Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Pulpit Crimes the Topic of Pilgrim Radio Interview
11/20/2007 - James WhiteBill Feltner did a really in-depth interview with me on my book, Pulpit Crimes, for airing on the Pilgrim Radio Network. The program will air 11/27&28 at 2am, 12:04pm, and 9:04pm.
James R. White
11/19/2007 - Micah Burke(Click here for media bios and photos.)
|The Fatal Flaw||(Crowne Publications, 1990)|
|Answers to Catholic Claims||(Crowne Publications, 1990)|
|Letters to a Mormon Elder||(Crowne Publications, 1990, |
reprinted by Bethany House, 1993)
|Justification by Faith||(Crowne Publications, 1990)|
|God's Sovereign Grace||(Crowne Publications, 1991)|
|Drawn by the Father||(Crowne Publications, 1991)|
|The King James Only Controversy||(Bethany House Publishers, 1995)|
|Sola Scriptura and the Early Church in Sola Scriptura!||(Soli Deo Gloria Publishers, 1995)|
|The Roman Catholic Controversy||(Bethany House Publishers, 1996)|
|Is the Mormon My Brother?||(Bethany House Publishers, 1997)|
|Grieving: Our Path Back to Peace||(Bethany House Publishers, 1997)|
|The Forgotten Trinity||(Bethany House Publishers, 1998)|
|Mary--Another Redeemer?||(Bethany House Publishers, 1998)|
|What's With the Dudes at the Door? with Kevin Johnson||(Bethany House Publishers, 1998)|
|Jesus Shall Reign in Onward, Christian Soldiers||(Soli Deo Gloria Publishers, 1999)|
|What's With the Mutant in the Microscope? with Kevin Johnson||(Bethany House Publishers, 1999)|
|The Potter's Freedom||(Calvary Press, 2000)|
|The God Who Justifies||(Bethany House Publishers, 2001)|
|The Same Sex Controversy||(with Jeff Niell) (Bethany House Publishers, 2002)|
|Dangerous Airwaves||(Calvary Press, 2002)|
|Justification in The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary|
|Debating Calvinism vs. Dave Hunt||(Multnomah, 2004)|
|The Plurality of Elders in Perspectives on Church Government: |
Five Views of Church Polity
|Scripture Alone||(Bethany House Publishers, 2004)|
|Pulpit Crimes||(Solid Ground Christian Books, 2006)|
|From Toronto to Emmaus||(Solid Ground Christian Books, 2007)|
|Islam and Christianity: A Matter of Denial in Answering Islam:|
Countering Terror with Truth
|(Coral Ridge Ministries, 2007|
Christian Research Journal
Is Your Modern Translation Corrupt? Answering the Allegations of KJV Only Advocates (1996 Winter)
Of Cities and Swords: The Impossible Task of Mormon Apologetics (1996 Summer)
What Really Happened at Nicea? (1997 July-August)
Summary Critique: How Wide the Divide? A Mormon and an Evangelical in Conversation (1997)
Effectively Sharing the Deity of Christ with Jehovah’s Witnesses (1997)
The Jesus Seminar and the Gospel of Thomas: Courting the Media at the Cost of Truth (20,3)
Summary Critique: Jehovah’s Witnesses Defended (21,2)
Target, Bible: A Flood of Books Attack the Sufficiency of Scripture (21,3)
Anonymous Strawmen (21,4)
Loving the Trinity (21,4)
Beyond the Veil of Eternity: The Importance of Philippians 2:5-11 in Theology and Apologetics (22,3)
Pro and Con: Two Journal Contributors Respond to the Joint Declaration of Justification by Ralph E.
Mackenzie and James R. White (22,4)
The Divine Sovereignty-Human Responsibility Debate (Part One) (with George Bryson) (23,4)
The Divine Sovereignty-Human Responsibility Debate (Part Two) (24,1)
Dangerous Airwaves: Harold Camping’s Call to Flee the Church (25,1)
Examining Muslim Apologetics (Part One): The Bible Versus the Qur’an (25,3)
Examining Muslim Apologetics (Part Two): Unusual Attacks on the Trinity (25,4)
PDAs and Apologetics (26,3)
Exodus and Abortion (27,1)
Bible Versions: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Parts 1 and 2) (28,3,4)
Getting Over the Hurdles of the New World Translation (29,3)
Created in the Image of Rome (March, 2002)
The Lord is One (May, 2003)
The Fool's Folly Uncovered (May, 2006)
Modern Reformation Magazine
Whom Does God Forgive? (March, 2002)
Reformed Baptist Theological Review
The Newness of the New Covenant (Part I) (I:2, July, 2004)
The Newness of the New Covenant (Part II) (2:1, January, 2005)
Textual Criticism and the Ministry of Preaching (2:2, July, 2005)
Myth, Allegory, and Parable: the Presuppositions of John Dominic Crossan
Jesus Seminar and Their Importance to Reformed Baptist Theology and Apologetics (3:1, January, 2006)
Formal Debates (see bookstore for audio and video recordings)
Sola Scriptura, August, 1990 vs. Gerry Matatics, Long Beach, CA
Perseverance of the Saints, December, 1990 vs. Gerry Matatics, Phoenix, AZ
The Papacy, December, 1990 vs. Gerry Matatics, Tempe, AZ
Justification by Faith, January, 1991 vs. Fr. Mitch Pacwa, El Cajon, CA
The Mass, January, 1991 vs. Fr. Mitch Pacwa, El Cajon, CA
Justification by Faith, May, 1991 vs. Art Sippo, Toledo, OH
Sola Scriptura, November, 1992 vs. Gerry Matatics, Omaha, NB
The Mass, November, 1992 vs. Gerry Matatics, Omaha, NB
Justification by Faith, April, 1993, vs. Gerry Matatics, Boston College
The Apocrypha, April, 1993, vs. Gerry Matatics, Boston College
The Papacy: NT Evidence, July, 1993 vs. Gerry Matatics, Denver, CO
The Papacy: Early Church Evidence, July, 1993 vs. Gerry Matatics, Denver, CO
Sola Scriptura, September, 1993 vs. Patrick Madrid, San Diego, CA
Is the KJV the Best Translation, vs. D.A. Waite, 1994
Justification, July, 1994, vs. Dr. Fastiggi, Austin, TX
Indulgences, July, 1994, vs. Dr. Fastiggi, Austin, TX
Mary, July, 1994, vs. Dr. Fastiggi, Austin, TX
Papal Infallibility, July, 1994, vs. Dr. Fastiggi, Austin, TX
The Papacy, Summer 1995 James White, Robert Zins vs. Scott Butler and Robert Sungenis, Boston College, Boston, MA
Paedobaptism, June, 1995 with Geoff Volker against Robert Strimple and Gary Johnson, Tempe, AZ
Paedobaptism, October, 1995 with Geoff Volker, University of New Mexico
The Marian Dogmas, May, 1996 vs. Gerry Matatics, Long Island, NY
Man's Will, Christ's Atonement, May, 1997 vs. Jim Barker, Queens, NY
Sola Scriptura, May, 1997 vs. Gerry Matatics, Long Island, NY
Election and Predestination, May 1998, vs. Paul Barber, Queens, NY
The Papacy, May, 1998 vs. Fr. Mitch Pacwa, Long Island, NY
Sola Scriptura, July, 1998 vs. Tim Staples, Fullerton, CA
Does the NT Teach the Deity of Christ, May, 1999 vs. Hamza Abdul Malik, Syosset, NY
Is the Trinity Biblical?, May, 1999 vs. Robert Sabin, Patchoque, NY
The Mass, May, 1999 vs. Robert Sungenis, Long Island, NY
Is the KJV the Best, July, 1999 vs. Thomas Holland, Indianapolis, IN
Sola Scriptura, December 1999 vs. Mitch Pacwa, El Cajon, CA
Justification by Faith, April, 2000 vs. RCIA Instructor, Sale Lake City, UT
Justification, May, 2000 vs. Robert Sungenis, Long Island, NY
Papal Infallibility, July, 2000, vs. Tim Staples, Fullerton, CA
Papal Infallibility, November, 2000, vs. Robert Sungenis, Clearwater, FL
The Will of Man, March, 2001, vs. Richard Hopkins, Salt Lake City, UT
Is Homosexuality Consistent with Biblical Christianity, May, 2001, vs. Barry Lynn, Long Island, NY
Purgatory?, May, 2001, vs. Fr. Peter Stravinskas, Long Island, NY
Grace and Works, October, 2001 vs. Roger Keller, Salt Lake City, UT
Who Controls Salvation?, April, 2002 vs. George Bryson, Anaheim, CA
The Fall of Adam, April, 2002, vs. Gilbert Scharffs, Salt Lake City, UT
Veneration of Saints and Images, July, 2002, vs. Patrick Madrid, Long Island, NY
Can Men Become Gods?, October, 2002, vs. Martin Tanner, Salt Lake City, UT
Inclusivism, November, 2002, vs. John Sanders, Tampa, FL
Open Theism, November, 2002, vs. John Sanders, Orlando, FL
The Atonement of Christ, April, 2003, vs. Dennis Potter, Salt Lake City, UT
The Mass, April, 2003, vs. Robert Sungenis, Salt Lake City, UT
Is the Roman Catholic Priesthood Biblical?, May, 2003, vs. Fr. Mitch Pacwa, Long Island, NY
The Perpetual Virginity of Mary, October, 2003, vs. Gerry Matatics, Salt Lake City, UT
Jesus: God or a god?, December, 2003, vs. Gregory Stafford, Tampa, FL
Are Temples Consistent with NT Christianity?, April, 2004, vs. Richard Hopkins, Salt Lake City, UT
Is Gay Marriage Consistent with NT Christianity?, April, 2004 vs. Dee Bradshaw, Salt Lake City, UT
Is the Apocrypha Canonical?, May, 2004, vs. Gary Michuta, Long Island, NY
Are Roman Catholics Our Brothers and Sisters in Christ?, November, 2004, vs. Douglas Wilson, Los
Regeneration and Faith, April, 2005, vs. Robert Wilkin, Oklahoma City, OK
Can Non-Christians Enter Heaven?, June, 2005, vs. William Rutland, Long Island, NY
Is the Bible True?, August, 2005, vs. John Dominic Crossan, Seattle, WA
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, August, 2005, vs. Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan
(with James Renihan),
Sun Princess (at sea)
Calvinism vs. Arminianism, April, 2006, vs. Dr. Jonathan Wright, Sedalia, MO
Is the New Testament We Possess Today Inspired? May, 2006, vs. Shabir Ally, Biola University
Baptism for Believers Only? October, 2006 vs. Pastor William Shishko, Long Island, NY
Is Homosexuality Consistent with Biblical Christianity? November, 2006, vs. Bishop John Shelby Spong,
Did Jesus Offer Himself on the Cross as a Willing Sacrifice for the Sins of God's People?, October, 2007,
vs. Shabir Ally, Seattle, WA
Can We Trust What the New Testament Says about Jesus and the Gospel?, March 21, 2008, vs. Nadir Ahmed, Norfolk, VA
Does the Bible Teach Jesus is God?, April 12, 2008, vs. Jalal Abualrub, Fullerton, CA
The Freedom of God in Salvation April 3-9, 2008, vs. Steve Gregg Radio
Gay Marriage Debate vs. Dr. Michael K. Schutz, April 22, 2008, Hayward, CA
Did Jesus Claim to Be God? vs. Farhan Qureshi, September 21, 2008, Bellflower, CA
Was Jesus Crucified or Substituted? vs. Osama Abdullah, September 20, 2008, Bellflower, CA
Can We Trust the New Testament? vs. Osama Abdullah, September 20, 2008, Bellflower, CA
Does Belief in the Trinity Necessitate Shirk? vs. Adnan Rashid, November 11, 2008, London, England
Does Belief in the Trinity Necessitate Polytheism? vs. Abdullah al-Andalusi, November 13, 2008, Radio
Jesus: Divine Son of God or Prophet of Allah? vs. Sami Zaatari, November 13, 2008, London, England
Is Jesus Prophesied in the OT? vs. Shabir Ally, November 17, 2008, London, England
Is Muhammad Prophesied in the Bible? vs. Shabir Ally, November 17, 2008, London England
The Bible vs. the Qur'an: a Comparison vs. Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Shah, November 20, 2008, Duke University - Durham, NC
Does the Bible Misquote Jesus vs. Dr.Bart Ehrman, January 21, 2009, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Church History, Grand Canyon University, 1991-92, 95
Scholar in Residence, Grand Canyon University, 1995-1996
Apologetics, Grand Canyon University, 1996
Beginning Greek, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001
Greek Exegesis of Ephesians, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 2001
Beginning Hebrew, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 1996, 1998, 2000
Hebrew Exegesis, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 1997, 1999
Christian Philosophy of Religion, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 1998-2003
Christology, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 1997
Systematic Theology, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 1996, 1998, 2004
Apologetics, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 2003-2004, 2009
Development of Patristic Theology, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 2004
Current Issues in Apologetics, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 2005, 2007
Islam, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 2008
B.A. Bible (Major in Biology, minor in Greek), Grand Canyon College, 1985.
M.A. Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary, 1989
Th.M. Apologetics, Faraston Seminary, 1995
Th.D., Apologetics, Columbia Evangelical Seminary, 1998
D.Min, Apologetics, Columbia Evangelical Seminary, 2002
Elder, Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church (www.prbc.org)
Critical Consultant, New American Standard Bible Update (1995)
Married since 1982, two children, residing in Phoenix, AZ
James White, Jim Renihan (right) dialogue with
Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan, August, 2005
James answers questions in cross-examination in debate
with Islamic apologist Shabir Ally, Biola University, May, 2006
James White defends the text of Scripture against
noted scholar Bart Ehrman, Ft Lauderdale, Florida, 2009
James' son Joshua and his lovely bride Tiffany, March, 2008
A Future Eschatological Event
11/16/2007 - Jeff DownsWhile eschatology is not an issue I've spent any considerable amount time studying, I am looking foward to a future event. Perhaps you will as well. The seminary I attend will be holding their annual conference on the topic A Reformed View of Eschatology The Website for this conference is now up and you can check things out by clicking here.
Topics to be addressed are:
An Overview of Millennialism (Dr. Morton Smith), Old Testament Eschatology: A People, A Place, and a Time (Dr. Benjamin Shaw) Hell: Whatever Happened to It? (Dr. Derek Thomas), New Testament Eschatology: A Reason to Live (Dr. Sidney Dyer), The Westminster Confesssion & Eschatology (Dr. C.N. Willborn), “isms” in Eschatology Critqued (Dr. Cornelis Venema), Heaven: The Saint’s Rest and Victory (Dr. Joseph Pipa), Romans 11: Who is Israel? (Dr. Benjamin Shaw), and Romans 11: Who is Israel? (Dr. Cornelis Venema).
On a side note, I received word today that Dr. Pipa's debate with Dave Hunt (Particular Atonement vs. Universal Atonement) is now available on DVD. The audio for the debate is listed here although I can't tell if it is still working. If interested in the DVD contact me.
11/16/2007 - Jeff DownsJust the other day Alan mentioned lectures by Dr. Richard Bauckham (Ph.D., Professor of New Testament at the University of St. Andrews). Alan's post was updated, which states that there are no recordings of the lectures.
Dr. Bauckham also spoke at Westminster Theological Seminary this week on the topic "The Four Gospels and the Other Gospels: Is Our Canon Right?" Go here to download lecture.
Dr. Bauckham is also the author of the new book The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple: Narrative, History, and Theology in the Gospel of John (Baker, 2007), which contains is a collection of essays that have appeared in theological journals over the years. Go here to read an excerpt.
One may also want to pick up James' book Scripture Alone: Exploring the Bible's Accuracy, Authority and Authenticity.
A Couple of Quick Notes
11/14/2007 - James WhiteFor those working in the Islamic field, Lane's huge 8-volume lexicon is now on line here. The hard-bound set is quite impressive, but take it from me...it also gives off an odd odor. Seriously. Its permanent home in my library is only a few feet from my keyboard.
Frank Beckwith, apart from showing up on blogs quoting the Council of Orange (but not Trent), will be participating this coming Saturday in the first meeting of the "Intra-Christian Conversion Study Group," joining Paul J. Griffiths and Scott Hahn to discuss his conversion. Ironically, in announcing these things, Beckwith concluded with the Reformation slogan, Soli Deo Gloria, a phrase that cuts directly at Rome's inclusion of all sorts of impediments to the glorification of God alone. In particular, these days, the insertion of Marian dogma is so prevalent, and unchecked, by Rome, that the late John Paul II could canonize Maximillian Kolbe in 1982, a man who wrote,
Still, their union is so inexpressible, and so perfect that the Holy Spirit acts only by the Immaculata, his spouse. . . .The third Person of the Blessed Trinity never took flesh; still, our human word spouse is far too weak to express the reality of the relationship between the Immaculata and the Holy Spirit. We can affirm that she is, in a certain sense, the incarnation of the Holy Spirit.And,
The union between the Immaculata and the Holy Spirit is so inexpressible, yet so perfect, that the Holy Spirit acts only by the Most Blessed Virgin, his Spouse. This is why she is the mediatrix of all graces given by the Holy Spirit. And since every grace is a gift of God the Father through the Son and by the Holy Spirit, it follows that there is no grace which Mary cannot dispose of as her own, which is not given to her for this purpose.
Both citations are found in Mark Miravalle's Mary: Coredemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate, Queenship Publishing, 1993, 53-54. In any case, I wonder when Beckwith is going to deal directly with Rome's Marian dogmas? I haven't seen any evidence of it so far.
In a related development, Steve Ray posted a brief comment on his blog about what verses the Roman Catholic Church has defined "definitively." The fact that you can't even get a straight answer as to which verses have been infallibly interpreted should be kept in mind by every wide-eyed convert who is trotting happily toward Rome. But check out the listing he gives in the link in the blog article. Compare the "interpretation" provided with sound biblical exegesis as found in godly churches. The contrast is striking. But note as well the comment by one "Carlos" at the top of the combox:
You are starting from a scripture verse leading to defined dogma. IMHO, it would make more sense to start with the defined dogma and show what scripture verses supports it. One verse can support many teachings, and should not be limited.Talk about the very essence of eisegesis! Truly incredible. Let us be thankful we are not trapped in such a system as Rome, and let us pray for those who are. May they come to have the same confidence in Scripture illustrated by the Psalmist in Psalm 119.
That Group Picture I Promised You! And a Test
11/06/2007 - James WhiteFormal night is always fun on a cruise. Folks clean up pretty good! Here's most of our group, minus, sadly, Rich and his family (who got sent the wrong direction by someone on the ship's staff!). The sun was setting and coming through the huge windows at the back of the Mercury (it's a gorgeous dining room), so the colors are off a bit, but still, not too bad for a bunch of...Calvinists! We had a great time with the whole group, and look...we are multiplying! Children even! (Quick Update: Chris Bence sent me a much improved version of the picture, for which I'm thankful!)
A few folks have been asking about the next major event like this, and we are, in fact, in the planning stages. Just pray that we follow the Lord's leading and provide the most useful and beneficial conference and debate for Christ's people. That is always our goal: a time of great blessing that will have benefits for a long time here on earth, and, of course, likewise for eternity.
Some probably did not even notice it, but I inserted an Arabic term into my last blog article. Obviously, dealing with Islam and the Qur'an requires the use of Arabic just as I at times provide Greek and Hebrew terms as well. But getting these to display for folks isn't overly easy. We have linked to the BibleWorks fonts I use for those of you who read this blog regularly so that you can follow the use of those languages. Hopefully, we are utilizing the unicode settings of your browsers and systems, for so far, at least on Windows and Unix systems, the fonts have displayed properly. Here is another test, this time posting the words of Surah 112:
لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ
وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ
Do This in Remembrance of Me: Luke 22:19
11/06/2007 - James WhiteRecently Shabir Ally posted the following as part of his response to our debate in Seattle:
Did Jesus Really Say, “Do this in remembrance of me!”?
These words are attributed to Jesus in the Bible in Luke’s Gospel 22:19b-20: “Do this in remembrance of me!” In this way, we learn, Jesus instituted the regular observance of the Eucharist, the use of bread to symbolize the eating of Jesus’ flesh; and wine to symbolize the drinking of his blood. I pointed out in the debate that these words are missing from some very important early manuscripts, and for this reason many scholars deem it a later addition. Hence this cannot be taken as a reliable proof that Jesus said these words.
James seems to have forgotten what the point was. On DL he asserts that I reject these words simply because they disagree with Quranic teaching. He then uses this as a starting point to launch an attack on the prophet Muhammad. But I think it is important that we do not become side-tracked. These problems exist apart from Muhammad and the Quran. If I reject the words on the basis that they disagree with Islam, on what basis do many Christian scholars reject them? And on what basis were they removed from the 1952 edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible?
Last Thursday on the DL I mentioned that I wanted to listen to the recording of the debate to hear what Shabir had actually said at this point in the debate. My recollection was that he had said that "scholars feel this is a later addition," which I took to be an assertion of redaction criticism, i.e., a claim without documentary evidence to back it up. I did not recall Shabir saying "this is a textual variant in the Greek texts, and some reject the reading as it appears in the printed Greek texts." I would have immediately responded to that claim by grabbing my critical Greek text and checking the manuscript evidence. Though Rich hasn't been able to get me the audio of the debate quite yet (we are both digging out from under the backlog that develops when either of us is away from the office for any length of time at all), one of those in attendance had an mp3 recorder going. The sound is a little muffled and very bassy, but I believe this is an accurate transcription of the comment made by Shabir about 58 minutes into the debate:
But that saying in Luke's gospel where He says do this always in remembrance of me is thought by many scholars to be a later addition into the gospel according to Luke. And if it is a later addition into the gospel according to Luke, then we must ask, "Where did it come from?" It actually comes from one of the letters of Paul. Paul was the first person to have said this. And so you see where the inference (evidence?) is going. Paul say something, and now we are trying to put it into the gospel to make sure that in fact Jesus said it.
Now, Shabir Ally has a tendency to use the phrase "thought by many scholars" as a catch-phrase for almost anything he has found in his reading and research. So, he can say that "scholars" view the Gospel of Thomas as earlier than the Gospel of Mark, when, in fact, he is referring to a single scholar, a liberal professor at Boston College, who believes that certain sayings in Thomas predate Mark. The vast majority of scholarship sees Thomas, as a literary work, being much later than Mark, but, that one phrase "scholars think" or "scholars have discovered" can cover a whole lot of less-than-compelling documentation. Now normally when Shabir talks about "scholars" concluding that such-and-such a text is a "later addition" he is referring to the fact that some scholars treat the text of the NT as a jig-saw puzzle, freely deciding that any texts that do not fit into their own personal paradigm of what they think the early church would have written can be dismissed as a "later addition" without a scintilla of physical or even literary evidence. This is how I took his comments above, and since he never mentioned the key concept of "textual variant," I responded to that assertion. He did not point out that there is a textual variant in the manuscripts, so I can only reply to the assertions as they are made.
Surely, had Mr. Ally noted the textual variant, I would have gladly addressed the topic. As I mentioned on the DL, I would have jumped at the opportunity to address something that actually smacks of factuality, something you can dig your teeth into, rather than "Well, this one scholar has this theory, see, and based on this one person's theory, then, we can assume that this book went through this many permutations, though, of course, we don't have any evidence of this historically, but, still, this scholar had a paper published at a symposium for coming up with this theory, and so..." type of "scholarship." You eventually become tired of this scenario:
"Where does the NT teach this?So let us take a look at the assertion that Jesus never said "do this in remembrance of me," but that, instead, this is the creation of Paul.
"That passage was added later."
First, what would we have to believe for Mr. Ally's theory to hold true? Few have yet come to realize that the recent re-statement of what had been a historically understood reality--specifically, the presence of eyewitnesses in the Christian community for decades on end, and in a wider locality than just the environs of Jerusalem--by Richard Bauckham has a wide impact in the apologetic area as well. The theories that present the early church as a hive of redaction critics producing numerous "versions" of the stories of Jesus is simply naive, despite how often it is repeated in modern Western academia. Aside from the fact that the persecution of the early Christians hardly produces a context in which such editorial activity is a likelihood, the fact is that the core of Jesus' words was the common property of the entire community, and not just in one location, either. Just as the purposeful emendation of a written manuscript leaves evidence of when compared with other manuscripts, so too the redaction of the "oral tradition" of teaching that can be seen in Acts would produce conflict with the continuing ministry of eyewitnesses all through the apostolic period. The idea that someone could just come along and willy-nilly change the very substance of such things as the institution of the Lord's Supper flies in the face of the existence of this shared, core message, supported by multiple witnesses. It presents a mythical early church where there is no community, no shared confession of faith, and no one with the discernment to say, "Wait, that is not what we have believed, that is not what the apostles of Jesus taught."
So, to hold Shabir's view, we would have to once again accept the idea that the early followers of Jesus were so cowardly, so weak, so without commitment, that an evil, scheming Jewish rabbi named Saul could come along and completely destroy the nascent Christian movement. He could pervert it from its true Muslim nature to something completely different, so much so that Paul could lead literally billions astray, causing them to commit shirk, the very sin of idolatry! And that in the midst of this take-over, somehow Paul could alter the very words of Jesus Himself in the inauguration of the most primitive Christian celebration, the Eucharist, the Supper! Imagine that! And somehow, no one said a word about it. Or, at least, if they did, somehow Paul managed to suppress their words, too!
So we move from the highly speculative to the fact that there is, indeed, a textual issue to be addressed regarding Luke 22:19-20. And on the simple textual critical level, Shabir Ally is correct: there are scholars who would question the originality of the text due to "parallel corruption," i.e., the influence of 1 Corinthians 11:24-25. However, it should be immediately pointed out that the form of the text found in, say, the NA27 and in almost all English translations is that which is found in all Greek manuscripts (except D) and most of the ancient versions. In almost all instances this overwhelming manuscript concensus would be sufficient to conclude the issue. 19b-20 is missing primarily in Latin (i.e., Western) versions, and D is notorious as a Greek/Latin manuscript for having, to put it mildly, odd readings (its exemplars were obviously not exactly mainstream, and just how much one language influenced the other is obviously difficult to determine). But since Luke stands alone in providing the words "do this in remembrance of Me" in the Synoptics, focus has been put upon this text. However, I think it is important to note that the only clear relevance to our debate was with reference to the phrase "do this in remembrance of Me." In fact, look at the parallel texts in Matthew and Mark:
Matthew 26:26-29 While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." 27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. 29 "But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom."
Mark 14:22-25 While they were eating, He took some bread, and after a blessing He broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is My body." 23 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And He said to them, "This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 "Truly I say to you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."It is very, very obvious that this is sacrificial language, the very language that Shabir Ally has to cast back upon the Apostle Paul, asserting that even a source as early as Mark is in fact corrupted by Paul's influence. So if that is his explanation for this sacrificial language in Matthew and Mark, why even bother trying to make the case that the phrase tou/to poiei/te eivj th.n evmh.n avna,mnhsinÅ ("this do in remembrance of Me") is based upon Paul? Isn't all of the sacrificial language due to Paul in the first place, according to his theory? Why even focus upon this singular phrase? What is its over-all relevance, given that in reality, what Shabir needs to do is prove his allegation of gross corruption on Paul's part, and the complicit acceptance of Paul's authority by Matthew, Mark, and Luke?
To the right I have reproduced the text of Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis, i.e., Codex D, the only Greek manuscript lacking the reference to doing remembrance of Christ in Luke 22. This image is taken from Scrivener's transcription of the manuscript. My translation of the relevant portion follows:
And when He had taken bread and given thanks He broke it and gave it to them saying, "This is My body. But behold the hand of the one betraying Me is upon the table."Now, what is odd is that the text as it stands in D is very awkward. Plh.n ivdou., where D picks up again in line with the rest of the Greek manuscript tradition, simply doesn't fit where it stands in D without the preceding text to give it context. Even in English translation the break between "This is My body" and "But behold..." is jarring. When a single manuscript goes out on its own like this, it is far more likely it is either a glaring scribal omission, or, it is being influenced by something else (in this case, the Latin text). Further it is not simply the phrase tou/to poiei/te eivj th.n evmh.n avna,mnhsinÅ ("this do in remembrance of Me") that is omitted in D and the Latin families, and the rest of what is missing has parallel in Matthew and Mark; that is, it is not merely from Paul in 1 Corinthians 11. So while the possibility of parallel corruption must be kept in mind and examined, the fact that D's break includes material not found in Paul alone has to be acknowledged as well.
So what was Mr. Ally's point? He insisted that the first person to say the words "Do this in remembrance of Me" was Paul. The context would then be, "not Jesus." Assumption? Paul is an innovator, an evil corrupter of the truth about Jesus. Yes, I know, Mr. Ally may wish to be less strident in his terminology than, say, an Ali Ataie would be, but let's face the facts. If Paul is putting words in Jesus' mouth that from the Islamic perspective spawn idolatry (شرك, shirk) and cause people to move away from the true worship of Allah, how can Paul be described as anything other than evil? So, if something is found in the New Testament, and it can in any way be connected to Paul, Mr. Ally's perspective is that it must be rejected. Given that he acknowledges Paul's writings to be the earliest in the NT, then it follows that anything he finds in the NT that contradicts his Islamic beliefs can be traced back to Paul and thereby rejected. It is any wonder, then, that he concludes that the only things in the NT that are still inspired are those that agree with Islam? And does it not follow inevitably then that he will interpret the NT in the most contradictory, fragmentary way, again because of Islamic Anachronistic Eisegesis, reading the NT through the lens of the Qur'an? This is surely the case.
The fact of the matter is that there is every reason to see that in Paul's letter to the Corinthians he is, in fact, passing on to them what had been passed on to him in his instruction by the early days of his conversion and in his visitation with Peter and the Apostles in Jerusalem. Just as Paul did not "invent" the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1-5), but was passing on the most primitive core of the Christian gospel which preceded him in the faith and which was the common possession of all believers, so too he was simply passing on that which had been entrusted to him (VEgw. ga.r pare,labon avpo. tou/ kuri,ou( o] kai. pare,dwka u`mi/n( "for I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you" may mean this was part of a divine revelation, but could just as easily mean that he received this tradition "from the Lord," i.e., it had its origin in the Lord's words, but without precluding the mechanism of it being passed on to him from the Apostles) and which was likewise the common possession of the faithful. Once the assumption is made that we are free to chop the NT text up in any way we see fit to make it amenable to our pet theories, the sky is the limit (as modern scholarly writings demonstrate). But let it not be forgotten that one does not have to buy into such flights of fancy. One can maintain one's intellectual integrity and continue to treat the ancient texts with the respect that is due to them.