The NIV and the Southern Baptists

The NIV and the Southern Baptists August 1, 2011

I’ve been using the NIV 2011 and I really like it and I endorse it enthusiastically. It’s now my preaching Bible. I cannot think of a finer group of Christian scholars than those on the Committee for Bible Translation, led by Doug Moo at Wheaton. I know these translators, and they take the Word of God very seriously, and they translated passages with words that they think best translate what the Bible says.

The NIV has proven its worth as a reliable Bible, and English-reading Christians all over the world are using it — I’ve seen in Denmark, Ireland, South Africa, Korea and Israel.

But recently the Southern Baptists have done something that I hope can be reversed. Not being a part of the SBC and knowing how old boy it can get, but also knowing that it has so many fine, fine leaders and scholars and pastors I have hopes that the following motion can be reversed, that LifeWay will sell the NIV 2011 (with no warnings attached) and that we can get back to what we are called to do — preaching and teaching and living the gospel, seeking for peace among all Christians, and all sorts of good and wholesome things.

What are the Southern Baptist leaders saying about this?

Here’s the resolution that I hope can be reversed:

WHEREAS, Many Southern Baptist pastors and laypeople have trusted and used the 1984 New International Version (NIV) translation to the great benefit of the Kingdom; and

WHEREAS, Biblica and Zondervan Publishing House are publishing an updated version of the New International Version (NIV) which incorporates gender neutral methods of translation; and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists repeatedly have affirmed our commitment to the full inspiration and authority of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:15-16) and, in 1997, urged every Bible publisher and translation group to resist “gender-neutral” translation of Scripture; and

WHEREAS, This translation alters the meaning of hundreds of verses, most significantly by erasing gender-specific details which appear in the original language; and

WHEREAS, Although it is possible for Bible scholars to disagree about translation methods or which English words best translate the original languages, the 2011 NIV has gone beyond acceptable translation standards; and

WHEREAS, Seventy-five percent of the inaccurate gender language found in the TNIV is retained in the 2011 NIV; and

WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention has passed a similar resolution concerning the TNIV in 2002; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 14-15, 2011 express profound disappointment with Biblica and Zondervan Publishing House for this inaccurate translation of God’s inspired Scripture; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage pastors to make their congregations aware of the translation errors found in the 2011 NIV; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we respectfully request that LifeWay not make this inaccurate translation available for sale in their bookstores; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we cannot commend the 2011 NIV to Southern Baptists or the larger Christian community.

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