Category Archives: David Wood

Cairo Church Bombing in Perspective

Indeed, it is a tragedy whenever lives are lost. We all grieve when the lives of the innocent are taken. Unfortunately, there are people among us who thrive off of the deaths of others, who use the blood of the innocent as a means for their political, theological and financial motives. The loss of life in Cairo to a Church bombing is awful, as is the loss of life in Istanbul from the twin bombings in that city. Yet, we must keep perspective. Inasmuch as some people enjoy and thrive off of a persecution complex, the world of Christianity had a greater disaster with many more lives lost this week. However, those lives did not matter. The deaths of some Christians matter more than the deaths of others. In Nigeria, a Church collapsed killing as much as 160 people. Yet, since it was not a bomb, and because no Muslims were involved, the deaths of 160 Christians did not matter.

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160 or more Nigerian Christians are Dead from Church Collapse

Acts17/ David Wood? Silent about Nigeria, but loud about Cairo.

Answering Muslims’ Tony Costa? Silent about Nigeria.

McLatchie? Silent about Nigeria.

Nabeel Qureishi? Silent about Nigeria. Why the silence?

Do they only care about Christians if they’re not African? Do they care only if a Muslim is involved? They can’t get donation money or fame out of truly caring about their Christian brethren. Then again, they probably have short memories and while quick to put the blame of the Cairo bombing on Muslims and Islam (without evidence), a little bit of history goes a long way:

Egypt’s general prosecutor on Monday opened probe on former Interior Minister Habib el-Adly’s reported role in the New Year’s Eve bombing of al-Qiddissin Church in Alexandria in which 24 people were killed, an Egyptian lawyer told Al Arabiya.

Laywer Ramzi Mamdouh said he had presented a proclamation to Egyptian prosecutor Abd al-Majid Mahmud to investigate news media reports suggesting that the former interior ministry had masterminded the deadly church attack with the intent to blame it on Islamists, escalate government crackdown on them, and gain increased western support for the regime.

Then again, if they can’t be bothered to care about Nigerian Christians, why should we expect them to care about anything other than themselves?

and God knows best.

The Rise of Modern Christian Extremism

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The following are quotes from Christian author and journalist, Chris Hedges’ book “Wages of Rebellion”:

The breakdown of American society will trigger a popular backlash, which we glimpsed in the Occupy movement, but it will also energize the traditional armed vigilante groups that embrace a version of American fascism that fuses Christian and national symbols.

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Gabrielle Giffords, a member of the US House of Representatives, was shot in the head in January 2011 as she held a meeting in a supermarket parking lot in Arizona. Eighteen other people were wounded. Six of them died. Sarah Palin’s political action committee had previously targeted Giffords and other Democrats with crosshairs on an electoral map. When someone like Palin posts a map with crosshairs, saying, “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” there are desperate, enraged people with weapons who act. When Christian fascists stand in the pulpits of megachurches and denounce Barack Obama as the Antichrist, there are messianic believers who believe it. When a Republican lawmaker shouts “Baby killer!” at Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak, there are violent extremists who see the mission of saving the unborn as a sacred duty. They have little left to lose.

The kind of extremism that Hedges refers to, can be seen in the vitriol of Christian extremists such as Robert Spencer and Jonathan McLatchie. The next quote more accurately refers to these two missionaries:

Left unchecked, the hatred for radical Islam will transform itself into a hatred for Muslims. The hatred for undocumented workers will become a hatred for Mexicans and Central Americans.

More specifically, their self-delusion in referring to groups they dislike, as in the case of Jonathan McLatchie referring to Muslims as a cancer in European civilization speaks to their extremism. Hedges further says:

The ethnic groups, worshiping their own mythic virtues and courage and wallowing in historical examples of their own victimhood, vomited up demagogues and murderers such as Radovan Karadzic and Slobodan Milosevic. To restore this mythological past they sought to remove, through exclusion and finally violence, competing ethnicities. The embrace of non-reality-based belief systems made communication among ethnic groups impossible. They no longer spoke the same cultural or historical language. They believed in their private fantasy. And because they believed in fantasy, they had no common historical narrative built around verifiable truth and no way finally to communicate with anyone who did not share their self-delusion.

In conclusion about these extremists, he says:

Those who retreat into fantasy cannot be engaged in rational discussion, for fantasy is all that is left of their tattered self-esteem. Attacks on their myths as untrue trigger not a discussion of facts and evidence but a ferocious emotional backlash.

That last quote reminds me solely of Sam Shamoun. Rather than engage in intellectual dialogue, he copy pastes articles, and insults those he disagrees with. Thus, the rise of Christian fascism, and its role in spreading hatred and violence towards Muslims is a growing pattern among polemicists such as Robert Spencer, David Wood, Sam Shamoun and now recently Jonathan McLatchie. The result of this hate can only be expressed as follows:

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and God knows best.

Terrorism in the Bible – Is the Godhead of the Bible Morally Upright?

Most Christians either completely gloss over or ignore the violence of the Old Testament. Such an apologetic is usually framed in the form of contextualising this violence as being for a specific period and people. We’re speaking about genocide, mass rape, mass torture, and horrendous acts of this nature. When compared with the New Testament, it is difficult to reconcile the two versions of God being presented to us. Our most read article also inspects some of these stories of the Old Testament.

The Old Testament contains the single most violent passage among any scripture in world history:

However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. – Deuteronomy 20:16.

Rivaled by none, the scale of sheer violence and bloodshed in the Bible is not only disturbing, it is also extremely difficult to accept that this is the God that Christians want us to build a relationship with. Concerning the apologetic that such violence is meant for a specific place and time, this betrays the Bible’s teachings itself. To begin with, the Bible teaches that all of God’s laws are eternal:

All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal. – Psalm 119:160.

Pursuant to this belief, of the 613 commandments given in the Old Testament, several of them are to act upon the rules of Deuteronomy Chapter 20. This includes Deuteronomy 20:16. Some Christians in reading this chapter may state that it mentions Israel a number of times so it must only refer to the Children of Israel, however this is incorrect as the Church today is considered to be partakers in Israel, as is explained by one popular Christian ministry (emphasis mines):

Finally, Galatians 3:29 says, “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” In other words, in Christ, believers are counted righteous by faith in the same way that Abraham was (Galatians 3:6-8). If we are in Christ, then we are partakers of the blessing of Israel and all nations in the redemptive work of Christ. Believers become the spiritual descendants of Abraham. Believers do not become physical Jews, but they may enjoy the same type of blessings and privileges as the Jews.

and God knows best.

Qur’an says “Sun Setting in Muddy Water,” claim Refuted – By Br. Ijaz and Br. Abu Ayoub

In this in-depth video, myself and Br. Abu Ayoub examine the claim that Qur’an in Surah  18:83-86 literally says the sun is “setting in a spring of muddy water.” We walk through the phenomenological statements the Bible also uses in respect to the sun rising and setting, usually known as semitisms which is a form of language behaviour or syntax in the Semitic languages. In the end, we see that the Arabic and Hebrew languages use many language devices that are not meant to be interpreted hyper-literally and which use hyperbole to express some geographical boundary.

and God knows best.

Is David Wood an ISIS Apologist?

An apologist is one who presents a ‘reasoned defense’ of something, whether that be a faith, an ideology, an argument, a belief, etc. David Wood of the anti-immigrant, right-wing blog Answering Muslims, is a self-professed ISIS apologist (he defends ISIS’ beliefs), supporter (supports their theological beliefs as the ‘true Islam’) and recruiter (condemns Muslims who do not ‘truly follow their Islam’).

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David Wood 

For many years, David has repeatedly sought to defend and promote ISIS’ violent beliefs. He’s shared many of their common beliefs about the Qur’an and Islam. In a video published last year, David Wood sought to legitimize ISIS’ medieval and violent interpretation of the Qur’an by arguing that the terrorist group’s approach to the Qur’an was not only valid, but the most appropriate and most valid means of understanding the Islamic scripture. He further argued in the video, that ISIS’ version and brand of violent Islam, was the ‘truest form of Islam’, that ‘correctly represented the teachings of the Islamic Prophet’.

As can be seen in the above video, David, who is a career apologist in the interfaith community, attempted to justify and qualify ISIS’ actions and beliefs by appealing to the Islamic scripture. The video which has garnered over 250, 000 views is one of the very few ISIS videos used to defend and legitimize the terrorist group’s brand of Islam. ISIS supporters have traditionally attempted to legitimize their violent actions by re-interpreting the Qur’an and Prophetic Sunnah to suit their violent message. David’s video sought to legitimize ISIS’ actions by presenting a select few passages of the Qur’an and by providing his own interpretation of those passages within a violent context.

This ISIS recruitment video, which has been shared on YouTube, seeks to encourage Western Muslims to believe that ISIS’ faith is the correct faith to follow. David argues that Muslims who do not follow these violent interpretations of the Qur’an are actually failing to practise Islam properly. As an ISIS supporter, David rejects the notion of a true Islam, outside of ISIS’ teachings (in a debate with anti-ISIS Muslim Osama Abdallah, David argues that ISIS is the true Islam that Muslims must follow). Similarly, as an ISIS recruiter, David is against Muslim migration to Europe and the Americas. He shares the terrorist group’s belief that Muslims must stay in the newly created ‘Khilafa’, and that they must be rejected from entering Western nations, adhering to the belief that Western nations are Dar al Harb.

In an attempt to further legitimize and promote ISIS’ ideology, David justified the Paris attack by ISIS as a ‘true Jihad’. This however, should have been expected, as David had previously released a video teaching the ‘three stages of Jihad’, at one point in his video lesson he proclaims that the third and final stage is to practise terrorism against non-Muslims. These two videos are part of ISIS’ attempt to recruit Muslims who are following other forms of Islam, the traditional forms of Sunni Islam. David’s videos are ISIS tutorials on their approach to, and understanding of the Islamic scriptures and beliefs. As an ISIS apologist, legitimizer, and recruiter, David has perhaps the largest audience of them all. In a Twitter post dated December 4th 2015, David Wood posted another tweet endorsing and teaching the belief that Muslims must, ‘fight those who do not believe in Allah’.

It remains whether to be seen why David, despite his popularity as an ISIS recruiter, who openly teaches and shares video lessons about their doctrine, is being allowed to remain actively spreading ISIS’ message on social media. His video lessons about following the true teachings of ISIS’ brand of Islam are also being funded through donations. As recently as a few months ago, David openly called for donations to fund equipment for his recruitment videos. In one post he claims to have received over $1999 (USD), to purchase cameras to use in his debates, one of which he argued that ‘Muslims should be violent because the Qur’an teaches them to be so’ (see his debate, is the Qur’an a book of peace?).

As a Muslim who opposes the message, teachings and actions of ISIS, I am appalled at David Wood’s public legitimizing and defending of ISIS’ beliefs. I reject ISIS’ beliefs and consider them to be heretical, whereas David Wood considers their beliefs to be authentic and the ‘true Islam’.

and God knows best.

Do Christian Apologists Care About Theology?

Many in the inter-faith dialogue community would be surprised to know that most Christian apologists and polemicists do not care about theology. In fact, most of them ban, delete and criticize Christians who try to discuss inter-Christian theological matters. For the purposes of this article, I’m referring to Protestant Christians, since they tend to be the ones engaging most with Muslims. Theology necessarily deals with the doctrines about God, the nature of God, what salvation is, who is saved, and how one should use scripture. These are topics that a necessary for every faithful and devout Christian to have studied. Yet, most Christian apologists and polemicists are agnostic when it comes to declaring their beliefs. Most Protestant Christians fall under Arminian or Calvinist beliefs. The differences between being one or the other are vast, how one is saved, predestination, freewill, redemption, atonement and grace are all disputed between these two doctrines. Believing one or the other, often leads to accusations of apostasy and heresy. So where do Christian polemicists like Sam Shamoun and David Wood fall on these important beliefs?

Sam Shamoun

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Sam doesn’t care whether his explanation of scripture goes against important creeds and doctrines based on the Bible. To him, important doctrines do not matter. So what if an explanation he gives contradicts an important Biblical creed? In his words, so be it!

David Wood

David gets really angry when Christians try to discuss important and necessary topics about Christian beliefs about salvation, he does not identify with either Arminian theology or Calvinist theology, he flutters somewhere in between and is an agnostic when it comes to his theology. During one discussion about the nature of God’s love, he expressed his rage inducing anger on fellow Christians, reacting rabidly towards them:

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Another devout Christian was shocked at David’s disregard for an honest and heartfelt discussion between fellow Christians on the nature of God’s love in Christianity:

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What were the topics David did not want Christians discussing with him? Christian theology, election (how you are saved by God, is it predetermined or not), the perfection of God…..

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What was David’s response to all of this?

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Distract them with Islam! You can only speak to David about Islam! Don’t you dare try to discuss Christian theology, especially salvation and the nature of God, you can only discuss Islam! According to David, his theology concerning the nature of God, salvation, scripture, is all determined by, “the only side I take on this issue is the opposite of whoever is trying to disrupt a conversation…“. So just like Sam Shamoun, David doesn’t care about Christian theology, he flip flops between essential creeds that determine the nature of God and how you are saved, based on whoever he’s arguing with. He doesn’t care about Christian theology, he just prefers distracting Christians with Islam.

Matt Slick, Anthony Rogers, Sam Shamoun and Tony Costa

Recently Anthony went bobbing for apples and drowned in three inches of water. He decided to criticize some of the arguments I used in my debate with Tony Costa. Unfortunately for him, he ended up declaring the beliefs of Shamoun and Slick to be heretical. Regarding my arguments, he realised my arguments were based upon the Christology (what a Christian believes about the nature of Jesus) of his friends, and not on his own personal Christology. This led to the revelation that the beliefs of his Christian apologist friends were heretical. Anthony proclaimed:

However, Tony Costa does not believe in this doctrine of the “communicatio idiomatum” (nota bene: the Latin word is ‘idiomatum,’ not ‘idiomatium’), and that doctrine is not taught in but rather is contradicted by the orthodox definition of the incarnation authoritatively set down in the Chalcedonian Creed (q.v. “inconfusedly,” and “the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather THE CHARACTERISTICS OF EACH NATURE BEING PRESERVED…”).

What’s that? The doctrine of ‘communicatio idiomatum’ is a contradiction of orthodoxy? That makes it heretical to believe in. Yet guess who believes in and defends Christianity using a doctrine that Anthony considers to be…..”contradicting orthodoxy”? His very friends, Sam Shamoun and Matt Slick!

Sam Shamoun uses the doctrine to defend the dual nature of Christ against Muslim objections: Click this link.

Matt Slick who operates CARM and is often featured alongside Sam and Wood on ABN/ Trinity TV also promotes and believes in this doctrine: Click this link.

What did Anthony do when he realised my arguments in the debate with Tony Costa was based on the Christology of his friends? He decided to correct a typo in one of my sentences by dedicating three paragraphs and two comments on YouTube about it. Yet, I persisted, he had made an error. He had wrongly criticized me, and at the same time had claimed that the beliefs of Sam and Matt contradicted orthodoxy, thus declaring them heretics. As expected, realising his error, he quickly left the conversation. The entirety of which can be read here.

Update 4/11/15:

Anthony was kind enough to post the conversation for me. Here’s the link to the images. For some reason he edited out the last two comments of the conversation, and chose not to link directly to the source as I did. As can be noted, when caught out, he resulted to arguing about a single typo. Such is the level of polemics he chooses to engage in, and of which I will not lower myself to.

James White

He’s considered to be one of the leading Calvinist apologists today. Debating Catholics, Jehovas Witnesses, Arminians and more. Yet, when it comes to his very own Christian friends like Sam and Wood, he fails to correct them. Fails to teach them. He’d readily criticize a Muslim for speaking incorrectly about Christian theology, yet he abjectly fails when it comes to educating fellow Christian apologists about central creeds and beliefs necessary for their salvation. It would be interesting to see if White would be consistent this time around. Here we have Shamoun and Wood openly disregarding Calvinist theology. These are statements made in the public domain.

Surely then, White, as a staunch defender of Calvinist theology would not stand for this. Given that he can condemn literally almost every other Christian sect that disagrees with Calvinist theology, it should be expected that he would also in like, publicly reprimand Shamoun and Wood for their gross misconduct regarding core theological beliefs. However, this is unlikely. White would not dare criticize the theology of Shamoun or Wood, regardless of how critical they are of Calvinist theology. If a Muslim had criticized Calvinist theology, we could have expected a 2 hour long Dividing Line episode on their lack of consistency. Such is the standard that White holds himself and his faith up to.

Conclusion

So where does this leave us? These polemicists do not care about Christianity. Studying and defending Christian theology is not important to them. Believing in heretical beliefs is of no importance. They go to extreme odds to prevent discussion about inter-Christian theological differences. The next time a Christian interacts with Sam, Wood, Rogers and Slick, ask them, do you care about your theology? Do they care that none of their Christologies are compatible, that they each differ about the very nature of God and the means of salvation in Christianity? Do they care? The answer is an unequivocal, no.

and God knows best.

Sam Shamoun and Lying by Dr. Shabir Ally – Part 2

Shabir Ally

October 1, 2015

Now that I am back in Toronto, and have access to my books, I am able to write a more telling response to Sam and his accusation about lying. I also had a chance to review the recording of what I said during the debate, and Sam’s interaction with me during the Q&A.[1]

Two things (at least) will become evident below:

  • I correctly cited that book of Robert Gundry to which I was referring;[2]
  • In order to generate his proof that I misquoted Robert Gundry, Sam actually misquoted me!

This is a sad day for Muslim-Christian dialogue.

Having listened to the recording, I still have the question that I had put to Sam during that conversation. Sam had said that he had two books right in front of him: one book is Robert Gundry’s commentary on the New Testament; the other book is Gundry’s commentary on Matthew’s gospel in particular. Sam read a portion from the commentary on the New Testament which obviously includes a brief commentary on Matthew’s gospel.[3] That is not the book I had cited. I had studied and cited the other book: the commentary on Matthew’s gospel in particular.

So, I asked Sam for the page number of the relevant section of the commentary on Matthew’s gospel in particular. Instead of supplying this simple piece of information, Sam kept telling me pages 135-36 of the book which he had read from. I asked him why he could not simply tell me the page number of the relevant section of Robert Gundry’s commentary on Matthew’s gospel which he said he also had in his possession at the time. Sam admitted that the page numbers he was giving me were from Gundry’s commentary on the entire New Testament, But when I asked him again for the page number of the commentary dedicated to Matthew’s gospel, there was a definite silence. I thought he had hung up. But he was still on the call. Why the silence?

Moreover, in listening to the recording I realized all the more how bizarre was the conversation between me and Sam. I kept asking him for the page number of a book which he claimed to have with him. In response, he kept challenging me to read a book which I did not claim to have in my possession at the moment. Naturally, I could not read a book I did not have in my hands; I could only accurately quote the most relevant line from my head. But, for some reason, Sam was unable to give me the page number of the book he had in his hands even though the relevant page number is easy to find. The commentary progresses from the start to the end of Matthew’s gospel, and the page headers show the progression verse by verse. It would have been a snap for Sam to thumb through the commentary following the page headers to chapter 28 and then to its verse 19 and give me the page number.

Obviously, he later located the relevant page number of a commentary on Matthew’s Gospel, this being the first book Sam referred to in his article composed on that same date.[4] It would be interesting to trace the relationship between this commentary and the one I was citing. It seems that the one Sam is referring to is the second edition of the same book, now with a different subtitle.[5] The page numbers of the relevant sections are the same, and the wording is strikingly similar, though the subtitles are different.

Now, the book I was citing really said on p. 596 what I cited it to say. So too does the second edition, as is evident from Sam’s citation in his article. But both of these are dissimilar to the book which Sam was reading on air.

To understand what is going on here between me and Sam, one has to see the big picture, as follows. In debates between Muslims and Christians, Muslims argue that in the Old Testament Yahweh is the only God. Jews agree. Many Christians also agree. Consequently, for Jesus to be God, he would have to be Yahweh. But if he is Yahweh, then he is the only God, and therefore the Father and the Holy Spirit would not be God.

In response to this clear logic, some Christians cite Matthew 28:19 as proof that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are each Yahweh, and yet altogether Yahweh. In that verse, Jesus directs his followers to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Christians point out that the name here is singular, though the named persons are three. Hence they insist that Jesus is Yahweh, the Holy Spirit is Yahweh, the Father is Yahweh; yet altogether the three are Yahweh.

This is the big picture, the context within which I am using the citation from Robert Gundry. I am saying that according to Robert Gundry the verse does not imply that the three persons bear the same name. According to him, the verse is not actually referring to their name; rather, the verse is saying that the baptism should be done with fundamental reference to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Here is an approximate transcript of what I said, as evidenced by the video recording:

In Matthew’s gospel towards the end where Jesus says, “Go and baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” some will take that as an expression of Trinitarian doctrine. But in fact, as Robert Gundry says in his commentary on Matthew’s Gospel, it does not actually mean that—it does not mean that the three of them have just one name—it means, ‘Go and baptize with fundamental reference to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.’ It does not mean that the three are one. In fact, there is no passage in the New Testament gospels or in any of the writings of the New Testament that says that the three—the Father Son, and Holy Spirit—are together as one God.[6]

This is what Sam needs to address. Instead, he changes the subject to me. But attacking me will not remove the problem. The problem, as the clear logic above indicates, is that there is only one God Yahweh, as Jews, Christians and Muslims agree.[7] According to Matthew 12:18, Jesus is the servant of Yahweh. This too Muslims and even Christians accept. But Christians insist that, in addition to being the servant of Yahweh, Jesus is also Yahweh himself. I have been refuting this latter claim with my clear logic. And now Sam wants to attack me. But my logic is not exclusively mine. Logic is universal. To get rid of this problem, Sam does not need to attack me, he needs to battle with the fundamental laws of nature, or the designing work of God who fashioned us to think logically. He needs to battle with his own thoughts which cannot escape the same logic.

When Sam called, he accused me of claiming that Robert Gundry in his commentary on Matthew’s gospel denies that Mt. 28:19 is a Trinitarian text.[8] But that is not what I claimed.

In the above transcript of the relevant portion of my speech, I started out with my own statement, cited Gundry, and then ended with my own statement. I can see where at first glance it may not be clear to others where I intended to end my citation of Gundry. But if that was not clear at first, during the call I explained to Sam:

In that commentary, Robert Gundry says very plainly that the idea that the mention of Father, Son and Holy Spirit should mean that they share the same name—that is not the idea. He is saying that the idea there is that the baptism should be done with fundamental reference to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I am not saying anything more than this.[9]

Notice that last sentence: ‘I am not saying anything more than this.’ Now it should be clear that I am only claiming as follows: in a particular book, Gundry denies that Mt 28:19 implies that the three persons bear the same one name.

Despite my taking pains to clarify the point on air, however, Sam charges in his writing composed after the debate:

Ally basically claimed that Gundry denies that this text supports the Triune nature of God.[10]

That is not what I claimed.

I am not saying that Gundry is not a Trinitarian, or that he denies that Mt. 28:19 can be put to Trinitarian use, etc. It should be clear to all students of logic that a statement of the form,

‘A does not imply B’

does not mean the same as,

‘A implies that B is not the case,’

and it does not mean the same as,

‘I deny B.’

In what follows, I will replace B with ‘the Father, Son and Spirit share the same name.’

Logically, therefore, when I cite Gundry to say,

‘Mt. 28:19 does not imply that the Father, Son and Spirit share the same name,’

that is not the same as citing him to say,

‘Mt. 28:19 implies that the Father, Son and Spirit do not share the same name.’

And it does not mean the same as citing him to say,

‘I deny that the Father, Son and Spirit share the same name.’

It is really sad to see Sam misquoting me to prove his charge that I misquoted someone else. Sam does not like my message. But does that justify shooting the messenger? Dialogue between Muslims and Christians need to move beyond such tactics. We need to listen to each other, learn, and pray to God asking him to guide us all.

Finally, the book I was citing was published in 1982 for an academic level of readership. It caused a stir in evangelical circles leading to Gundry’s resignation from the Evangelical Theological Society. The book Sam read on air was published 28 years later in the year 2010 for a more common readership.

This latter work, from which Sam’s read to me on air, and which he cited second in his article, clearly supports Sam’s contention that Gundry believes that the three divine persons are included in ‘the name.’ I am grateful for this information. I did not know it until Sam pointed it out. And I am glad that I did not overstate my case in citing Gundry. However, if I do cite him again, on this matter, it will be appropriate for me to add that Gundry apparently changed his mind about this as is evident from his later writing. Why he apparently changed his mind would be interesting to learn. Is it that the two books were meant for two different audiences, in which case he was willing to tease the academic community but not the masses? Did the negative response to his earlier book cause him to be more cautious? Or, did he find new evidence to convince him that his earlier statement was incorrect?

In short,

  • I correctly cited Gundry’s earlier statement,
  • I am willing to incorporate his later statement in future citations, and
  • I am grateful to Sam for alerting me to this, but
  • I find it at least ironic that Sam would misrepresent me to prove that I misrepresented Gundry.

[1] The recording can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idHxegbSunQ&feature=youtu.be. Sam’s call comes in at 2 hours and 14 minutes into the recording. My thanks to Brother Nazam for pinpointing this location.

[2] Robert H. Gundry, Matthew: A Commentary on His Literary and Theological Art (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982) p. 596.

[3] Sam was referring to Gundry, “Matthew,” Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic 2010) pp. 135-136.

[4] http://www.reformedapologeticsministries.com/2015/09/catching-shabir-ally-red-handed.html?m=1

[5] Robert Gundry, Matthew: A Commentary on His Handbook for a Mixed Church Under Persecution, 2nd edition (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995).

[6] This begins at approximately 19:55 and lasts for about 40 minutes.

[7] Though Muslims call him by another name Allah, which is also in the Bible in Arabic translations. See Genesis 1:1.

[8] At 2:14 in the recording.

[9] At 2:16:40.

[10] http://www.reformedapologeticsministries.com/2015/09/catching-shabir-ally-red-handed.html?m=1

Sam Shamoun and Lying by Dr. Shabir Ally – Part 1

Shabir Ally

September 30, 2015

During my debate with David Wood on ABNSAT, Sam Shamoun called in to challenge one of my statements. According to my statement, Robert Gundry said that the formula in Matthew 28 does not imply that the three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit share the same name. Rather, the formula means that baptism should be done with fundamental reference to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Sam claimed that Gundry wrote no such thing, and he had Gundry’s books to prove it. I pointed out that I was referring to another book by Gundry. But Sam was not convinced by my plea. Rather, he was convinced that I was lying. Hence he wrote to that effect here:

http://www.reformedapologeticsministries.com/2015/09/catching-shabir-ally-red-handed.html?m=1

In that document, Sam cites two books of Gundry, and links to a third, all to prove that Gundry did not voice the view I attributed to him.

However, in each case he is referring to a book other than the one I was referring to. As I am away from my hometown at the moment, I cannot check the reference at the moment, but here is something I found on my laptop that I had written elsewhere complete with a reference to the book I was referring to.

As for the apparent Trinitarian formula of Matthew 28:19, Robert H. Gundry writes that “Matthew seems to be responsible for the present formula.”[1]

As will be immediately clear, this is not the same as any of the three books Sam cited or referred to in his above linked article. It should also be clear that Gundry is saying that Matthew is responsible for the saying whereas we would expect Christians to think that Jesus actually said this.

Sam apparently assumed that the books he came across are the only books that Gundry wrote on the subject. Instead of hastily composing an article claiming that I was lying, he should have asked me for the reference to the specific book I was citing, and then check the reference in that book. As it turns out, people these days are too quick to assume the worst about other people but the best about themselves.

Even if it turns out that the book I was referring to does not contain the material I cited, does this necessitate a charge of lying? Or, could it be a case of citing from memory and recalling incorrectly as humans sometimes do?

During the debate itself, I cited many other books, some of which I had on the desk before me. These too I cited from memory, as is my usual style in debates. I do not claim that my memory is impeccable. However, in how many cases did Sam find a significant discrepancy between my citations and my named sources? If it is just this one, does that require such a serious charge? Is Sam here exhibiting the usual charitableness of Christians? If we go about slinging such uncharitable accusations against each other will that lead to better dialogue and mutual understanding?

When I get back to Toronto, I will check again to see if my memory serves me correctly, and thus that Gundry said what I cited him to say. Otherwise, I will issue a public retraction. But if what I cited is correct, will Sam retract his article and issue an apology for his false accusation?

Meanwhile, it is interesting to know that after Gundry published this critical commentary in 1982, some evangelical scholars called for his resignation from the Evangelical Theological Society. He resigned in 1983.

Does that sound like Gundry was saying in this book what Sam wants to hear?

[1] Robert H. Gundry, Matthew: A Commentary on His Literary and Theological Art (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982) p. 596.

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