This coming fall, you can expect to see in the pages of Christianity Today a vigorous exchange about the translation issues raised by the TNIV—Today's New International Version. But don't look for it in our advertising pages.
The TNIV continues to trouble some members of our evangelical family. Though few biblical scholars are registering alarm, a number of ministry leaders are—so much so that recently 100 prominent evangelicals signed a "Statement of Concern," seeking to publish it in a variety of magazines as an advertisement against the TNIV. The names of the signers and the money committed to buying advertising space show that this is no marginal group of whiners looking for some publicity. They are serious people genuinely concerned about the suitability of the TNIV.
They came to Christianity Today seeking ad space. The ad was temperate and clearly reasoned, but we had to reject it. CT's parent company has a policy that prohibits us from publishing ads that call into question fellow Christians, their institutions, or their products.
This isn't the first time we've turned down such an offer, and as tempted as we might be at times to change the policy, we refuse to budge. We believe in healthy debate, and we don't think that important ideas should be promoted only by people with money to buy advertising space. We feel this leads to superficial argument. Think of recent political campaigns; they often became contests between advertising budgets.
So we've rejected the ad—but not the concern of its signers. We've invited them, in fact, to give more than a one- or two-page summary of their views (as per an advertisement), but instead a fuller expression of their arguments. Naturally, we'll have pro-TNIV writers as well. Our hope is that each side will engage not straw men but the fundamental concerns of one another. We can't control what each side says, but we will insist on a frank and irenic exchange of views. Look for this in our October issue.
In the meantime, you can get up to speed on the debate by following our news coverage, both in our pages and online. Also online are the "Statement of Concern about the TNIV Bible" and a response at the TNIV website.
Mark Galli is managing editor of Christianity Today.
Copyright © 2002 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Christianity Today's earlier coverage of the TNIV debate includes:
Why the TNIV Draws Ire | No translation is perfect, and each must be read with a careful exegetical eye. A Christianity Today editorial. (Mar. 19, 2002)
TNIV Critics Blast Scripture 'Distortions' | But evangelical backers of the new translation say gender changes are 'accurate.' (Mar. 19, 2002)
Which Version Should We Use? | What we said when the NIV was first published. A Christianity Today editorial (Mar. 19, 2002)
Christian History Corner: Translation Wars | Sharp as debate over the TNIV may be, the version's translators are getting off easy compared to John Wycliffe and William Tyndale. (March 1, 2002)
Weblog: The TNIV Battle Continues | Dobson and others launch "Kept the Faith" to accuse TNIV creators of violating their word and God's (Feb. 11, 2002)
Comparing the Three NIVs | How does the TNIV treat verses that were earlier criticized as theologically incorrect? (Jan. 31, 2002)
Weblog: Southern Baptist Leaders So Upset About TNIV That Denomination May Abandon NIV (Jan. 29, 2002)
Revised NIV Makes Its Debut | Translators alter 7 percent of the text to update style and gender issues. (Jan. 28, 2002)
The TNIV Web site offers the full New Testament text (in Adobe Acrobat format), a questions and answers section, endorsements, and other promotional material. Zondervan is also providing free copies of the translation.
Christianity Today coverage of gender-inclusive Bible translation includes:
The Battle for the Inclusive Bible | Conflicts over "gender-neutral" versions are not really about translation issues. (Nov. 15, 1999)
Do Inclusive-Language Bibles Distort Scripture? | He Said, They Said (October 27, 1997)
The Great Translation Debate | The divide over gender-inclusive Bibles hides what unites us. (Oct. 27, 1997)
Hands Off My NIV! | Bible society cancels plans for 'gender-accurate' Bible after public outcry. (June 16, 1997)
Bible Translators Deny Gender Agenda | Focus on the Family yanks children's Bible; NIV translator loses seminary job. (July 14, 19997)
Previous Christianity Today articles on Bible translation include:
A Translation Fit For a King | In the beginning, the King James Version was an attempt to thwart liberty. In the end, it promoted liberty. (Oct. 22, 2001)
The Reluctant Romans | At Douai in Flanders, Catholic scholars translated the Bible into English as an alternative to the Bible of "the heretics." (Oct. 22, 2001)
We Really Do Need Another Bible Translation | As good as many modern versions are, they often do not allow us to hear what the Holy Spirit actually said. (Oct. 19, 2001)
Old Wisdom for New Times | The International Bible Society is doing "spiritual archaeology" and retro-publishing to reach seekers. (April 23, 2001)
And the Word Came with Pictures | Visual Bible International (VBI), is producing a movie version of the Bible book for book, word for word. (March 1, 2001)
New Bible translations help to preserve world's disappearing languages | The total number of languages in which the Bible is available in part or in its entirety now stands at 2,233. (Feb. 28, 2000)
What Bible Version Did Jesus Read? | What does the knowledge that Jesus used different versions of Scripture mean for us today? (April 26, 1999)
On the Shoulders of King James | Barclay M. Newman has kept before him a question posed by the translators of the 1611 King James Version: "What can be more [important] than to deliver God's book unto God's people in a tongue which they understand?" (Oct. 27, 1997)
Confessions of a Bible Translator | As a stylist on a new translation of the Bible, Daniel worries over the effectiveness of the language into which the text is translated. (Oct. 27, 1997)