh Jeorth, “a feast” or “the feast”) may not appear significant at first, but to read ἑορτή with the article would almost certainly demand a reference to the Jewish Passover.”

In other words, while at first it may not appear significant, by referring to the feast as “the feast”, it therefore indicates that this was the feast of Passover. This presents several problems. The initial problem is that if this feast refers to the Passover it would mean that Jesus preached for 4 years and not 2 1/2 years. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges states:

“He gives us three Passovers; to make this a fourth would be to put an extra year into our Lord’s ministry for which scarcely any events can be found, and of which there is no trace elsewhere.”

Thus, it would either mean that the timeline presented for Jesus’s ministry according to the Gospels attributed to Matthew, Mark and Luke exclude one year of Jesus’s ministry or that the Gospel attributed to John has created an additional 4th year (more than 3 years) which would stand against the testimony of the other Gospels. If the former is true it would mean that the authors of the synoptic Gospels chose to exclude and ignore an entire year’s worth of teaching by Jesus, thereby bringing into question the reliability of their collective testimony. Why would his followers want to exclude an entire year of his public ministry? Surely if he chose to preach at that time it must have been for a reason, therefore on what grounds can an author ignore or prevent other Christians from reading and learning from 25% of Jesus’s ministry?

However, if the latter is true, it would mean that the authors of the Gospel attributed to John created and attributed an additional year of preaching to Jesus’s ministry. This would then indicate that the Gospel attributed to John lies about Jesus and thus brings into question its authenticity, reliability and accuracy. The Pulpit Commentary expands on this issue a bit more:

“Now, “the feast” of the Jews could hardly be any other than the second Passover, while John 6:4 would indicate a third. “The feast” referred to in John 4:45 undoubtedly means the first Passover. “A feast” would leave the question open, though by no means excluding positively the second Passover, as the anarthrousness of the word might be chosen with a view to call special attention to it. However, the indefinite ἑορτη has been identified by commentators with every feast in the calendar, so there can be no final settlement of the problem.”

So far, commentators on this verse describe it as being “significant” and a “problem”, yet we need to keep in mind that this is the consequence of one letter being present in one manuscript. The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary explains to what extent this variant affects the harmony of the Gospels:

“1. a feast of the Jews—What feast? No question has more divided the Harmonists of the Gospels, and the duration of our Lord’s ministry may be said to hinge on it. For if, as the majority have thought (until of late years) it was a Passover, His ministry lasted three and a half years; if not, probably a year less. Those who are dissatisfied with the Passover-view all differ among themselves what other feast it was, and some of the most acute think there are no grounds for deciding. In our judgment the evidence is in favor of its being a Passover, but the reasons cannot be stated here.”

Addendum:

It should be noted that commentators have not randomly decided that the phrase “the feast” refers to the Passover, this is a conclusion drawn from the Church Father Irenaeus from the 2nd century who writes in Against Heresies (Book II, Chapter 22) the following:

But it is greatly to be wondered at, how it has come to pass that, while affirming that they have found out the mysteries of God, they have not examined the Gospels to ascertain how often after His baptism the Lord went up, at the time of the passover, to Jerusalem, in accordance with what was the practice of the Jews from every land, and every year, that they should assemble at this period in Jerusalem, and there celebrate the feast of the passover.

We can see the variant by comparing the same passage from Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus. In the image below, we see folio 249 (recto) from Codex Sinaiticus:

1

The variant can be seen here, it reads as “Η ΕΟΡΤΗ” (the letter Η is the capital letter equivalent of η) :

The image below is from Codex Alexandrinus, we see folio 69 (recto):

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The variant can be seen here, it reads as “ΕΟΡΤΗ” (the letter Η is the capital letter equivalent of η) :

4

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What therefore, can we conclude from this difference?

If the Gospel attributed to John (from Codex Sinaiticus) is correct, it would mean that the Gospels attributed to Matthew, Mark and Luke excluded more than 25% of Jesus’s ministry from those Gospels, and thus brings their reliability into question.

If the Gospel attributed to John (from Codex Sinaiticus) is wrong, it would mean that the authors of this Gospel invented an additional year of Jesus’s ministry, thus bringing into question the reliability, authenticity and accuracy of the Gospel itself.

If the authors of the New Testament’s Gospels cannot be reliable enough to determine whether Jesus preached for 3 years or 4 years, how could we trust them otherwise? One letter can make a very big difference and this is but one example of such a case.

and God knows best.

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