People You should Know: Karl Pfander

Karl Pfander is a giant in the history of Christian mission to the Muslim world. I mean, he's way up there, with guys like Sam Zwemer and Henry Martyn and Temple Gairdner. You know, just a notch below Blessed Raymond Lull (Ramón Lull), who is just a notch below Our Lord.

When you deal with life in the Middle East, you need heroes.

Pfander's brilliance was displayed in what is still one of the most important Christian refutations of Islam, The Balance of Truth, aka, mizan ulhaqq. A section from Wikipedia on his life and work:

[...]Pfander's chief legacy to posterity is undoubtedly his book Mizan ul Haqq (The Balance of Truth), modelled on the style of Islamic theological works, and attempting to present the Christian gospel in a form understandable to Muslims. He offered reasons to believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, neither corrupted nor superseded, and argued that the Qur’an itself testifies to the reliability of the Christian scriptures and the supremacy of Christ. He attempted to prove from the Qur’an and other Islamic writings some alleged [fallacies] in Islam and its prophet, noting a historic contrast between the violence of Islamic expansion and the peaceable spread of the early church. The Mizan ul Haqq stimulated a number of carefully argued refutations from Islamic scholars, followed by further writings from Pfander himself. It marked an important new phase in Muslim / Christian relations, when profound theological issues were addressed for the first time by recognised scholars.

In his history of the CMS, Eugene Stock described Pfander as "the greatest of all missionaries to Mohammedans." Temple Gairdner remarked that Pfander possessed the three great requisites for public controversy: absolute command of his subject, absolute command of the language, thought and manner of the people, and absolute command of himself. Samuel Zwemer defended his dogmatic and controversial methods, pointing out that Christ and his apostles engaged in similar public debate with individuals and crowds.[...]

[Abu Daoud is listening to Come on Pilgrim by the Pixies.]


Popular posts from this blog

Did Muhammad Exist? The Qur'an was canonized in 1924...and other gems