Posts tagged ‘SIL’

February 10th, 2012

Pray for Wycliffe and SIL and the 340-Million Problem

Please pray for Wycliffe and SIL leaderships. They have to make some serious decisions. Contrary to what we have heard about just one translation—an Arabic audio Bible story—with error in rendering ‘Father’ and ‘Son,’ there are as many as 14.

Wycliffe USA Senior Vice President Russ Hersman admitted to the World Magazine last October there were about 30 to 40 translations that “”employ some alternate renderings” for the divine familial terms.””

Christian scholar Dr. Gordon Nickel, who has a PhD in Islamic studies, writes on Wycliffe USA’s Facebook page:

In the 1990s I witnessed a translation of the New Testament into an Asian language which consistently replaced “Son” with “beloved” (habeeb). I have a copy of the published translation. The SIL translator was a friend whom I liked a lot and very much admired! This is not a “political” attack on WBT, but a disagreement among Christians on how to render the words by which the Creator God chose to reveal Himself. That WBT are listening to concerns and engaging in conversation with Christians outside their circle is good news!

Dr. Nickel’s account shows there is at least one other translation out there.

Wycliffe USA needs to apologize publicly for how it has handled this crisis. Biblical Missiology, the group which started the public petition, which I belong to, should be thanked and not vilified. Our efforts have been called ‘satanic’ and our sincerity questioned. Some even thought I was a Muslim ‘plant.’

For those who are new to this controversy, this issue used to be discussed among Christians in outreach to Muslims circles. Then Wycliffe/SIL linguists and missiologists made it public through media interviews and magazine articles. For more information, please read, How the “Lost in Translation” Petition on Change.org Came to Be Now.

Thanks to Biblical Missiology, now ‘the man in the pew’ who donates his or her money for translations causes knows about it. Even Wycliffe and SIL staffs I have heard from want change. I hope this is a time for a God-honoring change in these two great Christian organizations.

Wycliffe and SIL need to marshal and use their resources wisely. Wycliffe USA claims on its website, “Today about 340 million people do not have any Scripture in their language. Wycliffe’s vision is to see the Bible accessible to all people in the language they understand best.” This statement reveals two problems about the present crisis. First, modern translations of the Bible are already available in both Turkish and Arabic. Why are Wycliffe and SIL even bothering with these languages? Second, Wycliffe and SIL translations contain so many mistranslations about divine filial terms that the indigenous church in Turkey doesn’t want them. The same is true for Arab Christians. Why are these organizations wasting their resources on them and now defending them? Have they lost sight of their 340-million problem?

Wycliffe and SIL leadership are meeting today. Three linguists and missiologists are responsible for this current mess. Please, pray for these leaderships as they make some tough decisions.

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 3rd, 2012

Wycliffe/SIL Call Efforts to Hold them Accountable for Accuracy in Bible Translations ‘Satanic’

Just in. First, a well-known and significant Wycliffe/SIL linguist has resigned over the “Son of God” controversy. He joins the ranks of at least 10 others who have quit these reputable organizations. Stay tuned.

Second, Wycliffe/SIL are denying mounting evidence of egregious and blasphemous work  to Word of God, courtesy of their staff on the mission field. Here is a message that was sent to one of the enquirers from the public.  The bottom is about to fall out for Wycliffe/SIL. I assure you, with evidence that is there, if these organizations indeed calls themselves Christian organizations and not rumored government operatives, whoever crafted this letter will be out of work come next week.  The letter, in part states, “We cannot stop people from writing what they want.  Satan certainly does not want God’s Word translated accurately since he has a greater influence that way. ”

You don’t have to go very far to find the evidence this is a fat LIE. Wycliffe’s own statement of faith states, “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.”

The above statement is very clear Wycliffe removes “Son of God.” What else would it mean? Please read Biblical Missiology’s FACT CHECK HERE.

Remember, Wycliffe and SIL have expurgated statements and even expunged one evidence from their websites which clearly show they have removed “Father,” “Son” and “Son of God” from new Bible translations.

There is even more.

—————————————–

Hello XXX

Thank you for contacting Wycliffe inquiring about the validity of claims that Wycliffe is “removing the Son of God or God as Father from our translations.”

We are not. 

Wycliffe remains committed to the same objectives we’ve held sacred for 80 years: biblically accurate and culturally relevant translations of Scripture. Wycliffe never has and never will be involved in a translation which does not translate these terms. To say that we are removing any familial terms from the Bible is simply not true. We want people to fully understand what God meant when He called Himself “Father” and called Jesus his “Son”. Wycliffe continues to be faithful to accurate and clear translation of Scripture. The eternal deity of Jesus Christ and the understanding of Jesus’ relationship with God the Father must be preserved in every translation.

For further information you can see our statement on our website’s front page www.wycliffe.org , our FAQ section and that of the SIL website’s front page. www.SIL.org

We cannot stop people from writing what they want.  Satan certainly does not want God’s Word translated accurately since he has a greater influence that way.
Until all have heard,
Carol Weaver

Wycliffe Information Services (WIS)
Recruitment Ministries

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 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 change.org, 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 change.org. 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.

February 15th, 2011

Convert Drought Fatigue and New Bible Translations

Published also on Lausanne Blog HERE on February 15, 2011

The cover story of the February 2011 issue of Christianity Today, “The Son and the Crescent,” is about new Bible translations geared toward Muslims that avoid the phrase “Son of God” which according to Wycliffe/SIL linguist and missiologist Dr. Richard Brown are effective because many Muslims become “quite open and interested in knowing more about Jesus” when they read these Bible translations, some have even embraced Jesus, who to them is not the Son of God.

I really appreciate Christianity Today and Collin Hansen for bringing this discussion to the fore, making it mainstream. Christian outreach to Muslims already grapples with issues ranging from new Muslim background believers facing severe persecutions to difficulties adjusting to their new identity. Now this. Here are a few pitfalls this article reveals.

First, the article mentions how “representatives from several prominent mission agencies, both national and expatriate, met to compare notes about the progress of their respective ministries in one Muslim-majority country.” [Emphasis mine.] These representatives were concerned about the numbers. They cared about how their organizations fared in the field, comparing notes, using each other as yardsticks. When has a mission organization’s progress deemed successful based on number of new “converts?” Christian Missions have become business enterprises. The success of a Christian ministry is now judged based on how many souls are “saved.”

This notion puts missionaries serving among Muslims under immense pressure to deliver. A pastor once asked a missionary why the fruits (converts) had not been realized even after 20 plus years of his denomination’s ministry among Muslims in Kenya. This pastor was asking for the returns of his church’s investment. Missionaries among Muslims face immense pressure. There is no doubt some of them end up feeling the effects of convert drought fatigue thus employing these unbiblical tactics to gain converts.

Second, there is confusion when it comes to Islam and Muslim in one of these countries this cover story addresses. I have wondered how can a “closed” Muslim country allow a movie about Jesus and even allow it to be “aired on national television” when Islamic teachings ban depiction of any prophet—Jesus is considered a prophet—in a movie? A friend of mine is a missionary in one of these countries. He told me local Muslims he encountered were not knowledgeable of Islam. Islam he knew before he came to this country was foreign to the locals. He had to relearn their type of Islam. For example, local Muslims did not take seriously the fast during the Islamic month of Ramadhan. Discussions about basic tenets of Islam failed. Why should Christian missionaries risk the integrity of Bible translations trying to overcome these so-called Muslims misconceptions?

Muslim scholars are aware of new Christian missionary efforts at gaining converts. When they find out about this particular case in these countries, they will establish dawa (Muslim missionary efforts) and these Christian missionaries’ tactics will backfire. In case these missionaries get kicked out, they would leave behind adulterated translations of the Bible, which Muslim scholars might use to further undermine the Bible. Fellow Muslims would also dismiss these converts as not to have been true Muslims before they became “Christians.” They might even ask them to convert to the Islam they never practiced. Why take this risk?

Third, there is no problem with a Christian missionary using the term “Allah” in reference to God provided the Muslims end up understanding the Judeo-Christian concept of God as radically different from Allah who Prophet Muhammad preached. [I am not opposed to Arab Christians using "Allah" for "God." Allah and Muhammad in some cases in the Qur’an were one and the same. You can read it here.

Fourth, these Christian missionaries who advocate for change in Bible translations to cater to Muslims seem ignorant of Islamic teachings. It is possible since they reach out to Muslims who are just traditional Muslims not knowledgeable of Islam, these missionaries don’t understand what Islam teaches. Using “the Beloved Son who comes (or originates) from God” is not the same as the “Son of God” even to a Muslim who practices Islam. The Qur’an already has references to Jesus and when it shows he is “from” Allah, it doesn’t mean he is any different from other human beings. His virgin birth in Islam is unique but he is not divine in any way.

Suratul An-Nisa verse 171 states:

O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three” …

The meaning of this verse, which even some Christians use when witnessing to Muslims, embodies what a practicing Muslim believes about Jesus and is summed up best in this Tafsir (commentary of the Qur’an):

O People of the Scripture, the Gospel, do not go to extremes, do not go beyond the bounds, in your religion and do not say about God except, the saying of, the truth, such as exalting Him above any associations with a partner or a child: the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, was only the Messenger of God, and His Word which He cast to, [which] He conveyed to, Mary, and a spirit, that is, one whose spirit is, from Him: he [Jesus] is here attached to God, exalted be He, as an honouring for him, and not as you claim, that he is the son of God, or a god alongside Him, or one of three, because one that possesses a spirit is compound, while God transcends being compound and the attribution of compounds to Him. So believe in God and His messengers, and do not say, that the gods are, ‘Three’, God, Jesus and his mother.

Muslims are confused about the Trinity because the Qur’an erroneously claims the Trinity is Mary, Jesus, and God. The Allah Muhammad preached got it wrong. Ancient Christian creeds (Nicene Creed and Athanasian Creed) even addressed this issue a few hundred years before Prophet Muhammad’s revelations. This confusion about the Trinity is the heart of matter. Christian missionaries need to debunk this myth and not come up with new terms that further exacerbate this confusion.

Last, I don’t deny that missionaries who use this flawed and heretical method would lead some Muslims to Christ. Even when the push for this mode of outreach was spurred by impatience and ignorance, those who the Father draws will come to Him. The unashamed Son of God says:

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Let us tread biblically.

Hussein Wario is a former Kenyan Sunni Muslim. He is the author of Cracks in the Crescent. He blogs regularly. You can listen to his testimony here.

The cover story of the February issue of Christianity Today, “The Son and the Crescent,” is about new Bible translations geared toward Muslims that avoid the phrase “Son of God” which according to Christian linguist and missiologist Dr. Richard Brown are effective because many Muslims become “quite open and interested in knowing more about Jesus” when they read these Bible translations, some have even embraced Jesus, who to them is not the Son of God.

I really appreciate Christianity Today and Collin Hansen for bringing this discussion to the fore, making it mainstream. Christian outreach to Muslims already grapples with issues ranging from new Muslim background believers facing severe persecutions to difficulties adjusting to their new identity. Now this. Here are a few pitfalls this article reveals.

First, the article mentions how “representatives from several prominent mission agencies, both national and expatriate, met to compare notes about the progress of their respective ministries in one Muslim-majority country.” [Emphasis mine.] These representatives were concerned about the numbers. They cared about how their organizations fared in the field, comparing notes, using each other as yardsticks. When has a mission organization’s progress deemed successful based on number of new “converts?” Christian Missions have become business enterprises. The success of a Christian ministry is now judged based on how many souls are “saved.”

This notion puts missionaries serving among Muslims under immense pressure to deliver. A pastor once asked a missionary why the fruits (converts) had not been realized even after 20 plus years of his denomination’s ministry among Muslims in Kenya. This pastor was asking for the returns of his church’s investment. Missionaries among Muslims face immense pressure. There is no doubt some of them end up feeling the effects of convert drought fatigue thus employing these unbiblical tactics to gain converts.

Second, there is confusion when it comes to Islam and Muslim in one of these countries this cover story addresses. I have wondered how can a “closed” Muslim country allow a movie about Jesus and even allow it to be “aired on national television” when Islamic teachings ban depiction of any prophet—Jesus is considered a prophet—in a movie? A friend of mine is a missionary in one of these countries. He told me local Muslims he encountered were not knowledgeable of Islam. Islam he knew before he came to this country was foreign to the locals. He had to relearn their type of Islam. For example, local Muslims did not take seriously the fast during the Islamic month of Ramadhan. Discussions about basic tenets of Islam failed. Why should Christian missionaries risk the integrity of Bible translations trying to overcome these so-called Muslims misconceptions?

Muslim scholars are aware of new Christian missionary efforts at gaining converts. When they find out about this particular case in these countries, they will establish dawa (Muslim missionary efforts) and these Christian missionaries’ tactics will backfire. In case these missionaries get kicked out, they would leave behind adulterated translations of the Bible, which Muslim scholars might use to further undermine the Bible. Fellow Muslims would also dismiss these converts as not to have been true Muslims before they became “Christians.” They might even ask them to convert to the Islam they never practiced. Why take this risk?

Third, there is no problem with a Christian missionary using the term “Allah” in reference to God provided the Muslims end up understanding the Judeo-Christian concept of God as radically different from Allah who Prophet Muhammad preached. Allah and Muhammad in some cases in the Qur’an were one and the same. You can read it here.

Fourth, these Christian missionaries who advocate for change in Bible translations to cater to Muslims seem ignorant of Islamic teachings. It is possible since they reach out to Muslims who are just traditional Muslims not knowledgeable of Islam, these missionaries don’t understand what Islam teaches. Using “the Beloved Son who comes (or originates) from God” is not the same as the “Son of God” even to a Muslim who practices Islam. The Qur’an already has references to Jesus and when it shows he is “from” Allah, it doesn’t mean he is any different from other human beings. His virgin birth in Islam is unique but he is not divine in any way.

Suratul An-Nisa verse 171 states:

O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three” …

The meaning of this verse, which even some Christians use when witnessing to Muslims, embodies what a practicing Muslim believes about Jesus and is summed up best in this Tafsir (commentary of the Qur’an):

O People of the Scripture, the Gospel, do not go to extremes, do not go beyond the bounds, in your religion and do not say about God except, the saying of, the truth, such as exalting Him above any associations with a partner or a child: the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, was only the Messenger of God, and His Word which He cast to, [which] He conveyed to, Mary, and a spirit, that is, one whose spirit is, from Him: he [Jesus] is here attached to God, exalted be He, as an honouring for him, and not as you claim, that he is the son of God, or a god alongside Him, or one of three, because one that possesses a spirit is compound, while God transcends being compound and the attribution of compounds to Him. So believe in God and His messengers, and do not say, that the gods are, ‘Three’, God, Jesus and his mother.

Muslims are confused about the Trinity because the Qur’an erroneously claims the Trinity is Mary, Jesus, and God. The Allah Muhammad preached got it wrong. Ancient Christian creeds (Nicene Creed and Athanasian Creed) even addressed this issue a few hundred years before Prophet Muhammad’s revelations. This confusion about the Trinity is the heart of matter. Christian missionaries need to debunk this myth and not come up with new terms that further exacerbate this confusion.

Last, I don’t deny that missionaries who use this flawed and heretical method would lead some Muslims to Christ. Even when the push for this mode of outreach was spurred by impatience and ignorance, those who the Father draws will come to Him. The unashamed Son of God says:

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Let us tread biblically.The cover story of the February issue of Christianity Today, “The Son and the Crescent,” is about new Bible translations geared toward Muslims that avoid the phrase “Son of God” which according to Christian linguist and missiologist Dr. Richard Brown are effective because many Muslims become “quite open and interested in knowing more about Jesus” when they read these Bible translations, some have even embraced Jesus, who to them is not the Son of God.

I really appreciate Christianity Today and Collin Hansen for bringing this discussion to the fore, making it mainstream. Christian outreach to Muslims already grapples with issues ranging from new Muslim background believers facing severe persecutions to difficulties adjusting to their new identity. Now this. Here are a few pitfalls this article reveals.

First, the article mentions how “representatives from several prominent mission agencies, both national and expatriate, met to compare notes about the progress of their respective ministries in one Muslim-majority country.” [Emphasis mine.] These representatives were concerned about the numbers. They cared about how their organizations fared in the field, comparing notes, using each other as yardsticks. When has a mission organization’s progress deemed successful based on number of new “converts?” Christian Missions have become business enterprises. The success of a Christian ministry is now judged based on how many souls are “saved.”

This notion puts missionaries serving among Muslims under immense pressure to deliver. A pastor once asked a missionary why the fruits (converts) had not been realized even after 20 plus years of his denomination’s ministry among Muslims in Kenya. This pastor was asking for the returns of his church’s investment. Missionaries among Muslims face immense pressure. There is no doubt some of them end up feeling the effects of convert drought fatigue thus employing these unbiblical tactics to gain converts.

Second, there is confusion when it comes to Islam and Muslim in one of these countries this cover story addresses. I have wondered how can a “closed” Muslim country allow a movie about Jesus and even allow it to be “aired on national television” when Islamic teachings ban depiction of any prophet—Jesus is considered a prophet—in a movie? A friend of mine is a missionary in one of these countries. He told me local Muslims he encountered were not knowledgeable of Islam. Islam he knew before he came to this country was foreign to the locals. He had to relearn their type of Islam. For example, local Muslims did not take seriously the fast during the Islamic month of Ramadhan. Discussions about basic tenets of Islam failed. Why should Christian missionaries risk the integrity of Bible translations trying to overcome these so-called Muslims misconceptions?

Muslim scholars are aware of new Christian missionary efforts at gaining converts. When they find out about this particular case in these countries, they will establish dawa (Muslim missionary efforts) and these Christian missionaries’ tactics will backfire. In case these missionaries get kicked out, they would leave behind adulterated translations of the Bible, which Muslim scholars might use to further undermine the Bible. Fellow Muslims would also dismiss these converts as not to have been true Muslims before they became “Christians.” They might even ask them to convert to the Islam they never practiced. Why take this risk?

Third, there is no problem with a Christian missionary using the term “Allah” in reference to God provided the Muslims end up understanding the Judeo-Christian concept of God as radically different from Allah who Prophet Muhammad preached. Allah and Muhammad in some cases in the Qur’an were one and the same. You can read it here.

Fourth, these Christian missionaries who advocate for change in Bible translations to cater to Muslims seem ignorant of Islamic teachings. It is possible since they reach out to Muslims who are just traditional Muslims not knowledgeable of Islam, these missionaries don’t understand what Islam teaches. Using “the Beloved Son who comes (or originates) from God” is not the same as the “Son of God” even to a Muslim who practices Islam. The Qur’an already has references to Jesus and when it shows he is “from” Allah, it doesn’t mean he is any different from other human beings. His virgin birth in Islam is unique but he is not divine in any way.

Suratul An-Nisa verse 171 states:

O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three” …

The meaning of this verse, which even some Christians use when witnessing to Muslims, embodies what a practicing Muslim believes about Jesus and is summed up best in this Tafsir (commentary of the Qur’an):

O People of the Scripture, the Gospel, do not go to extremes, do not go beyond the bounds, in your religion and do not say about God except, the saying of, the truth, such as exalting Him above any associations with a partner or a child: the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, was only the Messenger of God, and His Word which He cast to, [which] He conveyed to, Mary, and a spirit, that is, one whose spirit is, from Him: he [Jesus] is here attached to God, exalted be He, as an honouring for him, and not as you claim, that he is the son of God, or a god alongside Him, or one of three, because one that possesses a spirit is compound, while God transcends being compound and the attribution of compounds to Him. So believe in God and His messengers, and do not say, that the gods are, ‘Three’, God, Jesus and his mother.

Muslims are confused about the Trinity because the Qur’an erroneously claims the Trinity is Mary, Jesus, and God. The Allah Muhammad preached got it wrong. Ancient Christian creeds (Nicene Creed and Athanasian Creed) even addressed this issue a few hundred years before Prophet Muhammad’s revelations. This confusion about the Trinity is the heart of matter. Christian missionaries need to debunk this myth and not come up with new terms that further exacerbate this confusion.

Last, I don’t deny that missionaries who use this flawed and heretical method would lead some Muslims to Christ. Even when the push for this mode of outreach was spurred by impatience and ignorance, those who the Father draws will come to Him. The unashamed Son of God says:

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Let us tread biblically.