Sakshi: An Apologetics Network in India never challenged IREF for a debate it only accepted the challenge to debate the Hyderabad based Islamic Research and Educational Foundation (IREF). Sakshi also accepted the IREF’s offer of venue for the public debate as Nizam's College Ground, Hyderabad on May 10, 2008. IREF will be the main organizer for the event.
The topic for the debate is – The Divinity of Jesus and the Messengerhood of Muhammad: Separating Falsehood from Truth.
Sakshi will be represented by Br. Jerry Thomas and IREF will be represented by Br. Imran, the founder president of IREF.
It might be recalled that this is the third debate Sakshi is undertaking in Hyderabad itself in less than 9 months with the Islamic community apart from the open forums and seminars on Islam in other parts of country. By the grace of Jesus, Sakshi was able to effectively and persuasively testify the Gospel of Jesus clearly refuting the critics of Gospel in the two debates.
The first debate was held between Br. Jerry and Br. Asifuddin Muhammad of the Islamic Academy of Comparative Religions (IACR) was very positive and effective. Similarly the second debate held between Swami Satyaprakash Anada of Sakshi and Br. Mustaq Abhilash of True Message Center was yet another tremendous success. Both the debates were successful only due to the power of the Holy Spirit overseeing the research, preparation, presentation and rebuttal of the debate. Sakshi acknowledges the wide-spread prayer support poured on it from across the country.
Sakshi once again requests all Christians to ceaselessly prayer to the only true living God Jesus for the following points:
- God's Sovereignty to cover all members of Sakshi particularly those who are going to be volunteers on May 10
- God's sovereignty to reign on the program as on other times so that vile men would be in control and the heart of the genuine seekers will be opened
- God's wisdom, strength and security to fill and cover Br. Jerry and his family and those with him throughout the research and preparation, presentation, rebuttal, question & answer session and even after that.
- God's provision to be abundant during the campaign for this program
- God's wisdom, power and courage on Br. Jerry to clearly refute the opponent speaker
All these are critically important considering that Br. Imran has been debating with Christian Pastors who are untrained in apologetics and even winning a few converts from Christianity to Islam. This has been going on for almost a decade. Until now, the Muslim speakers have misrepresented Christian beliefs and are propagating such false beliefs as beliefs of Christian faith. Moreover, there has not been a cogent, compelling and convincing presentation of the Gospel in obedience to 1st Peter 3:15. This has not only adversely affected the morale of thinking Christians, particularly missionaries but send a wrong signal to many genuine seekers that Christianity is a myth created by Church rather than a true fact rooted in revelation by the all knowing God who acted in the history as recorded in the scriptures.
Though the recent debates have helped to reverse the negative impression, this debate is critical considering that core of Christianity and Islam is discussed in the view of many thousands expected to be present from both the sides.
It must be pointed out that this forthcoming debate was initiated by a few Muslim brothers and not by Bro. Jerry Thomas or Sakshi: An Apologetics Network in India. However, when the invitation was extended Sakshi accepted it and proposed the name of Bro. Jerry Thomas to debate with any speaker whom they choose at any forum. Then Muslim brothers insisted that it should be a public debate rather than a close-room dialog with keen students from both the sides. It must also be pointed out to the people who love the Truth that, according to IREF, the Muslim brothers who initiated the debate are not official members of IREF.
We must also inform you that during the agreement discussion, it was told to IREF not to put any other descriptions of Jerry in the poster other than one provided by Sakshi. This is stated in point 22 to 26 of the agreement. Though in the final draft prepared by IREF all the publicity details were not explicitly stated, Sakshi signed it by expecting a religious organization to maintain absolute and high integrity.
This being the fact, IREF first publicity material stated that Br. Imran will be debating on May 10 with a "Christian preacher who challenges Islam". What should we say of such publicity? All this happened even before the ink on the ag
reement got dried. While the agreement was signed on February 26th 2008 (Tuesday), some of our members were shocked to see a few posters in and around Medithpatanam (in Hyderabad) on February 28th (Thursday). See below Photograph of the posters.
What should one say of this kind of publicity? Is this done to incite the public? Is this integrity? Isn't it a total apathy towards truth? Sakshi is disappointed and feels sad because IREF has twisted and misrepresented facts.
After this experience, Sakshi: An Apologetics Network in India requested IREF for an extension of the agreement. The extension agreement stated that both the speakers should have equal number of questions during the Question and Answer session of the Debate on May 10th 2008. We commend and thank IREF for accepting the request immediately.
Because of all this, it is all the more critical for all Christians to ceaselessly watch and pray so that all clever tactics of those who oppose the Word of True Living God will be exposed and put to shame and Truth will prevail attracting many to the Truth and thereby freeing them.
Please find below the Photograph of false publicity by IREF