No theological issue has of late stirred the interest of evangelicals like gender-inclusive Bible translations. The threat of having one of our favorite translations programmatically adjust pronouns and other gender references so as to include women provoked more discussion than the Pensacola revival, the Disney boycott, or China's MFN status.

Unfortunately, a lot of misinformation was passed around, and anger and fear prevailed. Thus we heard of churches voting to remove copies of the current NIV from their pews and individuals desecrating Bibles by drilling holes in them and shipping them back to the supplier.

Perhaps the furor has died down: A recent report in CBA Marketplace said that 97 percent of Christian bookstore retailers believed the controversy had little or no impact on Bible sales, and 79 percent said the issue was dead, dying, or nonexistent. But that same poll revealed that retailers believed customers were poorly informed (53 percent) or only somewhat informed (39 percent) on the issue.

It would be too bad if the controversy died away without evangelical Christians learning something about Bible translation, for this was not simply the controversy du jour, to be yakked and faxed about and then to be forgotten when the next juicy fight emerged from Wheaton, Colorado Springs, Grand Rapids, or Lynchburg. This controversy was about an important trust: the faithful translation of God's Word into English.

This is why we are devoting an unusually large number of pages to the discussion. Contrary to conventional journalistic wisdom, we have discovered that CT's readers are eager to read long articles when the issue discussed is important. This is important. And we trust you will take the time to read the friendly debate ...

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