Wednesday, July 01, 2020

WM 167: Why do Muslim Apologists love the Modern Critical Text?

I have posted WM 167: Why do Muslim Apologists love the Modern Critical Text? Listen above. Notes below:

Those of us who defend the traditional text of Scripture have often been accused, especially by one PIA, of having no meaningful apologetic. We are told that we cannot use our approach “in the real world” while at the same time we are told that in order to meaningfully speak with non-Christians, and especially Muslims, that we must embrace the modern approach to text criticism. We must convince Muslims that the text of the Bible, though it has supposedly been corrupted, it can be reconstructed, and its past corruptions do not affect the Bible’s authority and reliability.

Defenders of the TR have pointed out that such an approach is, in fact, a capitulation to Muslims who gleefully embrace scholarly rejections of the Bible’s textual integrity and abandonment of the doctrine of providential preservation of the text.

We all know there is one apologist who quite frequently humble-brags (humble-boasts) about being invited to give presentations on the text of the Bible before Muslim audiences and within Muslim mosques, where he concedes its textual corruption. He never seems to stop and wonder why it is that the Muslims are so eager to have him “dialogue” with them, or why they so often post extended clips of his teaching (not taken out of context but given in full context) to their own apologetic social media sites.

Along these lines, I would commend to you the CB Roundtable #3 from May 26, 2020 in which Pastor Pooyan did a presentation on the TR and Apologetics, explaining that in fact it is the traditional text that is most useful in doing evangelism with non-believers and with those who Muslim backgrounds, in particular. One of the things that stood out was that Pastor Pooyan noted that the ministry of religion in the Iranian government is actively involved in translating scholarly materials from the West (including works of prominent evangelicals) on the text of the Bible. Why are they doing this? Not to promote Christianity but to undermine it and to further the Muslim narrative on the hopeless corruption of Scripture.

So, let’s move on to the first clip. This was sent to me a couple of months ago by a friend. It is a video from the Muslim apologist Adnan Rashid from a 4/17/20 titled “Will David Wood Accept Islam?” Start at the 15:22 mark.

Notice how Rashid draws on Bruce Metzger, Bart Ehrman, as well as Michael J. Kruger to make his point.

Next, let’s go to a more recent clip. This comes from an online debate between the Eastern Orthodox internet philosopher Jay Dyer (perhaps POIA, Popular Orthodox Internet Apologist) in a debate with Shabir Ally from June 6, 2020 where the topic was “Is Jesus God Incarnate?” What is interesting here is the fact that while they were debating the Trinity, Ally drew upon James White as an ally to disregard the CJ. Listen to 50:45-54:30.

So, “Why do Muslim Apologists love the modern critical text of the Bible and those who promote it?”

Sadly, the answer is because it fits their narrative of the Christian Scriptures as being textually corrupted, hopelessly confused, and not providentially preserved by God?”

It is, in fact, only those who hold to the historic Protestant view of the Bible as “kept pure in all ages” who will be able to offer a meaningful apologetic to Muslim and other skeptics.

We are living in some strange times. It is sad to see historical monuments begin torn down without regard for the history and traditions which undergird them. And it is equally sad to see a literary monument come under withering attack (since the nineteenth century) and unrelenting attempts to topple it.

As noted here more than once, such attacks seem to continue to be resisted and frustrated by at least a remnant. To what do we attribute the tenacity of the traditional text? Ignorance? Naivete? Threadbare tradition? Perhaps, but there is another explanation for this tenacity. Perhaps it continues to persist, because it is the Word of God.



Howie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Howie said...

Hello Dr. Riddle,

I love your line: "To what do we attribute the tenacity of the traditional text? Ignorance? Naivete? Threadbare tradition? Perhaps, but there is another explanation for this tenacity. Perhaps it continues to persist, because it is the Word of God." Yes!!

Lest it be thought Muslim apologist Adnan Rashid is somehow unrepresentative, a quote from another Muslim apologist will perhaps further illustrate your point. I came across a man named Ijaz Ahmad, also a Muslim writer, who stated “Many commentators have said that the Bible is the living word of God, a scripture that penetrates us spiritually and guides us. If that is the case, then if the text changes, we have to ask, what form of the text is actually the living word of God? If an edition previously caused spiritual changes but is now changed, does that invalidate its spiritual guidance or does it indicate that the changes are wrong and the edition is correct? It’s a dilemma either way, which definitely brings into severe doubt the ideas of scripture, salvation and the work of a living word of God among Christian believers.”

How sad that such a leap was made by our Muslim friend, but one must concede his reasonable conclusion while simultaneously bristling strongly at the causal Critical Text worldview that directly helped fuel his dilemma. Additionally, when I briefly viewed some contents of the source website from which I found Ahmad’s quote, I noted Bible quotations were repeatedly made (and analyzed) from the NIV, a version that is based on the Critical Text. Clearly, Bible opponents around the world flock to attack any Bible version whose text backing is unstable and in flux.

Here’s the rub: whether in the local church in North America, at large in the UK where Pastor Pooyan Mehrshahi labours away, or perhaps elsewhere amongst Muslim friends, changing or questioning God’s divinely breathed and providentially preserved Word is a serious matter. It’s also a doctrinal compromise and a ridiculous step backwards, and no less so when it comes to evangelism.

Having a sound Biblical and Confessional foundation to Text Criticism and being willing and able to apply these foundations consistently in all instances, means the multi-faceted and complex details of Text Criticism are significantly less likely to carry one astray into questioning the sacred text of the Bible or ultimately denying it. It's the most loving thing we can stand upon and witness to our Muslim friends who, like we, need the One and only Saviour, Christ Jesus the LORD.

“Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89). "Every word of God is pure” (Prov 30:5) and "having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides (i.e. continue/endure/remain) forever (i.e. perpetuity)" (1 Peter 1:23).

Blessings in Christ,