Tag Archives: Alpha and Omega Ministries

Response to James White on Qur’an 10:94

In a short clip, spanning roughly 20 minutes long, Dr. James White sought to address my article on Qur’an 10:94. He generally had three main points of dispute:

  1. That you have to “jump” from Qur’an 10:94 to Qur’an 46:10 to understand the verse.
  2. That Qur’an 10:94 uses plural for the People of the Book but Qur’an 46:10 is singular therefore it does not apply.
  3. Islamic scholars disagree on whether Qur’an 46:10 was revealed in Makkah (earlier) or Madina (later).

On the first point, there is not a need to respond to it. One of the first rules of exegesis is to let scripture interpret scripture. I am not aware of anyone opening John 1:1, and then complaining that they have to “jump” all the way back to Genesis 1:1 for a comparison to derive further context, I don’t believe a Christian would complain that they had to “jump” (to use Dr. White’s phrase) some 43 books to understand the relation between the two passages. Perhaps he can expand on his surprise and awe of scripture being referenced in such a fashion. As per my own understanding, it is a strawman and faux criticism.

It should be noted that one often has to jump more than a dozen books or more in some cases to reference Isaiah or the Psalms when reading the New Testament, I am not aware of this being a problem until Dr. White expressed it as such.

On the second point, yes, the Qur’an does use the term “those” as in the plural but that is because there were many witnesses at that time, including but not limited to Salman al Farsi, Abdullah ibn Salam and Zaid ibn Sanah. However verse 46:10 is generally referring to one person, while Qur’an 10:94 can refer to multiple witnesses. Therefore, there is no issue here whatsoever.

On the third point, if we argue Qur’an 46:10 is earlier and is therefore a prophecy of a Person of the Book who testifies to the truth of the Qur’an, then it is a prophecy par excellence given the witnesses I mentioned above. If it was revealed in Madinah, then it confirms a truth publicly known and acknowledged, thus verifying the verse itself and the Qur’an. There is no discrepancy here and Dr. White does not seem to follow through on his own logic, he merely states he disagrees with it but does not provide any justifiable reason for making such claims.

Throughout the 20 minutes or so in which he addresses my article, he made statements regarding whether or not there is such a thing as hermeneutics for the Qur’an, while at the same time reading from a Tafseer I quoted in my article. It’s a bit like driving in my car and then asking if I have a car. In case there is any doubt, yes Dr. White, there is and it’s called ‘Uloom al Qur’an, I am fairly certain every single Tafseer books mentions this in some capacity. Perhaps you were being facetious but it came across as being quite uninformed.

and Allah knows best.

Consistent Calvinism and Textual Criticism

Can one be a consistent Calvinist/ Reformed and use Textual Criticism to affirm the New Testament…? This major Calvinist scholar says no. Herman Bavinck says as follows:

“Those who make their doctrine of Scripture dependent on historical research into its origination and structure have already begun to reject Scripture’s self-testimony and therefore no longer believe that Scripture. They think it better to build up the doctrine of Scripture on the foundation of their own research than by believingly deriving it from Scripture itself.”

Source: Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena, p. 424.

Bavinck on the self-testimony of Scripture (1--424)

For more information on Bavinck, please click here for his Wikipedia page.

When I initially posted this on my personal Facebook profile, I was immediately reproached by Dr. James White. His argument varied, but it began with claiming I didn’t understand what Bavinck was saying, it then moved to the claim that Bavinck was not referring to textual criticism and finally it moved on to whether or not historical criticism includes textual criticism or not.

The point being, that Dr. White was clearly uncomfortable with this quote and the consequences it bore on his position as recently rebuked by James Simpson, Sam Shamoun and other Christians. I was most disappointed with his response, because as far as I and other Muslims viewed his comments, it seems as if he took the post personally. Beside the point, when I tried to explain that Bavinck’s quote could be applicable and inclusive of textual criticism, I included this statement:

I don’t disagree, read the page, historical-critical, it absolutely includes higher criticism, no one doubts that. Then again, no one else disagrees that there is a distinction between higher and lower criticism, any longer. There’s a bit of both involved in each discipline. Thanks for the fruitful replies though!

I think my statement was quite clear, when it comes to historical-critical study, there is an overlap, a bit of both higher and lower criticism. For some reason, which we all now know why, Dr. White chose to ignore that qualifying phrase of  “a bit of both” and invectively chose to represent my argument as referring to absolutely no distinction between higher and lower criticism. It’s quite obvious that isn’t what I said but it’s the position he chose to stake his claim upon, shifting the goalposts if you would, and quite disappointing for someone who seeks to understand his opponents’ points of view. I forgive him for that.

In any case, yes, historical-critical research does include higher and lower criticism, which encompasses textual criticism. In the end, this quote does have ramifications for Reformed folk who choose to view the New Testament through the eyes of history to validate variant units. I gave one such example to qualify my point which was noted by all, that Dr. White intentionally chose to ignore:

With all due respect, when using philology to develop an authorial profile to help us with stemmata, don’t we have to refer to historical information/ data in that very process?

We look for language development, basically the way someone represents language changes over time and so we can demarcate eras of language use within the written tradition and delineate forms of writing over time. To do so, especially in textual criticism, we have to be aware of the language, its form, variations, standards, etc. In conclusion, distractions aside, this quote is damning for some of the more prolific Christian apologists and the untenable positions they hold to.

and God knows best.

The Trinity – A Simple Explanation

Do you find the Trinity difficult to understand? Many Christians do. This video offers a simple, step by step guide on how one can make sense of the Trinity.

YouTube Mirror: The Trinity – A Simple Explanation

This clip is taken from a debate between Mr. Joe Ventilacion of Iglesia Ni Cristo and Mr. Chauncey Killens of Church of God in Christ. This is from the first cross-examination of the debate, where Mr. Ventilacion had the opportunity to ask Mr. Killens about his opening statement which defended the doctrine of the Trinity as being Biblical. The debate took place in Salina (California, USA) on February 27th, 2010.

and God knows best.

Do Muslims Assume Unitarianism in Discussing the Trinity

Question:

Popular Christian speakers like James White have repeatedly said that Muslims assume Unitarianism when discussing and debating the doctrine of the Trinity. Is this true? What is Unitarianism?

Answer:

Unitarianism, refers to the belief that God exists as one person. This is in contrast to Trinitarianism which teaches that there is one God who exists in three “persons”, all of whom are distinct from the other persons, but co-equal in nature. Unitarianism argues that there is only one person. The most popular believers in this doctrine are those who believe in modalistic monarchianism or monarchianism. Modalism refers to the believe that the one person who is God, moves between varying roles; these roles are the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Apologists like James White believe that Muslims argue from the belief of Unitarianism because many Muslim speakers argue against the Trinity by arguing that Jesus who is the Son, is not the Father and thus this is polytheism, not monotheism. Christians would then argue that this proves the Trinity since they do not believe the Son is the Father (that’s Unitarianism), they believe that the Son is a distinct person from the Father and so arguing that they are distinct is already a belief they hold. Therefore, when Muslims do so, they are arguing in futility. This however, does not take the Muslim’s argumentation as a whole. Muslims argue using sequential logic, they start with one point and then from this point argue another second rational point. The second point follows from the first point, thus it is sequential (in a specific order) and sequitur (one point follows from the other point, they are connected to each other. In Discrete Mathematics, a point is referred to as a premise and the symbol used to demonstrate that they are sequitur can either be -> [if this, then that] or <-> [it follows both ways, i.e. vice versa]). I am not saying that James White is the only person to commit this error, but since the questioner mentioned him specifically, and since I am familiar with him having argued as such, I will subsequently refer to him in this article.

The misunderstanding thus begins when Christian apologists isolate one of the premises or arguments, while ignoring the entire logical sequence being drawn out. So what is the Muslim’s entire argument? Trinitarians believe, as previously mentioned that each “person” of the Trinity is co-equal and absolute in their nature (i.e. perfect beings). The Muslim argument demonstrates that they are not equal and as a consequence of this, they are in a hierarchy, since there is a hierarchy and one is weaker than the other it means two of the three are not absolute in their natures and thus not God. A God is defined as a being absolute in its nature, if a God is not, such as if it does not have absolute knowledge (i.e. the knowledge of everything; see Mark 13:32), then it can no longer be considered a God. The Muslim argument, therefore also follows through to the position that this is polytheism, since Christians are deifying three non-equal beings with one absolute being, and two “partners” who are deficient in nature.

In conclusion, the next time a Christian speaker mentions that Muslims assume or argue from a position of Unitarianism, kindly stop them and ask that they listen to the entire argument and not cherry pick isolated premises from a complete argument. If they insist that they are not, kindly ask them to list the premises being postulated by the Muslim sequentially, this should only be four sentences at the very least. If they can’t articulate the Muslim’s argument, then it is clear they do not grasp it. Since they can’t grasp it, this explains why they fail to respond to it and thus have to create red herrings.

and Allah knows best.

James White Issues Debate Challenge to Ijaz Ahmad

In an email received a few minutes ago, James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries has indicated his intention to issue a debate challenge (one to Sheikh Awal and another to myself) in today’s edition of his religious talk commentary radio show, the Dividing Line. He’s also posted a pre-show statement on his website:

cc-2014-jameswhite-debatechallenge

The crux of the matter is quite clear. Regardless of what last minute cover up and face saving James has to do later today, the fact remains that the original and unedited debate has not been provided to Sheikh Awal. If it has taken this long for the debate to be provided to Sheikh Awal, then any response by James should be taken with a grain of salt. It seems that he’s only willing to defend his actions and to discuss the contentious issues surrounding the event when his integrity is called into question. Whereas when he demeaned the character of the erudite da’ee, Sheikh Awal, he, did not respond in a like manner – Alhamdulillah (praise be to God).

It is with great interest that I will listen to this evening’s program and should the debate challenge be issued by James, I will give an appropriate response in a timely manner.

I do hope that James does have a better excuse than “Sheikh Awal is lying about me”, this evening, because as it stands, he has not yet provided the raw audio-video of the debate to Sheikh Awal, despite his numerous requests.

and Allaah knows best.

Refutation: Where Does Moses Prophesy of Jesus’ Coming?

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

AO Ministry’s Francis Turretin, wasn’t too fond my recent exchange with a Christian missionary. In my exchange, my question essentially was, what was YHWH’s purpose for revealing the Law, according to the Torah itself. Subsequent to this, the missionary claimed that the purpose of the Law was to foretell the coming of Jesus the Christ, I asked for some evidence of this and sadly that particular missionary could not provide any. To his rescue!? If I may call it that is Francis who says:

“There are doubtless many ways in which Moses pointed to Jesus’ coming. The most obvious and explicit one is this:

Deuteronomy 18:15-19
The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; according to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.

And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.”

Except that:

  1. The brothers (‘ach in Hebrew) of the Israelites are any of the descendants of Abraham, inclusive of the Arabs.
  2. This verse is not a Messianic Prophecy.
  3. His application of it as a Messianic Prophecy is based on the fallacy of post-hoc eisegesis.
  4. Did Christ send himself, or was he sent by God? As it says ‘God will raise…’, not, ‘the Son’, ‘the Word’, ‘the Mashiach’ or,  ‘Immanuel’, would raise himself.
  5. Did Christ ever speak as a God? If so, then did he speak on behalf of his own identity as a son-God or as the verse says solely on behalf of the Father-God? As it is says, ‘I will put my words in his mouth…’.
  6. Did Christ give divine commands as a son-God or did he solely obey the will of the Father-God? As it says, ‘and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him‘.
  7. Finally, the last line explicitly states that the words the person in the verse being referred to will speak God’s words, as it says, ‘in my name‘ and that God will, ‘require it of him’. Was Christ required as a deity to do the will of another deity?

Sorry Francis, unfortunately your archaic Christian response based on post-hoc eisegesis of the Messiah’s mission will not aid your cause here. You’ve raised more problems than solutions and atleast for the better part of things, given us Muslims believable reasons to reject the dual nature of Christ according to these passages.

Still the question remains unanswered: ‘What does YHWH Say the Purpose of the Law Is?‘ and as a consequential question for our missionary friends, ‘Where does Moses say the Law is to Prophesy About Jesus?‘.

wa Allaahu ‘Alam.

Zakir Hussain Baptises James White

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Well, that didn’t take long! The day after James White’s debate with Br. Zakir Hussain (details here, audio stream here, or right click ‘save as’ to download here), James released an article conceding to his clear ineptitude, inability to respond to well founded research and lack of basic comprehension skills. By basic I mean not being able to find a word and correctly identify its meaning, even after having used a computer to search for it (even though he’s a self claimed expert on the Greek language). I really must question not only his basic comprehension skills, but his lazy and hypocritical attitude as well. Yet, before I do so, let’s examine his statements:

First, having quoted John 1:1 in Greek a few thousand times in my life, I think I ended up trying out for a spot on the TBN team at one point last night, but without an interpreter. My apologies.

Ask a 3 year old Muslim to recite 7 ayat from Surah Fatihah and they would be able to do so with perfect pronunciation (tajweed), which I can demonstrate as being possible here and here, ask James White to repeat something he’s done several thousand times and he can’t. What’s worse is that James White even released a video condemning Shaykh Ahmad Deedat for not pronouncing the Greek of John 1:1 correctly, but James himself could not do so. In the video, he says:

Ahmad Deedat’s comments on John 1:1 were inaccurate and incorrect, you will remember that I documented that he didn’t even have the proper Greek terms…..he was actually unable to handle the Greek language, he claimed to be able to do so…..I’m not sure how you are able to properly understand his (Deedat’s arguments) upon not being able to read the language…..in the process he demonstrates that he (the person in the video, not Deedat) cannot read Greek…..he doesn’t known the difference between a v and a nu , he regularly mispronounces the words and he (the person in the video, not Deedat) just does not know the language.

Unfortunately for James, it seems as if his hypocrisy has shown through his facade of using the Greek language. If he can produce a 9 minute video condemning Shaykh Ahmad Deedat (who never formally studied Greek), as opposed to James claiming to have studied Greek and using one verse’s Greek ‘a few thousand times‘, that either means James has to produce a video condemning himself while retracting the video about Shaykh Ahmad Deedat, or James has to concede that he is largely uneducated in this field. This isn’t a situation of ‘either or’, but a situation of ‘and’. Mr. White’s pretentious use of the Greek language was also exposed by myself earlier in this earlier post. What’s worse is that he can’t read Greek by himself, as James has stated that he needs an interpreter as he wrote himself (as seen above).

 Anyway, Zakir was talking at the speed of sound in the rebuttal period (as my notes show) and it was next to impossible to keep up with the references as they flew by.

James was unable to keep up with the vast amounts of information that Br. Zakir used in his presentation, not only was James unable to match his level of research, or keep up with Br. Zakir’s arguments, James later concedes that he intentionally refused (much like a petulant child) to respond to several of the brother’s arguments. Let’s examine James’ inability to properly search for a word, he writes and I quote:

At one point he raised the issue of the Matthean reference to the prophecy (2:23) about the Nazarene. I did a quick search on my computer looking for the right reference and…got the wrong one in my haste.

As opposed to this baby who can actually use an iPhone to search for a song (you can see the baby scrolling through a list and then selecting what it wants; something which James seems unable to do!):

It’s really embarrassing to note that this man is supposed to be, keyword: ‘supposed’ to be, an intellectual of the Christian religion, a representative of their faith and he’s unable to do something for which he condemns others for. Reminds me very much of Matthew 7:1-5:

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Sad to say this James, but this is one time you’re going to have to face the music. James then goes on to say this:

 I did a quick search on my computer looking for the right reference and…got the wrong one in my haste. Oh, I got “branch” alright, but I wrote down the reference below what I wanted in the search list, Isaiah 14:19. My apologies. I didn’t have time to read but a single line, saw “rejected branch,” and scribbled it down.

At this point, you must be questioning James’ rationale. James searches for a word, turns out to be the wrong one, he sees a word/ phrase that looks similar to what he wanted to use and decides to give up on academic standards and just ‘wings it’, his reasoning can be seen as the equivalent to another popular right wing nut, Bill O Reilly! See his rant here:

James then ends that portion of the article with this statement:

 I will set up a donation fund for some prescription mid-range reading glasses.

James, I think you need more than glasses. There are many vocational schools that can help you with your comprehension problem, but as for your integrity and dignity, I can offer you nothing but a broom to sweep the fragments of them off of the floor (I’m sort of cheap, get the scoop yourself).

James then decided to use the age old tactic of anti-intellectual argumentation, by generalizing his opponent’s argument and then belittling his generalization:

Finally, I did not get into the issue of the wavy hair and light skin because, as anyone can see, that kind of description could have been applied to any number of the Muslims attending the debate that night, and even some of the Christians.

This is a problem, as James betrays his own methodology of searching for prophecies of Jesus the Christ in the Jewish Tanach. For example, to witness James’ double standards, in this debate with Br. Shabbir Ali, James refers to the physical description of Christ as a ‘key prophecy’, which allegedly foretold of his ‘coming’. However, apparently when a Muslim uses the same methodology of referring to a ‘physical description’, it’s belittled by James. Why can’t the argument James sources from Deuteronomy also be applied to any of the other Jewish Messiahs? Why his God? Is that not confirmation bias? James has once again betrayed any form of dignity. He continues:

the only real issue is whether the term machamad is actually the name of Muhammad. I obviously argue that such a connection is absurd.

On the same note, David is not Dawud, Echad is not Ahad, Abraham is not Ibrahim, Moses is not Musa, Iyov is not Ayub, Ketuvim is not Kutub, Miriam is not Maryam, of course, such relations are just ‘absurd’, and have nothing to do with two Semitic languages mirroring each other! He continues (to his own peril):

Utilizing verbal roots in this fashion can be used to prove anything, as I have noted already by finding both Shabir Ally and Zakir Hussain in the Old Testament using the same methodology.

Apparently James find such a method quite silly, yet ask him what Shemot (Exodus 3:14) is supposed to mean (note: it’s a series of verbs: ‘ehyeh asher ehyeh’ – I will be who I will be – future perfect tense) and that’s supposed to mean Ego Emi (a present tense statement), referring to Christ’s deity. As opposed to an actual name being used, as is clearly demonstrated above. James then concedes to making more mistakes, it just doesn’t get any better for him:

 But I did want to note two things for the sake of accuracy once again. First, at least two people have mentioned to me that I was in error on an ABN show regarding the root H M D in either Arabic or Hebrew, and I may have been, I haven’t taken the time to go back and try to find the comments.

After being corrected by two persons, and after making grievous mistakes and spreading misinformation on live TV, James still did not review his statements, nor did he try to find what was wrong with his presentation, yet he admits to using the same incorrect information during his debate:

 I do recall doing a program on a particular video on YouTube (well, we quoted material from it anyway)

In ending, James’ article is nothing short of a direct result of being baptised by Br. Zakir. The term ‘baptised’ simply means to be ‘whelmed’ that is, ‘overwhelmed’ (see Strong’s Greek Lexicon: G907, ‘βαπτίζω‘). James White, was baptised into conceding that he was misinformed, deceitful and that he demonstrated clear cut pseudo-intellectualism. Br. Zakir most certainly did excellent to evoke such emotions from James White. Please do check out his debate, you will not be disappointed.

wa Allaahu Alam,
and Allaah knows best.

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