Thursday, 20 October 2016

A Question of James White's Consistency Re Prof. JR Daniel Kirk and Bart Ehrman

Is Prof. Bart Ehrman really having such a debilitating effect on Christian apologist James White's to the extent it's waning his desire for serious discernment and consistency? It appears so. Well, more plausibly, it's more like the assistance Prof. Bart Ehrman has given Muslims is really grinding on James' gears (cycling pun intended assuming White has a proper bicycle and not some babyish pushbike or tricycle!).
In his response to Ijaz Ahmad, James abandoned common sense, consistency and basic decency in trying to slander Bart Ehrman AGAIN. Oh yeah, White has a history of attacking Bart Ehrman - he did it out of resentment to paying Bart a load of cash just to be able to debate him and he did it before Bart publicly denounced him as an unpleasant fella  with a string of mean spirited comments towards Bart
So what was his motive this time round? Perhaps it was just an attempt to distance Muslims from Bart Ehrman. James claims Bart disrespects Islam based on him joking his life would be at risk if he wrote a critical book about the Quran. As highlighted in the video - James really should know better as Bart effectively told James the real reason why Bart doesn't write books about the Quran - he has no knowledge about the Quran.
A possible demonstration that Bart is living in James' mind rent-free; James condemns himself in that slander of Bart. James, only a matter of hours after his attack on Bart does exactly the SAME thing as Bart but not in a jocular manner. White was serious when he wrote this in response to Muslims using New Testament Professor JR Daniel Kirk's material:
Notice that Paul Williams identifies Kirk’s liberal meanderings as being “honest.” I wonder if he does the same for liberal interpreters of the Qur’an? I’d love to see him publicly post in defense of unorthodox, liberal interpretations of Islamic theology. Even he knows he would probably not be safe at Speaker’s Corner if he did so—not from danger from Christians, of course, but from his co-religionists!
And, I wonder if James will be consistent and call out all his wild-eyed buddies who do exactly the same thing - Shamoun and Wood come into mind. In fact, a non-Calvinist Christian missionary James recommends, Jay Smith did the same thing when Justin Brierley pushed him on why we don't get to see all his alleged converts to Islam. 
For James White, it appears consistency matters but only when it's not close to your neck of the woods.
Can we have a cheesy Dividing Line type of line? Sure, one of the reasons why I do what I do is because I'm looking for that consistent Christian, to this day I'm yet to find one, I will continue looking for that Christian.
Here's the video highlighting some of the problems with James' attack on Bart Ehrman 

If the video doesn't play please see here
So I've been asked to turn a response comment to James' blog post on the Muslim use of Prof. J.R. Daniel Kirk into a separate post. I will do it here - let's kill two birds with one stone.
James White recently blogged in response to this blog post on his website. I’m not too sure why he didn’t link to this blog page – perhaps he sees a lot of difficult arguments for the Trinitarian Christian coming from this side of the internet.
Anyways, for those interested White wasn’t that cantankerous or vituperative (same with his latest response to Ijaz – I think he’s learning that his tone and constant gnarling is off putting and does him no favours with serious minded folk) so no need for any of us to hide behind our duvets.
Here’s what he wrote:
I’ll be honest, it would be humorous, if it wasn’t so sad. Muslim apologists in general are fascinated by apostates. You see it on the Deen Show all the time, where some kid who was once a summer intern at a church is touted as a “former Christian minister” and “expert on Christian theology.” Bart Ehrman, apostate par-excellence, is their favorite, of course, since he has embraced his role as critic-in-chief of the New Testament. And I told everyone that Daniel J. Kirk, who became known primarily for his coming out in support of the profanation of marriage (I would think even the Muslims would cringe at his arguments there, but, of course, that would require them to actually be concerned about consistency, and only a small handful of them are) and the embracing of LGBTQRSTUV etc. movements as “the move of the Spirit in our day.” Part and parcel of Kirk’s apostasy is his abandonment of the faith in regards to the person of Jesus, and, of course, since Islam likewise denies the Bible’s teaching on the subject, well, Kirk, despite the glaring conflict in worldviews he brings to the NT text, is now one of their favorites. I predicted this, of course, and obligingly, Yahya Snow has provided the evidence. Notice that Paul Williams identifies Kirk’s liberal meanderings as being “honest.” I wonder if he does the same for liberal interpreters of the Qur’an? I’d love to see him publicly post in defense of unorthodox, liberal interpretations of Islamic theology. Even he knows he would probably not be safe at Speaker’s Corner if he did so—not from danger from Christians, of course, but from his co-religionists! But note their praise: “He should be commended for being bold enough to make the admission the NT is not reliable and is contradictory. He joins Bart Ehrman and Mike Licona in teaching it is contradictory.” Well, there is a confluence of names you never expected to see! Kirk, Ehrman, and Licona. But I have said for a very long time, your bibliology is a key dividing line, and Licona only has himself to blame for being listed in the group.
Of course, I really doubt almost any of our Muslims friends have ever even heard of, let alone read, Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism. If they would, they would realize they are all excited about the news from…long, long ago.
A few thoughts on this,there’s a fascination with ex-Christians WHO have become MUSLIMS on the Deen Show. James misses that out – the Deen Show really couldn’t care to feature Christian apostates who have become Mormons or Atheists. James misses that crucial dividing line and moves across that line into territory that is unfair and misrepresenting. In fact White’s colleagues and friends regularly feature and use material from wild-eyed ex-Muslims who aren’t even Christians! Not to mention the use of Nabeel Qureshi – styling him as a former Muslim. It seems as though the fascination with apostates is closer to White’s home than the home of the Deen Show or anybody on this side of the internet (the cool side)
As for James’ mentioning of Kirk’s views on gay marriage – it’s irrelevant. Muslims are leaning on Kirk's NT scholarship and research here - not about his views on gay marriage. Note my comment directed to our Christian friend Ken. White, if consistent with this line of thinking, would have to shout from the roof top to all the Christian apologists around him who reject the idea of Limited Atonement (some whom James promotes or is friendly with like Jay Smith) “STOP CITING ME” and “STOP USING MY BOOKS” because you don’t agree with my views in other areas. James has not done that to the Pfander Films crowd.
Consistency matters. But when it will alienate all your buddies and a bulk of your consumer base it doesn't matter as much on the James White bike.
James also uses the old "oh you're using that guy (Prof. Kirk) but you won't use liberals talking about the Quran" argument. Erm, is Kirk coming out with wild theories that are being used by Muslims concerning the Bible?  All he said was the NT is contradictory and unreliable. Is that really such a liberal statement? I don't think so. Origen believed the NT contained errors too! Prof. Richard Baukham believes the sermon on the mount is not historical - is he a liberal too? Prof. William Lane Craig has issues with the biggest resurrection story in the Gospels? Is he a liberal? What about Prof. Larry Hurtado who as for doesn't seem to believe the New Testament sayings can be reliably attributed to Jesus?
So James is guilty of a fallacy - he's comparing apples and oranges. But again, James has another problem as James does promote missionaries like Jay Smith and David Wood who do promote Dan Gibson's wild-eyed revisionist material.
What's that you're mumbling dear reader? You've never heard James rebuke such antics and you're wondering why he promotes such men? Well, it's because consistency gets swept under the rug when it may affect one of James' buddies and his consumer base.
Consistency matters when James wants it to matter. He's consistent on that front.
White suggests Kirk is an apostate – what is an apostate in Christianity? I’ve seen Nick Peters (whose co-authored book on inerrancy I’ve read) state Christians can still be Christians even if they reject whole books in the NT. Is that guy more Christian than Kirk? Folk like Dr Gagnon (IIRC) believe Christians have compromised on the teaching that it is a sin to re-marry after divorce – what of the Christians who reject this because of modern day society, are they Christians? What of the other gay marriage supporting churches - the Anglican church I observe at is such – are they all apostates too? What about the 70% of Christians who believe Jesus was created by God, are they Christian? What about folk like David Wood who openly say parts of the OT troubles them and get into their wife’s undies, are they Christian?  What about folk who say one doesn’t have to believe in a Trinity doctrine to be a Christian (no early Christian had an earthly clue what it was but hey this is the tradition the evangelicals in America try to usher folk towards)
Consistency and Theology matter but, James, PLEASE don't insult the intelligence of your audience by setting up impractical standards of consistency: one can use Kirk in some regard and disagree with him on other issues as long as it is done with intellectual honesty.
But again, to stress who cares if Dr Kirk has such views as a Christian whilst using his scholarship in other areas. I use Wayne Grudem, Bruce Ware, FF Bruce, Tuggy, Edgar G Foster, Hurtado, Calvin, Michael Holmes and Bart Ehrman AND James White (yep, I love using a bit of White to show how some of the Islamophobes around White are inconsistent or just plainly making stuff up) but I don’t think hold on, these guys don’t agree with all my views so I can't use them. It would be a strange way to do scholarship to only use folk who agree with you – White doesn’t even do this!
Consistency matters but let’s not take it to an absurd, impractical and extreme level, James. That's just insulting the intelligence of your audience (mind you, given some of the James White Onlyists I've come across - you've got a few blunt tools in that tool box bro!)
James is right in that it is an odd bunching – Licona (who Cross Examined,org’s Jonathan McLatchie and AM’s David Wood use), Kirk, and Ehrman. And a public statement from Licona will be of use in understanding his views but hasn’t he made enough public statements for us to understand where he is at? He’s at inconsistency and confused central right now. How can Licona even deign to look at anybody with a straight face while propagating his minimal facts theory expecting folk to become believers in the Trinity doctrine and the Bible. If he was serious about consistency in methodology he would know the serious historical methodology he claims to be using sincerely would leave him to reject the Bible as a group of books chosen without any authority (unless you call Church tradition authority, I don’t!) by Christians who took it upon themselves to decide (and disagree with each other on) on what constituted a canon. He would also have to reject the Trinity idea as historically that doctrine is clearly a development where even after the Council of Nicea Christians did not know what to believe about the Holy Spirit as late as 380 CE as per Gregory of Nazianzus’ statement. Not to mention the extremely useful comments coming from Prof. William Lane Craig on the development of the Trinity doctrine – I hope to showcase those. In private discussion with a colleague I’ve noticed I’m not the only one who is aware of such.
Let’s wait for his new book to come out. I think Licona will really open the door for Christians to start seeing a new perspective which God willing will point them to the conclusion Islam is right; the Bilbe is unreliable and the Trinity doctrine never came from Jesus p. I’ve written some thoughts on Mike’s new book – pre-release:
I’ve only really got into discussions about Christianity because I saw White’s buddies literally lying or being wildly ignorant and reckless when talking about my faith: Shamoun, Wood, Smith, Beth Grove, Nabeel Qureshi (even White himself has made reckless comments which he has had to be corrected on by myself and others). For years I just refuted polemics against my faith – after I thought the critics were just getting repetitive and more folk were at the helm of dealing with polemics against Islam I thought I’d dabble with looking into their faith. I know a colleague has recently made similar remarks and I’d imagine it is the same for many Muslims. All this because Christians did not have a huddle to say hey guys we need to be more careful in talking about Muslims and Islam – let’s stop the lies, inconsistencies and distortions.
Theology and consistency matter.
May God guide us all.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Pfander Films Questioned Over Conversion Figures. Speakers Corner

FAO Speakers Corner. Jay Smith has a reputation for dishonesty. He has claimed to have 100s of ex Muslim converts in the London area but he, upon being asked why there's no evidence of these converts by Justin Brierley of Premier Christian Radio, he cited the reason of safety and security. Yet he is somewhat contradicted by his own colleagues. Hatun Tash claims to be an ex Muslim and she is in public view. Beth Grove has claimed to have had some in public view too.

The suspicion now seems to be either Jay is telling porkies, exaggerating and/or he has been taking advantage of refugees (asylum seekers) who have been in the news for pretending to convert to Christianity in order to get a perceived boost in their asylum application.

Was Jay Smith's (Asylum?) Conversion Scam Exposed by Justin Brierley, Hatun Tash and Beth Grove?

This video is also uploaded here

Questions have now got to be asked of Pfander Films' Jay Smith. He has a reputation for dishonesty; this new video does no favours to his already tarnished reputation. Perhaps a sincere and serious minded Christian will ask Jay about this seeking answers.

False Conversions of Iranian Asylum Seekers in the UK

Predator Christian Missionaries Targeting Muslim Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Europe?

Refuting the Claim Petra was the Qibla Before Mecca

Christian Polemicist Jay Smith and The Christian Apologetics Alliance Debunked Again

Blog: Jonathan McLatchie, yes it is Islamophobic to say what you said...

Rabbi Tovia Singer on Islam and Christianity

Debate Review: Jay Smith and Yusuf Ismail - The Biblical and Quranic Approach to Peace & Violence

Jay Smith Disturbs Muslims, Honor Killings

Sharia Law against terrorism

Christians having dreams and converting to Islam

Learn about Islam


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Refuting the Claim Petra was the Qibla Before Mecca

The revisionist theory of Petra being an earlier qibla (prayer direction) for Muslims prior to Mecca is essentially part of a larger conspiracy theory amongst revisionists who posit Islam developed over a period of time after the Prophet. It will not come as a surprise that advocates of this revisionist theory also adopt ideas such as "the Quran was invented after the Prophet" (or even before the Prophet!) P

Jay Smith of Pfander Films is the chief advocate of such polemics in Christian-Muslim apologetics circles. One would imagine, to the embarrassment of serious-minded and more scholarly Christians.

Admittedly I don't follow Jay Smith as closely as some but from the Islamic Awareness article, it appears Smith has revised his own theories; back in the early 2000s he used to claim the qibla was in the vicinity of Jerusalem and nowadays he's claiming it is Petra.

Regardless of any shifts in his thinking, his theories fall flat on their face as shown on Islamic Awareness 15 years ago:

Modern studies have shown that in the early mosques astronomical alignments were used for qibla. Astronomical phenomenon such as sunrise or sunset during equinoxes, solstices, Pole star, Canopus, etc. were used to direct the mosques towards qibla. Concerning the early mosques in Egypt and Iraq, David King says:

The first mosque to be built in Egypt was built facing winter sunrise, and it was this direction which remained the most popular throughout the medieval period amongst the religious authorities. Likewise some of the earliest mosques in Iraq were built facing winter sunset. Only recently has it become known that astronomical alignments were used for the qibla, so that some modern historians (sic!) have mistakenly inferred from the orientations of the early mosques in Egypt and Iraq that they were not built to face the Kaaba at all, but rather to face some other sacred site. Now, however, we even know why such astronomical alignments were used

This completely refutes the position of Patricia Crone, Michael Cook and Christian missionary Joseph Smith. [Source]

Video of Mansoor taking apart Jay Smith's errors

If this video does not play, please see here

As brilliantly outlined in this video by the erudite Mansoor, Smith's conclusions and leanings on the work Dan Gibson and a certain "Dr Theus" are wild-eyed to the point of giving up on critical thinking and intellectual honesty. Smith's theory of Petra being the early qibla (and his subsequent theory of Muslims inventing a new history and role for Mecca after the fact) are based on Google Earth images of mosques. Mansoor highlights the obvious problem in this methodology that anybody who offers it a little thought would recognise; one cannot ascertain the qibla via satellite images of mosques.

One must have knowledge of the interior of the mosque, Mansoor mentions floor plans and the mihrab (a niche in the interior of the wall of a mosque denoting the direction of prayer for worshippers in the mosque). Let me emphasise the methodology of folk like Jay Smith. If I showed you a Google Earth image of your local mosque would you be able to ascertain the direction the Muslims at that mosque pray towards? No, of course not. Smith would have folk believe he can do this for ancient mosques!

As pointed out in the video,"Dr Theus" even criticises the methodology of Dan Gibson and how arbitrary it was in terms of deciding where each mosque's qibla was. One could just as easily decided the qibla was the direction of Hawaii rather than Petra using such a method.

At the end of the day this is an excellent example of how folks with agendas in the revisionists community churn out "research" which is essentially manipulated in attempts to support one's pre-conceived contentions.

Basically Muslims would direct the qibla towards what they observed in the horizon when facing one of the walls of the Kaba. To read about the astronomocal alignments which Muslims were using over the centuries to ascertain the qibla have a read of the relevant section in this article. A couple of take home points here are:

1. As the Kaba has four walls there would have been differences in the way Muslims directed their mosques - you'll use different astronomical alignments depending on which wall of the Kaba you face to observe the horizon 

2. It wasn't an exact science and thus finding old mosques which aren't orientated accurately is nothing to write home about. IA do show the most famous mosque outside of Arabia, masjid al aqsa, was oriented correctly towards Mecca.

Another excellent snippet to be alert to would be the leeway the Islamic tradition affords Muslims when it comes to determining the qibla; it doesn't have to be an exact science:

There are several traditions in the Islamic heritage showing that the determination of the qibla was accomodated with some flexibility except for Makkah owing to the little knowledge in the fields of geography and geometry in the early centuries of Islam. Such traditions can be found in several ḥadīth collections like Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Sunan Ibn Majah and Muwaṭṭaʾ Mālik as stated below.

a. Muwaṭṭaʾ Mālik

Malik narrated to me on the authority of Nafiʿ that ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb said: "[Anywhere] between the East and the West is taken as a qibla as long as one heads towards the House". Source

The Petra conspiracy theory has no evidence to it at all and I'm sure deep down this shamed Christian missionary knows it's absurd - even if he is unable to comprehend what the scholarly Muslim was saying he will surely ask why there is NOTHING about Petra in early Muslim literature and why there was no upheaval and dispute after this supposed shift to Mecca!

So why does he make outlandish claims like these and try to prop them up with faulty reasoning and misinformation? It's because of his agenda to "destroy Islam".

Christian Polemicist Jay Smith and The Christian Apologetics Alliance Debunked Again

Blog: Jonathan McLatchie, yes it is Islamophobic to say what you said...

Rabbi Tovia Singer on Islam and Christianity

Debate Review: Jay Smith and Yusuf Ismail - The Biblical and Quranic Approach to Peace & Violence

Jay Smith Disturbs Muslims, Honor Killings

Prophecies of the Messiah - Reza Aslan

Numerical miracle in Quran

British Muslims Protested to Defend Jesus p

Sharia Law against terrorism

Christians having dreams and converting to Islam

Conversions to Islam

Learn about Islam


Monday, 26 September 2016

Yusuf Ismail on Christian Apologetics

We had the privilege and honour in getting Yusuf Ismail's thoughts on various apologetics approaches that are prevalent amongst Christian evangelicals today. Yes, the hot potato of Christian minimalists was covered! Yusuf is a true gentleman, a really well-read individual and a brilliant orator. See the timeline below the video for rough time frames and discussion topics.

0.55 - Yusuf Ismail discusses his journey into apologetics; how and why he got into apologetics and dawah to Christians including how Shk. Ahmed Deedat influenced him in his formative years.

8.45 - Christian apologists using South Africa as a place to kick-start their careers in Muslim-Christian dialogue. The pioneering role of South Africa in Christian-Muslim dialogue in the English speaking world.

11.00 - Yusuf discusses the religious and apologetics landscape of South Africa and whether the secular ascendancy which has decimated Christian communities in Western Europe has taken hold in SA.

17.00 - Yusuf speaks about the South African Christian apologist John Gilchrist and contrasts him with some of the superficial and crude Christian polemicists operating in American fundamentalist Christian circles.

22.00 - Yusuf touches on the approaches of some of his past opponents in debate: James White (presuppositionalist), Mike Licona and William Lane Craig (pragmatic minimalists) and Jay Smith (revisionism and emotionalism). In this segment there's a broad and balanced discussion on James White leaving the door open for further debates between Yusuf Ismail and James White.

38.00 Yusuf Ismail recollects his debate with Mike Licona on the Resurrection belief

46.00 Yusuf tackles the question of why the minimalist movement amongst Christian evangelicals is becoming so widespread and how Muslims can interact with this Christian approach. Biblical inerrancy and its history is discussed in this segment too

100.00 Yusuf critiques the gutter-form of engagement that arises from the Sam Shamoun, Usama Dakdok and David Wood polemical approach. He elaborates on why this approach is popular amongst American evangelicals and how one can oppose such an approach.

Muslim Helps James White out: Why Bart Erhman Finds James White Offensive

The Lying Hand of the New Testament Scribe

Christian Ex Muslim Al Fadi Challenged by a Muslim

Evangelical Christians oppose gay marriage as "madness" that is totally alien to Christianity yet when it comes to terrorist attacks on innocent people such as the Orlando shootings, 9/11 and  7/7; it's not called madness. It's called Islam by many American conservative Christians.

All this despite there being more support from Christian authorities for gay marriage than support from Muslim authorities for terrorism!

It seems the word consistency is just not in the dictionary of the Islamophobic Christian propagandist.

You have the modern phenomena of indiscriminate killings of civilians which all Muslim scholastic bodies have condemned to be against the spirit of Islam. Dr Timothy Winter of Cambridge University states "terrorism is the arbitrary targeting of the innocent in order to place pressure on governments, which is something which doesn't have origins in Islamic culture or ethics and comes out of the French revolution and certain 19th century anarchist movements that used terrorism. As a doctrine in the Muslim world it's very recent and it's an expression of Westernisation. Terrorism, 9/11 for instance, according to classical Islamic Law is classified as hiraba which carried the death penalty"

An excellent quote from Muhammad Asad's book rebuking evangelical Christians (Jeremiah Johnston and Craig Evans) who parse terrorist attacks in a similar manner to Islamophobic evangelical Christian propagandists "Simply put, every Muslim scholar - whether Sunni, Shia, Salafi, Deobandi - has condemned and spoken out against Daesh. Their arguments against Daesh and its acts are derived from traditional Islamic religious texts and  based firmly in Islamic jurisprudence".

Contrast that with the modern phenomena of gay marriage. Although there is a growing number of churches, Christian leaders and lay Christians accepting gay marriage as being within the spirit of Christianity, those Christians would dismiss gay marriage as having no place in Christianity.

More Christians who are involved in the Church of England believe gay marriage is right rather than wrong. A recent survey by YouGov suggested 45% of Church of England followers felt same-sex marriage was right, against 37% who believed it wrong [stats sourced from Huffington Post]. According to the Huff Post, the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ and now the Presbytarian Church (USA) sanctify the marriage of two men or two women.

Rev. Dr. Mark Achtemeier, who has served the Presbyterian Church (USA) since 1984 as a minister, theology professor, and writer states there's an overwhelmingly positive case for gay marriage in the Bible: Fortunately, the church across the centuries has developed guidelines for interpreting Scripture that help keep our use of particular passages in touch with the true portrait of God’s love in Christ. When we apply these guidelines, the Bible’s teaching about gay people and their relationships appears in a whole new light. In my book I show how the application of these time-tested principles of biblical interpretation produces an overwhelmingly positive biblical case in favor of gay marriage. I came to realize how my former reliance on fragmentary, out-of-context quotes from Scripture had led me to lose touch with the “big picture” of God’s love that lies at the heart of the Bible’s witness.

All this in the eyes of the Islamophobic evangelical Christian polemicist is not Christian. Yet if they would just step back for a few moments, they would observe the huge inconsistency they operate on.

There's actually much more support for gay marriage from Christian authorities, churches and lay Christians alike than there is for terrorist acts such as Orlando.

I'd imagine for them, Christian proponents of gay marriage decontextualize and rely on fragmentary readings of the Bible. BUT they are not even cognisant to this being the case for Muslim terrorists and Islam despite: In 2008, a classified briefing note on radicalisation, prepared by MI5’s behavioural science unit, was leaked to the Guardian. It revealed that, “far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practise their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could . . . be regarded as religious novices.” The analysts concluded that “a well-established religious identity actually protects against violent radicalisation”, the newspaper said. [Mehdi Hasan]

I recently heard rabbi Tovia Singer, a man who has no horse in this race, say terrorists abuse texts from the Quran and Hadith. Ask yourself why a Jewish rabbi can be more scholarly, consistent and fair than these evangelical Christians - a crowd who claim to be guided by the Holy Spirit? Smart and fair-minded people are not impressed.

Monday, 1 August 2016

A Muslim's Thoughts on Solas CPC's + Other Christian Campagins Against Same Sex Marriage in the UK

The Pro-gay marriage movement is one of the biggest movements within what Christian theologians would call the "body of Christ" in the West. Ecumenism is up there too. In reality both ecumenism and the pro-gay marriage movement stem from liberal Christianity.

The sheer size of the Christian pro-gay marriage movement would mean Christians like Alisdair (Ally) Smith and David Robertson of Solas CPC believe the majority of the members of the "body of Christ" are not indwelt by the Holy Spirit nowadays as opposed to 30 years ago:

In others words, while clear majorities disapproved in 1983 (highest at 74.8 per cent for Catholics and 79.7 per cent for other Christians), in 2010 opposition had fallen to lower than 50 per cent in each group – lowest at 37.4 per cent for Anglicans and 20.4 per cent for those with no religion. Note that in all our tables given below, survey weights have been applied. [Dr Ben Celements, Leicester University]

One would expect this trend to continue, perhaps to the extent of virtually all Christians in the UK being pro-gay marriage or at the very least accepting of it in the coming years. Again, putting forth further questions on the beliefs the Christian community have concerning the Holy Spirt. As GotQuestions describes these beliefs:

Jesus gave the Spirit as a “compensation” for His absence, to perform the functions toward us which He would have done if He had remained personally with us....The Spirit’s presence within us enables us to understand and interpret God’s Word. Jesus told His disciples that “when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).

What are David Robertson's Solas CPC and the other minority of Christian activists going to say here? Will they say, the majority of Christians in the UK aren't guided by the Holy Spirt and thus don't interpret the Scripture in a way that is acceptable?

And what of the flip side, the Christian pro-gay marriage side? The majority side may well just point at their numbers and use that to support the claim the Holy Spirit is guiding them to do what Christ would do today!

In fact, the Christian pro-gay marriage side may even say there have been historical precedents in the past concerning early Christians and their deliberations towards the Trinity belief and the NT canon.

Let's focus on the NT canon for a few moments. It was basically decided by a majority rule, early on there was disagreement as to which books to consider "inspired". Christian theology would teach the decisions on the inclusion/exclusion of any book was guided by the Holy Spirit. Yet in reality, it appears, it was just majority rule which won out in the end.

it is not quite accurate to say that there has never been any doubt in the Church of any of our New Testament books. A few of the shorter Epistles (e.g. 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, James, Jude) and the Revelation were much longer in being accepted in some parts than in others; while elsewhere books which we do not now include in the New Testament were received as canonical. Thus the Codex Sinaiticus included the 'Epistle of Barnabas' and the Shepherd of Hermas, a Roman work of about AD 110 or earlier, while the Codex Alexandrinus included the writings known as the First and Second Epistles of Clement; and the inclusion of these works alongside the biblical writings probably indicates that they were accorded some degree of canonical status. [FF Bruce]

The only books about which there was any substantial doubt after the middle of the second century were some of those which come at the end of our New Testament. Origen (185-254) mentions the four Gospels, the Acts, the thirteen Paulines, 1 Peter, 1 John and Revelation as acknowledged by all; he says that Hebrews, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, James and Jude, with the 'Epistle of Barnabas,' the Shepherd of Hermas, the Didache, and the 'Gospel according to the Hebrews,' were disputed by some. Eusebius (c. 265-340) mentions as generally acknowledged all the books of our New Testament except James, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, which were disputed by some, but recognised by the majority. Athanasius in 367 lays down the twenty-seven books of our New Testament as alone canonical; shortly afterwards Jerome and Augustine followed his example in the West. The process farther east took a little longer; it was not until c. 508 that 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude and Revelation were included in a version of the Syriac Bible in addition to the other twenty two books. [FF Bruce]

Now, think about the parallels here between the gradual decision via majority-rule on what to call canon and the pro-gay marriage movement.

David Robertson and his colleagues at Solas CPC may state the glaring difference; homosexual unions have been outlawed Biblically (ref Leviticus 18:22, 1 Cor 6:9-11 and Romans 1:26-28)

There are two issues here for Solas CPC and other anti-gay marriage Christian activists:

1. The Bible is not a closed text. There has been relatively recent precedent of whole chunks of the NT being relegated to possible forgery status as per the findings of Dr Von Tischendorf in the 19th century. They are finding new manuscripts regularly. There is nothing to stop another find relegating other parts of the NT to possible forgery (scribal addition) status. What if that happens in 50 years time regarding 1 Cor 6:9-11 and Romans 1:26-28? All it would take would be a discovery of an early MSS of said texts omitting such verses or rendering different wording in those verses to the extent of changing the apparent meaning of the text.

It's clear Christians cannot have confidence in their NT texts.

2. The problem of interpretation. The pro-gay camp have their own interpretations of the relevant Bible texts. Rev. Dr. Mark Achtemeier, who has served the Presbyterian Church (USA) since 1984 as a minister, theology professor, and writer states there's an overwhelmingly positive case for gay marriage in the Bible:

Fortunately, the church across the centuries has developed guidelines for interpreting Scripture that help keep our use of particular passages in touch with the true portrait of God’s love in Christ. When we apply these guidelines, the Bible’s teaching about gay people and their relationships appears in a whole new light. In my book I show how the application of these time-tested principles of biblical interpretation produces an overwhelmingly positive biblical case in favor of gay marriage. I came to realize how my former reliance on fragmentary, out-of-context quotes from Scripture had led me to lose touch with the “big picture” of God’s love that lies at the heart of the Bible’s witness.

If you combine this with the fact the pro-gay marriage camp is the bigger camp now, in addition it is still growing, and couple it with the belief that Christians believe they are guided by the Holy Spirit in Scripture then there is a huge hurdle here for Solas CPC. Is this not a big problem as this camp will make a more forceful appeal to this belief concerning the Holy Spirit because they have the numbers in the West.

The problem here is the Christian belief about the Holy Spirit and the way history played it self out previously with regards to the Trinity belief and the NT canon being formulated based on majority rule.

Consistency: Western incompatibility - Alisdair Smith's colleagues' inconsistent argumentation.

Alisdair Smith's colleagues in the mission fields (certainly Jonathan McLatchie's colleagues) argue on the lines of Islam not being compatible with Western values when constructing polemics against Islam yet if we are consistent Alisdair Smith, SOLAS and the rest of the anti-gay marriage Christian camp are promoting a Christianity which is incompatible with Western values.

Again, questions concerning the Christian belief of the Holy Spirit arise as surely the Holy Spirit wouldn't guide towards inconsistency..

Christian hypocrisy

This is a subtle one for the thinking Christian

Christianity is not monolithic. The Christian pro-gay marriage movement has wide spread and rapidly growing support (as seen above) yet colleagues of SOLAS' Alisdair in the Christian polemics business such as Nabeel Qureshi, David Wood and Jay Smith would say ISIS is true Islam despite being miniscule and having no scholarly Islamic body supporting ISIS (in fact all Muslim scholarship has denounced ISIS) yet at the same time this Christian camp claims the pro same sex marriage movement is not true Christianity despite it having much more support from recognised Christian bodies, authorities and a vast and ever-growing supporter base amongst Christian laity.

Thus hypocrisy is outlined in more detail in this response to a Christian apologist, Jonathan McLatchie. Jonathan Mclatchie: Gay Marriage is "Madness" but Terrorism is..

Let's discuss another example of what appears to be hypocrisy from the conservative Christian camp.

There are heterosexual dating prohibitions (Matt 5:28, 1 Cor 6) yet the campaigns against this are nowhere to be seen. Can SOLAS or any other Christian anti-gay marriage campaign group show me a track record of vociferous campaigning against this throughout the years?

In fact, one would expect there to be overwhelmingly more anti-heterosexual dating/sex-before-marriage activity than homosexual marriage as homosexual marriage is a relatively new phenomena.

Selective focus like this not only invites accusations of hypocrisy but it again leads to questions about the Christian belief in the Holy Spirit. If this camp seriously believes they are being guided by the Holy Spirit then why a selective focus? Why hasn't the Holy Spirit not guided them to campaign more strongly against the more widespread sin - heterosexual dating and unmarried heterosexual sex?


British Muslims should not solely rely on Christians in this endeavour of campaigning against gay-marriage. Muslims must go out and take a lead role in this effort. Sure, working alongside straggling Christians like SOLAS is encouraged but do not sit back and think this Christian minority are knights in shining armour. They're not. They could capitulate tomorrow just like Christians did by agreeing to majority rule on the Trinity belief and NT canon. Not to mention them pretty much giving up their efforts against heterosexual pre-marital sex (once again, I'd imagine this was due to the pressure of numbers against them).

As for the Christian soldiers who are currently admirably standing against the tide of the zeitgeist why not do it under the umbrella of Islam? Friends, look into Islam with an open heart.

Muslim Helps James White out: Why Bart Erhman Finds James White Offensive

The Lying Hand of the New Testament Scribe

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Wayne Grudem Shoe-horning Partial Trinitarianism into the Old Testament

Let's forget about ERS and EFS for now. Time for a few comments on Professor Wayne Grudem's "Partial Revelation (of the Trinity belief) in the Old Testament" claim. Grudem's Comment are denoted by WD.

WD: The word trinity is never found in the Bible, though the idea represented by the word is taught in many places.

I'd be interested in seeing these "many places" where the Trinity idea is taught. Remember the 3-self Trinity idea is a 3in1 idea, that's to say an idea of God being tri-personal and all the "Persons" being consubstantial and co-equal.

Which places does Wayne Grudem have in mind? There are no places in the Bible which teach this Trinity concept. None. Zip. Zilch. Sure folk may scratch around and amalgamate a number of Biblical references and read a Trinity theory into those selected texts (i.e eisegesis) but that's not what Grudem appears to be claiming here. He's claiming places in the Bible teach this belief!

Perhaps his chief place is the Great Commission in Matthew 28. However, that does not teach the idea of the Trinity as outlined above.

Read it for yourself and see if it conforms with Wayne Grudem's definition of the Trinity belief:

WD: The word trinity means “tri-unity” or “three-in-oneness.” It is used to summarize the teaching of Scripture that God is three persons yet one God.

Old Testament and old Trinitarian claims

WD: Sometimes people think the doctrine of the Trinity is found only in the New Testament, not in the Old. If God has eternally existed as three persons, it would be surprising to find no indications of that in the Old Testament.

Grudem has external motivations to argue for the Trinity in the Old Testament - for him it would not make sense for there not to be some allusion to it at the very least for purposes of consistency. One of the problems arising for his position is that of confusion; if he believes a hint was given as to the 3-self Trinity belief wouldn't that not also mean he believes God confused people as there was no explicit teaching of the Trinity. Think about it, if hints of plurality within God were provided then that would have left people scratching their heads. Scratching their heads about fundamental ontology of God.

And why would a hint be given, why not just the full explicit teaching from the beginning - after all it is about the fundamental ontology of God? Surely a clear view of God would be expected to be given straight away rather than "hints" which would leave people confused for around 1500 years. Moses p is thought to have lived ~1500 years prior to Jesus p. Further problems arise for the Trinitarian position, Jesus did not teach the Trinity either, it was postulated by later Church Fathers from the fourth century onwards so Grudem would have folk believe God gave hints of the Trinity in the OT and thus left people confused for around 2000 years about a fundamental view of Himself.

The Bible itself would argue against confusion of that kind by stating God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33)

WD: Although the doctrine of the Trinity is not explicitly found in the Old Testament, several passages suggest or even imply that God exists as more than one person.

It's not explicitly taught in the NT either but let's have a look at one of the texts he appeals to as an implication of the Trinity belief.

WD: For instance, according to Genesis 1:26, God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” What do the plural verb (“let us”) and the plural pronoun (“our”) mean?

Plurality doesn't necessarily denote three so to argue for plurality does not mean an argument for the Trinity belief. Plurality can be any number greater than 1. As we know the plurality of 3 did not become agreed upon by the Church until at least 381 CE. For those wondering why not 325 CE? “The Nicene Council only concluded that the Father and Son are ontologically one: it did not include the Holy Spirit in the co-substantial relationship supposedly obtaining between the Father and Son” [Edgar G Foster]

WD: Some have suggested they are plurals of majesty, a form of speech a king would use in saying, for example, “We are pleased to grant your request.” However, in Old Testament Hebrew there are no other examples of a monarch using plural verbs or plural pronouns of himself in such a “plural of majesty,” so this suggestion has no evidence to support it.

Now, this is not a major point of contention but from Jason Dulle, it appears there may be some candidates for the use of the royal plural elsewhere in the Hebrew scriptures. Dulle gives possible examples from Ezra and Daniel:

The second theory is that the plural pronouns are used as a “majestic plural.” This type of language was typically used by royalty, but not exclusively. Biblical examples include Daniel’s statement to Nebuchadnezzar, “We will tell the interpretation thereof before the king” (Daniel 2:36). Daniel, however, was the only one who gave the king the interpretation of his dream. King Artaxerxes wrote in a letter, “The letter which ye sent unto us hath been plainly read before me” (Ezra 4:18). The letter was sent to Artaxerxes alone (Ezra 4:11), yet he said it was sent to “us,” and was read before “me.” Clearly the letter was only sent to, and read to Artaxerxes. When Artaxerxes penned another letter to Ezra he used the first person singular pronoun “I” in one place and the first person plural pronoun “we” in another (Ezra 7:13, 24).

WD: Another suggestion is that God is here speaking to angels. But angels did not participate in the creation of man, nor was man created in the image and likeness of angels, so this suggestion is not convincing.

Firstly, would that be consistent from a 3-self Trinitarian perspective? Why are humans not tri-personal if we were created in the image of a tri-personal God? The 3-self Trinitarian has another dilemma.

Secondly, Dr Michael Heiser and others don't see a problem with viewing Gen 1:26 as an exhortational declaration:

God announced to his council his idea to create mankind (“hey, guys, let’s do this!” – a sort of exhortational declaration), then HE (and he alone, by virtue of the GRAMMAR) created humankind in HIS own image (not theirs).

Yet, the NIV Study Bible also confirms in its commentary on Genesis 1:26:

Us… Our… Our. God speaks as the Creator-king, announcing His crowning work to the members of His heavenly court [See Rabbi Tovia Singer on the Trinity]

Edgar G Foster discusses this in his summary of Alan J. Hauser’s views on Gen 1:26, which militates against the Prof. Wayne Grudem's conjecture and throw into question his abilities in Hebrew:

Hauser expands on this argument. He does not think that the use of the Elohim in Genesis 1:26 proves that Genesis teaches God’s triunity. One reason that Hauser concludes this has to do with the Hebrew word Elohim. Granted, Elohim is morphologically plural as are “us” and “our.” But these words, while they might seem to indicate plurality, definitely do not suggest triunity. It must also be kept in mind that in Hebrew it is common for the plural noun to cause the verb to be plural (Cf. Genesis 20:13, 35:7). E.A Speiser therefore renders Genesis 1:26 as follows: “The God said, ‘I will make man in my image, after my likeness.'”

WD: The best explanation is that already in the first chapter of Genesis we have an indication of a plurality of persons in God himself. We are not told how many persons, and we have nothing approaching a complete doctrine of the Trinity, but it is implied that more than one person is involved.

And what of the thousands of singular pronouns used in the Bible such as in Isaiah 44:24, Gen 1:5 and Gen 9:6 ? In fact the very next verse Genesis 1:27 uses a singular pronoun as to whom mankind were made in the image of

27 So God created human beings in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female.

Does Prof. Wayne Grudem have an answer for this? If he is consistent he'd see the singular pronouns being a problem for his Trinity hypothesis. In fact if this one reference, used as a far-fetched reference to plurality, is being pushed by Grudem as a hint to the Trinity belief then it really is case closed if he uses an objective mindset on all the singular pronouns used of God in the Bible - he has to believe those to be pointers to God's singularity in Personhood and Being if consistent.

Luis Dizon's "Only Conclusion" on Genesis 1:26 Discussed

Friday, 29 July 2016

Explanation Hadith of Blind Man Killing His Slave for Insulting Prophet Muhammad

You may have come across a Hadith where a blind man kills his female slave with an axe after she reviles (abuses/insults) the Prophet p. There are different versions but the basis of the story is authentic.

Sadly, at least one anti-Islam critic on the internet has began to use the Hadith, which he found in Bulugh-al-Maram, for an explanation for an axe attack on people on a train in Germany by a teenaged Afghan refugee. It's so disingenuous or ignorant to misuse such a Hadith to lend Islamic validity to such a terrorist attack.

Watch this video to see his claims and a response to his claims with regards to the motives of the terrorist and concerning the Hadith itself.

If the video does not play, this video is also uploaded here

Quick focus on the possible motives of the Afghan refugee terrorist

The critic links a flag which the refugee had in his home to his motives. The flag is not evidence for the motive of the attack. Why not focus on the more realistic speculation (i.e. he is a traumatised refugee who had mental problems)?

In fact, investigators are even speculating the man had psychological problems:

Investigators have speculated that the death of a close friend in Afghanistan may have left him traumatised and psychologically vulnerable.A psychiatrist currently treating traumatised refugees, many of whom have fled war zones and endured perilous journeys of thousands of miles, said that currently clinical evidence does not support a connection between traumatisation and vulnerability to the messages of extremists.

A 2015 report by Germany's chamber of psychotherapists found that half of refugees who entered the country are experiencing psychological distress and mental illness resulting from trauma.

These figures are reflected in the sample Richter is working with.

"More than 40% of them have psychological illnesses due to their experiences while fleeing their home countries," she said, with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and insomnia among the most common problem [IBTIMES]

In fact, Germany has had a similar attack recently in which no evidence was found that the attacker was motivated by religion but rather it was due to his psychological and drug problems (see the video above for the news report on this event)

How about the Hadith in Sunan Abu Dawud?

Looks like the critic did a key word search for "axe" in a Hadith database as the attacker used an axe.

The critic finds one Hadith, for which he completely overlooks the context, in his haste to try and link this suspected mentally disturbed person with Islamic teaching. If he had looked at the longer Hadith of the same event he would have got the context.

When the woman was found there was a public investigation into the matter in order to punish the one who killed her...

This story is indicative of the justice with which the Muslims dealt with the people of the Book, which was enjoined in the sharee’ah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who was a mercy to the worlds. The rights of the Jews who are under Muslim rule are guaranteed and protected, and it is not permissible to transgress against them by causing them any annoyance or harm. Hence when the people found a Jewish woman who had been killed they were alarmed and referred the matter to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who had made the covenant with them and guaranteed them security, and who did not take the jizyah from them. He got angry and adjured the Muslims by Allaah to find out who had done this deed, so that he could determine his punishment and judge his case. But when he found out that she had transgressed the covenant several times by reviling the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and impugning him, she forfeited all her rights and deserved the hadd punishment of execution which is imposed by sharee’ah on everyone who reviles the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), whether he is a Muslim, a dhimmi or a mu’aahid (non-Muslim living under Muslim rule), because impugning the status of the Prophets is kufr or disbelief in Allaah the Almighty, and a transgression of every sacred limit and right and covenant, and a major betrayal which deserves the greatest punishment.  [IslamQA]

When the man confessed and explained what happened the Prophet simply made a pronouncement on whether blood money/retaliation for her was due.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not choose to kill her in this manner, but because she deserved to be executed as a hadd punishment for breaking the covenant and reviling the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), he did not demand qisaas* from her killer.

*Qisaas is retaliation in kind

That's all - he was not endorsing vigilante killings and encouraging people to chop up random people on trains (it's so ignorant/disingenuous to try and link it as such).

And in any case, think about it.

The Afghan refugee started killing random people in a non Muslim state Even if one was to try and link his act of terror to that Hadith it fails for three reasons:

1. That act was a terrorist attack on random people - terrorism is forbidden in Sharia

2. It was in a land where Sharia Hadd punishments would not apply

3. It would have been a vigilante attack (there was no trial or judge involved) - vigilantism is not allowed in Islam

Killing Dhimmis?

As for killing a dhimmi unlawfully, it is major sin, and the warning concerning that is very stern, as was proven in Saheeh al-Bukhaari (3166) from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr (may Allaah be pleased with him) who narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever killed a mu’aahid will not smell the fragrance of Paradise, although its fragrance may be detected from a distance of forty years’ travel.” Imam al-Bukhaari included this report in a chapter in his Saheeh entitled “Chapter: the sin of one who kills a mu’aahid unlawfully.” [IslamQA]

Follow this discussion on IslamQA for more information:

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