The Southern Baptist Convention questioned the integrity of the Today's New International Version Bible at the denomination's annual meeting in St. Louis on June 11-12.
In the convention's resolution, Southern Baptists expressed "profound disappointment with the International Bible Society (IBS) and Zondervan Publishing House for this inaccurate translation of God's inspired Scripture" and said the denomination cannot recommend its use.
Jimmy Draper, president of SBC publisher LifeWay Christian Resources, said his agency will not sell the TNIV New Testament in LifeWay bookstores. (The complete TNIV Bible will not be available until 2005.)
Critics accuse TNIV translators of "erasing gender-specific details … in the original language" by frequently using they or them instead of he or him and obscuring references to father, son, and brother in passages about people. In references to God or Jesus, the TNIV uses he, father, and son. Critics say the TNIV "inserts English words into the text whose meaning does not appear in the original languages."
R. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said TNIV inaccuracies resulted from an inappropriate attempt by translators to adapt Scripture to contemporary culture. "None of us is without the responsibility to check our cultural context and to try our best to make sure we are not driven by extrabiblical considerations," Mohler said.
A spokesman for the International Bible Society denies that TNIV translators were swayed by secular culture. "These people have accused us of having an agenda, when in fact they're the ones that have an agenda," Larry Lincoln said. "Because you don't agree with a particular rendering does not make it inaccurate. I think it would serve the body of Christ much better if they'd say, 'Here are both sides of the debate. Make up your own mind.' "
One day before the SBC passed its anti-TNIV resolution, IBS and Zondervan issued a statement that the Forum of Bible Agencies says the TNIV "falls within the forum's translation principles and procedures." The forum is a voluntary association of the principal international Bible translation and distribution agencies.
But in a June 24 statement, the forum stressed that it does not "approve, endorse, or support" any particular Bible translation. The full text of the TNIV statement from the forum has not been released to the public.
Forum members include the Bible League, the Jesus Film Project, IBS, and Wycliffe Bible Translators. In 1999 the group issued a statement, "Basic Principles and Procedures for Bible Translation," that it says laid important groundwork for the TNIV.
Meanwhile, Southern Baptist leaders are calling attention to another translation of the New Testament, produced by SBC publishing house Broadman & Holman and called the Holman Christian Standard Bible.
"This is an important thing for Southern Baptists to do," Mohler told Baptist Press, "if for no other reason than that we will have a major translation we can control."
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During the convention, Eric Reed reported online on other events from St. Louis including protests, President Bush's address, and the election of the new president. See Reed's full dispatch.
Other media coverage of the convention includes:
Southern Baptists skip conventionLocal churches don't send many to meetings. (The News & Observer)
Southern Baptists take their message to strip clubsTheir mission was part of the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting. But the big story could be the Baptists who do not show up. (Chicago Tribune)
Baptists' strong words spark protest| The head of the Southern Baptists condemned homosexuality from the podium yesterday as angry homosexual-rights protesters and a Muslim group marched through the convention hall. (The Washington Times)
Also: Gay rights protesters disrupt Baptist meeting50 arrested at St. Louis convention. (The Dallas Morning News)
Also: Protesters interrupt Baptist meeting (Associated Press)
Muslims angered by Southern Baptist on IslamA leading Islamic group demanded Tuesday that the Southern Baptist Convention condemn "bigoted" and "hate-filled" statements made by one of its pastors. (CNN)
Southern Baptists call for 'sexual integrity' of church personnelDelegates also voice support for Israel. (Associated Press)
Also: Southern Baptists reflect on Catholic abuse scandal, urge discipline for Baptist abusers (Associated Press)
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