Posts tagged ‘Frontiers’

April 26th, 2012

“Son” in Arabic Dialects, Prophet Muhammad, Wycliffe and Translation Controversy

I have a friend, a former Wycliffe Bible Translators missionary kid from Cameroon, who says he has been told this translation controversy resulted due to different Arabic dialects. It is not true. There is no difference in translating “Father” and “Son” in various Arabic dialects. “Father” is “ab” or “waalid” and “son” is “ibn” or “waalad” in every Arabic dialect. “Waalad” has sexual connotation because in Arabic it means [masculine] “begotten.”

Ibn” is used in the Qur’an and it does not imply “sexual connotation” that Wycliffe, SIL and Frontiers contend in this controversy. For example, “ibn sabeel” which in Arabic literally means “son of the road” to refer to a traveler appears in two verses. There is no Muslim in his or her right mind who thinks the road has begotten a son.

Muslims also are aware Prophet Muhammad used to have an adopted son and his name was Zayd bin (a variant of “ibn”) Muhammad. Zayd was “son of” Muhammad for the first 16 years of Islam because Muhammad had adopted him. It was only after Muhammad had a heart for Zayd’s wife Zainab when Zayd’s sonship became an issue. Muhammad received a revelation to have it terminated. You can read it all in chapter 33 of the Qur’an. Verses 4 and 6 of the chapter state:

Allah has not made for any man two hearts in his (one) body: nor has He made your wives whom ye divorce by Zihar your mothers: nor has He made your adopted sons your sons. Such is (only) your (manner of) speech by your mouths. But Allah tells (you) the Truth, and He shows the (right) Way. Call them by (the names of) their fathers: that is juster in the sight of Allah. But if ye know not their father’s (names, call them) your Brothers in faith, or your maulas. But there is no blame on you if ye make a mistake therein: (what counts is) the intention of your hearts: and Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.

The most renowned Muslim commentary on the Qur’an, Tafsir Ibn Kathir, states:

This was revealed concerning Zayd bin Harithah, may Allah be pleased with him, the freed servant of the Prophet. The Prophet had adopted him before prophethood, and he was known as Zayd bin Muhammad. Allah wanted to put an end to this naming and attribution.

So, “ibn” does not carry a sexual connotation in Arabic. Not even in the Qur’an. Wycliffe, SIL and Frontiers’ arguments against the use of “ibnu’llah” (Son of God) in Arabic Bible translations are unfounded. Wycliffe still maintains:

In particular regard to Bible translations done for Muslim contexts we affirm that in the majority of cases a literal translation of “Son of God” will be the preferred translation. In certain circumstances, specifically where it has been demonstrated that a literal translation of “Son of God” would communicate wrong meaning, an alternative form with equivalent meaning may be used. The alternative form must maintain the concept of “sonship”. All translations for Muslim audiences should include an explanation of the meaning of the phrase “ho huios tou theou” (the Son of God) when it refers to Jesus Christ. This may be in a preface, in one or more footnotes, or as a glossary entry, as seems appropriate to the situation.

Had Prophet Muhammad not married his adopted son’s wife, Wycliffe, SIL and Frontiers would not have been making these claims today. I cannot believe three reputable Christian organizations have changed God’s Word over an issue that could easily be explained to Muslims who object to “Son” is being translated accurately in Arabic. It could be explained a) ibn does not carry sexual connotation and (b) Zayd was “son of” Muhammad who Muhammad did not father. The title of choice these organizations have used in the Arabic translation in place of “Son” is “Messiah,” which is a created being in the Qur’an.

March 15th, 2012

Wycliffe USA President Leads CBN into Filing Incorrect News Report

Wycliffe President Bob Creson appeared on CBN recently and did not answer questions that would put to rest the current Bible translation controversy. Instead he misled a CBN reporter into filing an incorrect news report.

The newscast portion on Wycliffe where Mr. Creson is interviewed starts with a voiceover quoting a February 6, 2012 statement SIL issued which announced it was suspending Arabic “audio translation.”

In this video starting at 2:48 mark, CBN News Senior International Reporter Gary Lane asks Mr. Creson, “Why did Wycliffe change the language in the Arabic version?” The reporter is referring to the translation that was suspended. Mr. Creson says, “I am assuming that we are referring to The True Meaning of the Gospel of Christ that was done by another organization Al Kalima.”

He fails to mention Wycliffe’s involvement with The True Meaning of the Gospel of Christ even when the reporter asks him twice.

The reporter later asks, “And now that you have put it on hold, what would you clarify now in order to go forward?” And Mr. Creson goes to the February 15 statement when Wycliffe still denied any involvement in The True Meaning.

Wycliffe issued a statement on February 15, 2012 stating, “The formal review will be led by respected theologians, biblical scholars, translators, linguists, and missiologists from the global Church. We expect this review to produce a report that will guide future Wycliffe USA and SIL translation efforts.”

When Wycliffe issued this statement, they were still denying any involvement in all—except for the ‘audio translation’—translations Biblical Missiology had brought to light in the online petition.

I am still in shock Wycliffe USA President Bob Creson misled CBN reporter into filing an incorrect report. I hope he retracts his erroneous statements and CBN issues a correction. Here are some of the facts:

  • The True Meaning of the Gospel and Acts in Arabic is still on sale on Amazon UK. Get yourself a “gift-wrapped” copy HERE.

This is not a Wycliffe/SIL project but they consulted on it. Biblical Missiology petition never said it was a Wycliffe/SIL project. This translation removes, among other terms, ‘Father’ and ‘Son.’ Prime example: Matthew 28:19.

  • Wycliffe USA Senior VP Russ Hersman did an interview with the Christian Post on February 7 after SIL issued the February 6 statement about the “audio translation” being pulled. He told CP, “[Lives of the Prophets] was an audio drama that originally substituted inadequate familial terms in the mid-1990s. Since that time, the translation has been removed from circulation and will not be re-released until it has been corrected and revised.”

He went on to deny Wycliffe was involved in any translation that removed ‘Father’ and ‘Son.’

  • Mr. Hersman also took to Facebook after the publication of the CP article. He was answering a question about what translations “have already been pulled from circulation.” He wrote, “Thanks for this question. As you are no doubt aware, Wycliffe USA affirmed its commitment to clear and accurate representation of the familial triune God with an official policy announcement in August 2011, roughly at the same time that SIL issued its Best Practices document. The “Lives of the Prophets” audio translation was found to be out of line with those documents and was pulled around the same time. As Wycliffe USA stated earlier today, we are in the process of re-evaluating our methodology, including the August 2011 standards, to ensure that they meet our goal of providing clear and accurate translations. We expect to issue a more complete statement on these matters soon.”

The statement on CBN video about “the pause” has nothing to do with The True Meaning. I hope Mr. Creson issues a retraction and CBN corrects its error in reporting. The Christian public has been misled to believe a lie. I have talked with Mr. Lane and he all along thought “the pause” was in reference to The True Meaning. I also called Wycliffe yesterday and have not received any clarification yet.

Please, continue to pray for Wycliffe, SIL and Frontiers leaderships. They need to come clean. And do so fast. Anything short of a full disclosure and repentance is a failure. And issuing statements full of half-truths will not resolve this issue and bring the much-needed healing to the fractured body of Christ.

February 8th, 2012

Wycliffe and SIL Suspend Efforts to Remove ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ from the Trinity

Bowing to a groundswell of pressure among supporters and within the organizations themselves, Wycliffe Bible Translators and Summer Institute of Linguistics have announced they will temporarily suspend their plan to produce Bibles geared toward Muslims that remove “Father” and “Son” from the Trinity. In a news release, SIL announced it “will put on hold” the “approval of publication of translated Scripture.” It is not clear if the action is aimed at calming the storm of worldwide opposition or a sincere attempt to correct the trend.

The controversy was put in the spotlight by a petition that Biblical Missiology, a ministry of Boulder, Colo.-based Horizons International , had orchestrated.

The main issues of the petition are Arabic and Turkish Bible translations. In the Arabic translation, “Allah” is substituted for “Father” and “Messiah” for “Son.” The Turkish translation substitutes “protector” or “guardian” for “Father” and “proxy” or “representative” for “Son.”

Wycliffe Senior Vice President Russ Hersman, in an interview before the news release, acknowledged it was possible Wycliffe experts had inadvertently misled Wycliffe leadership into publicly defending the translations. But he did not return calls for comment after SIL news release.

The issue at hand was an Arabic word “Rabbi,” which means “Lord.” Wycliffe and SIL experts had argued using an obscure and disputed Muslim source rendering “Rabbi,” which referred to Allah” as “Father.” Thus they justified the use of Allah in place of “Father” in Matthew 28:19.

The petition also asked Phoenix-based Frontiers USA to reconsider its position on the Turkish translation, which was done in partnership with Wycliffe and SIL. When reached for comment…

Please read more on Yahoo! News HERE.

February 1st, 2012

Wycliffe/SIL’s Gamble with Integrity Grieves Me

I am grateful for Wycliffe/SIL, two “reputable” Christian organizations, which have done a lot for me, as a Christian from one of the unreached people groups, the Orma people of Kenya. I am especially thankful for Wycliffe/SIL missionaries George and Wendy. Had it not been for their meticulous and diligent work, my native language, Orma, would not have been written and I wouldn’t be reading portions of the Word in Orma today.

I was a member of a literacy team that met in February 1995 for a literacy conference that was hosted by World Vision (Tana River District), Wycliffe/SIL missionaries, Literary and Evangelism Fellowship and Literacy and Evangelism International. The conference was held at PCEA Makupa Guest House, in Mombasa, Kenya. It was at this conference my native Orma language was written for the first time. If it weren’t for the Wycliffe/SIL missionaries and missionaries from other agencies, I wouldn’t be writing in Orma today.

Having said that, there is a problem right now. A gargantuan one. And these two organizations, which have meant so much to me, have not taken any concrete steps toward remedying issue of mistranslations of Scripture geared toward Muslims. There is a plethora of evidence to show Wycliffe/SIL linguists, missiologists and translators pandered to Muslims and removed “Father” and “Son” from new Bible of translations. These supposedly reputable Christian organizations are dangling off a cliff. Their personnel responsible for this fiasco need to be rescued from God’s Wrath.

A staff member of these organizations, Moses Gingerich, contacted me yesterday. He wrote, “It seems that if you have such a good relationship with SIL/Wycliffe perhaps you should have read what is posted on their website at (SIL link). If you are indeed a Christian I applaud you. But please check with the source first for articles that could be misconstrued.” [Emphasis mine.]

Mr. Gingerich is fully convinced a 300-word statement released yesterday from SIL/Wycliffe debunks damaging allegations that abound. The 300-word release has two problems. First, it does not answer a single question from the 16-page Fact Check from Biblical Missiology. Second, it does not address any allegations mentioned in the petition, WND article or my Yahoo! News article. The release essentially reiterated Wycliffe/SIL’s position on translations. Nothing was new other than the question in the opening statement. Wycliffe/SIL posed its own question and answered it then copied and pasted its mission statement.

I have evidence of Wycliffe/SIL editing materials online, expurgating damaging information and even expunging at least one document. Here are a few changes Wycliffe/SIL have made, most recently, since the publication of news articles:

  • The statement on filial terms has changed numerous terms, which even has caught the eye of a Yahoo! News reader, Bbabel, who quipped, “I think you got it backwards, the date on this article is Jan 27th, the date on the two internet blogs that I can find say Jan 29th. It seems those other locations are using this as their source material. But perhaps I’m missing something.” Where is the integrity? Even Yahoo! News can verify I never edited the article once it was published. It grieves me an organization as reputable as Wycliffe/SIL take integrity lightly.
  • Wycliffe Global Alliance issued a statement on contextualization in 2011 which originally stated, “Our [Wycliffe] goal is not to “convert people” from one religion to another or to “make people understand.”” You are reading that correctly. I posted a link of that statement on my Facebook page on October 25, 2011 found HERE and also discussed it on a private forum with more than 200 other Christians who are in active ministry to Muslims in North America. Some of them teach in colleges and seminaries. Within weeks of our discussion, the part where it stated it wasn’t Wycliffe’s goal “to make people understand” disappeared. An organization, which prides itself to reach the unreached in the world with the Word God in their own language did not have a goal to translate the Word of God in a way it is understandable. What an oxymoron. In fact, Wycliffe defended this position when it was initially challenged and only relented when it became very clear that statement was problematic.

Why is this issue so important to me? First, these organizations helped me and my people group have access to God’s Word. The stakes are too high for them to fail. Second, Muslims already use the Jehovah’s Witness’ New World Translation, attempting to attack the divinity of Jesus Christ. In these Wycliffe/SIL and Frontier’s translations, Jesus is Messiah—which means a created being in Islam. To a Muslim he is not the Son of God. Can you believe what would happen if a Muslim apologist shows up on Al-Jazeera with a copy of these erroneous translations of the Bible? It wouldn’t be much of an argument because he would invoke the Bible as Wycliff/SIL and or Frontiers produced and Christian apologists would have no answer.

Folks, doing nothing is not an option. Pray for Wycliff/SIL and Frontiers leaders to come to their senses. Join this coalition. We will not rest until these organizations retract the Bible already in print and jettison the plan to have further translations that oust “Father” and “Son” from the Trinity.

I am waiting on more evidence that shows yesterday’s statement is a mere red herring and it amounts to naught. I will contact Wycliffe and SIL for their comments on discrepancies on their statements. God bless you!

January 30th, 2012

Am I a Muslim Plant, Masquerading as a Christian?

I was notified of this comment on Jihad Watch, “I observe that the author of the article is one ‘Hussein Hajji Wario’… If he’s a Muslim, why is he writing this? Might not this article be a ‘plant‘?”

This person was commenting on my article on Yahoo! News, ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ Ousted from the Trinity in New Bible Translations, which Jihad Watch had picked up. I don’t know if this person has ever heard of Muslims who come to faith in Jesus Christ. I am one of them. I was originally a practicing Sunni Muslim in Kenya. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in August 1989.

I have worked with various missionaries in Kenya, among them Wycliffe Bible Translators and SIL missionaries. They all knew me as a Christian. In fact, SIL Associate Area Director for Eurasia, Andy Clark, who is one of the SIL officials who are receiving “Lost In Translation: Keep “Father” & “Son” in the Bible” petition signatures, lived in the same neighborhood with me in Kenya when he worked with the Digo language in the 1990s.

I am a graduate of Hope College, a Christian liberal arts school in Holland, Michigan. You can check with its public relations department via email at prelations@hope.edu

After graduating in 2000, I helped to raise funds for Wycliffe Bible Translators’ Orma project in Kenya through Campus Ministries at Hope. The college’s newspaper, The Anchor, covered the fundraiser. The then Campus Ministry’s mission’s director Barb Osburn wrote to me a few years later, “I believe God used YOU [sic] back in the fall of 2000 to open up a door for the relationship that I have with Ed and Linda [Wycliffe representative in Holland, Michigan)] and all that has happened since that has resulted in praise God many Hope grads becoming involved with Bible Translation.”

I was a year behind Kevin De Young, the Senior Pastor of University Reformed Church in Lansing, Michigan. Pastor Kevin knows who I am. We were both members of Fellowship of Christian Students (FCS) at Hope.

If some still doubt whether I am a Muslim implant, please visit the “about” section of my website http://husseinwario.com/blog/about/ and there is a link to my testimony. You will hear a senior pastor of a church in Hudsonville, Michigan, telling his congregation in September 2009, his friends who were Wycliffe Bible Translators’ missionaries to Kenya at that time had verified who I am.

And as for my name, Hajji Wario is my father’s name. I am simply Hussein because there is NO requirement as a Christian for me to take on a new name. Is there? Hussein Hajji Wario is the name I used while I attended madrassa (Muslim religious school). It is now my pen name. If anyone still has further questions, please let me know and I can put you in touch with some missionaries who knew me in Kenya. Thank you very much.

As for the translations, Wycliffe, SIL and Frontier’s rationale for substituting “Allah” for “Father” and “Messiah” for “Son” is not convincing and at worst insulting to Muslims’ intelligence because the main stumbling block for Muslims is Jesus’ divinity. As for me, I struggled with it when I was a seeker and with time the Holy Spirit made it clearer to me Jesus is indeed the Son of God.

By the way, substituting “Messiah” for “Son” has some epic ramifications for Christianity—only a Christian ignorant of Islamic teachings would go that far—because in Islam the “Messiah” was a created being. The late Muslim apologist Ahmed Deedat annihilated any Christian argument in reference to using the “Messiah” in Islam as Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As for translating God’s Word, 2 Corinthians 4:2-5 should be our guide:

But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake (ESV).

Please don’t forget to sign the petition to stop these erroneous Bible translations. You can sign it HERE.

For more information about why Biblical Missiology is involved with this issue, please check HERE.

 

January 29th, 2012

‘Father’ and ‘Son’ Ousted from the Trinity in New Bible Translations

My Yahoo! News article ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ Ousted from the Trinity in New Bible Translations has been published. As of this morning, it is the thirteenth most popular news item for the weekend. I praise God this information is getting out to the public. These reputable Christian organizations did not expect the news to get out. They should be held accountable. It is my hope and prayer the perpetrators of this heresy will come to repentance. Even on a weekend our dear brother, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, is languishing in an Iranian prison, ready to die for this Truth, some of us attempt to change it to make it more palatable to those who it offends.

The issue in this article is not about the use of “Allah” in Muslim-Idiom Translations (MIT). Since the article went viral, I know of a few people who have raised this argument and I want to put it to rest. For the sake of argument, how does “Allah” which means “God” in Arabic translate to “Father” in Arabic? There is an Arabic word for “father” and why shouldn’t these translators render “Father” as father in Arabic? The issue here is not about substituting “Allah” for “God.”

Please do not forget to make your voice heard. Sign the petition to stop these organizations. You can find it HERE.

Biblical Missiology, a ministry of Boulder, Colorado-based Horizons International, has been fighting this menace for a number of years now. Please consider supporting this worthy ministry.

[Yahoo! News]—A controversy is brewing over three reputable Christian organizations, which are based in North America, whose efforts have ousted the words “Father” and “Son” from new Bibles. Wycliffe Bible Translators, Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) and Frontiers are under fire for “producing Bibles that remove “Father,” “Son” and “Son of God” because these terms are offensive to Muslims.”

Concerned Christian missionaries, Bible translators, pastors, and national church leaders have come together with a public petition to stop these organizations. They claim a public petition is their last recourse because meetings with these organizations’ leaders, staff resignations over this issue and criticism and appeals from native national Christians concerned about the translations ”have failed to persuade these agencies to retain “Father” and “Son” in the text of all their translations.”

Biblical Missiology, a ministry of Boulder, Colorado-based Horizons International, is sponsoring the petition.

The main issues of this controversy surround new Arabic and Turkish translations. Here are three examples native speakers give:

Please read the rest of the article HERE. Thank you.

 

January 11th, 2012

Great Omissions in New Bible Translations Have Epic Ramifications

A controversy has been brewing about omissions in new Bible translations geared toward Muslims, which, if not corrected and copies in print retracted, would hamstring Christian efforts to share the Gospel with Muslims. What is so sad about this controversy, US Christian organizations like Wycliffe Bible Translators, Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) and Frontiers are doing it. Some new translations have the “Son,” “Son of God,” and “Father” removed. Concerned Christians—some of whom have resigned from these organizations due to this controversy—have started an online petition to have these organizations retain these terms.

I expected Muslim apologists to come up with these new Bible translations in order to bolster their claim that the Bible has been corrupted. They are desperate and already use the discredited Jehovah’s Witness version of the Bible, New World Translation, to make their case. Now reputable Christian organizations have given them an impetus to further complicate Christian outreach to Muslims. If these organizations do not make corrections and or retract copies in print, these omissions and substitutions would have epic ramifications.

The petition, Lost In Translation: Keep “Father” & “Son” in the Bible, in part reads:

Western missions agencies Wycliffe, Frontiers and SIL are producing Bibles that remove Father, Son andSon of God because these terms are offensive to Muslims.

 Some examples:

• Wycliffe/SIL produced Stories of the Prophets, an Arabic Bible that uses “Lord” instead of “Father” and “Messiah” instead of “Son.”

• Frontiers worked with an SIL consultant to produce True Meaning of the Gospel of Christ, an Arabic translation which removes “Father” in reference to God, and removes or redefines “Son,” e.g. the Great Commission in Mt 28:19 reads, “Cleanse them by water in the name of God, his Messiah and his Holy Spirit.”

• Frontiers produced a Turkish translation of Matthew, distributed by SIL, that uses “guardian” for “Father” and “representative” or “proxy” for “Son.”

• SIL consulted on the Bengali Injil Sharif, advising that “Son” be translated as “God’s Uniquely Intimate Beloved Chosen One.”

 By removing Father and Son, these translations fail to portray God as who he is: the familial, eternal, loving God the Father, Son and Spirit. The deity of Jesus is obscured, and thus the self-sacrifice of God on our behalf. In June 2011, the Presbyterian Church in America explicitly declared such translations as “unfaithful to God’s revealed Word” because they “compromise the doctrines of the Trinity, Scripture, and the person and work of Jesus.”

 Perhaps most importantly, national Christians say these translations are harming their work. Yet Western proponents condone removing Father or Son because they say Muslims can only see sexual connotations to these terms. Numerous missionaries and national believers, however, strongly assert this is not the case. Further, Christian churches in places like Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Middle East, Turkey, and Malaysia have asked these agencies to stop producing…

Please sign the petition HERE. Thank you.