Posts tagged ‘Bible’

April 12th, 2012

Wycliffe Experts: Our Begetter Who Is in Heaven (Lord’s Prayer)

It is coming to light that this controversy involving Wycliffe/SIL has been largely orchestrated by the work of two individuals. The Bible mistranslation practices by these organizations highlighted over the past few months can be traced to their experts Larry Ciccarelli[1] and Darrell Richard (Rick) Brown. If this controversy continues to drag on without a resolution, damage to these organizations’ reputations may be irreversible. I pray Wycliffe and SIL will resolve these issues soon.

Ciccarelli and Brown expressed that they are fully convinced Arabic and Turkish do not have “social familial terms” for “father” which “convey a non-procreated familial relationship.” Even when native Turkish and Arabic speakers have voiced concerns about these translations, these Wycliffe/SIL experts have refused to listen. Perhaps they trust the judgment of their Muslim friends over that of their fellow Christians. Wycliffe and SIL are dealing with these “warthog holes” mostly because of this erroneous mindset.

Ciccarelli and Brown explain their reason why Arabic and Turkish do not have a term equivalent to “father” in English that does not carry a biological relationship. They claim adoption and step-relations are not even recognized in these cultures. Brown and Ciccarelli even go as far as claiming if the Lord’s Prayer is rendered accurately from the original Greek—as presently in modern Arabic and Turkish translations—the “mistake” would make the Arab or Turkish reader understand it as, “Our begetter, who is in heaven…”

I knew this concept was false for Arabic, because there are two terms for “father” and only one of them carries a “begetter” connotation. My concern shifted toward the claim’s veracity for the Turkish language. I decided to investigate and here is what I found:

I do not read or speak the Turkish language. I consulted one of my friends who is a native Turkish speaker, an MBB and a pastor who holds a Master of Divinity degree from a seminary in the United States. He says Turkish only has one word for “father” and it is “baba,” which is pronounced “buh-buh.” He told me Muslim parents in Turkey can adopt children and the term for stepfather is “üvey baba.” (By the way, Islamic teachings prohibit adoption. Adoption was legal in Islam until about 626 A.D. when Prophet Muhammad married his then adopted son Zayd bin Haritha’s wife Zaynab. For more information, please read Sam Shamoun of Answering Islam’s detailed post HERE.)

I know another person who knows at lease one case of adoption among Muslims in Turkey. Even the US Embassy in Ankara has information on adoption in Turkey. The embassy websites states:

According to current rules and regulations, Turkish families are given preference in adoption of children between the ages of 0-6.  According to the 21st/b section of the “Children’s Right Agreement” every child has right to be raised in his or her own environment, culture and religion.

So, adoption is legal in Turkey, which means the issue of the term “stepfather” not in existence in Turkish is false.

As for the Arabic language—a language I can read and write and speak partly—there are two terms for “father.” Ab and waalid. Ab can apply both as a biological or social term for “father.” For example, one of the most known Muslim after Prophet Muhammad was nicknamed Abu Bakr. Almost every Muslim knows his name because he was one of the first converts to Islam. He was also the first Caliph (successor after Prophet Muhammad’s death.) Abu Bakr means, “the father of the foal of the camel,” yet no Muslim can claim Abu Bakr “beget” a camel. On the other hand, waalid is strictly biological. In fact, a chapter of the Qur’an, Suratul Al-Ikhlas, which Ciccarelli has quoted HERE to try to argue against using “Ab” for “Father” in Bible translations uses yaalid, a variant of waalid. Yaalid, which means “beget” in Arabic, obviously is biological and has nothing to do with ab. There is no problem translating “Father” as “Ab” in Arabic.

If Muslims have an issue with the correct rendering of “Father” in Arabic or Turkish, Christians should explain to them the meaning behind it. After all, the Qur’an accuses Christians of worshiping a trinity that includes father, mother and son. The work of evangelizing Muslims often begins with first educating them about what Christians actually believe.

Contrary to what Ciccarelli and Brown have claimed, which unfortunately appears to be Wycliffe and SIL’s position, the justification for mistranslating “Father” in Arabic and Turkish new Bible translations is based on false assumptions.

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The Petition to hold accountable Wycliffe, SIL and Frontiers USA is found HERE.



[1] Larry Ciccarelli also goes by Larry Chico, Leith Gray, Mansour Ciccarelli

April 3rd, 2012

Insider Movement Advocates Masquerade as Islamic Teachers?

Wycliffe has no official position on the Insider Movement even when it appears there are Insider proponents and advocates among its Bible translators, linguists and missiologists. (The current Bible translation controversy is proof.) Here is a good example of what Insider Movement is about. A Malay Muslim has busted an operation in Malaysia. How can Christians pretend to be Islamic teachers (ustaz) in order to reach Muslims with the Gospel? Have we forgotten how to evangelize?

The news story also shows Southern Baptist International Mission Board endorsed “Camel Method” is used in Malaysia. Parts of the news report read [Emphasis mine]:

A Muslim man claiming to be a former apostate who has since returned to Islam said today his Christian group leaders masqueraded as ustaz to approach Muslims to convert them.

Ramli says in the 42-minute recording that these people, some of whom were ‘orang putih’ (Caucasians), would wear ketayap (turbans) and jubah (robes) and go to mosques in an attempt to get close to Muslims.

“That is how they slowly infiltrate. When they first approach Muslims, they do not use the Bible but they use the Quran… this is called the cameo [sic] method,” claimed Ramli, who had previously worked with the organisation after being converted.

Hasan had previously made similar claims that Christian groups had impersonated as Muslims in an attempt to approach the community.

“I still remember when my wife saw this, she asked me who this ustaz was… Their method was very subtle, they used Quranic verses as a bridge for you to cross over and after you have crossed into Christianity, only then will they give you a Bible,” Ramli says.

The video interview featuring Ramli, 47, and his wife, Zakiah Musa, 42 (not her real name), was screened to journalists at Hasan’s residence in Kuala Lumpur this afternoon.

The organisation also tasked him with translating a contextual version of the New Testament into Malay, so that it could be easily understood by Muslims.

“It (the translated Bible) was to be Muslim-friendly, so that when Muslims read it, they can accept that the Bible is from Allah,” he said.

Read more HERE.

 

February 24th, 2012

Wycliffe: Transparency or Spin in Bible Translation Controversy?

Yahoo! News

ANALYSIS | Wycliffe Bible Translators has issued another statement — the fourth one in six weeks — regarding the ongoing controversy about new Bible translations that omit ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ from the Trinity. It has gone from total denial to tacit acknowledgment of its culpability.

Previously, on January 12, Wycliffe insisted — contrary to the allegations in Biblical Missiology‘spetition - that ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ were “not removed, but are preserved in a way that does not communicate incorrect meaning.” This statement also defended True Meaning of the Gospel of Christ, an Arabic translation that removes ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ from the Trinity.

Then on February 2, Wycliffe insisted it “never has and never will be involved in a translation which does not translate these terms.” And five days later it claimed, “we have never intentionallysponsored a translation…”

The current press release states Wycliffe “is making every effort to identify translations that may have used terms which do not adequately convey the divine familial relationship and to work with project partners to remove them from circulation.”

Wycliffe’s statements contain glaring contradictions. The newest release raises more questions than it provides answers.

Wycliffe has declined to discuss translations it had defended in prior statements arguing they are from parts “of the world that are extremely hostile to the Gospel and where safety ‘firewalls’ have been built around information in attempts to keep people and projects safe.”

The following evidence strongly suggests Wycliffe’s stance is simply a ploy to keep its good reputation while covering its tracks.

First, these translations are available online. At least…

Please read more on Yahoo! News HERE.

September 16th, 2011

The Genealogies of Jesus and Muslims

Muslims have asked me umpteen times about the genealogies of Jesus Christ. One of them persistently asked me recently, “can you answer the two geneologies [sic] of Jesus?” Like many Muslims I have encountered, my friend uses differences in Luke and Matthew’s accounts to dismiss Jesus Christ and the Bible.

One thing my friend balks at, while Jesus Christ has two genealogies, Prophet Muhammad has none in the Qur’an or the Hadith. So much for Muslims’ claim the Bible has been corrupted because it lacks mentions of Muhammad. Islam’s own sources fail them. So much for Muslims’ claim Islam is an Abrahamic faith. Muslims can’t even trace their beloved prophet’s lineage to Abraham. Even Islamic sources that were concocted centuries after the demise of Muhammad raise more questions about Muhammad’s genealogy than they provide Muslims with answers. There is even an unresolved mystery surrounding when Muhammad was actually born. Isn’t it about time they explain?

Authoritative Muhammad biographies claim Muhammad’s father, Abdullah, was married to his wife, Amina, the year before the year of the elephant. Muhammad’s paternal grandfather, AbdulMuttalib, was also married the same day to Hala.  AbdulMuttalib’s wife gave birth to a son, Hamza, the same year—the year of the elephant—Muhammad was born. Abdullah died before his son was born. Muhammad and Hamza were supposed to be the same age. Hamza was killed at Battle of Uhud in 625 CE when he was 59 years old, which was quite a discrepancy because Muhammad was supposedly to be the same age as Hamza. He died at the age of 63 in 632 CE. How did Muhammad end up 4 years younger than Hamza if he were born the same year as Hamza? Mark you; Muhammad’s father died the same year Hamza was born. Was Muhammad in his mother’s womb for four years? Instead of explaining these discrepancies, Muslims attack Jesus even when he has two genealogies that make perfect sense.

Muslims study the Bible in order to find ammunition to attack the Bible and true mission of Jesus Christ. Let us use their questions to bring them to the Light of the Gospel and a little dose of reality regarding Islam.

I enlist John Gilchrist to answer my friend’s Muslim question. You can read John’s entire answers HERE.

1.10     The Genealogy of Jesus in the Gospels

Muslim: The genealogies of Jesus in the Gospels give very different lines of descent. How do you explain this contradiction? Also, some of the women mentioned among his ancestors were very great sinners – how could the perfectly pure Son of God have been descended from such an impure ancestry?

Very often Muslim arguments against the Bible reveal little more than a serious lack of awareness of what Christianity is really all about. In answering these two objections Christians not only have an opportunity to clarify misunderstandings but also to witness to the Muslims who raise them of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. It needs to be emphasized again and again that every Muslim argument against the Bible should be seen as an open door to witness to its essential message.

The Two Different Genealogies

The Hebrew line of Jesus’ descent is recorded in both Matthew 1:2-16 and Luke 3:23-38. There is no difference between these two records from Abraham to David but thereafter they diverge considerably. Matthew traces the line of Jesus’ genealogy through David’s son Solomon while Luke takes it through his son Nathan. From there on the two accounts are very different. Muslim writers have summarily concluded that they are contradictory and cannot be reconciled. The following points should be raised in reply whenever Muslims raise this issue:

1.   Every Child has Two Genealogies

It is hardly necessary to say that every man on earth has two lines of ancestry, one through his father and another through his mother. The one obvious thing about the two genealogies in the Gospels is that each is traced to a common source, David, and from there consistently to Abraham. What the two lines reveal, upon a close study of their context in each respective Gospel, is that Joseph, the legal guardian and registered father of Jesus (although not his natural father) was descended from David through Solomon while his mother Mary was descended from the same ancestor through Nathan. Thus there is no contradiction between them.

2.   Matthew and Luke Clearly State their Lines of Descent

It is not a convenient assumption that these two Gospel writers are recording the paternal and maternal sequences of Jesus’ ancestry respectively. Matthew makes it plain that he is recording the line of Joseph (Matthew 1:16) and throughout the first two chapters of his Gospel we find Joseph to be the central character. Each appearance of the Angel Gabriel recorded here is to Joseph. In Luke’s Gospel, however, Mary is always the central personality and only the appearance of Gabriel to her is mentioned.

3.   Luke Deliberately Qualifies his Genealogy

Luke himself states specifically that Jesus was the son, “as was supposed”, of Joseph (Luke 3:23) and it is in this little expression that the key to Jesus’ genealogy in his Gospel is found. Unlike Matthew he mentions no women in Jesus’ ancestry and, to maintain the general practice of outlining the masculine order only, Luke records Joseph as the supposed father of Jesus. He very carefully qualified Joseph’s role so that it would be clear that he was not recording the genealogy of Jesus through his representative father but rather his actual genealogy through his real mother Mary.
The Four Women Named in Matthew’s Genealogy

Muslim writers have often tried to discredit the absolute purity of Jesus as the Son of God by referring to the four women Matthew names in his record of Jesus’ ancestry. They are Tamar, who committed incest with her father Judah from which Perez was born as a forefather of Jesus; Rahab, the prostitute and Gentile woman who helped Joshua and the Israelites at the conquest of Jericho; Ruth, the wife of Boaz who was also a Gentile; and Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah who committed adultery with David and from whom Solomon was born.

It is obvious that Matthew has deliberately named the very four women who disturbed the genealogy of Jesus by having moral or ethnic defects. He, clearly, did not think he was undermining the dignity of Jesus in doing so. Had there been any stigma attaching to such an ancestry he would assuredly have named some of more famous Hebrew women from whom Jesus was descended like Sarah and Rebecca. Why, therefore, did he specifically name the four women who supposedly unsettled the “purity” of his ancestry? The Apostle gives the answer himself. He records that, when the Angel Gabriel came to Joseph, he said of the child to be born:

You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21

It was precisely for people such as incestuous Tamar, Rahab the harlot, Ruth the Gentile and Bathsheba the adulteress that Jesus came into the world. He descended from the holy portals of heaven and took human form in a sinful and decaying world so that he could save his people from their iniquities and make his salvation available to all men and women, Jew and Gentile alike. In another passage recorded in the same Gospel we find Jesus making his purpose very clear:

Those who are well have no need of a physician but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice”. For I came not to call the righteous but sinners. Matthew 9:12-13

Jesus did not come to set an upright example for pious, religious people to follow. He came, primarily, to save all who turn to him from their sins and to make it possible for them to receive the Holy Spirit so that they might have power to live genuinely holy lives. Here it is obvious how effectively an argument against the Bible can be turned into a very good opportunity for witness. Whenever a Muslim challenges the Bible on a point such as this it is essential that we look not only for ways of refuting the objection but also for openings to share what our faith is really all about.

Read MORE

August 18th, 2011

Jesus Christ and the flat Earth?

Abdul Seid writes:

The bible says in Gospel of Matthew Ch 4 V 8 “Again, the devil took him (Jesus) to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.” and also in Gospel of Luke Ch 4 V 5 “The devil, leading him (Jesus) up on a high mountain, showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.” Now these verses show that the Bible assumes that the earth is flat. Because even if you go to the tallest mountain on earth and supposedly you have a very good vision and can see thousands of miles yet you will not be able to see all the kingdom of the world because today we know the earth is spherical and it is impossible to to [sic] see the opposite side of the earth. The only way you will be able to see all the kingdoms of the earth is if the earth was flat. So Brother Hussien [sic] what do you think about this. i [sic] want to read what you have to say.

Thank you.

Abdul claims since Jesus Christ saw “all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor” in the Gospel, the “Bible assumes that the earth is flat.” He has been unable to debunk my assertions that fasting during Ramadhan is manmade because the rules are specific to Arabia and its environs. Had God All knowing invented this fast, He would have known these rules would not have applied in certain parts of the world Muslims now inhabit. (This same God in the Qur’an claims the sun “set in a spring of murky water” and Muhammad, his prophet, claimed when the sun sets “it prostrates Itself underneath the Throne” of Allah.)

The Qur’an gives uniform rules for fasting during Ramadhan—from dawn to dusk—totally disregarding Polar Regions. These rules are only fair for people who live in areas where length of days and nights are similar throughout the year. The Qur’an claims fasting should not be burdensome to Muslims so much so that Muslims who travel are exempt from observing it. If a mere travel is burdensome enough to warrant skipping to fast, how about Muslims in Polar Regions. It is more than a burden, for example, for a Muslim in Barrow, Alaska, to fast for a few months without breaking his or her fast because the sun does not set during certain summer months. Abdul couldn’t answer my questions. He now enlists the Bible in his attempts to make the Qur’an appear relevant.

First, Abdul needs to know that the verses in question do not implicate the Bible as claiming the earth is flat. Jesus Christ is the word, wisdom, and image of the Father and indeed was and is able to see “all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor” by the virtue of Him being a part of the Holy Trinity. The Almighty is all seeing, Jesus Christ, even while he was here on earth, was all seeing. He had two distinct natures. He was 100 percent God and 100 percent human. The fact that Abdul and his fellow Muslims object to it while relying on a doctrine that came at least 600 years after the fact does not change the fact.

Secondly, unlike in the Qur’an, Scripture interprets Scripture in the Bible. When the meaning of a verse appears obscure in the Bible, another verse or passage might make it clearer.

The two verses Abdul has quoted do not assume “that the earth is flat.” I am glad Abdul quoted Luke 4:5 which shows Jesus saw “all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.” “A moment of time” is the same as instant. Some kingdoms were thousands of miles from Jerusalem. So here, it is possible the human part of Jesus saw “all the kingdoms” in a vision. Scripture does not give explicit details as to what form Satan took to tempt Jesus.  Also, reference to the “kingdoms of the earth” does not make any indication as to the height or flatness of what they saw…it simply states what they saw.

Further, from Luke’s perspective, “all the kingdoms of the earth” could be a reference to the then-known world of trade, which is much smaller than the entire world we know today. Scripture makes other similar contextual references, as in I Samuel 6:8, saying, “And David was displeased because the LORD had broken out upon Uzzah; and he called the name of the place Perezuzzah [that is, The breach of Uzzah] to this day.” In modern time, the place is not called Perezuzzah any more, but that doesn’t undermine biblical authority.  The biblical authors wrote in context of the knowledge they had of the world.

Abdul has been trying to distract from the subject at hand, bringing up unrelated topics to the discussion about whether fasting during the month of Ramadhan is manmade. He tried three times to change the subject. Please read his comments HERE and most importantly pray for him to see the Light.

July 1st, 2011

Does the Bible Condone Rape?

A Muslim on Facebook asks, “hussein is this good treatmen [sic] of wojman [sic]” after quoting Deuteronomy 22:28-29. He quotes a rendering of these verses which is off literal translation. His quote, “If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.”

Muslims have asked this question numerous times to try to portray the Bible as condoning rape and their question has been answered. I am not going to reinvent an answer to this question but enlist a friend, Sam Shamoun, who has already answered the same question.

Sam is an Iraqi Christian who is a Christian apologist at Answering Islam. The following is what he wrote HERE in response to Muslims:

Some Muslims claim that the following passage from the Holy Bible condones rape:

“If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated (anah) her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.” Deuteronomy 22:28-29 NIV

There are two points to note here. First, even though the verse may seem to be instructing the rapist to marry the victim the passage nowhere sanctions, condones or even approves of rape. This is simply a gross misreading of the text. The injunction is intended to instruct the Israelites on how to deal with and address a rape situation if and when it occurs.

Second, by taking a careful look at the context and consulting the original languages of the Scriptures a strong case can be made that this is citation isn’t even addressing a rape case at all. We must remember that the Holy Bible was not written in English. The OT was written in Hebrew, with parts of it being written in Aramaic. The NT was written in Koine or common Greek. This means that if we want to know whether an English translation has faithfully and accurately translated the inspired author’s intended meaning we must turn to the original language of the sacred text. Once this is done, it will become quite apparent that the Holy Bible does not sanction rape at all.

With this just said, the word which the NIV translates as rape comes from two Hebrew words, taphas and shakab. Here are the meanings listed by the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon in reference to these two words:

Continued