Tag Archives: jonathan mclatchie

Debate Review: Are the New Testament Gospels Based on Eyewitness Testimony?

On Saturday 20th October, Attorney Yusuf Ismail debated a UK-based Biologist, Jonathan McLatchie on the topic of, “Are the New Testament Gospels Based on Eyewitness Testimony?”. Presented here is an amended review of the initial review posted on our Facebook page.

Roughly one year ago, the same Christian, UK-based Biologist was called out by this website for plagiarizing during another debate with Attorney Yusuf Ismail. We initially published a video detailing one instance of plagiarism:

Consequently, the Christian speaker issued a statement indicating that this was a one-off occurrence that did not happen throughout the rest of that debate or any debate previously. Contrary to this, we then published another video detailing multiple instances of plagiarism:

What followed was a tale of abject dishonesty and personal hostility on the part of the Christian speaker who became incensed due to our expose, we ignored this behaviour. He eventually conceded that he had in fact, had his opening statement (presentation) for that debate, written by another Christian speaker. This was not surprising given the evidence we had published. This year we had hoped that he learned his lesson and would be professional at this event. This was not the case (information forthcoming), but for a large part, his opening statement this year was largely written by him and consisted of a lecture he had been delivering in various Churches on “undesigned coincidences” in the Gospel narratives.

Jonathan McLatchie’s main and only argument was that the Gospels corroborate each other in some minor details therefore they must be based on eyewitness testimony. This approach is problematic because the manuscript record actually shows that the gospel authors and editors had a tendency to harmonize details between the gospels to make their stories more coherent:

“Colwell and Royse both recognize a tendency to harmonize readings with remote parallels in other Gospels (Colwell, 112-114; Royse, 536-544).”

This is as stated by the conservative New Testament British textual critic, Timothy Mitchell citing:

  • Royse, James R., “Scribal Habits in Early Greek New Testament Papyri.” NTTSD 36. Leiden: Brill, 2008.
  • Colwell, Ernest C., “Method in Evaluating Scribal Habits: A Study of P45, P66, P75,” pages 106-124 in “Studies in Methodology in Textual Criticism of the New Testament.” NTTS 9. Leiden: Brill, 1969.

This fundamentally undermines the Christian’s claims during the debate. In fact, I, myself lost count of the verses he quoted from the Gospel attributed to John where papyrus 66 (a manuscript of the gospel of John that is dated between 150 – 399), does not confirm what the modern English versions were saying. He was effectively quoting the gospel attributed to John where the initial author’s writing was changed by later correctors to match/ harmonize what the other gospels said by later editors. A simple review of basic textual critical resources would have easily indicated to him that this was both a bad line of reasoning and counter-evidential to his position.

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(Left) Attorney Yusuf Ismail, (Right) Jonathan McLatchie

At the start of the debate the Christian speaker claimed his beliefs in Christianity were based on evidence, however when challenged on his views on the dead rising in the gospel attributed to Matthew he claimed he believed in a literal rising miracle of the dead in Jerusalem (back to life) without any evidence, thus proving himself wrong. At this point he also became hostile and in a raised voice, demanded to know why such a question was relevant in the first place, it is possible that he had a memory lapse at this point or had become plainly aware of his earlier statement, thus his reaction was largely based on embarrassment.

He also conceded during a rebuttal period that several verses in the gospel attributed to John were written by anonymous authors and therefore they were not authored by eyewitnesses thus conceding the debate to Attorney Yusuf Ismail.

On the other hand, I was duly impressed by Attorney Yusuf Ismail who is currently pursuing theological studies. I found his presentation and citation of classical Christian authorities on the anonymity of the Gospels to both be stringently academic and quite diverse. Meaning then, that he did not isolate these statements from “liberal” scholarship, nor did he quote-mine. In fact, during their cross-examination section, Attorney Yusuf Ismail produced a brilliant quote by Richard Bauckham which justified his position on the Gospels being anonymous in authorship. In addition to this, it was his opponent that had cited Bauckham as an authority in the first place, thus adding to the strength of Attorney Yusuf Ismail’s position. When reminded of this, the Christian speaker decried the reference, stating that he did not agree with everything Bauckham said, while this is a reasonable position, the Christian speaker did not clarify on what well-researched basis he made this distinction of agreeing and disagreeing with the author.

Surprisingly, Yusuf Ismail did not end there, he was on a roll. McLatchie was asked if he accepted Matthaean Priority (that is, the view that Matthew was authored first, followed by Mark and Luke). McLatchie (the Christian speaker) acknowledged that this was the position he was leaning towards. This is where I believe Yusuf Ismail showed his brilliance, he asked McLatchie if he accepted Papias’ (an unreliable early Church Father, as per Eusebius) claim that the gospel attributed to Matthew was initially written in Hebrew (and then translated into Koine Greek). McLatchie confusingly stated he did not study this position on the gospel attributed to Matthew. It therefore is problematic that he in one instance claims that he can lean towards one view on the original authorship of the gospel and then in another state he had not studied it at all. If he had not studied the genesis of Matthew’s gospel, how then can he lean to its position in authorship? This effectively summarized what was an overall brilliant evening for Yusuf and a disaster for McLatchie.

The debate can be viewed here on Facebook:

and Allah knows best.

 

Dialogue with Jay Smith

I recently had a polite dialogue with Joseph Jay Smith of Pfander Ministries about the preservation of the Qur’an, it can be viewed here:

Alternatively, the discussion can also be viewed on Facebook.

I also asked him a question after our discussion but via text chat and well, the results were pretty spectacular:

More to come soon, by the permission of Allah.

and Allah knows best.

I Forgive Jonathan McLatchie

Recently I demonstrated that Jonathan McLatchie plagiarized in his recent debate with our esteemed Br. Yusuf Ismail.

The two videos published on the issue have gathered more views than the debate itself ever will, I haven’t even factored in the views it got on Facebook when several other Muslims uploaded it either. The point being, that I just wanted to provide some context for what I’ll say in this article. A person could respond in a lot of ways to allegations of plagiarism, it’s part of fair criticism when one is in the interfaith-apologetics field. People analyse your statements, double check your references, these are expected things to happen when you debate because this isn’t a game. You’re calling people to change their entire worldview, base their salvation on what you are saying, so you expect debaters to put their best, most accurate and honest foot forward.

Jonathan responded in three ways to my pointing out his plagiarism. Firstly, he accused me of plagiarising from Rabbi Tovia Singer in a now deleted comment on Facebook. He later on removed that comment after I asked him for proof, evidently he misheard a comment from Dr. James White on Muslims in the UK (which by itself is also unproven). I’m neither from, nor have I been to the UK. To be clear, he didn’t apologize for the lie, he just deleted it as he did with his comments about Br. Mansur recently. Secondly, he then posted a status referring to me as deceptive and then allowed copious amounts of insults to be posted about me from some Paltalk friends he has who are aligned with Sam Shamoun. That’s neither unexpected or interesting, at this point it’s sort of expected behaviour from those people.

Thirdly, he lashed out and posted an unverified photo of a Facebook comment where I apparently insulted David Wood. I’m not really sure what he was expecting? I read the comment thread where his verification process basically entailed asking (and I’m paraphrasing here), “is that Ijaz’s Facebook profile from last year in the photo? By golly, that must mean he actually said it!” He’s apparently unaware that anyone could create false photos from Facebook using someone’s profile picture, it’s something fairly common. It also turns out, when questioned for evidence that I actually posted it…that the only person who claimed to have seen when I did post it…was a person who had blocked me roughly two years ago on Facebook (effectively predating the date on the alleged photo altogether), in fact…that same witness boasted in another post of Jonathan’s that he had blocked me and that his Facebook experience was peaceful for that very reason. Lying, is not their forte to say the least. That person is Robert Wells. He also happens to be the person who threatened my life when I used to interact with him on Paltalk:

robert wells

So, do I fault Jonathan for not doing proper checks before “exposing” me? Yes, I do. Do I fault him for trusting the testimony of someone who blocked me on Facebook and threatened to kill me? Yes, I do. Will I respond in like? No. See, I happen to forgive Jonathan because I understand how much my two videos about his plagiarism may have affected him. I definitely understand how embarrassing it must’ve been, and so I can understand why he lashed out. On the other hand, this isn’t a tit for tat game. I criticize him fairly when it comes to his apologetics and Islamo-political claims, I criticize him fairly when he slanders my colleagues like Br. Mansur and Br. Hamza. His reaction however, was not something related to any of those areas of interest, his lashing out was personal and I do not respond to personal attacks.

So, while I am disappointed in his behaviour, I’m sorry Jonathan, but I’m not interested. Perhaps when you can learn to meaningfully interact with my publications and videos, I’ll gladly respond, but when you go low, I’ll go high. I forgive you.

“Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant.” – Qur’an 7:199.

and God knows best.

Jonathan McLatchie’s Deceit, Run and Delete Tactic Again

This isn’t the first time he’s done this. He typically makes a false accusation, then denies it and then deletes it. He did it with the no-go zones claim and then he did it with the vicious and slanderous attack against Br. Mansur of Speaker’s Corner in London recently.

Today, he’s done it to me. He’s deleted his comment but his follow up comments are still visible at this point.

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Jonathan’s reasoning is strange here, he claims that the issue has not bothered him but at this point he’s been sharing a video about the very issue everywhere, going so far as to have his friends tag me in it and responding personally to me about it. He’s even gone and uploaded the video of him being defended with rather poor excuses, why go through all of this trouble, if it isn’t bothering him?

I’ve repeatedly asked him to provide evidence of my plagiarising from Rabbi Tovia Singer, instead he’s deleted his initial false accusation but continued to imply it in other comments. So the question stands, if he doesn’t have the time to work through this issue and it isn’t bothering him, why make a false claim about me and attack me?

Seems like very odd behaviour for someone who doesn’t believe they plagiarised, but as admitted in the screenshot provided in this blog post, Jonathan’s presentation was actually written by someone else and the extent of his involvement was to use it as his own without reference, that is plagiarism.

Edit: He’s admitted the comment with the false claim of plagiarism was deleted but is blaming his colleague Rudolph Boshoff for the deletion…

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and God knows best.

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.

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