Posts tagged ‘Lost in Translation’

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

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 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 19th, 2012

Fact Checking Wycliffe-SIL Statement on Biblical Missiology Petition

Wycliffe Bible Translators and Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) issued a statement which was sent to their associates and those who signed the petition, “Lost In Translation: Keep ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ in the Bible” on, attempting to debunk assertions regarding its translators, missiologists and linguists efforts to change the Word of God. Can you imagine a Bible that does not contain “Father,” “Son” and or “Son of God” and the reason that has been given for these omissions: the terms are offensive to Muslims?

A group of Arab Christians, Christians of Muslim background (Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey etc), Bible translators, missiologists and missionaries have responded to Wycliffe—SIL’s response. I still can’t believe these reputable Christian organizations are standing by these erroneous translations of the Bible.


Fact Check: Biblical Missiology’s Response To Wycliffe’s Comments On “Lost In Translation”

On January 4, 2012, Biblical Missiology sponsored an online petition called “Lost In Translation: Keep ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ in the Bible” on This petition asked Wycliffe, Frontiers and SIL to commit in writing to preserve the terms “Father,” “Son,” and “Son of God” in the text of their Bible translations. In response, Wycliffe sent a document to their staff, as well as to some of the signatories of the petition, rejecting the assertions of the petition. The following is a response by Biblical Missiology, with input from current and former staff of these agencies, global pastors, translators, linguists, missiologists and theologians with significant experience on the issue.


About Biblical Missiology

Biblical Missiology, a ministry of Horizons International, is a network of missionaries, missiologists, translators, pastors, laity, church missions leaders, theologians, and national church leaders. What brings us together is a shared concern that people in need of the gospel, including Muslims, hear the full and faithful message of Jesus Christ. We are particularly concerned about new initiatives called “Insider Movements” (IM) and “Muslim Idiom Translations” (MIT) that present a distorted and incomplete portrayal of the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. For a list of leadership team members and contributors, please visit the Biblical Missiology website.


The Need For A Petition

It must first be said that the petition is not intended as a condemnation of Wycliffe, SIL, Frontiers, or any of their staff members. Rather, it is a request to correct errors involved in Muslim Idiom Translations committed by a portion of their staff and leadership. We acknowledge that the majority of translations produced by these organizations are unrelated to these issues, and we bless the faithful translations that have been produced.

Second, the petition was started only after every effort had been made to call Wycliffe, Frontiers and SIL to biblical faithfulness. Years of private exhortations, meetings with agency leaders, internal dissent from agency staff including resignations over the issue, criticism and earnest appeals from national believers most affected by the translations, group discussions, conferences of proponents and critics, missiological articles, and church and denominational admonitions, have all failed to persuade these agencies to retain “Father” and “Son” in the text of all their translations. Reading the testimonials in the “Why People Are Signing” section of the petition will confirm these efforts. In spite of these appeals, these agencies have solidified their commitment to such translations.

If this were a minor issue, then we would at this point simply have to “agree to disagree.” But this is not minor. It is hard to imagine anything more significant. Our understanding of God himself, Scripture, redemption and our adoption are all affected by removing “Father” and “Son” from Bible translations. National believers are aghast at what is being done to God’s Word in their languages, stunned by what well-funded outsiders insist on doing in spite of the nationals’ objections. After so many appeals, what recourses are left? We genuinely understand the reservations people have for a public petition, and we share those. But “peace” cannot trump truth. Thus, with great sadness, prayer, and a desire to honor God’s name, this initiative was begun to enable individual voices, from all over the world, to speak as one. It is our sincere desire that agency leaders would commit to retain “Father” and “Son” in the text of the Bible, that they would restore the good name of their organizations, and that their most fruitful and faithful days would still lie ahead. We pray to that end. Until that time, we will continue to plead that Bible translations “testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14).

Please read the rest of the response HERE.

You can sign the petition 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.