Posts tagged ‘Trinity’

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!

October 11th, 2011

Are new Bible Translations Pandering to Muslims?

World Magazine has a new article, “Holding translators accountable,” in its October 8, 2011 issue, which covers Wycliffe Bible Translators and its agreement “to new standards in debate over contextualizing Scripture for Muslim settings.” World further reports, “The problem with translating “Son of God” and “God the Father” literally in Muslim contexts, translators say, is that it implies that God had sexual relations with Mary. Some translators have turned to non-literal renderings, like “beloved one of God.””

These new translations geared toward Muslims create more problems in Christian outreach to Muslims than Muslims’ problem with “trinity.” Muslims need to know the Qur’an erroneously accuses Christians of worshiping three gods: father, mother and son. The Qur’an even questions how the father could have a son without a consort (6:101.) If we Christians can’t articulate Biblical teachings which even ancient Christian creeds addressed long before the advent of Islam, we have a ginormous problem.

Some Christians have suggested adopting “interpretations” or “meanings” to refer to Bible versions since they are translations of original languages. Muslims came up with these excuses in order to downplay problems with the Qur’an. They even argue “one cannot discuss the Qur’an without knowing classical Arabic.” Are we going to argue Bible translations are not true renderings of original Greek and Hebrew?

If Muslims are offended and would not get saved because of the true rendering of the Scripture as it was in the original languages, it is not our fault. Remember He said, “All that the Father gives me will come to me…”

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.

June 10th, 2011

When Jesus Died, Did the Trinity Reduce to two?

One of my Muslim Facebook friends asks:

If the father and Jesus are one, then if Jesus died, the father [sic] died. If they are separate and only Jesus died, then the father and the holy spirit [sic] remained, and thus Jesus and the father are not the same. Can you address this issue without talking about Muslims.

When Jesus died, the Father didn’t die. When Jesus died, the Three (Father, Son & Holy Spirit) did not reduce to the two. Please, read a good explanation HERE. I would like to enlist the Belgic Confession of Faith to answer my friend’s question further. The Confession reads:

According to this truth and this Word of God, we believe in one only God, who is the one single essence, in which are three persons, really, truly, and eternally distinct, according to their incommunicable properties; namely, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The Father is the cause, origin and beginning of all things visible and invisible; the Son is the word, wisdom, and image of the Father; the Holy Ghost is the eternal power and might, proceeding from the Father and the Son. Nevertheless God is not by this distinction divided into three, since the Holy Scriptures teach us, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, have each his personality, distinguished by their properties; but in such wise that these three persons are but one only God. Hence then, it is evident, that the Father is not the Son, nor the Son the Father, and likewise the Holy Ghost is neither the Father nor the Son. Nevertheless these persons thus distinguished are not divided, nor intermixed: for the Father hath not assumed the flesh, nor hath the Holy Ghost, but the Son only. The Father hath never been without his Son, or without his Holy Ghost. For they are all three co-eternal and co-essential. There is neither first nor last: for they are all three one, in truth, in power, in goodness, and in mercy.

The Belgic Confession of Faith is available online on several websites. You can read this version HERE.

The Nicene Creed (circa 325 A.D.) and the Creed of Chalcedon (circa 451 A.D.) have some excellent explanations on the Three and the two natures of Jesus Christ respectively. How would you respond?