Wednesday, January 11, 2012

About Zondervan's New "Gender-Neutral" Bible

Our longtime friend and Vital Signs Ministries Board Member, Quint Coppi, was bothered about a new version of the Bible being published by Zondervan. And he was bothered with very good reason. For not only does this new "gender neutral" version demonstrate Zondervan's sad lurch away from theological accuracy and towards political correctness but also because of the heavy-handed tactics Zondervan has employed in pushing this particular version; that is, in refusing to publish any "NIV" except this new one, despite many calls for them to keep the textually accurate (and extremely popular) 1984 NIV in publication.

Well, Quint took his concerns to the leaders of his Church, Glad Tidings Assembly of God. And after careful examination, they decided to join with the Southern Baptist Convention in suggesting Christians look elsewhere. I applaud them for doing the right thing.

Here, from the Glad Tidings web site, is their recommendation.

With the responsibility that accompanies our role as shepherds of God’s flock and entails many aspects of an individual’s relationship with God, others and our growth in Christ, we want to issue a warning concerning a recent Bible translation being published by Bliblica and Zondervan Publishing House. Below is a copy of an Official Resolution regarding the newest translation of the New International Version of the Bible issued by the Southern Baptist Convention. Glad Tidings Church fully endorses their technical characterization of the translation and their position on the dangers of the translation communicated in their resolution.

We at Glad Tidings Church are frequently asked by individuals for recommendations as to what Bible versions to use for study or daily devotionals. This newest version of the NIV is one that we do not recommend of either. Previous published versions of the NIV are still widely accepted in the general church community as well as at Glad Tidings Church. Please use caution and discretion whenever you are deciding on a new Bible purchase. God’s word is inspired, inerrant, and infallible in its original languages. The men and women who translate the original languages are not. If you do not have confidence in your selecting of a Bible translation, we encourage you to seek guidance from a mature believer or pastoral staff. We desire to see any believer grow in the knowledge and understanding of the inspired scriptures. Proper, healthy growth will only take place with “healthy” food. A bad Bible translation will inhibit and even harm proper, healthy spiritual growth that comes with the correct understanding of the nature of God, His provisions, promises, blessings, and warnings to His followers. (2 Timothy 3:16–17)

WHEREAS, Many Southern Baptist pastors and laypeople have trusted and used the 1984 New International Version (NIV) translation to the great benefit of the Kingdom; and

WHEREAS, Biblica and Zondervan Publishing House are publishing an updated version of the New International Version (NIV) which incorporates gender neutral methods of translation; and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists repeatedly have affirmed our commitment to the full inspiration and authority of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:15-16) and, in 1997, urged every Bible publisher and translation group to resist “gender-neutral” translation of Scripture; and

WHEREAS, This translation alters the meaning of hundreds of verses, most significantly by erasing gender-specific details which appear in the original language; and

WHEREAS, Although it is possible for Bible scholars to disagree about translation methods or which English words best translate the original languages, the 2011 NIV has gone beyond acceptable translation standards; and

WHEREAS, Seventy-five percent of the inaccurate gender language found in the TNIV is retained in the 2011 NIV; and

WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention has passed a similar resolution concerning the TNIV in 2002; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 14-15, 2011 express profound disappointment with Biblica and Zondervan Publishing House for this inaccurate translation of God’s inspired Scripture; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage pastors to make their congregations aware of the translation errors found in the 2011 NIV; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we respectfully request that LifeWay not make this inaccurate translation available for sale in their bookstores; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we cannot commend the 2011 NIV to Southern Baptists or the larger Christian community.