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Mailbag

Issue: "Louisiana's Buy-You-Election," May 17, 1997

Ideas have consequences

As a professional church musician who just ended a 7-1/2 year stint in a mainline denomination, I can tell you that the excuses and accusations you're getting from Zondervan (&quotThe battle for the Bible," April 19) are typical of what happens when you blow the whistle on liberal theology in the making. Ideas have consequences. What people believe affects how they act. If there is no reverent fear about the Word of God at Zondervan, there won't be any respect for the words of men to each other, either-as you've seen. - Linda Simms, Oxford, Conn.

What's so difficult?

I for one welcome the publication of the Inclusive Language Edition of the NIV. John Stott expressed the same thought on the cover of the New Testament, published by Hodder and Stoughton, which I am pleased to own. I am included in this Bible. I am not included when the church sings &quotRise Up O Men of God." Why is that so hard for men to understand? Our language has moved beyond their narrow point of view. - Sara Anne Robertson, Wheaton, Ill.

Pandering to cultural whims

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The &quotgender neutral" translation of the NIV is clearly an attempt to intersperse man's (or more precisely, feminists') words with God's words to satisfy the cultural whims of some. In our opinion, it falls exactly into the same category as &quotDid God really say ... ?" (Genesis 3:1). - Rick & Rhea Dawn Smith, Ostrander, Ohio

Another proverb

Clearly, it is one thing to incorporate idiomatic usage in a Bible translation in order to clarify and quite another thing to create idioms in order to placate a radical fringe group. The NIV has been my Bible of choice since its first printing in 1978. I was confident that its editors were sincerely trying to be true to the ancient manuscripts. But if Zondervan and the NIV's Committee on Bible Translation proceed with their plans to publish a &quotgender accurate" Bible in this country, I will not buy another NIV, and I will do what I can to discourage others from buying it. As for the current NIV, let us embrace one of the most profound extra-biblical proverbs ever coined: &quotIf it ain't broke, don't fix it!" - Bruce Witherspoon, Port Huron, Mich.

Stay on the story

Thank you for your insightful article and the lengthy comparison of the two NIVs. An important point that you mentioned briefly but did not emphasize is the fact that David C. Cook is adopting the NIrV version for its Sunday School materials. The ramifications of this will be widespread. An entire generation will grow up being exposed to and knowing only this version. Please continue to expose this issue. - Debora G. Westcott, West Hartford, Conn.

Lost credibility

Too much attention is being given to the &quotinclusive language" of the new NIV. We ought to examine whether it is a credible version at all. The first Bible I purchased as a new Christian in 1979 was the NIV. I bought it because of the rave reviews it received. Now, as a pastor, I have begun to question the scholarship and accuracy of the NIV. In hours of sermon preparation involving comparison of the Greek with the various scholarly versions, I have grown increasingly disappointed with the NIV's rendering of Greek words or phrases. I have since abandoned the NIV as a credible translation and exchanged my $85.00 leather-bound pulpit NIV for an old hardcover RSV, which I find to be very accurate and easy to read. - Ron Moser, Evanston, Wyom.

Courageous reporting

Bravo for the article on the stealth egalitarian version of the NIV and the new policy at Willow Creek. That took some courage as well as investigative skill. God bless your labors! - John M. Frame, Escondido, Calif.

Grave misunderstanding

Your &quotStealth Bible" article quoted me in a way which gave the perception that I am part of a movement designed to change inerrant Scripture to accommodate the feminist agenda. This is not the case. I am grieved that the work of Christ has been hurt by grave misunderstanding over this issue. The International Bible Society and Zondervan Publishers are time-tested evangelical organizations committed to the goal of accurately communicating and spreading the Word of God. Your articles have fueled a firestorm of misunderstanding among Bible-believing Christians at the very time unity is needed in our witness to our neo-pagan society. - Larry Walker
Committee on Bible Translation, Memphis, Tenn.

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