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Archive for July, 2012

Here is a great and convicting sermon by Voddie Baucham, who is a father, husband, pastor, author, professor, conference speaker and church planter.  He currently pastors at Grace Family Baptist Church.

Also, please feel free to check out his blog site:

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Here’s are links rounded up from the internet that would be of interests to the Presuppositionalists!

1.) Chick-fil-A and the Attack of the Tyrannatots— Doug Wilson witty take on the whole issue of secularized “Tolerance”

2.) J.W. Wartick’s Review of Presuppostional Apologetics— J.W. Wartick’s has written a lot on Christian apologetics, and have recently focused on Presuppositional apologetics with a critical appraisal. For a non-Presuppositionalist, he has been one of the more charitable critic.

3.) La Apologética Presuposicionalista- Some of Greg Bahnsen’s works being translated into Spanish!  Knowledge of this link is courtesty of Jamin Hubner.

4.) The Necessity of the Concept of the Christian God for Mathematics— Applying Presuppositionalism to the area of Mathematics.

5.) The Recent Rise of Covenantal Apologetics Part 3: James Anderson’s Influence-– A series on how Presuppositionalism has gotten more popular, and in particular in this post to the contribution of James Anderson.

6.) Triablogue on Wintery Knight on Van Til.

7.) Unguided Matter and Motion Cannot Yield Life— Author Mike Robinson applying Presuppositionalism.

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Review

Worthwhile Christian devotional read. I think the book addresses mainly those who have their theology right in their intellect, but might not have that as something they embrace in their daily lives and devotion towards God. To that end, this book is a great call and challenge for believers to truly pursue God. Good call that Christianity is not just head knowledge for head knowledge sake. The question I did have was Tozer’s reference to prevenient grace, which I noticed mentioned at least twice in the book–was Tozer an Arminian or did he used this term in a way different than the traditional definition?

Free 10 Part Audio MP3

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

PART 4

PART 5

PART 6

PART 7

PART 8

PART 9

PART 10

If you must purchase a copy of the book, get it on Amazon here.

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sand dunes

What originally began on July 15th, 2012 as a special one week focus on Islam here at Veritas Domain ended up being a twelve day marathon!  Among the things posted are resources available on the internet outside our blog concerning many facets of Islam: awareness of the problem that Islam poses including debates, documentary, videos and written media such as books and thesis.  We have also attempted to provide our own apologetic and evangelism resources here as well.  Concerning our written sources, I wish to provide here an index to those materials that we have written ourselves.

  1. Ramadan 2012: Tips on Christian opportunities to Witness to Muslim Friends— Practical witnessing tips for Christians this Muslim Ramadan season.
  2. WITNESSING TO MUSLIMS: THE QURANIC VIEW OF THE BIBLE— I believe what is presented here is the best for Christians to witness and engage in apologetics with Muslims, in a fashion that’s compatible with Presuppositional apologetics’ stress on the importance of the Bible as self-attesting and the use of internal critique.
  3. Are there verses in the Quran that shows the Bible’s corruption? Part 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5— A Series that looks more closely at the verses from the Quran that Muslim apologists’ used to argue that the Quran teaches the Bible has been textually corrupted.  The series attempts to show that this does not follow from the verses they cite.
  4. Deep Sea Darkness as Muslim evidence for the Quran in light of the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer as a defeater— Considering one of the evidences that Muslims say proves the Divine authorship of the Quran, with the article addressing more of the problem of the reasoning presented.
  5. Muslim Writers’ Attack Against Traditional Authorship of the Gospel Part 1, 2, 3 and 4— This series takes on a more defensive nature concerning Muslims’ attempt to attack the authorship of the Gospels.
  6. Deuteronomy 18: Biblical Prophecy of Muhammad or Jesus? in which we deal with a popular Muslim argument that the Jewish Scripture predicts Muhammad.  NEW!
  7. Deuteronomy 18, Messianic Prophecy: How Jesus was like Moses–A follow up to the article “Deuteronomy 18: Biblical Prophecy of Muhammad or Jesus?”   NEW!
  8. Book review: What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Qur’an by James R. White— A book review of a Christian apologist who has extensively debated Muslims the last seven years.   NEW!
  9. Review: Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions about the World’s Fastest-Growing Faith by Robert Spencer— A book review of Rober Spencer’s book against Islam.   NEW!

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GO TO PART 4

This is the last installment in this series (unless another pressing passage needs to be addressed).  Surah 4:157 is probably the strangest passage Muslims try to use to prove that the Quran teaches that the Bible has been textually corrupted.  Instead of establishing that the Bible has been corrupted, Surah 4:157 is an excellent example of how the Quran has the problem of conflicting and contradicting the teaching of the Bible while suffering from the problem that the Quran as a whole upholds the Bible as authoritative and having been faithfully transmitted.  Thus, any contradiction that the Quran has with the Bible poses a problem that is internal to the Islamic religion/worldview.

Below are three English translations of this passage, though afterwards all citation of the Quran will be from Yusuf Ali’s translation:

Sahih International

And [for] their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah .” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.

Yusuf Ali

That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-

Shakir

And their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah, Isa son of Marium, the messenger of Allah; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so (like Isa) and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for sure.

From this verse, a Muslim apologist proceeds with the following reason:

Here is another explicit verse speaking of Bible corruption, the Quran states that if anyone believes that Jesus died and was crucified they then follow nuthing but CONJECTURE which is corruption. Which book today tells us that Jesus died and was crucified? The Bible, so hence the Quran here does call the Bible corrupt. So it cant get anymore clear than that.

But does this verse really teaches that the Bible has been corrupted?  Let’s take a closer look at the Quran itself and this Muslim apologist’s argument.

Establishing the Context:  Surah 4 is titled “The Women.”  It is a long chapter in the Quran that addresses many social issues such as sex, marriage, inheritance, etc.  Verse 157 is situated in a section beginning at verse 153 through 176 which focuses on the subject of the unbelief of the people of the Book (Jews and Christians).

Exegesis

(1) It is rather strange that anyone can say of Surah 4:157 that this “is another explicit verse speaking of Bible corruption” when nowhere within this verse or the surrounding context does it have anything to do with Scripture nor the Bible.  Furthermore, there are not any verbs for  “writing,”  hence this verse cannot be the basis for proving that the written transmission of Scripture has been textually corrupted since it does not even address the topic of writing, let alone the Scriptures of the Jews or Christians!

(2) Again, this verse cannot be “another explicit verse speaking of Bible corruption.”  Our Muslim apologist wrongfully thinks that following conjecture is the same thing as textually corrupting the text of Scripture when he states: “Quran states that if anyone believes that Jesus died and was crucified they then follow nuthing but CONJECTURE which is corruption.”  Again, looking at Surah 4:157, following conjecture is not the same thing as corrupting the transmission of God’s revelation in the Old or the New Testament!

(3) Closer examination of Surah 4:157 further refutes our Muslim assumption that following conjecture is equal with textual corruption of the Bible from what it originally says.  The Muslim apologist asked rhetorically, “Which book today tells us that Jesus died and was crucified? The Bible, so hence the Quran here does call the Bible corrupt.”  Of course, it’s the Christian portion of the Bible (the New Testament) that teaches “Jesus died and was crucified.”  However, Surah 4:157 was not talking about Christians and the followers of Christ when it describes those who had “only conjecture to follow.”  The beginning of the verse shows clearly that the subjects are those that “said (in boast), ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.’” Surah 4:157 is talking about the Jewish religious leaders who were against Jesus and had Him put to death, not Christians and their Scriptures!  If conjecture is the same thing as changing the transmission of Scripture as this Muslim assumes, and in light of his other assumption that the corrupt change done to the Scripture (Old Testament) was to teach “Jesus died and was crucified” (I’m not talking about Messianic prophecies but that “Jesus” was the name and referent of the one who died and was crucified) then how come there are no textual evidence of Old Testament manuscripts mentioning “Jesus died and was crucified?”  It is a puzzling quagmire the Muslim apologist has gotten himself into when he tries to force Surah 4:157 to talk about the Scriptures, when it’s not talking about it at all.

(4) Furthermore, in the greater context of Surah 4, Surah 4:157 could not possibly teach that the Bible has been textually corrupted unless Muslims want to say that this verse contradicts with what the rest of the Surah’s view of the Bible: namely, that the Bible is still authoritative and without textual corruption.  Readers should consult part 2 of this series to see how Surah 4:46 at first glance might seem to deny the Bible’s faith textual transmission ends up affirming instead, along with the discussion of Surah 4:47 as further support.

(5) Everything stated earlier is not to say that Surah 4:157 does not conflict with the New Testament’s teaching that Jesus Christ the Son of Mary was killed and crucified.  Of course it does, but Surah 4:157 does not say that the Bible has been corrupted from it’s original content.

(6) Can the Muslim apologist reason that since Surah 4:157 contradicts what the Bible teaches, and that the Quran and the Bible ought not to contradict then therefore it’s the Bible that has been textually corrupted?  The Muslim cannot resolve this difficulty with this conclusion since the door to this conclusion is closed by the context of Surah 4 and the whole of the Quran when it affirms  the Bible’s authority and accurate transmission.  Instead, this allows the Christian apologist to make the case that in light of Surah 4:157 contradicting with the Bible’s Matthew 27-28, 1 Corinthians 15, etc., in light of the Quran’s own bibliology, it’s the Quran’s that’s in trouble when it conflicts with the Bible’s teaching.  And that’s the dilemma for the Muslim: Why does Surah 4:157 not submit to the authority of God’s revelation in the Bible but conflict against it?  If the Muslim affirm what the Quran teaches, that the Bible is authoritative and has not been lost nor forgotten, then they ought to reject what the Quran teaches in Surah 4:157.  However, if the Muslim instead affirm Surah 4:157 as true while rejecting the New Testament teachings, inherently they still reject what the Quran teaches, concerning the Bible’s authority and faithful transmission.  Either way, the rational dilemma is there: Muslims will have to deny the Quran themselves sooner or later.

Instead, hear the Words of the New Testament and it’s organic unity with the Old Testament:

For I delivered to you [b]as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

(1 Corinthians 15:3-5)

As verse 3 makes it clear, Christ did die–and he died “for our sins.”  That’s what the Bible teaches.  I pray that those Words go deep and God will use it to bring about faith in anyone reading this who have not yet trusted in the Person and Works of Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection to make righteous those who realize their sins and need to be reckoned right with God.

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GO TO PART 3

Continuing with our series on the attack against traditional authorship of the Gospels by some Muslims, here is the last part of the series that will be focused on the Gospel of John.

Arguments for Traditional Authorship of John

Here is what Irenaeus says in the first century concerning John being the author,

John, the disciple of the Lord…expresses himself thus: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; the same was in the beginning with God’” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1.8 [ANF, 1:674]).[1]

On another note, Irenaeus (c. A.D. 180) is the first to clearly say that John the apostle wrote the Gospel of John and that he published it too at Ephesus where John resided.[2]

As for Turtullian, here is what he says in second century about the Gospel of John and the other Gospel writers,

The same authority of the apostolic churches will afford evidence to the other Gospels also, which we possess equally through their means, and according to their usage—I mean the Gospels of John and Matthew—whilst that which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter’s whose interpreter Mark was.  For even Luke’s form of the Gospel men usually ascribe to Paul (Tertullian, The Five Books Against Marcion 4.5 [ANF, 3:657]).[3]

Augustine says this in the fourth century concerning John and the apostles

Certain of them also—namely, Matthew and John—gave to the world, in their respective books, a written account of all those matters which it seemed needful to commit to writing concerning Him” (Augustine, The Harmony of the Gospels 1.1.1 [NPNF, 6:160]).[4]

Augustine also said this about Apostle John,

The most eminent of the four evangelists” (Augustine, The Harmony of the Gospels 2.6.18 [NPNF, 6.235]).[5]

In light of the external evidence that have been provided regarding the authorship of the fourth Gospel being from John himself, we too must cover the internal evidence in order to effectively rebuttal the attacks from rationalists like F.C. Baur who argued that the fourth Gospel was not written until A.D. 160.  If it was written during that time as suggested by F.C. Baur, then that means John could not be the author.  John wrote earlier than that.  Since he wrote earlier, evidence heavily favors John as the author of the fourth Gospel.[6]

Sadly, some Muslim apologists will implement the sources that runs parallel to liberal scholars in order to justify their reasoning that there is no evidence to know who wrote the Gospels.  Their method, which is not really different from rationalists who implement the higher-criticism method, is an attempt to contaminate the authenticity and historicity of the Gospels.  The implication is that if one cannot have evidence for who the authors are, then how can Christianity account for reliability in authenticity?  Also just a footnote—not only does the discovery of a papyrus fragment (P52) of the Gospel of John in the collection of the John Rylands Library (“dated at least at A.D. 150 and perhaps as early as A.D. 130”), demolished the liberal and rationalists’ view, because papyrus fragment (P52) points to the idea that the Gospel of John is easily pushed back into at least the first century when the Apostle John was alive.

On another note, internal evidence, which stands on its own feet, makes it evident that John clearly wrote the Gospels even though the author does not identify himself by saying, “I, John, wrote the this book,” etc.[7] .  The Gospel of John is not like the Book of Hebrews, whereas the author does not disclose his identity, but John, like the other three Gospel writers, makes it evident that he wrote it .  External evidence proves it and internal evidence proves it too.

In light of internal evidence, the writer claims to be an eyewitness in these following passages: John 1:14; 19:35; 21:24-25.[8]  Other internal evidence would be his implementation of an accurate knowledge of Jewish customs and Palestinian topography before Jerusalem’s destruction in A.D. 70; and also his implementation of vivid details as an eyewitness of Jesus ministry (2:6; 6:19; 21:8).[9]  Clearly his style of writing was Semitic because John was a Jew.[10]  Another potent internal evidence would be the author’s reference to himself as the “disciple whom Jesus loved” as indicated in John 21:20, 24.  By process of elimination—in relation to the phrase the “disciple whom Jesus loved,” James could not be the author because he was martyred early in church history (Acts 12:1-5); and it cannot be Peter as indicated in John 13:23 and 21:7.[11]  Cleary, by process of elimination, it had to be John, the son of Zebedee, even though he is not identified by name in the Gospel of John.[12]

CONCLUSION

Some maybe asking by now, why does it matter who wrote the Gospels? Instead some propose that we should focus our concerted efforts on defending the reliability of Gospel rather than discussing traditional authorship.  However, knowing who wrote the Gospels, is linked to the reliability of the Gospels.  To deny authorship, poses problems because it opens up the door for a discussion of dating and the use of the higher-criticism method.

In response, I believe that quoting Professor Gary W. Derickson, a professor at Western Baptist College at Salem, Oregon best describes the danger of anti-traditional authorship view.  He eloquently answers the question  by saying,

The church fathers were unanimous in naming Matthew as the first Gospel to be written and in identifying the apostle Matthew as its author. Their testimony indicates that it was the dominant Gospel in the early church and contains nothing about any literary dependence between writers of the two Gospels. The issue of apostolic authorship is at stake in one’s viewpoint on this matter. If at any point a Gospel writer, be it pseudo-Matthew or any other Gospel writer, has embellished eyewitness testimony to promote his own theological viewpoint, that is a violation of biblical inerrancy that lies outside the boundary of evangelicalism.” [13]

Clearly, there are many pertinent points Professor Derickson stated, but what hits the nail on the head, is the notion of one who denies traditional authorship, is one who has an agenda in promoting one’s own theological agenda (i.e. undermine the supernatural, inerrancy, destroy the historical reliability of Christianity, etc.); and clearly, it is a “violation of biblical inerrancy that lies outside the boundary of evangelicalism.”

Denial of the traditional authorship of the Gospels poses great concern because one of the major key issues that is at stake is that of apostolic authority.[14]  While some may say it is not important to know who wrote the Gospels or not, it does matter because men like Peter, Paul, and John all appealed to apostolic authority.[15]  For example, John says that he saw, heard and handled the embodied Eternal Life (1 John 1:1-4).[16]  Not only was John an apostle, but he witnessed and experience what Christ did.  As for Peter, the validity of his writings grew out from his eyewitness relationship with Jesus Christ when he was on earth as well (2 Peter 1:16-18); and Paul based his authority on direct revelation that he received from Christ (Galatians 1:11-12).[17].

The legitimate recognition of Peter and Paul as the apostles of Christ is a very fundamental point at stake because the non-apostolic Gospels such as the Gospel of Mark and Luke as well as the epistles of the NT all had apostolic connections that resulted in their acceptance by the early church.[18]  To say that we do not know who wrote the Gospels would dismember the apostolic connection between the non-apostolic Gospels and the epistles of the NT that all had connections to the apostles.

Since this series is mainly about the traditional authorship of the Gospels, it is important to emphasize that denying traditional authorship opens up the door to rationalism and speculation.  However, as argued already throughout this series, rationalism and speculation of who wrote the Gospels, can be avoided because internal and external evidence supports the orthodox understanding of authorship.  The church fathers relied on the evidence of the apostles and the evidence from eyewitness accounts.  In the context of this series, the early fathers and the early church recognized the four authors of the Gospels.  To deny them, opens up the door to accepting frauds who were never apostles and those who never had apostolic connections.

As Christians, we must be careful with the critics’ attack against the authorship of the Gospels.  Their attacks against traditional authorship of the Gospels are a smokescreen for their humanistic endeavors against the reliability of the inspired, supernatural Gospels governed by God.

To attack the traditional authorship of the Gospels is an attack not only in the face of external evidence, but also internal evidence.  To attack external evidence is to jeopardize patristic evidences from historical people who were closer to the times of Jesus than we are; and to attack internal evidence is to undermine inerrancy and the supernatural Words of God, in favor for the idolatry of rationalism.

For the Muslim apologists or any other critique against the Gospels, his or her attacks are attempts in justifying their reasonings that Christianity is an unreliable faith that cannot account for truth.  On another note, it is also opportune to keep in mind that if a Muslim was to ever attack Christians for using patristic evidence to establish the traditional authorship of the Gospel, it would be decorous to point out to Muslims that they too must also appeal outside the Quran to establish their major aspect of the Islamic faith such as the story of Muhammad, and the Muslim account of the origin of the Qur’an.  If they are skeptical of the Bible, we too must be skeptical of the Qur’an and the Hadith.    And if they say that Christianity cannot account for truth because we do not know who wrote the Gospels, then they need to provide answers to verses from the Qu’ran that upholds the Gospel and other books of the Bible (Surah 2:59; 2:79; 2:106; 3:78; 4:136; 4:46; 4:157; 5:13; 5:46-48; 29:46; 53:36; etc.).  Even in their own books, the Qu’ran upheld and upholds the Holy Bible.  Please see SLIMJIM’s work explaining the Qu’ran’s support of the Bible: Are there verses in the Quran that shows the Bible’s corruption? Part 1: IntroductionAre there verses in the Quran that shows the Bible’s corruption? Part 2: Surah 4:46Are there verses in the Quran that shows the Bible’s corruption? Part 3: Surah 5:13Are there verses in the Quran that shows the Bible’s corruption? Part 4: Surah 2:79Are there verses in the Quran that shows the Bible’s corruption? Part 5: Surah 4:157

Moreover, here are some important quotes from the early church fathers that I would like to share that substantiates the claim of traditional authorship.  The first one is from Justyn Martyr (second century) regarding his acceptance of traditional authorship of the Gospels,

For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them” (The First Apology of Justin 6 [ANF, 1:185]).”[19]

Tertullian in the second century said,

The evangelical Testament has apostles for its authors…since there are apostolic men also, they are not alone, but appear with the apostles and after apostles” (The Five Books Against Marcion [ANF, 3:347]).

As for Irenaeus during the second century, he said,

The opinion of the apostles, therefore, and of those (Mark and Luke) who learned from their words, concerning God, has been made manifest” (Against Heresies 3.15.3 [ANF, 1:440]).[20]

It is my prayer and hope that Christians all over the globe will not be staggered by the attacks of opponents of traditional authorship of the Gospels.  As Christians, we must have confidence on the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  They were men who were used as instruments of God to write.  These were men moved by the Holy Spirit and men who wrote for the glory of God.  2 Peter 1:20-21 points this truth out,

But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

These were not men who wanted to write for their own interests.  In terms of what they wrote which is inspired, here is what 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says,

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

Paul clearly points out in the second letter to Timothy that God’s Words are inspired (θεόπνευστος), meaning God-breathed.  Since God’s Word’s are God-breathed, we need to be bold in our defense and proclamation of God’s truth.  No matter what methods opponents use to attack traditional authorship in order lacerate away the supernatural origin and historical reliability of the Bible, we must hold the fort and not be staggered.

In closing, here is a wise saying from Dr. Robert Thomas regarding the battle Christians face from the book titled, The Jesus Crisis: The Inroads of Historical Criticism into Evangelical Scholarship.

The Jesus crisis should be a source of serious concern for the Christian church.  God will somehow overcome the crisis.  His Word will remain intact for He is sovereign and omnipotent.  His truth will prevail.  He will not allow gospel truth to disappear.  But He will carry out His will as the church, Christ’s bride, reasserts the integrity of His Word.  Believers should exert themselves to alleviate the crisis.  Believers do so by maintaining an uncompromising stand on what He has written and not questioning its accuracy at any point.  Hopefully, the church will do so immediately by raising her voice against the enemy who already has his foot in the door and is seeking to pry it wide open.[21]

Christians who take the issue of historical-criticism or rationalism lightly should be seriously concerned because it is a tool used by the enemy to undermine biblical inerrancy and the supernatural reliability of Scripture.  The rationalists along with their presuppositions towards the Holy Bible are attackers of our omnipotent and sovereign God.  But they can’t win and they will never prevail in the war.

Because souls are at stake, God will never allow His Word to be in a state of confusion or in a state where the Word is not able to withstand hostile enemies of His Word.  As soldiers of Christ, we must be maintaining our stance as Dr. Thomas said:

By maintaining an uncompromising stand on what He has written and not questioning its accuracy at any point.”

If we compromise, we open up the doors for people to attack, which will cause doubts on the accuracy of God’s Word.  And those who are feeble and gullible will fall prey to the rationalists’ instruments.

In light of all the arguments made so far, I believe that traditional authorship glorifies God because they were the people authorized to write on God’s behalf.  If people try to unauthorize them, they will have a difficult time accounting for consistency, truth, and reality.  And that will not glorify God.

Bibliography 

Abbott-Smith, George. A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament. 3d ed. Edinburgh, England: T. & T. Clark, 1950.

Derickson, Gary W.  “Matthean Priority/Authorship and Evangelicalism’s Boundary.”  The Masters Seminary Journal 14, no. 1 (Spring,  2003): 87–103.

Linnemann, Eta. Historical Criticism of the Bible Reflections of a Bultmannian Turned Evangelical: Methodology or Ideology. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2001.

Pentecost, Dwight J. The Words. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1891.

Reymond, Robert L. A New Systematic Theology of the Christian. 2nd ed. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 1998.

Thompson, Keith. “Who Wrote the Gospels? Internal and External Arguments For Traditional Authorship.” Answering Islam: A Christian-Muslim Dialog. http://answering-islam.org/authors/thompson/gospel_authorship.html (accessed May 31, 2012).

Thomas, Robert L. Charts of the Gospels and the Life of Christ. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2000.

Thomas, Robert L., and F. David Farnell. The Jesus Crisis: The Inroads of Historical Criticism into Evangelical Scholarship. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1998.

Thomas, Robert L., and Stanley N. Gundry. The NIV/NASB Harmony of the Gospels. Peaboy, Massachusetts: Print Press, 2003.


[1] Robert L. Thomas, Charts of the Gospels and the Life of Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2000), 79.

[2] Robert L. Thomas and Stanley N. Gundry, The NIV/NASB Harmony of the Gospels (Peaboy, MA: Print Press, 2003), 299.

[3] Robert L. Thomas, Charts of the Gospels and the Life of Christ, 78.

[4] Ibid, 80.

[5] Ibid, 80.

[6] Robert L. Thomas and Stanley N. Gundry, The NIV/NASB Harmony of the Gospels, 299.

[7] Ibid, 299-300.

[8]Ibid, 300.

[9]Ibid, 300.

[10]Ibid, 300.

[11] Ibid, 300.

[12] Ibid, 300.

[13] Gary W. Derickson, “Matthean Priority/Authorship and Evangelicalism’s Boundary,” The Masters Seminary Journal 14, no. 1 (Spring 2003): 87.

[14] Ibid, 100.

[15] Ibid, 100.

[16] Ibid, 100.

[17] Ibid, 100.

[18] Ibid, 100.

[19] Robert L. Thomas, Charts of the Gospels and the Life of Christ, 78.

[20] Ibid, 79.

[21] Robert L. Thomas and David F. Farnell, “The Jesus Crisis: The Inroads of Historical Criticism into Evangelical Scholarship,” 383.

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GO TO PART 3

Among the proof text Muslims use to claim that the Quran teaches that the Bible has been textually corrupted, Surah 2:79 seems to be their strongest case.  Yet this is not without problem.  Below are three English translations of this passage, though afterwards all citation of the Quran will be from Yusuf Ali’s translation:

Sahih International

So woe to those who write the “scripture” with their own hands, then say, “This is from Allah ,” in order to exchange it for a small price. Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn.

Yusuf Ali

Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say:”This is from Allah,” to traffic with it for miserable price!- Woe to them for what their hands do write, and for the gain they make thereby.

Shakir

Woe, then, to those who write the book with their hands and then say: This is from Allah, so that they may take for it a small price; therefore woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn.

(Accessed: http://quran.com/2/73-85)

Note what one Muslim apologist extrapolate from the text,

So basically this means they made copies and added their own ideas and desires and said this is from God, and when you do this over a long period of time the original book gets lost and is gone and that is what happened. So they wrote books with their own hands and claimed it is from God i.e. the Torah.

But does this verse really teaches that the Jewish Scripture has been lost due to textual corruption?  Let’s take a closer look.

Establishing the Context:  Surah 2 is titled “The Cow.”  It is the longest chapter in the Quran, coming in at 286 verses, and addresses a variety of issues.  Some have seen this Surah as the summary of the Quran.  Verse 79 is situated in the section beginning in verse 40 through 86 that focuses on the Children of Israel.  Thus, verse 79 is specifically referring to the Jewish Scripture (the Old Testament).

Exegesis

(1) One things to keep in mind for the rest of the observation that follows is that while this verse states that they “write the Book with their own hand,” it does not state that the “Book,” that is the Scriptures, have been “lost and is gone” as our Muslim apologists claim the verse teaches.  Such verbs are not present in the text and readers should be cautious with going too far beyond what Surah 2:79 actually states.

(2) There are further complications to the view that this verse teaches the original Jewish Scripture has been “lost and is gone,” when one realizes that Surah 2:79 is not referring to all the Jews in their treatment of Scripture, but only some particular subset of the Jews.  This point is important because if some of the Jews were wicked to tamper and attempted to corrupt the text of Scriptures, there are the other subset of Jews that were not doing so.  Thus, there cannot be a global textual corruption of the Bible where the original would be thoroughly “lost and gone.”  Verse 78 establishes whom “those who write the ‘scripture’ with their own hands” in verse 79 were.  Note that verse 78 refers to the antecedent subjects as a subgroup of the Jews rather than all the Jews when it stated, “there are among them illiterates” rather than “all among them illiterates.”  In light of the fact that they were called illiterates makes this very likely to be a minority group since Jews are historically typically literate.  Again, this verse is only discussing about some among the Jews which makes it improbable that there would be a global textual corruption of the Scriptures to the extent that the original has been forever lost and forgotten.

(3) Further support that verse 79 refers to only a subset of the Jews can be found in the beginning of verse 80 which states, “And they say, “Never will the Fire touch us, except for a few days.”  These subset of Jews don’t believe in the eternal torment of the wicked, and given that the Hebrew manuscripts we possess today does not deny eternal punishment (but rather affirm it), it seems that whatever minority of Jews that wrote down “Scripture” contrary to it has not been able to manage to corrupt the Bible lost and forgotten forever.

(4) The context of the rest of Surah 2 does not support the view that the Quran teaches the Bible’s corruption.  For instance, Surah 2:62 affirm that the content of the Bible is still God’s salvific Word: “Those who believe (in the Qur’an), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians and the Christians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.“  Rather than affirm the Bible’s corruption, the rest of the context of Surah 2 affirms the contrary, that the Bible is still God’s Word.

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