Wycliffe USA, faced with the possibility of losing support from the 3-million-member Assemblies of God, pulled one controversial Bible translation from circulation in February and halted publication of several others. In March, it agreed to an external audit of its translation practices by the World Evangelical Alliance.
Critics have faulted the audio translation Lives of the Prophets, among others, for translating "Son" in reference to Jesus into the Arabic equivalent for "Messiah." Muslims object to Christian teaching that Jesus is the eternal Son of God.
Wycliffe says it withdrew support for the audio translation and a few other translations last summer in accordance with new policies concerning divine familial terms. However, since Wycliffe international partner SIL is not the publisher, copies continue to circulate through other sources. As recently as January, Wycliffe and SIL denied that any of their translations omitted familial terms. Then in February, Wycliffe released another statement acknowledging that observers questioned the veracity of this denial.
"We are listening to those concerns," Wycliffe said in February, "and are seeking God's guidance as we re-evaluate our methodology and investigate to ensure that our commitment to accurate and clear translation is being reflected in every project."
Wycliffe says literal translations of divine familial terms should be preferred, but its translation policy continues to allows for non-literal substitutes where translators determine the literal phrasing creates inaccurate meaning.
Wycliffe's statements followed two meetings with Assemblies of God (AG) missionary leaders, missiologists, and scholars regarding disagreement over its Bible translation practices. Assemblies ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more