Contextualization of “Son of God” to Muslims

Having been on a couple of mission trips ministering to Muslims, this was an issue I encountered on the field. Here are a couple of links to articles talking about how we can be true to the Scriptures and yet remove obstacles to sharing the Gospel with Muslims. – Doc

The primary article is here, by Collin Hansen from Christianity Today.
Here’s an excerpt:

The results may be encouraging, but the scholarship is flawed, according to several accomplished academics whose expertise spans both testaments. The scholars, including Darrell Bock (Dallas Theological Seminary), Jack Collins (Covenant Theological Seminary), and Vern Poythress (Westminster Theological Seminary), doubted they could endorse any alternative to “Son of God.” They expressed sympathy with missionaries who want to dispel mistaken notions held by Muslims. But they found fault with alternatives, particularly using Christ where “Son of God” originally appeared. If “Son of God” and Christ are strict synonyms, they note, then usage of both terms in Scripture is redundant; Peter did not confess, “You are the Christ, the Christ.”

” ‘Messiah’ is not an adequate substitute for ‘Son of God,’ ” Poythress wrote. “Both have the same referent, namely Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. But they do not have the same meaning. . . . The Greek expressions for ‘Messiah’ and ‘the Son of God’ do have similar meanings, in that both, in many contexts, indicate something about Jesus’ role as kingly ruler under commission from God. Moreover, both expressions evoke what people know or think they know about the great deliverer sent by God. But ‘Son of God,’ unlike ‘Messiah,’ indicates an analogy with a human family relationship. And it also has the potential to connote personal intimacy and love.”

Here is a post from someone on the field about his thoughts on the issue: The Son of God and Ministry to Muslims.

And here is an interview by Trevin Wax regarding the issue: A Conversation with Collin Hansen and J. D. Greear.

Thanks to J. Taylor for the links.

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