Saturday, April 30, 2011

God's Word is not open to changing by leaving out Son of God

If you read Christianity Today back on Feb 2011 you would have noticed an article called The Son and the Crescent. It dealt with a new translation that would make it easier to reach Muslims with the gospel since they have an aversion to understanding Jesus as the Son of God. The major reason Muslims find it offensive the article claimed is that it suggested that God had sexual relations with Mary. To say that in Arabic the word ibn "son of", carries biological connotations is really just to point out the inadequacies and frustrations from limitations in translating to other languages, which in the end need to be corrected in teaching what that particular phrase means. We do the same with the English translations using the word love from the Greek which can mean agape, phileo, eros and storge.

Furthermore, this is a poor reason I believe to change Son of God to "the beloved Son who comes ( originates ) from God." It creates more problems in regard to truth than it solves in regard to correcting an error of perception by some Muslims.

We could ask what is meant biblically by originates, as in one sense all Creation originates from God as He made it. As to the lesser word "comes", well Angels also come from God, in that they are sent.

Worse in my mind is that the originators of this bible are in fact adding to by subtracting from God's Word. It is not merely a translation issue as replacing the English word charity with the English word love as being more accurate, as some would want to claim. This is to translate a phrase "Son of God" as something else. It it to replace a Title with a description of an event! and that changes meaning.

It effects our whole doctrinal, that is biblical teaching about the Christ. Apart from it's subtle impact on the doctrine of Trinity, it implodes real sonship. Jesus alone, as the early church recognised is truly Son of God, we can only call God Father in that we are adopted through Christ! And that is why giving the sense of Scripture is a required job of the preacher.

And this understanding of the sonship of Jesus the Christ, is no where made more explicit than in Gal 4:4, but then you must read the whole of it's context there to feel its force. Whereas no one elses sonship could achieve anything, it was the Son of God who alone wrought redemption. In the end, that fact is offensive to Muslims just as it is offensive to unbelievers in general who are in rebellion against the Lord God. That reality is offensive to any religious person because they are in need of redemption and it cannot be a work of themselves for they are dead in their sin!

Many years ago I had a friend who was a convert from Islam to Christianity and who "evangelised" in a Muslim country where his life was on the line continually. But the religious and political leaders often would invite him to explain this Christianity to them. He never once watered down what Scripture taught and his hearers were able to discern the sense in which Scripture laid out Truth, and they didn't refuse to countenance what was said because of their preconceptions. Some of them were even converted by the Spirit of God.

Lastly, we must ask a serious question, quite apart from adding to or subtracting from the Word of God which is serious enough by itself, and that question is will we then water down for all to whom the word of God is offensive? Will we suddenly say leave out the bit about gluttons and adulterers and homosexuals not entering the Kingdom of God?

Friends, Wake up. It is God who transforms people and brings them into His Kingdom. It is the Word of God which is a powerful sword. It is not our wise words or worldly wisdom but God alone who must be set apart as Lord in all our endeavours.

In Christ,

No comments: