APOLOGIAreport

> trac ki n g s p i r i t u a l t r e n d s i n t h e 2 1s t ce n t u r y
V O L U M E 1 8 : 4 3 ( 1,1 7 9 ) / N O V E M B E R 2 7 , 2 0 1 3

In this issue:
I  SLAM - to leave or stay, separate or

accommodate?

N  EW TESTAMENT RELIABILITY - a

background research summary

Publisher: Apologia • www.apologia.org Contact: ar.feedback(at)apologia.org Post Office Box 7112 Pueblo, CO 81007 Phone: (719) 225-3467 Editor: Rich Poll Contributing Editor: Paul Carden
Copyright ©2013 by Apologia. All rights reserved. Apologia (the biblical Greek word for “defense”) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the proclamation and defense of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Apologia’s mission is to equip the body of Christ for spiritual discernment by providing timely, accurate religious research information within the field of Christian apologetics and to advance apologetics in Christian missions. Apologia Report surveys widely to identify the most valuable resources for its readers as they encounter competing worldviews. Since 1997, AR has been published roughly 44 times each year via e-mail. The archiving of Apologia Report (in whole or in part) is permitted for the private use of its subscribers alone. This data file is the sole property of Apologia. It may not be used without the permission of Apologia for resale or the enhancement of any other product. In citations, please give the following source credit: “Copyright ©2013, Apologia (apologia.org)”

ISLAM The latest issue of the journal Evangelical Review of Theology (37:4 - 2013) has Christian “insider movements” within Islam as its theme. Defining “insider movement” can be a challenge, but Wikipedia helpfully calls it “a term used in the field of missiology to describe a group or network of people from a non-Christian religion who have embraced the life and teaching of Jesus Christ as described in the Bible, while remaining relationally, culturally and socially a part of the religious community of their birth.” L.D. Waterman (the pen name of a longtime worker with the Pioneers missions agency) gives an overview of issues related to Muslim conversions to Christianity and the development of insider movements, in “Insider Movements: Current Issues in Discussion” (pp292-307). He describes the ongoing “debate about the appropriate limits and dynamics of contextualization among Muslims,” and explores “culturally appropriate” behavior for Christian believers who want to “remain inside their socioreligious communities.” While describing the complexities involved, Waterman acknowledges that “there is a vast divide between those who [accept the inevitability of syncretism] and those who consider syncretism an avoidable evil to be fought against.” “Current issues in the insider movement discussion” that he reviews include: • “Is the Allah of the Qur’an the same as the Father of the biblical Jesus? • “What is an appropriate role for non-Muslim-background people in contextualization for Muslims? • “What identity is appropriate for a Muslim-background disciple of Jesus? • “What are appropriate translations of some key biblical terms in Muslim idiom translations? • “Are there some Islamic practices that every follower of Jesus should forsake? • “What are appropriate ways for Muslim-background believers to view and talk about Muhammad? • “What about the impact of Greek (Western) worldview?

• “What are appropriate biblical relationships?” — e.g., timing in regard to church attendance, lifestyle, alienation, and/or dislocation. Waterman’s conclusion notes that amidst an accelerating harvest, “behind the IM debates are thousands of God’s children with a variety of approaches, each passionate about seeing the glory of Christ made known in the Muslim world.”2 Now entering the insider-movement debate is Half-Devil, Half-Child — a critical new documentary that “brings the impact of [the insider] approach onto the screen and into our lives, illustrating the ways in which we engineer solutions that we believe will build the Kingdom of God. Solutions that, despite our best intentions, lead to unintended consequences.” The press kit explains: “Western missionaries are encouraging new believers [in Muslim cultures] to keep their faith ‘inside.’ Baptized Christians are going back to the Imams and back to the mosques. Rather than identifying themselves as Christians, they are calling themselves Isai or ‘Jesus’ Muslims. Bibles are being produced that are omitting references to God as Father and to Jesus Christ as the Son of God. It is an idea that turns the gospel upside down, reversing what the Bible means when it calls people to turn to Christ and out of darkness and into the light.” Watch the trailer and access background papers on the insider controversy at <www.halfdevilhalfchild.com>. NEW TESTAMENT RELIABILITY The Early Text of the New Testament, Charles E. Hill and Michael J. Kruger, eds.1 — “The first major section concerns the textual and scribal culture of early Christianity. Harry Gamble (‘The Book Trade in the Roman Empire’) describes the dissemination of books in Roman culture through the book trade and among literary elites. He notes that, while Christian texts were subject to similar mechanisms, Christian groups did not consist of cultivated literary circles, and as a marginal group their literature had no appeal to the wider book
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facebook.ow. 2 0 1 3 Michael F.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society.tinyurl. while the evidence is often meager and always complex. pp617-619. the NT text was transmitted with a large degree of textual stability in several quarters.com/archive-apologia Follow Us on Facebook: www. Christian reading culture was enfranchising in producing materials that were deliberately easier to use and distinctly Christian. where writing materials were ornate and deliberately difficult to use.<www. “sacred names”]. but it is an invaluable resource for documenting the state of research about the text of the NT before the major fourth-century codicies. (Oxford Univ Prs..” V O L U M E 1 8 : 4 3 ( 1. this is a very technical book. eds. Hill responds by pointing out elasticity in textual citation was a widespread feature of ancient literary culture.htm Search back issues at: www.The Early Text of the New Testament. who supposedly dominated much of the church.Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society.org/JETS> Apologia Report is available free of charge and sent to you once a week via email..org/htm/subscribe. APOLOGIAreport “The second section covers the manuscript tradition itself with a formal survey of early textual witness to the NT writings” progressing through the sequence of NT books one after another. com/28ngc4j> 3 .3 SOURCES: Monographs 1 .tinyurl. “The third section examines early citation and usage of the NT. Charles E. the general tendency was to conflate canonical accounts. Larry Hurtado (‘Manuscripts and the Sociology of Early Christian Reading’) notes that in contrast to Graeco-Roman reading culture. Charles Hill challenges the view of some textual critics who argue that the ‘free’ nature of patristic citations indicates that many of the Church fathers were using exemplars that were unstable and highly variable. <www. Bird (Ridley Melbourne College of Mission and Ministry) concludes his review: “In sum. and grew exponentially due to the key role of texts in Christian instruction. He explains the phenomenon of more literal citations by the time of Irenaeus by referring to the proliferation of Christian texts by the end of the late second century when citations could be more readily checked and by pointing to the greater familiarity with the Christian Scriptures at that time. go to: http://apologia. Scott Charlesworth (‘Indicators of “Catholicity” in Early Gospel Manuscripts’) identifies a degree of catholicity across the proto-orthodox churches with the standardization of Gospel codices and consistent employment of the nomina sacra [literally. 384 pages) <www. However.ly/r7seK> SOURCES: Periodicals 2 .2013. while others felt free to alter the text and its wording either to clarify or correct what was intended. “Stanley Porter looks at several apocryphal Gospels.etsjets. would have been unlikely to have joined the emerging consensus on manuscript production. Importantly. 2012. . Subscribe now to this valuable resource! To subscribe online.1 7 9 ) / N O V E M B E R 2 7 . An observation that impugns the Walter Bauer thesis since Marcionite and Gnostic elements. and their replication of the wording and structure of canonical materials suggests that the NT text was well established and fixed by the second and third centuries. Hill and Michael J.NEW TESTAMENT RELIABILITY (continued) trade.com/ApologiaReport .Evangelical Review of Theology (World Evangelical Fellowship). Michael Kruger (‘Early Christian Attitudes towards the Reproduction of Texts’) notes that two historical realities existed within Christian literary culture side by side: some Christians valued NT texts as Scripture and did not accept unbridled textual changes. Most of the essays conclude that. NT Gospels and epistles probably spread slowly in widening circles. Kruger. hardcover. 56:3 . He concludes that their witness for an early text is meager. there were secondcentury authors who urged that the text should be accurately and faithfully transmitted without adulteration.

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