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Mailbag

Issue: "Donna Rice Hughes," April 19, 1997

No sinister conspiracy

Regarding "Femme fatale" by Susan Olasky in the March 29 issue: The article was so slanted that it was hardly an example of fair and objective reporting. She overuses and wrongly uses the word unisex, apparently as a scare tactic. My dictionary defines unisex as "the elimination of gender distinctions (as in dress or hair styles)." No one on the NIV Committee on Bible Translation believes in the elimination of gender distinctions. There is a vast difference between that and the use of inclusive language (e.g., "people") for generic references to "man." The headlines make it sound as if the NIV is part of some sinister conspiracy to seduce the evangelical church, when nothing could be further from the truth. The cover is even worse: "The Stealth Bible." Come now! I was so disappointed in the manner in which the whole subject was handled that I regret giving my consent to be interviewed. - Kenneth L. Barker, Secretary, Committee on Bible Translation, Lewisville, Texas

It's still an issue

Your article about the "Stealth Bible" made me glad that I've hung onto my awkward but accurate New American Standard over the past 25 years. By the way, the comment by Gilbert Bilezikian concerning women as elders and pastors--"in two or three generations from now it won't even be an issue"--reminded me of Voltaire's boast that Christianity would disappear 100 years after his time. Fifty years after Voltaire's death, Bibles were being printed at his former home. God's real words will always ultimately triumph. - Christine Crachi, Latham, N.Y.

Spare me

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I think WORLD should have more accurately called the cover story in the March 29 issue the cover opinion. The reporter's bias was obvious. While Willow Creek church was being condemned for their "exclusivism," Covenant Seminary was being lauded for the same. And how could the writer assume that "the pressure for change comes not from new discoveries about the Bible, it comes from social changes occurring in the culture." Tell that to Martin Luther. We could've "spared" ourselves the birth of protestantism. - Kristi Miller, Cable, Wis.

No big surprise

Congratulations on your expos' of the creeping feminism of the NIV. We shouldn't be surprised. It seems that the translators, having compromised so often before, now have no qualms about misrepresenting the Bible's teaching about the nature of God's image-bearer, man. The almost universal adoption of the NIV by evangelicals has always puzzled and alarmed me. Has our desire to appear relevant to our contemporaries made us vulnerable to ever-increasing departures from God's Word? Maybe your article will help stanch the hemorrhage. - Wright Doyle, Taipei, Taiwan

On wings of egalitarians

Susan Olasky's view of biblical egalitarianism is uninformed and unfair. Dismissing egalitarians (as does Albert Mohler) as denying biblical inerrancy is an epithet instead of an argument. As a professor at Denver Seminary, I gladly sign a doctrinal statement publicly each year affirming inerrancy. I am also an egalitarian. I find no conflict between these views. - Douglas Groothuis, Denver, Colo.

Exclusive, not inclusive

While I completely agree with Susan Olasky's conclusions, I do think the word "inclusive" should be in quotation marks when it is used to refer to the "gender-neutral" language Zondervan is putting into the NIV Bible. "Exclusive" more accurately describes this language, since it excludes God's own words. - Joan Brauning, Coatesville, Pa.

No clouding of sex roles

I was disappointed in the one-sided article on the NIV's shift to more inclusive language. Having read Scripture that uses gender-inclusive language where appropriate to the translation, my belief is that this shift does not cloud the uniqueness of men and women. On the contrary, it affirms that God calls both men and women to exercise the gifts he has given them. It calls all believers to be even more responsible to use those gifts--in the home, the workplace, or in the body of Christ. - Maryam Kubasek, Loveland, Ohio

Let's start leading

Women in the church is an issue all churches will have to deal with. Feminism is a driving force in our culture that is rooted in an unabashed thirst for power. The church has a golden opportunity to point women in the direction of true freedom. But it will never happen unless we drop hands with the culture and start leading. - Becky Toews, Lancaster, Pa.

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