Posts tagged ‘Son of God’

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.

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.