Will the Last Evangelical Please Turn Out the Lights? (Con’t)

In my ongoing series, pointing out the impending evangepocalypse, I bring you this news from Christianity Today:

Gender Debate: SBC Pastors Denounce NIV
Southern Baptist delegates passed a resolution criticizing the 2011 update and asked LifeWay stores not to sell the Bible translation.
Bob Smietana | posted 7/26/2011 10:02AM

Southern Baptists have asked their denomination-owned retail chain to stop selling a best-selling Bible translation, saying it contains errors when it comes to language about gender.

Church delegates—known as messengers—passed a resolution at their June annual meeting in Phoenix criticizing the 2011 update to the New International Version (NIV) as an “inaccurate translation of God’s inspired Scripture.” They asked LifeWay Christian Resources not to sell the NIV 2011, which avoids using male terms in passages where context suggests that both genders are intended, except where the pronoun in question has messianic allusions. [READ THE REST]

OK, let’s get this straight: evangelicals are rejecting an evangelical translation of the Bible, after they already buried another evangelical translation of the Bible because it wasn’t evangelical enough.

Zondervan, who holds the exclusive license to but does not own the NIV translation, has got to be nervous.  In the last couple of years, they have cut loose authors like Rob Bell and Doug Pagitt because those authors aren’t evangelical enough.  They’ve already taken it in the shorts after a long and expensive campaign to win support for the TNIV failed.  Now, the NIV itself us under attack.

Once this starts, the end has begun: you can’t be evangelical enough, because someone will always be more evangelical than you. It reminds me of a novel I’m currently reading about Vietnam — it’s an unwinnable war.  The only winning move is not the play:

How about a nice game of chess?

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  • Jon Altman

    I can’t believe this could be considered worth ANY SBC pastor’s time.

  • Dan Hauge

    What’s kind of funny about this, to me, is remembering how disappointed people were when they announced the axe for the TNIV, thinking it was going to be a full step backward from gender-inclusivity. But now apparently the new NIV is still too much ‘compromise’ for the SBs. Reminds me of a certain party of tea pitching fits in Washington right now . . .

  • As a professor at a baptist university and seminary seeking to enourage women in ministry, I can’t tell you how much this kind of stuff hurts. I watch brilliant and capable graduates seeking to serve God in the church constantly get berated by male pastors and turned down for ministry opportunities simply because they are women. In the meantime, more and more pulpits remain empty because there aren’t enough male graduates who are interested in filling them. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the future.

  • John

    The truly sad part is that a few thousand folks can speak for several million other folks. While these resolutions are never binding on individuals or churches, it gets plenty of media coverage. I predict that SBs will stay a regional niche group and become less effective in the general culture, which is a shame given their history over the last century. When you start going fundamentalist, you can never be fundamentalist enough.

  • The NIV translation will become dated soon by translations that will supersede the NIV’s source material used for it’s translations.

    If the SBC doesn’t like the alterations to the new NIV, that’s there business. If they don’t want to sell it through their stores, then that’s there business.

    Evangelicals will produce a new translation in our lifetime that will make the NIV seem like how we view the King James now.

    You might be waiting for awhile for this coming Evangelical meltdown/destruction.

  • Chris Early

    This is how any radical movement ends – be it Jacobinism in the French Revolution, American movement conservatism, or evangelicalism/fundamentalism. Over time, true believers have to become more and more extreme. If they don’t, their level of commitment is questioned, and, in the end, they are led to the guillotine by their former friends. Those ultimately surviving are gross caricatures of that movements worst qualities, lacking any credibility with the rest of the world. Not with a bang, but a whimper…