Category Archives: missionary mishap

Missionary Mishap: Brubaker’s Error

Yesterday I published a brief review of Dan Brubaker’s book wherein I made a comment about missionaries who have not read it being those who were praising it the most. Case in point, here is a fine example of one such individual:

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Missionary Mishap of the Week

It is strange that this missionary laughed while reading my article, as I explained (about the corrections) the very same reasons which Dan Brubaker wrote in his book, the same book the missionary is now praising. To recount very briefly about the reasons a scribe can make an error given the examples in Dan’s book, I stated:

In many cases, Dan’s inability to understand Arabic nahw allowed him to choose examples which didn’t make much sense, especially in the cases where:

  • The scribe omitted or repeated a word due to confusing it with another verse (homoeoteleuton or homoeoarcton).
  • The scribe omitted or repeated a word due to copying the letters as shapes (unable to understand what they are writing, they are able to identify shapes but don’t know words or what the words mean).
  • The owner preferring another Qira’ah and requesting it be changed to that reading.

I also stated that Dan’s interpretation of a change not being made by the same scribe is largely down to the interpretation of some physical (written) characteristics of the scribe:

But it is an intentional change!
Well yes, I would imagine that if someone wrote something and realised they made an error that they would have intentionally chose to correct it.

He says that some of the corrections were later!
Not exactly, he only comes to this conclusion because the nib (writing tip of the writing instrument – think of a lead pencil’s point) was different, the same scribe could have had more than one nib, especially if they were untrained and prone to error, as some of the manuscripts clearly demonstrate some scribes were untrained. It is also possible that there was an initial scribe with one writing instrument (think of a pen, or a pencil), what scholars call the initial scribe or the prima manus and then there was a corrector or secunda manus reviewing the work of the first scribe who used a different nib or the same nib (but due to difference in writing ability their corrections were more noticeable). Therefore a difference in the nib (writing instrument) or in the stroke of the hand of the scribe (or corrector) would appear different but would not necessitate it being centuries later (that conclusion is a matter of interpretation and not one of a factual or immutable nature).

This concludes what I mentioned in my review, Dan mentions the exact same reasons in his book, from pages 19-21:

“The most obvious cause that any one of us can easily imagine if we put ourselves in the place of working as a scribe is making a simple mistake when copying or writing, realizing the mistake, and then correcting it soon after. A simple mistake-and-correction scenario fits what we see in some manuscript corrections where the ink, nib, and writing style appear to match that of the rest of the page.” – pages 19-20.

“Here are some of the questions I ask that help me think carefully about what is going on in a given situation:

Is there a discernible reason that could have caused a simple mistake? One of the common reasons for mistakes in manuscript transcription from an exemplar, for example, is the repeated occurrence of a word or sequence of words in close proximity to each other. A scribe may finish copying the first instance of the word or word sequence, go to dip the nib into the ink, and accidentally begin writing again after the second occurrence of the word or word sequence. This could be noticed later and corrected. Such a scenario or others like it is not uncommon in manuscript transmission.” – page 20.

Therefore, this missionary unfortunately renders himself as an embarrassment by trying to palm off the critical review I posted of a book he has not read but which he must support to avoid scrutiny of the Bible’s textual faults.

and Allah knows best.

Jay Smith Banned in Hong Kong, Debate Cancelled?

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Recently Joseph “Jay” Smith published a video claiming that I had cancelled a debate with him because I wanted a last minute change to the topic. In this brief video, I provide email evidence that not only was the topic agreed to months in advance, but that Mr. Smith himself pulled out of the debate. In addition to this, we also provide an internal Pfander document which lists myself as one of the “Principle Debaters” in the world.

View the video on EFDawah:

or, view the video on SCDawah:

Should Mr. Smith opt to reconsider his reticence to debate a Muslim he considers to be one of the best in the world, I am more than willing to provide him with the opportunity to do so.

Yours in Islam,
Br. Ijaz.

Missionary Mishap: The Word of God, Jesus & Islam

I’ve been interacting on Twitter a lot more often and occasionally I come across folks who are angry with or at Islam, and through conversation they realise they are wrong. This one Maronite Lebanese Christian is a quick example of how not knowing their own scripture and not knowing about Islam can result in an awkward dialogue.

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and God knows best.

Missionary Mishap: Christians Cannot Lie

As the fall out from the debate I had with Joseph Jay Smith continues, a peculiar comment was made on my video that simply had to be addressed. The comment you are about to see, exemplifies the type of Christian that is following Joseph Jay Smith.

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According to this Christian fellow, Joseph Jay Smith is a Christian, and as a Christian he cannot lie. Which means that whatever Joseph Jay Smith says, will always be true. This is the kind of intellect that Jay’s rhetoric appeals to, one of deifying humans and discarding basic logic altogether. Isn’t this what cults do? You can’t question Jay, whatever he says must be right because he said it.

Amazing.

and God knows best.

Textual Criticism Versus Evangelical Beliefs

There has been a trend of late where evangelical apologists are trying to normalize the cc-2018-sitenews-clashingheadsuse of textual criticism in their understanding of the New Testament. This however, leaves them in an untenable position trying to balance the divergence of textual critical axioms, arguments and evidences with those of their normative faith. This can be seen with apologists such as Dr. White, Dr. Licona and Dr. Wallace. All three are studying or have studied textual criticism to some degree and there stands a myriad of obvious issues that need be sorted out.

Consider the case of the nature of revelation itself. On a recent Dividing Line program Dr. White along with Dr. Brown chose to argue that the Greek Septuagint was stronger in its wording than the Masoretic Text and Dead Sea Scrolls were when it came to prophecies about Jesus (John Calvin notably argued the same for Paul’s use of the Septuagint and its associated divergences). The obvious issue here is that according to their own classical beliefs, the Old Testament was not revealed (and written) in Greek. Surely then, according to the confessions, it is traditionally understood that inerrancy primarily refers to the autographs. In other words, God chose the men who wrote the “books” of the Old Testament in a specific language. God chose men, again, according to their beliefs to word scripture to the best degree of accuracy and understanding possible. How is it then possible that a translation by unknown people can represent scripture better than the people that God chose to represent His teachings for Him? That does not make sense. Yet this is the position they now hold to, a position that is absolutely advantageous for Muslims doing da’wah.

Then there is the other argument of the Old Testament (as per the program responded to here), that it descended to us in various streams and that different scribes (as well as copyists) chose one variant over another because they completed the exposition of a verse better, as Dr. White referred to it, “sermonic expansion”. So there was addition to the text, addition not by the initial authors whom God chose, yet somehow this is not corruption. Odd reasoning here. Clearly cognitive dissonance at work. What then do we make of the claim that there were different streams? Yes, we agree, but did God intend to give authority to each stream? If that was the case then the later Masoretic Text would have authorial primacy and importance, rather than a translation in the form of the Septuagint that came before it, if we were to consider it with respect to chronology. Yet we find most Christian apologists referring and giving importance to the Septuagint while wholly ignoring the Latin and Samaritan texts, are those too not viable streams? Who then, gave the scribes authority to choose from those streams? Those anonymous and unknowable scribes? Again, problems arise.

What then do we make of the claim that there existed actual men within the first century by the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John who would be considered the initial authors? Isn’t it the case in New Testament Textual Criticism through stemmatics and philology that each Gospel is a composite work, the result of more than one author in various periods throughout history? How then can Matthew be one man and yet many, not existing at one time, but many simultaneously? Yes, I do recognize such thinking to be absurd, which is why I find it almost impossible to take anyone seriously who argues for a singular, inspired authorship, yet still accepts – at the same time – that there were multiple authors to one text as is the standard position. Yes, you are right in asking that no right thinking evangelical would accept composite authorship, yet today in the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, the standard critical text that the aforementioned men believe in, contains conjectural emendations. These are instances where the textual critic has decided that their version of a passage best represents the original without any manuscript evidence for their version ever having existed. Surely, today’s evangelicals don’t hold to the position that the folks on the Nestle-Aland committee are inspired by God, so wouldn’t that then confirm they accept the words of multiple people for one Gospel, rather than one individual from the 1st century? It does, yet again we arrive at a problem.

So while I am happy that today’s Christian apologists are becoming more liberal towards the New Testament and affirming the Qur’an’s claims about their attitude to Scripture, I also mourn for the aloofness that abounds otherwise.

and God knows best.

Pagan Influences in Christian Theology

I recently read from a budding South African theologian of Ad Lucem Ministries that the New Testament’s concept of God is not based on Graeco-Roman philosophy. Yet this does not seem to be the case…(see attached photo), Acts 17:28 (NIV):

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It is quite peculiar that the New Testament uses the term “ειμι” (to exist) for God but never in the present participle form of “ὤν” (being). What’s interesting is that New Testament’s translators continue to replace in their translations “ειμι” for “ὤν” in English, almost as if the allegedly inspired texts in and of themselves use insufficient language…

We see further examples of a dependency on Platonic-Aristotelian metaphysics in Philippians 2:6, where “μορφε” (form) is translated as “nature or essence”, a completely Platonic-Aristotelian pre-Christian concept in philosophy, referring to the “material whole”.

The Trivium Final

This is why in Christianity, God who is a “ουσια” (substance) can also be immanent, because it fits into the Aristotelian pre-Christian concept of an “accident” (a substance that exists in another substance), i.e. God (a being) in flesh (another substance). This can also be seen in the sense of passion, from the “Praedicamenta”/ 10 Categories of Being, where God (a being) uses a form and thus can experience pain in one sense and not in other because this Being can distinguish between itself (read as quantitatively, therefore “Persons” in the Godhead) and can have various forms (read as qualitatively) hence the hypostatic union.

The Trivium Final

While some Christian apologists deny these dependencies on Platonic-Aristotelian pre-Christian philosophies, by using these terms, they are implying an already understood meaning, which in this case would be the predominant Platonic-Aristotelian metaphysics for their onto-theology of “God”.

It should be noted that this is the reasoning behind Justin Martyr’s statement of:

“And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound NOTHING DIFFERENT from WHAT YOU BELIEVE regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter.”

Source: Justin Martyr, The First Apology, Chapter 21.

Some apologists have argued that Justin was using “hyperbole”, this is an ignorant claim, without understanding of basic Graeco-Roman metaphysics.

and Allah knows best.

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