Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ahmad Deedat style of debate tactics: Take verses out of context

Part 1

Most all evangelism, discussion, debate and argumentation with Muslims eventually gets into politics and military / war issues, because that is the nature of Islam, it is inherently political and militaristic; and that is what many Muslims love to bring up. Muslims like to bring up certain OT texts and punishments in the law of Moses; and the Muslim likes to mix different contexts for different verses and they also like to quote American conservative political figures and TV preachers who go over-board in their patriotic zeal for self defense and some kind of just-war principle.
A Muslim who calls himself, “The Grandverbalizer19” has done just that, mixing statements of conservative Christians and political commentators with bunches of verses, both OT and NT, taken out of context.
The Grandverbalizer19 and I had a peaceful, good discussion/informal debate, where I sought to preach the gospel as much as possible, at David Waltz’ blog recently, the comboxes up to 249 comments. He has yet to answer everything.
But, that is not the subject of this post. I hope to someday organize some of that discussion for other posts. I want to focus on his “Franklin Graham” post and the way he mis-handled the Bible in these series of posts of mine.
I want to deal with his bad handling of Bible verses first, then say something about the political statements of conservative Christians last. This will probably be divided up into several posts over different days.
The Grandverbalizer19 (hereafter GV19) called Franklin Graham’s statement about Islam being “evil” (in 2001 a few months after the 9-11-01 attacks) as “The Christian Message of Hate”. He applauded the US military for dis-inviting Franklin Graham to speak at the Pentagon recently. GV19 wrote:
Where do these Christian dominionist and far right Christian extremist like Franklin Graham, Sarah Palin and Rod Parsley get the idea that violence is o.k and it solves things? Well they get their ideas from Jesus of course!
The GV19 then quoted Matthew 10:34.
"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword”.(Matthew 10:34)
Quoting this verse out of context is Ahmad Deedat/Zakir Naik style argumentation. For those who don't know who the late Ahmad Deedat was or who Zakir Naik is; just go to Dr. James White's blog www.aomin.org and/or his YouTube http://www.youtube.com/DrOakley1689 page and search and you will find out their styles of debating and out of context method. Ahmad Deedat was famous in the 1980s for his debates for Islam. He debated against some prominent Evangelicals, including Josh McDowell, Dr. Robert Douglas, Anis Shorrosh, and, unfortunately, Jimmy Swaggart. Muslims loved to promote the Jimmy Swaggart debate because of Swaggart's subseqent sex-scandals. Swaggart was not very effective in his debating skills or Biblical exegesis; and his sexual sins "gave the enemies of God opportunity to blaspheme". (see Romans 2:24 and Isaiah 52:5; 2 Samuel 12:14) Shorrosh has also been recently disgraced by sinful conduct. Let us all take heed, "Without holiness, no one will see the Lord." Hebrews 12:14
The Ahmad Deedat vs. Josh McDowell debate is available online: http://joshmcdowellmedia.org/FreeBooks/TheIslamDebate.pdf
In Matthew 10, please read verses 24-39 to get the whole context and meaning, especially verses 32-33 and 35-36, the surrounding immediate context. This verse has never been legitimately used for self defense or just war. It cannot be used with legitimate exegesis and hermeneutics at all by Christians to justify self-defense or just war. That is not what the verse is about. Read the context. “Sword” is a metaphor here for “conflict” and “tension” and “fighting” – when one family member comes to know Christ as Savior and Lord, the others in the family don’t like it and it creates tension, disagreements, fights, and persecution. Fathers disowned their children because of the children’s faith; and vise-versa. It is the same tension in the Muslim world. If children of a Muslim family become Christians, the parents and uncles, etc. get upset and there is conflict and tension, many times persecution and sometimes the Muslims do honor killings in defending the honor of Islam. Isn’t this a fact?
Grandverbalizer19 wrote:
“Jesus says hate everyone but him!”
"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:25)
Another example of taking a verse out of its context. Read verses 25-35 – it is about the requirements for discipleship – being a follower of Jesus. He does not mean one must have an emotional hatred toward his parents or wife or children – He just means that Christ comes first and when this loyalty is tested, it will seem like to the others that this true believer “hates” me, because his or her loyalty to Christ is above loyalty to parents or wife, etc. Since the Scriptures also teach “honor your father and mother” (Exodus 20; Deuteronomy 5; Ephesians 6:1-2) and “love your wife as Christ loved the Church” (Ephesians 5:25), it cannot mean what you trying to make it mean. See also the parallel passage in Matthew 10:37. The word, “hate” in Luke 14:25 means “by comparison of his love for Me”; or “to love Christ so much more than others than when a conflict of loves happens, it seems like the disciple of Jesus hates us” (mother, father, child, or wife).
Another example of Ahmad Deedat /Zakir Naik style argumentation. GV19, you know better than that; as is evidenced by some other things all over your blog that are much more balanced and honest. Sometimes you are fair, and reasonable; (and sometimes not), but this post is full of just completely wrong argumentation.
Next, GV19 quotes Luke 19:27:
But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them--bring them here and kill them in front of me.'" (Luke 19:27)
This is another example of the GV19 taking a verse out of context. Please go back to verse 11 – what is this literary genre ? Oh! A parable! Parables are stories full of metaphors to teach a spiritual lesson. So this is not a command like in Sharia Islamic law, as in the Hadith, “whoever leaves Islam, kill him”.
Let’s look at some of the Islamic sources for comparision:
(Narrated 'Abdullah:
Allah's Apostle said, "The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 83, Number 17)

Narrated Ikrima:
Ali burnt some people [hypocrites] and this news reached Ibn 'Abbas, who said, "Had I been in his place I would not have burnt them, as the Prophet said, 'Don't punish (anybody) with Allah's Punishment.' No doubt, I would have killed them, for the Prophet said, 'If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.' " (Sahih Bukhari 4.260) )
Hadith: Sahih Al Bukhari
Law of apostacy: "If anyone turns from Islam, kill him".(9:84:57)
Other similar ideas in Islam:
“War is deceit” – repeated often. ( Sahih Al Bukhari - 4:52:267, 268, 269)
“If you embrace Islam, you will be safe.” (Sahih Al Bukhari - 4:53:392)
Muhammed wrote letters to Khosrow, Shah (king) of Iran in those days, and Hericlius, the Byzantine Emperor, “If you become a Muslim, you will be safe.” (Sahih Al Bukhari - 1:1:6)
No; Luke 19:27 is not like Islamic Sharia law. The verse in Luke; it is the end of a parable, a lesson about the time between now and the Second Coming of Christ. Verse 13 – “Do business, until I come back.” At His Second Coming, and judgment day, Christ will judge and punish all who did not want to submit to Him as Lord, yes. You believe in heaven and hell also and in judgment day; and that is God’s right. That is far different than promoting force and aggressive war now on earth; and harsh punishments for apostasy, carried out by the state or by honor killings, as in Islamic cultures.
Revelation 19:11-21; 20:10-15; Matthew 5:21-30 – Hell is horrible and forever – Mark 9:48 – “where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched” – and hell is not where Satan rules, as many mistakenly think, but the presence of the holy justice of God against sin – Revelation 14:10 – Unbelievers are punished and tormented forever in the presence of the Lamb (Jesus) and his holy angels. (see also John 3:18; 3:36; Romans 1:18; Ephesians 2:1-3; Matthew 25; 2 Thessalonians chapter 1) The wrath of God is painful – Luke 19:27 is a metaphor of the wrath of God coming at the judgment day. This has nothing to do with any kind of punishment here and now on earth. The Church cannot and should not physically punish anyone who does not submit to Christ. The church can ex-communicate them out of the church, but it cannot physically punish. And the government should not punish anyone either for religious reasons. You know the history of western civilization. Learn to do proper exegesis of the Bible, studying the context and author’s intended meaning and historical background and harmonizing with the rest of Scripture.
You will face the wrath of God on judgment day, unless you repent and trust in Christ, who took the wrath of God on Himself for the sins of His people; people from all nations and cultures and languages and tribes. Those who trust only in Christ’s righteousness alone, not relying on their own good works or righteousness, will be safe from the wrath of God. John 3:36; Acts 17:30-31; Romans 3:9-26; 4:1-16; 5:1-11; Revelation 5:9; I Thessalonians 1:9-10; 5:9


James Swan said...

Insightful. Thanks!

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of God, Peace be unto you.

Well Ken I bet you didn't know that I found your silence over at David's blog to be interesting.

Especially on something like the post of the 'missing surahs' that is so not like you. So out of curiosity I click on your name and come to beggars all. A blog begging for attention. Lo and behold Ken what do I see?

Why not change the post to "GV19 takes verses out of context" I mean after all your dealing more with my post than Deedat or Naik.

Suit yourself, just a friendly suggestion.

Any way my response will be up soon enough Allah-willing.

Ken said...

Salaam Grandverbalizer19 -
I sincerely wish you the peace of God, which only comes through repentant faith in Al Masih (The Messiah, Jesus Christ). John 14:27; Matthew 11:28-30; Romans 5:1-11; John 3:18; 3:36

We got up to 249 comments in our big discussion. I was waiting for you to respond to some of the last posts I had made.

On the other post about the Shiite claim of lost Surahs;


I finally had time to read Tisdall's article on the Shiite claims of the lost Surahs, and he says they are frauds; so the Shiite's don't have much actual evidence for the extra Surahs.

That is all I know about that issue. We have no way of knowing, because Uthman burned all the other Qur'ans and had a political state and force and fear of punishments to keep people in line.

Tisdall's article on the Shiite Claim of Lost Surahs:

Ken said...

GV19 wrote:
Why not change the post to "GV19 takes verses out of context" I mean after all your dealing more with my post than Deedat or Naik.

That's why the title is "Ahmad Deedat style of debate tactics . . .

His methods seem have spawned a new generation of debate tactics.

It seems like the same style and method .

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of God,

walakum salaam Ken.

I have responded here:


Thank you for your remark from Tisdall

Ken said...

Two reasons I was silent until now;
1. I needed time to read the Tisdall article.

2. I needed time to watch the debate between Abdullah Kunde and Samuel Green.

Samuel Green was right; Muslims need to stop exaggerating about their text. Both have textual variants. Popular Muslim apologists don't seem to know about their own textual variants.

Since Uthman burned everything else (almost, ?) and Islamic law is harsh and instills fear into anyone who would question authority; and had the state to punish apostates and those who question things; it is only recently that the west can even get at textual materials about the Islamic texts; and even then it is hidden away in scholarship. Language and cultural barriers are also a big problem.

Dr. White is one of the first Evangelical Protestants with faith who has tackled the textual variants in an honest manner and gone "toe to toe" with liberals and skeptics like John Dominic Crossan, John Shelby Spong, Barry Lynn, Bart Ehrman, and now, soon, Robert Price.

This is a great service to the rest of us who have not been able to study the textual variants as much as he has.

All of Abdullah Kunde's points are answerable.

Rhology said...

Both have textual variants.

GV19, see here.

Ken said...


You can see my initial answer in the first 3 comboxes at GV19's response.

This may be a future post here.

Ken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of God, Peace be unto you...

Rhology said...
Both have textual variants.

GV19, see here....

Hmmm Yes Rhology I have seen there... I went to the link and I read it and....?

I mean what are you trying to convey when you repeat after Ken saying 'Both have textual variants' and than you say see here and than there is a link.

Am I suppose to click on that link and see textual variants or?

And even if I did see textual variants you are aware (or maybe not) that Sunni Islam believes in the 7 Ahruf modes of recitation. Meaning that the Qur'an in some places would be recited differently and this has never been a *hush* *hush* affair among Muslims never.

Thus if it is recited differently your going to see that reflected by the consonants once it is committed to text.

But as a person who is familiar with both the Warsh (recited mostly in Maliki N and W Africa) and the Hafs (recited but most of the Muslim world) I can xerox copies where the pages have text that have diffrent consonants.

Think of you saying spelling the word PIE as P.I.E.
However the 'R' also can represent the P sound therefore you could have alternative spelling of PIE as RIE or R.I.E.

All of the issues the status of the basmallah, abrogated verses of the Qura'n that are not in the Qur'an today, the 7 ahruf none of these things are a matter of suprise. Infact where do you think the Christians and Orientalist get their information from?

Mash'Allah it's from Muslim sources. So I am quite excited by this project!

My apologies Rhology but maybe you can help to clarify what you mean by quoting Ken and than saying,
"see here".

See what there?

Faiz said...

I am an honest admirer of Sir Ahmed Deedat. I believe no one else can explain Bible & Christianity better, than he does. I've almost all of his lectures & I often listen them repeatedly. May Allah provide us wisdom & enlighten us with HIS wisdom!

Turretinfan said...

Deedat was a great orator. His presentation skills are impressive. However, as a Christian, I would respectfully submit that his presentations against Christianity were not always highly accurate. In fact, I think many Muslims will be surprised when they see the response by Christians like Dr. James White to the arguments used by apologists who try to follow in the footsteps of Deedat.

Unfortunately, Deedat and Dr. White never debated, but Dr. White has (if I remember correctly) responded to one or more presentation that Deedat made.

Would you be interested in hearing that response?