Steve Camp James R. White I’ve listened and watched both videos of this IFD with you and Qadhi three times each. Have watched other debates you’ve done with other Muslims as well as listened to your rebuttals on the Dividing Line. I always do my homework.
Then I hope you won’t mind my holding you to the standard that would come from having reviewed all of that information multiple times.
In the aftermath of this, you have taken on a victim mentality rather than being humble, contrite and teachable – which we are all called to be as Christians and certainly as pastors. Predictably, you’ve acquired this victim characteristic from Islam. Circling the wagons to protect your hurt feelings and jaded ego is not a spiritual gift.
To adopt a victim mentality (as Brannon Howse has actually done) requires the demonstration of some wrong on my part, and thus far, the arguments offered, including yours, have been self-refuting, inconsistent, and marked by shallow and even at times mind-boggling eisegesis. The initial attacks included vile materials from Robert Morey and Sam Shamoun—perhaps you refer to my responses to those personal and nasty attacks? But the initial attack, launched by Brannon Howse with guests like Usama Dakdok, were likewise insult-filled invectives produced by people who had manifestly NOT done their homework. So I reject your broad-brushed characterization of my response as one of adopting “victimhood,” and the assertion that I have “acquired this victim characteristic from Islam” is one of the most absurd things I have ever read coming from your keyboard, Steve. There is FAR more evidence in your own timeline that you have adopted a politically oriented Christianity than there is that I have adopted anything from Islam. Since you “do your homework,” you would know my time these days is not actually spent focused upon Islam at all. My time is strained to the breaking point, stretched between my role as a full time PhD student in textual criticism, and my many speaking duties over the next number of months on the Reformation, and in particular, on Luther, including preparation for preaching in the Castle Church in Wittenberg. So your assertion that I have “acquired” anything from Islam is absurd on its face, and shameful at its best.
With that said… part of the issue here James is methodological and part is theological.
Methodological: you thinking it helpful to partner with an Imam like Yasir Qadhi in a two night IFD whom you call your “mentor” is foreign from Scripture.
I’m sorry the term “mentor” bothers you—of course, I gave a clear context to the term that you, and the rest of my critics, ignore. I have learned much from YQ’s lectures. Who have you learned from in your studies of Islam, Steve? I’ve also learned from scholars like Hamza Yusuf. I could start to list those scholars in Mormonism I have learned from—Roman Catholicism as well. How about you? See, I recognize that to have accurate knowledge of those fields to which I address myself I need to study not just second hand sources, but primary sources. So as I pointed out in my response to your earlier sarcastic remarks, you seem to think that this is unnecessary and in fact unbiblical. Evidently first-source study and scholarship is foreign to your view of ministry and apologetics. I note this seems to be a new perspective of yours—you did not hold these views only a few years ago. Be that as it may, I pointed out that your “you don’t need to study these religions to proclaim the gospel to them” has a small element of truth with a large element of foolishness mixed in. God can use any simple Christian if that is what He chooses to do. But our goal should be to glorify Him in all things, which is why every seminary I know of includes training in the indigenous culture AND religion of any area to which a missionary is being sent. If you send someone to plant a church in southern Utah simple godly and biblical wisdom will demand that such a person be very, very well trained in not only official LDS teaching, but in the cultural Mormonism that predominates in such areas. And, of course, such individuals will LONG for opportunities to engage those in that area in dialogue and yes, friendship and conversation, so as to begin to open the doors necessary to *communicating* the gospel to those who have a false hope and a false faith. Overcoming the language barrier is vital, and your simplistic “proclaim, leave” mindset leaves those barriers fully intact.
As you well know, Steve, Paul utilized the very language of the gnostics to refute them in Colossians—as John did as well in 1 John. How did they learn these terms, and their usage in these religious systems? Go to the local Christian bookstore to read a second hand book on the topic? That of course begs the question, for someone, at some point, has to do first-level interaction. But the point is clear: this naive idea it is wrong to learn from someone else so as to be able to engage that person, and their community, with God-honoring accuracy and in-depth scriptural argumentation is disastrous and foolish.
Paul’s warning, “bad company corrupts good morals.” His longstanding jihadist ties to terrorist organizations and radicalized individuals is indisputable and lacks biblical discernment on your part. Inter Religious Dialogue in any venue is not biblically encouraged, commanded, condoned or sanctioned.
You simply MUST be kidding me. Eisegesis on steroids! I suppose Paul was violating his own words when he kept company with the philosophers in Athens, or engaged in public disputation with regularity in Ephesus? 1 Corinthians 15:33 is about not associating with people who would “eat, drink and be merry,” but that instead we should be sober minded, etc. Attempting to connect such phraseology with spending time seriously interacting with a Muslim scholar in public so that people on both sides can then pick up the conversation amongst themselves (which is exactly what happened, and continues to happen, despite the best efforts of those who want to keep it from happening) is an astounding example of abusing the text, Steve.
Next, the willingness of people to accept any kind of “guilt by association” argument as long as the victim is a Muslim is disgusting to me, especially when so many of us (yourself included) have been the victims of similar kinds of smears. But let’s say for the sake of argument that everything they say about YQ’s associations is true. What does that prove? That he’s…a consistent, believing Muslim, which, as you will recall, since you watched the dialogues three times and each time very fairly and honestly I’m sure, is exactly what I said in the first three minutes of the introduction from the first night. I must have missed the memo, Steve, but when did the gospel become something you only explain to people who look like you and have the same political views? Isn’t the gospel for ISIS, too? I thought you were the guy who got beat up for witnessing to homosexuals—I guess you are rethinking that now that we have to run folks through a filter to see if they “fit” well enough to be in our lives? Can you explain what kind of “biblical discernment” I am lacking to actually speak to people of different faiths? Where do you get a biblical basis to say, “Oh, James, you should only talk to Muslims who are not really Muslims but are more like us ‘Mericans!” YQ is a Muslim scholar with a large following and a large impact in the United States and abroad. Hence, when he and I talk, the resultant discussion will be useful to both Christians and Muslims in the United States and in all English speaking locales. What on earth do his political views have to do with it? I am not his apologist nor he mine: we honestly acknowledge our differences, we simply insist that those differences do not require us to speak or act in enmity toward the other.
Finally, you make the broad yet unsubstantiated claim that ANY kind of IFD is unbiblical and unsanctioned. Really? You do realize that every witnessing encounter between a Christian and a person of another faith is an IFD, right? Every debate I’ve ever done (you used to attend those, remember?) is an IFD. Now, if you want to say, “Oh, I don’t mean those,” then you are admitting that you are using the phrase in an ambiguous fashion, as most of my critics are these days. It is very convenient to refer to an “interfaith dialogue” because we all know of liberal, ecumenical, compromising activities that go by that name. However, as you well know, having watched the dialogues yourself, multiple times, with great fairness and care, that both YQ and I decried, rejected, and eschewed exactly that kind of activity. So to address what we did you would have to make proper differentiations and say, “Well, there is never a place for learning, there is never a place for explanation, it all has to be proclamation or refutation, never anything else.” Good luck on that. Let’s consider some relevant texts.
Acts 17:17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.
So Paul’s “reasoning” (διελέγετο) took place in different locations (synagogue, market place). When he reasoned with Jews, do you think he refused to let them state their views? How about the devout persons (God-fearers)? And in the marketplace “with those who happened to be there,” do you think Paul listened to them, or just said, “No, sorry, I will not hear what you have to say—I am only here to tell you what to do!”? That hardly fits the meaning of “reasoning” does it? Can we agree there would have to be give and take? And do you think there were people of many religious faiths in the marketplace? The next verse specifically mentions Epicureans and Stoics, so that marketplace was a veritable smorgasbord of religious and philosophical views. And Paul reasoned with them. He didn’t tell them to shut up and just listen, he reasoned with them. That involves allowing them to state their views, explain their position, interact. In case you haven’t noticed, Steve, most people do not like it when you simply come in and say, “Hey everyone, I know the truth, you don’t, shut up and listen.” I’ve found the truth of the gospel shines the most brightly against the backdrop of error, so having the opportunity of hearing someone out and then saying, “OK, I understand your views, but let me respond now” is a great thing. Happens every day, all over.
“And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.” (Acts 18:4)
Here we have the conjunction of two terms, “reasoning” and “persuading.” Look them up, Steve—both individually, and even more so together, refer to a give and take process, a dialogue, a discussion. I am sure the Jews would raise texts of Scripture in opposition to Paul. He did not simply walk away, he interacted, listened, responded. Persuasion absolutely demands interaction.
“And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus.” (Acts 19:8–9)
This idea of dialogue, reasoning, seemed to be common place for the Apostle Paul, whether it was in the synagogue or, upon expulsion therefrom, a “worldly” location. And again, once outside the synagogue, the breadth of viewpoints would expand greatly, and yet Paul is still “reasoning.” And note the disciples are present, hence, the reasoning with unbelievers (including believers with pre-existing faith structures) is done in their presence. This is, in fact, part of the means of training and teaching for the Apostle. No hiding the new disciples from those who would challenge their new found faith. The Gospel is sufficient.
So here are a few texts that give apostolic example. Were any of these with Muslims? Of course not, but then again, almost no religions are specifically named in the New Testament. So we must take apostolic example and make application as the gospel progresses throughout the world.
When we come to 2017 America, the church as a whole has done very, very little to reach the Islamic community that lives amongst us. What often is done is meant to offend and repel rather than to communicate and win. We happen to have the one power in all the world that can bring peace, and instead we have given in to fear-mongers to tell us to only talk to “nice Muslims” and then only long enough to hand them a tract and then run since, well, as you yourself said, Steve, “bad company corrupts good morals,” right?
Theological: and this is utterly critical. You invite a man who is a false teacher representing the violent religion of Islam to spew out his irreverent babble about the Lord Jesus Christ,
Or, the truthful version would be, “You invite a man who is a scholar of another religion (false teachers, such as in Galatians, Steve, are ψευδαδέλφοι , false brethren—i.e., they claim to be Christians, something YQ does not do) to accurately explain his views so that they can be accurately understood so that Christians can communicate with him, and even more so, those who believe like him.” Your wild-eyed version is so shrill, so without the slightest hint of fairness, that it is stunning. It reminds me, quite honestly, of the rhetoric of the 2016 campaign for the Presidency, and that kind of rhetoric has no place in a discussion about the gospel.
to partner with you for two nights of dialogue in the hope of finding common ground, congeniality and to show we can all get along. And this was done at the expense of biblical truth – the once for all delivered to the saints faith.
And here you said you had watched the dialogues three times! Fascinating how you could have missed what we so when you listened three times, Steve! Common ground? We specifically DENIED the idea. We know there is no common (theological) ground. We know that we have agreements and disagreements, but we know that there is no “common ground” as long as the Muslims reject the lordship of Christ and Christians reject the prophethood of Muhammad. There can be no compromise, no synthesis. In fact, our conversation was based upon that reality, with the added question, “OK, what now? How do we live together in the same community?” Evidently you don’t seem to think that part of the conversation helpful. Maybe you don’t recognize that their community honestly expects something to happen such as what happened to the Japanese at the beginning of WWII, and hence are living in fear. Fear is not a great context for gospel proclamation and interaction, and they surely don’t see almost any Christians (who actually have a theological backbone—they can tell the difference) who care one wit about them or their situation. So yeah, this mercy and grace thing does prompt me to consider the fear a Muslim man has for his wife going out in public and being berated by red-necks cussing her out and telling her to “go back to where you came from” and how that might just become a stumbling block to any meaningful witness to him (or her). And no, Steve, I don’t see almost any concern on the part of my critics, including you, about such things. I see a lot of politics, making America great again, building walls and the like—but I see very little interest in breaking down walls of prejudice and fear and misunderstanding in confidence that what we have to give to the Muslims is the greatest thing in all the world.
As to “getting along,” I guess you missed that really important part where we talked about what we most wanted for the other side, you know, where I talked about my desire for YQ to come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, to bow the knee to Him, and how we as Christians always must make sure that is understood as our a priori commitment? You must have had a really bad recording or something to keep missing the most important parts!
At the expense of the gospel, you say. You mean the gospel that was explained to the Muslims in the mosque in a way that they could actually understand, with contrasts to their own Hadith and the like included, to clarify important points about justice and the necessity of atonement? The parts where I pointed to further discussions that need to be had about those very topics, which actually led to later conversations on those very issues? That gospel? The one that was explained in a mosque and is being shown on YQ’s YouTube channel to Muslims all around the world? That one, Steve? To say that I reject your false and evil accusation is about the greatest understatement I can make.
What’s even worse though Jim are three key things:
1. You never once shared the complete gospel with him and the other Muslims gathered. Not once. I.e. You left out the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus from the dead. Never explained! Coward.
I shall allow your “coward” insult to speak for itself as to your spiritual and emotional state.
The only way to criticize the event is to isolate it—isolate it from my entire body of work (which includes numerous defenses of the resurrection in the Islamic context) and isolate it from the full-orbed gospel presentation that any Muslim who follows up in looking at what A&O is saying would see. The questions that were asked were on the primary area of disagreement with the Qur’an: Surah 4:157 and the denial of the crucifixion. If there was no crucifixion, there was no resurrection, obviously. Hence, first things first. Once again, this was a dialogue, not a debate. Any such encounter, including any personal witnessing encounter, could be criticized for not covering everything that could be covered. Every Muslim there, including Dr. Qadhi, knows I believe Jesus rose from the dead. That isn’t the issue: for them, why do I believe Allah would allow such a godly prophet to die in such a horrific fashion? That we addressed directly.
2. You never corrected him or rebuked him – called him to repentance when he shared his blasphemous irreverent slanderous words regarding the nature, person, character and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. You were silent. Shameful.
It’s called a dialogue, Steve. He presented his views, I presented mine, and I never once compromised on what I believed. When he asked me why Jesus had to die, I explained. When he asked about the Trinity, I explained. And unlike you, I explained in language that would be particularly useful to the Muslim mind (something you can’t understand if you don’t actually listen to them and have some level of concern to grasp their actual objections and perspectives). Do you think any of Paul’s dialogues in the marketplace lasted more than ten minutes, since as soon as someone he was talking to said something theologically in error Paul struck them blind or something?
And 3. You recommended to him, you did this, to produce a one hour YouTube video regarding the error of Islam, so that it could be distributed to people “in your community” meaning, other evangelicals / believers in the Lord. Are you insane?
Again, I will allow your speech to speak for itself.
Those who watched with some level of honesty will know what I asked him to do: to produce a video explaining from Islamic sources his basis for identifying ISIS and terrorism as a violation of fiq and historic jurisprudence. This would be a valuable resource to counter-act the ISIS claim that they, and they alone, represent “true” Islam. Now, I am sure you are unaware of it, but your ignorance of this topic, joined with your blind zealotry and obvious anger, makes you, Steve, the “useful idiot” of….ISIS and groups like it. Your willingness to say that ISIS is THE true Islam plays directly into their recruiting efforts, did you know that? Ignoring the history of Islamic jurisprudence and development over time, as common and easy as it is, is actually dangerous. So yes, Steve, I think it is good to encourage Muslims who are willing to stand up against ISIS to explain with much greater clarity why they do so. Why any sane person would object to that, I have no earthly idea.
You honestly think Christians need to be exposed to QADHI’s twisted knowledge about a false god, a perverted prophet and a satanically inspired document to do evangelism to Muslims?
Once again your language betrays your utter unwillingness (or incapacity) to honestly evaluate what was right before your eyes. I did not ask him to produce a video about Allah for Christians. I did not ask him to do a video about Muhammad for Christians. I said it would be useful to produce a video demonstrating clearly why ISIS is in violation of historic Islamic jurisprudence. An honest man will respond to that, not twist it as you are doing. I ask you to look into your heart and ask yourself, “Why am I speaking like this? Why am I twisting things that I have claimed I watched? Why am I being so dishonest? What has become my priority?”
This man is not brilliant Jim, he is lost, under the control of the devil, with a reprobate mind. And you’re captivated with him…
The first person who would chuckle at your ridiculous characterization would be…Yasir Qadhi. Unlike you, he well knows my desire to see him bow the knee to Jesus. But sadly, if he should ever seek to gain knowledge of the true Jesus (and I pray regularly that he will—I really doubt you do, Steve, given your obviously imbalanced language and rhetoric in this post), he will only have a few people to turn to. It will not be the “Christians” who sell fear and $99 terrorist survival kits. It will not be the Christians in Memphis who, though nice to him, really have no theology (liberals). It will not be the Christians who threaten his children at school, or intimidate his wife while she is out shopping, with either the mere look of disdain, or the shouted “go back to where you came from!” It will be the Christians who have actually earned a right to be heard, who have lived the life of Christ, extended the hand of friendship, cared and planted and watered with patience and long-suffering. There aren’t many of those folks around, but thankfully, there are some. I want to be counted amongst them. I’m sad I cannot count you amongst them, if this wild-eyed post is a true indication of what you have become and how you now view the gospel ministry.
I suggest Jim that you spend less time studying Islam and the Qur’an and more time studying God’s Word again! The one word that describes this skewed path you’ve chosen is Ichabod – the glory of God has departed!
Having demonstrated the emptiness of your personal attacks, dishonest misrepresentations of what took place, and having provided biblical correction of your errors and eisegesis, I will allow your comments to collapse under their own weight.
Oh for the courage of a John Knox, a Luther, a Calvin, a Spurgeon, a Jeremiah, a Elijah, a Paul, a John the Baptist to burn in the hearts of men of God once again! To burn in your heart once again.
When you stand in front of a majority Muslim audience in a South African mosque and earnestly call them to Jesus Christ, having gained a hearing because you have shown them the respect to learn their beliefs and then uncompromisingly pointed out their errors, you can talk to me then, Steve. It’s nice and cozy there in Florida as you spend your days posting political stuff on Twitter and Facebook. Real easy to talk about Knox and Luther and Calvin when you are not facing the kind of challenges and dangers they did. Real easy indeed.
And how does this cozy, warm fuzzy two night IFD end? By you having a cute little bowtie tying session with Qadhi. So embarrassing!
Yeah, it’s terrible, isn’t it? The Muslims in the audience loved seeing their Imam with a bowtie—ended the evening with an ice-breaking, personal touch that led to the great discussions afterward. I know, you weren’t there, and seemingly, do not care one wit about those open doors, the relationships started, any of that. But, God was there, He knows, and that is all that matters. Let the ignorant rage. Remember, Steve…we have an audience of one. You seem to have forgotten that.
You got played man! I never thought I’d say it about you… but you got played – big time! How tragic one of the great voices in apologetics the church has had has now been coopted by an Islam Imam. Proof? You rebuke James Simpson, but share laughter with and give praise to a Muslim Jihadist!
Yasir Qadhi has never lied about me. James Simpson did. He never contacted me. He wrote a hit piece. I’ve torn it up, documented that he didn’t care to do any research. No one will touch those facts, and you won’t either, since they are indefensible.
My older brother Norm (now with the Lord) who spoke fluent Arabic, ministered to the Muslims faithfully as a missionary in Beirut, Lebanon and Amman, Jordan for many years. He led some to Christ but also saw some executed for their faith in Jesus for turning their backs on all Islam offered. He would be utterly ashamed of you for all this… as I am.
And I’m sure he approached those folks in Lebanon with 4 Spiritual Laws tracts and stood on street corners rebuking Muslims. No, he didn’t. Don’t bring in testimony from the dead as if you speak for them. I have spoken to actual living missionaries and workers in the field in Islamic countries, and they were deeply encouraged by the event. Shame on you for such rhetoric.
Repent Jim! Repent! Turn from your sin in all this and be unashamed to proclaim the whole gospel once again. Find your ecclesiastical’s man. I think Qadhi took them from you on the very first night.
Your words are disgusting, Steve. You are speaking as a political zealot, trained in the presidential election of 2015-2016, not as a minister of the gospel. It is shameful. Your incapacity in dealing with the text of Scripture is plainly seen here, and your lack of self control has likewise been exhibited repeatedly. It is once again in your misuse of 2 Corinthians 6:14-16:
“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-16
What a heartbreak! I weep for you!
To be honest, Steve, I doubt you do. Your words are not those of someone who is weeping. Tears bring honesty, not twisting of the facts and what actually happened, let alone twisting of the Scriptures. Paul would be shocked at your application of this text to an honest dialogue wherein both sides did no compromise, and anyone reading your words today should be as well. There was no yoking in the context of which Paul was speaking, and it is dishonest on a breathtaking level to say there was. You, and your fellow critics, have demonstrated an incredible incapacity to mount a serious exegetical position, no matter how much verbiage you attach to the attempt.