Debate Review: Jay Smith and Yusuf Ismail – The Biblical and Quranic Approach to Peace & Violence
You can view this debate for yourself to see Jay Smith’s arguments get pulled apart by Yusuf Ismail. Jay does not only get branded as inconsistent by Yusuf but also as dishonest. I’ve made a few points on this debate below to serve as a review and rebuke of some sort. There’s nothing positive to be said about Jay Smith’s scholarship, that’s for sure. This man seems determined to lead Christians down an unpleasant road.
Listen to Yusuf Ismail’s opening statement, his arguments and his comments towards Jay Smith. If that makes you want to expose your ears to the yapping of Jay Smith then here’s the full debate. Yusuf’s OS is quite lively – definitely will get a few pulses racing so if you’re of a disposition where you really could do without an increased heart beat this one just is not for you. However, read the points below.
The Biblical and Quranic approach to Peace and Violence – Yusuf’s Opening Statement
Jay Smith is disingenuous and inconsistent in this debate. What’s new? This is not new for Jay Smith. It’s this type of inconsistency and disingenuous argumentation that drives away the more thoughtful and astute Christians away from Christian apologists.
Jay Smith v Church Fathers, John Macarthur and others
At the outset, Jay Smith was quick to push the Old Testament aside and focus entirely on the ‘New Testament’. Modern day Christians in the West may choose this approach to the Bible as some of the Old Testament does not resonate with their modern-day sensibilities BUT let’s be clear here, Jay’s approach is a PERSONAL approach. Jay Smith preaches a MINORITY position within Christianity of complete pacifism and misrepresents this as the only valid Biblical position on violence within Christianity.
Now, I’m going to play a bit of this scholar is bigger than yours (well Jay’s not a scholar but let’s play), they don’t get much bigger than John Macarthur whose GTY site teaches the majority position on violence is actually the just-war position:
Some believe no war is justifiable (a position called pacifism). Others believe Christians must submit to their government and agree to fight in any war it engages in (a viewpoint known as activism).But the majority of Christians hold the view that believers may support or join in defensive wars against evil aggressors–a position known as the just war theory.
Jay Smith even made out that Christians are not even supposed to defend themselves. Clearly Augustine differed:
This is typical Jay Smith basically saying stuff either without knowledge or just simply saying falsehoods deliberately. Over to Jay to explain himself.
Is Jay Smith afraid of getting a shoe-in from the Shoebats?
I know I’m banging the drum here but the Shoebat’s are menacing characters and I’d say a definite physical threat to Muslims, why is Jay talking to Yusuf Ismail about his pacifist interpretations of the ‘NT’ rather than Christians like the Shoebats who are into using the Bible to support Christian militancy?
You do have folk such as Walid and Ted Shoebat, Christians, who I suspect churn in a fair bit more cash through donations to their ministries than Jay Smith does, who aren’t the type of Christians opting for Jay’s approach. For instance Walid is up for nuking Muslims while Ted is up for Christian militancy.
Ted Shoebat passionately believes in Christian militancy. Christian militancy which in his view is inspired by the Bible and the Church Fathers. Ted believes Romans 13:3 teaches Christians to terrorize non-Christians, 1 Peter 2:14 teaches Christians to punish those who teach non-Christian beliefs whilst believing 1 Timothy 2:1-2 is the cornerstone of CRUSADING. That’s not to even get into what he says about the Church Fathers.
Does Jay not talk to his fellow Christians? Perhaps he’s too busy shouting on a ladder at Hyde Park.
or perhaps Jay is just a little yellow in the belly to talk to those guys? They’re pretty menacing characters, and who knows if that phantom Bank of Leumi bomb is knocking around on Walid Shoebat’s person!
Jay Smith silent about the Second Coming?
Jay builds his arguments based on the very little we have on Jesus (p) in something called the ‘New Testament’. Jay is rather sneaky in this sense as we all know there are Christians who believe when Jesus p comes back he will slay his enemies. I don’t know if Jay is a Christian who believes he will help Jesus p kill non Christians when he returns…
The point here is Jay does not look at the entire Christian teachings on Jesus. Yusuf Ismail mentions this eschatological teaching of a violent Jesus p in the End Times yet Jay has no answer. His silence speaks volumes. Jay knew his cover had been blown.
Selling Cloaks to Buy Swords
Swords aren’t kitchen knives as Yusuf Ismail stresses. Jay Smith is in opposition with John Macarthur here AGAIN. John Macarthur advances the idea Jesus in Luke 22:36 endorsed a just war and self defence as he was asking them to get swords to protect themselves from hostilities.
A liberal Christians’s dilemma – 2 Timothy 3:16
Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
This verse militates against Jay Smith’s approach of pushing the Old Testament away. Yusuf Ismail makes the argument that if one really believes the verse in Timothy and simultaneously believes in the Old Testament then that would mean one would believe the violent passages in the Old Testament are more than just redundant words and that they have some use. You see this is yet another Christian dilemma. Of course, don’t look to Jay for an answer!
Jay Smith, seems to have a disconnect from logical thought and his mouth, describes the violent passages in the Old Testament as ‘horrendous verses’. If he actually thought about it he would realise Trinitarian Christians believe Jesus p was responsible for those verses as a part of something they call a ‘triune god’.
Add in to the mix what we’ve just discussed, the teachings of 2 Timothy 3:16 on these verses and Jay begins to look even more in opposition to the Bible. This bloke just does not think!
Rather than Christians coming before Muslims such as Yusuf Ismail to have their double standards and errors exposed in regards to the Bible’s teachings on violence why don’t these Christians not have intra-faith debates as clearly they have a difference of opinion on whether the Bible allows violence or not. What’s the matter, would Christian apologists such as Jay Smith rather continue feeding Christians what they think they want to hear?
Does the truth even matter to these Christian apologists? When an opponent quite openly questions one’s honesty, as Yusuf Ismail did with Jay Smith, you just know there’s an issue.
I, and I’m sure many others, would rather see Yusuf deliver more lectures on topics without sharing a platform with people who are effectively hindrances to learning such as Jay Smith. Sure, challenging the unscholarly drivel of folk such as Smith does have its place but let’s see more individual lectures being presented.
I was at Hyde Park a few weeks ago and I challenged a Chinese Christian who was preaching there. He did not want to have dialogue, he just said go and talk to Jay Smith. I do hope the Jay Smith followers actually stop to ponder upon this debate, the points raised by Yusuf as well as those reinforced in the comments in this review. Come on, THINK for yourselves. Don’t switch off and just blindly follow Jay Smith. I don’t want to hear, go and talk to Jay Smith. I want to hear, please tell me what you have to say, I’m willing to listen and THINK for myself.
PS In case you’re wondering whether I slogged it out with Jay in the park… Jay was not there.
Here’s some further reading on some of the topics discussed in this debate:
Not related to the debate: