The controversy arising from Zakir Naik’s visit to Malaysia reminds Christians that it is crucial to uphold the inerrancy of the Bible. First, it is well known that Zakir Naik and other Islamic dakwa-gandists unceasingly attack the Bible as a corrupt text. They further assert that the Bible cannot be the Word of God in the light of the alleged errors and contradictions found in it. It is self-defeating and futile for a Christian to try to witness to Muslim critics like Zakir Naik if he agrees that the Bible is corrupt.
Second, critics like Zakir Naik do not respect Christians who simply appeal to authority. They expect Christians to give a rational defence of the truth claims of the Bible. Naturally, they hold Christianity in derision when Christians concede that the Bible contains errors. Furthermore, it comes across that Christians are irreverent when they suggest that God does not always speak the truth. Such irreverence will not impress Muslims who are well known for their reverence for God. The only authority that Christians may rely on is the authority of the truth of the Bible. J.I. Packer explains, “Biblical veracity and biblical authority are bound up together. Only truth can have final authority to determine belief and behavior, and Scripture cannot have such authority further than it is true.” [J.I. Packer, Truth and Power (Eagle 1996), p119.]
J.I. Packer emphasizes, “The importance of recognizing biblical inerrancy as a fact of faith is that, on the one hand, it reminds us that all Scripture is instruction in one way or another from the God of truth. On the other hand, it commits us to consistency in believing, receiving, and obeying everything that it proves to say. The more completely heart and mind are controlled by Scripture, the fuller our freedom and the greater our joy. God’s free servants know God and know about God. They observe God-taught standards and restraints in living and in relationships. They trust God’s promises and in the power of Bible certainties live out their days in peace and hope. Modern man needs to hear more of this message of freedom from the church. The church needs to learn again how basic to that message is the truth of the inerrancy of Scripture, on which the fullness of biblical authority depends” (Truth and Power, p. 49). Was it not Christ who said “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.”? (John 8:32).
Firm, uncompromising belief in inerrancy of the Bible is indispensable for sharing the Gospel. All these make me wonder whether Christians who doubt the inerrancy of the Bible ever seriously witnessed to Muslim polemicists and other atheistic-agnostic unbelievers who disdain Christianity because they are led to believe that the teaching of the Bible is false.