Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
A Brief Response to Jalal Abualrub
04/14/2008 - James WhiteAs I got into my office this morning after the events of the weekend I found that Jalal Abualrub had posted this article on his website. I have a class to teach in a few hours, so I have little time, but I wanted to comment on his claims as quickly as possible:
Mr White said last night that the Holy Spirit is within him. I challenge him to post the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, not only segments that make him look good as he already did. The Holy Spirit is about Truth, let us not disappont (sic) him, especially since the Holy Spirit is not within any human. I will post the entire debates for free, whole and entire!I believe Jalal is confusing me with David Wood, but that doesn't matter much. What I posted was from my Casio camera, taken by my good friend Beau Boyd from the front row. I do not have the video tapes of the debate to post. I do not know what is meant by "not only segments that make him look good." YouTube videos are limited, at least for us small folks, to 10 minutes and 59 seconds. I posted a quick clip, along with a transcription, before I left California (the transcription was necessary because Jalal's accent is causing a number of folks to comment that they cannot understand what he is saying). Last evening I grabbed two more sections, one of Jalal alone (is posting him speaking alone supposed to make me look good?) and one of me alone. These are meant to be nothing more than representative portions to give folks an idea of what took place, and to excite them about obtaining the video when it becomes available. I resent the insinuation on his part that there is something dishonest in posting these clips and even transcribing his own words so that people can hear what he actually said!
Next, Jalal Abualrub's published claims in his own books were refuted in my opening statements. Amazingly, in a scholarly debate, my opponent admitted he could not back up his statements, but that he would in ten days on his website! I'm sorry, but since the claims I demolished were in his own published works, why on earth would he need ten days to gather some kind of support? Didn't he have that support when he put the claims in print? The fact is that 1) he put in print his ignorance of the Greek article and the proper translation of anarthrous pre-verbal predicate nominatives; 2) he put in print his ignorance of meaningful modern Greek lexical resources and the proper translation of the term monogenes; 3) he put in print his ignorance of history relating to Constantine and the Council of Nicea (please compare his comments with my article on the subject, found here). He did this before we ever corresponded for the first time, before we ever met. I did not force him to do these things, I simply exposed them for the errors they are. I invite Jalal Abualrub to remove these errors from the next printings of his books (with appropriate footnoting).
Jalal says he will post the "encyclopedia" references he used. Wonderful. He has missed the point. The Encyclopedia Britannica is not a proper scholarly source. When you are in a debate, you cite your sources so that they can be examined. He did not do so. If he had, I would have been able to point out that, for example, many of his citations are in reference to the creedal formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity, not to the biblical basis thereof. The fact is, Jalal Abualrub simply does not know what he is talking about on these matters, is very confused, and, evidently, intends to remain in his state of ignorance, for he has refused numerous attempts, not only by me, but by others, to correct his misapprehensions.
Finally, Jalal Abualrub points out that I did not promise to provide some kind of list of resources as he did. He is correct. I did not. I do not have to. I actually supported by points in appropriate scholarly fashion in the debate. I showed respect for the audience in so doing. I said in my opening statement that if my opponent wished to dispute any element of the text of the New Testament that I had cited, I had the critical editions of the Greek and Hebrew texts sitting on my desk. If he wishes to dispute the translations I provided, then his time to do so was Saturday evening during the debate. That's what scholarly debates are about. I brought my scholarship. I leave it to the viewer to decide if Jalal brought his.
Finally, I found this statement odd: "Next time, the topics will not be as general. Next time, I will have a bigger say what the topic and format is." I was not involved in setting up these debates. I would rather have cross examination myself, for example. But I was invited to participate in this debate only after problems developed in it. This came out frequently during Jalal's presentation, primarily in the debate with me, where he would make reference to "the man I was supposed to debate." Well, that man was Sam Shamoun. [It was hard not to chuckle, to be honest, each time he decided to go off after Sam instead of responding to the mountain of unrefuted facts I had presented in my opening statement, not only because it was painfully obvious he could not address my presentation in any meaningful fashion, but because Sam was sitting less than 60 feet from Jalal the entire time.] There would have been plenty of opportunity for Jalal Abualrub to narrow the focus, had he chosen to do so. I have no idea why "Was Muhammad a Prophet?" or "Does the Bible Teach the Deity of Christ?" are too broad.
I am happy Jalal believes things went well. At least, I assume that is what "I think that I can benefit Islam some more through more debates" means. I would be happy to debate Jalal Abualrub on Surah 4:157 and the Qur'an's denial of the crucifixion. I would really enjoy challenging his rather, shall I say, "extended" translation, or interpretation, of the Arabic phrase شُبِّهَ لَهُمْ. I just hope that in any future debates, he brings his evidence with him in the first place, rather than referring the audience to his website ten days in the future.