tovia can’t spell theology, can he? no, seriously, can he actually spell it? – 05min

Posted: March 12, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

On a serious note, the bottom of the post quotes an extract from “Unequal Weights And Measures” that illustrates the disparity in exegetical & interpretive methods employed by anti-Missionaries, like Tovia.

The spelling item was too cute to pass up on. Have a listen below. I’m sure Tovia would not have passed on a classic opportunity like this either – if it wasn’t him in the “blooper reel”, of course. The fact is, I’ve listened to Tovia’s show many, many times & grew to like him as a person – hence this isn’t classic ad hominem, but still, I’m stirred by his arrogance at times & the audio extract seemed to balance radio show pride and arrogance with a bit of humiliation nicely – perpetrated by his radio show co-host after all, …so how malicious could it be. 🙂 The word in question wasn’t actually “theology”, it was “piece” – yet the title question remains. 🙂


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When attacking the New Testament — that is exactly what the anti-missionaries do — they often use a three-pronged approach: hyper-literality, alleged contradictions, and alleged misquotations.

In terms of hyper-literality, they will ask: “Do you literally believe what Jesus said? Then, if your right eye is causing you to sin, you should gouge it out and throw it away!” Or, “Didn’t Jesus say, ‘Give to him who asks you?’ Then give me your wallet, your shirt, and the keys to your car!” Or, in abusing the concept of the incarnation (I doubt that many of our opponents actually try to understand the incarnation in any serious way) they will use coarse quips such as, “Does your God wear diapers?”5 The overall effect of their hyper-literality is to try and make our faith seem idiotic and absurd.

In terms of alleged contradictions, these can be divided into two categories: historical problems and apparent contradictions within the New Testament sources themselves. A favorite passage of the anti-missionaries is Stephen’s speech in Acts 7, a speech supposedly brimming with error. And, if we would object that, even if there were errors (I do not believe there are) it would be no problem, since inspiration only means that Luke accurately recorded what Stephen said, the hyper-literal anti-missionaries are quick to point out that Stephen was “filled with the Spirit” when he spoke. Thus, according to them, if he really had spoken in the Spirit, he could not have made an error! As for apparent contradictions within the sources, the Gospel accounts of Yeshua’s betrayal, crucifixion, and resurrection, or the accounts of Saul’s Damascus road experience in Acts are singled out as being hopelessly at odds with themselves.6 The overall effect of these accusations is to try and make our Scriptures appear utterly untrustworthy.

In terms of alleged misquotations, we are generally pointed to verses like Mat. 2:23, “He will be called a Nazarene” — supposedly an entirely fabricated verse; and Heb. 10:5, “A body you have prepared for me” — supposedly a blatant alteration of the Hebrew of Psa. 40:6; or, verses allegedly wrenched from their original context, like Hos. 11:1b, “I called My son out of Egypt,” quoted in Mat. 2:15; and Isa. 7:14, the Immanuel prophecy, quoted in Mat. 1:23.7 The overall effect of these accusations is especially serious. It tries to give the impression that the authors of the New Testament were not only idiotic and untrustworthy; according to the anti-missionaries, they were actually devious and deceitful.8

The plain truth is this: It is the anti-missionaries who are often being devious and deceitful. For if they would be honest with themselves, they would have to admit that, using the same canon of criticism on their own sacred texts, they would utterly shipwreck their own faith. In other words, if the New Testament would be disqualified by anti-missionary arguments in one hour, using those same arguments, the Tanakh would be disqualified in a matter of minutes and the Talmud in a matter of seconds! The anti-missionaries will readily accept the views of critical, nihilistic New Testament scholars, while following only rigidly conservative (generally, traditional Jewish) scholars of the Old Testament.9

Stop and think for a moment. What if the shoe were on the other foot? What if the anti-missionaries believed in the New Testament and we were left to defend the Tanakh and the rabbinic writings? What would the anti-missionaries do then? Just imagine what their unsympathetic and shallow hyper-literality would do with passages like Gen. 2:18-20, where the Lord apparently brought giraffes, monkeys, elephants, and armadillos to Adam, only to find that none of them would make a good wife for him;10 or, Exod. 4:24-26, where the Lord sent Moses to Egypt to deliver His people, but tried to kill him on the way — because he failed to circumcise his son. And I’m sure they would also have plenty of comments to make about God’s bow that appears in the sky after the showers (Gen. 9:12ff.), or about the “windows of heaven” that are opened to allow the rain that is above the expanse to fall to earth (Gen. 7:11).

What would the anti-missionaries do with the moving story of the ‘aqedah? Would they ridicule a God Who tests the obedience of His faithful servant by asking him to slaughter his own son? (Of course, they would also point out that according to the text, He is hardly omniscient — see Gen. 22:12). Would they contrast the goodness of the Heavenly Father in the New Testament with the cruelty of Yahweh in the Old — a Yahweh Whose incessant hardening of Pharaoh caused him to lead Egypt to disaster, even when Pharaoh was ready to let Israel go? Just picture how the anti-missionaries would glory in the mercy of the Son of God, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” while denigrating the Lord’s command to exterminate totally the Canaanites — men, women, children, and babies. And would they be sympathetic to the fact that the Torah legislated slavery (Exod. 21:1-11), or that when the Israelites went to war, the Torah permitted them to spare good looking virgins for possible future wives (Deut. 21:10-14)? And have the anti-missionaries forgotten that, historically speaking, the great problem has been that the God of the Old Testament seems to be a less compassionate, gracious, and universal God than the God of the New Testament? This has always been an issue for New Testament theologians, as well as for destructive Gnostic critics like Marcion, or less radically, like Adolph Harnack. One need only think of the vicious work of Friederich Delitzsch — son of the brilliant Franz Delitzsch, a true friend of Israel — attacking the Old Testament as dangerous, and recommending that it be dropped from seminary curriculum.11 Remember, it is Psalm 137 — not the New Testament — that pronounces a blessing on those who smash Babylon’s babes on the rocks.12 What if the anti-missionaries were attacking this?! Source

Audio from: Israel National Radio – Tovia Singer – Tamar Gives Tovia a Spelling Bee. Listen to full audio here.

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