A month after Focus on the Family President James Dobson blasted plans for a "gender-inclusive" New International Version (NIV) of the Bible, the ministry has withdrawn its sponsorship of a popular children's Bible.

The Colorado Springs-based Focus announced June 3 that the Adventures in Odyssey Bible, marketed as "the world's most kid-friendly Bible," is being discontinued because translators used "inclusive language."

Most Bibles today render gender-specific terms such as he or men with more accurate terms, such as they and human beings, when translators believe the text warrants it. Such translators believe this use of "inclusive language" reflects the fact that the Bible's message is addressed to all people. Applying inclusive language to God has been tried in only a few cases, such as the New Testament and Psalms, Inclusive Version (Oxford).

"Upon our realization that the Odyssey Bible contained some unnecessary gender changes, we moved immediately to remove this Bible version from our resources for the family," Dobson said. Focus spokesperson Paul Hetrick said the ministry had no further comment.

PROFESSOR FORCED OUT:

Meanwhile, a seminary professor who has served as a translator for the existing NIV has lost his job because of the ongoing controversy over inclusive language and Bible translation.

Larry L. Walker, tenured professor of Hebrew and chair of the Old Testament department at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, has acknowledged he will not return from sabbatical leave. Reliable sources say Walker retired under duress. Faculty and students at Mid-America are predominantly Southern Baptist, although the Southern Baptist Convention does not own the seminary.

B. Gray Allison, president of Mid-America, ...

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