Wycliffe Can’t Answer Questions, Wastes Time & Resources on Irrelevance in Translation Controversy

Wycliffe Bible Translators has created an “Allah Fact Sheet” web page specifically devoted to addressing “Facts concerning the use of the term “Allah” in Scripture.” This page shows how Allah is not the moon god, his use in scripture predates Islam and millions of Christians currently use him as a term for God.  However this topic is really a non-issue in the Bible translation controversy.

Wycliffe has squandered time and resources coming up with this “Fact Sheet.” Instead it could have used the time to answer questions pertaining to the estimated “200 of the 1,500 Bible translations completed by Wycliffe since it started in 1917,” currently disputed for not translating “Father,” “Son” or “Son of God” accurately. The “Fact Sheet” seems to be a diversionary tactic, and largely irrelevant to the current controversy. The use of “Allah” for “God” was not a part of Biblical Missiology’s online petition, because the issue is about substituting “Allah” for “Father” to satisfy Muslims who object to using “Father.” Another issue is substituting “Messiah” for “Son” while clearly “Messiah” in the Qur’an is a created being.

Wycliffe also has a “Divine Familial Terms Answers to Commonly Asked Questions” page which, even when it is meant to be about “Father,” “Son” and “Son of God,” still brings up the use of “Allah” for “God.” Wycliffe asks and answers:

ARE YOU REMOVING THE NAME OF GOD AND REPLACING IT WITH Allah [sic]?

In the Arabic language, “Allah” is the primary term used for “God.” It should be considered the same as translating the Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic terms for God into English.

It may also be helpful to note that the term “Allah” pre-dates Islam. It appears as far back as the 5th century B.C. and many, if not all, Christian Arabic translations of Scripture since at least the 8th century have used this term.

One of my friends who has been a missionary to the Muslim world finds an irony in Wycliffe’s statement:

This is right and wrong at the same time. Yes, Arabic usage is correct. However, the connotation of the Deity of Islam and Allah has very close linkage. If one translates the text of Matt 28 as “wash them in the manner of Islamic ablutions in the name of Allah” the reader will have the clue of the context to interpret this as the Deity of Islam and how he has been revealed in the Qur’an. If after you remove “Son” and insert Messiah again this is an indication of an Islamizing of the text.

What Wycliffe is doing is stressing the denotation—i.e. the dictionary definition of Allah—and it is forgetting the connotation—i.e. the meanings associated with Allah of Islam. This is as has been pointed out a diversionary tactic. Funny that an org [sic] that is moving to talking a lot about the meaning of the text, is now moving to the more literal renderings of Allah and is forgetting the meanings associated with the name.

These heretical translations—200 languages involving Arabic, Malay, Urdu, Turkish, ectetera—affect close to a billion people. The time is now for Wycliffe to set aside irrelevance and answer pertinent questions. Anything short of a full disclosure and repentance is epic failure.