Clear as mud
I have a suggestion to address the inclusive language/gender neutral language controversy ("Buyer beware," Nov. 21). My company had a similar problem in a case study that was used in a training program for new employees. In an attempt not to offend anyone (e.g., women), the whole case study was revised to have "he/she" instead of the generic "he." So, our company's new trainees get to filter through language such as "Your client is A.J. Jones (using initials eliminates stereotyping clients as either male or female). He/she is somewhat chauvinistic, and his/her wife has never worked, having stayed at home to raise his/her family. In dealing with him/her, you must gauge his/her business needs, then prepare a proposal that he/she is inclined to accept." We could also easily apply this method to verses such as Luke 9:23-"If anyone would come after me, he/she must deny himself/herself." This type of language always leads to easy reading, better clarity, and adherence to original intent (NOT !). - Bill Peck, Abingdon, Md.
The audacity of Dean Merrill is astounding ("October surprise," Nov. 21). For him to imply that the instructions the board of IBS gave were directed at only licensees and not employees is similar to President Clinton's reasoning about his testimony. Unfortunately, the end result for me is that I don't believe a word IBS says, which will affect whether or not I purchase and/or recommend its products! - David Cullum, Westchester, Ill.
WORLD doesn't get it
Two comments about your articles concerning inclusive language. First, your coverage was an atrocious example of lambasting fellow evangelicals, simply because you disagree with a certain position. Vern Poythress accuses "feminists" of "load[ing] 'he' with connotations," as a means of attack. Yet, he and your other writers are guilty of loading radical images upon evangelicals, like myself, who are in favor of inclusive human language. Second, any good translator is going to have as his goal communicating a message from one language to another. This is the task of biblical translators. Now the question is not whether or not the Bible changes. We know it does not. But the issue is how to best translate the Scripture into American English, which does change. Generic masculine language used to be understood by nearly everyone as including all people. This is not the case anymore, whether we like it or not. So, if we want a general audience to understand that texts like 2 Corinthians 5:17 refer to people other than males over the age of 18, then we cannot use generic masculine language. This is not an argument about the English language, arguing whether or not it should work this way. It is an argument about how best to communicate the Scripture in a language that does work this way. - Eddie Bromley, Milburn, Ky.
Get with it
As a former member of Wycliffe (and ongoing supporter), I was surprised to learn that the Summer Institute of Linguistics is the translation arm of Wycliffe ("Gender neutralized," Nov. 21). Actually, Wycliffe is the translation arm of SIL. That detail aside, I found myself disturbed by the one-sided presentation given to the discussion of gender-neutrality in that issue. Knowing something about the principles of dynamic translation, I can scarce believe that the issue is so cleanly delineated into right and wrong: This is a topic on which Christians of good will and sound faith can disagree. But as it stands, gender-neutrality now keeps company with outcome-based education and whole language as things that no right-thinking Christian would dare consider, and again we affirm ourselves to the world as unreflective and reactionary. - Bill Leal, Athens, Ohio
Maybe "October surprise" could have been titled "October deja vu." I thought it was another scene from an act I've been following in Washington: IBS chairman (a.k.a. president) Victor Oliver knew "nothing" about the reprinting. Mr. Merrill said he acted unilaterally in deciding to reprint (probably what Webster Hubbell would say if he'd talk). Every excuse offered could be rewritten, "It was an economic decision, stupid." And Mr. Merrill's statement to the effect that there was nothing in the board's instructions to staff forbidding his action sounds vaguely familiar: "You told me I had to go to bed, you didn't say I couldn't read under my covers with a flashlight!" P.S.: Can I pay for my next subscription with a couple of cats? - Randall A. Macdonald, Flora, Ill.
One change too many
When you catch a long-term employee stealing from you, especially if he's stolen big, it's only prudent to assume that this wasn't the first time. Ever since you broke the news of the gender-neutered NIV, I've ceased using my old copy. I know by hearing the NIV read in church that the IBS has made many smaller changes in it since it was first published. I just can't trust any of these, however innocent most or all of them may be. Instead, I now use the NKJV New Geneva Study Bible. - Art Thomas, Lawrence, Kan.
Appalling? Disgusting? Satanic? All this and more. Here we are, pastors, slugging it out in the trenches, only to find the Benedicts really are in the backyard-or even under the same steeple! How long can God stay his hand? If all of "us" were "they," or "them," or "it," or "we"-then thus: "we" is by far more worser off than "all." So why the fuss? To lose "our" "he?" Ah! There's the rub! More grander, gender-plus! "We're" making history! Remove the curse no "him," no "his," just "us!" Alas! Alack! No "men," no "he?" No "dad," no "father," "brother" too? Then who, pray tell, will be the "me" that both my "sons" come running to? Just how can "woman:" "she" and "her" have children? Who'd've thought? Remove the "men," be rid the kids! A-HA!! So that's the plot!! Feminism at it's best! (or worst) -to rule the day! When "men," or "them" are gone-what then? "Those" "she's" can have "their" way! - Randall Cross, Middlesex, Pa.
Wasting space and time
We question an editorial decision to waste a whole page of your magazine on the tearing down of Thomas Jefferson. 1 Corinthians 14:26 tells us, "Let all things be done unto edifying." Articles such as Mr. Olasky's do not bring us closer to God. Isn't that what God's World Publications is all about? - Alan and Eric Tresemer, Alta, Mont.
Pig out and celebrate
I just read that you have reached the 100,000 mark and got a pig to celebrate. Your kind of writing is much needed. I know you can't please everybody, if you try you will stand for nothing and fall for everything. - John Renno, Milton, Pa.
I remain stunned that professing Christians continue to call for such unlimited forbearance toward our president. They assert that we ought not "rush to judgment" and that instant and easy forgiveness is the proper remedy. I was recently reminded that a "rush to judgment" may be perfectly appropriate in particular circumstances. "It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among the pagans: A man has his father's wife. And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present" (1 Corinthians 5:1-3). The Apostle Paul made this "rush to judgment" not knowing all the facts and circumstances of this particular man's life. Paul did not conduct a comprehensive fact-finding investigation nor was he even physically present at the church. He had only heard that such things were happening and yet he passes judgment on the immoral one and his actions. - Albert Griffith, Greenville, Del.
Bankrupt ivory towers
Thank you for "Hamlet or Betty the Yeti" (Nov. 21). This article does a fine job of demonstrating the moral bankruptcy of the academic establishment. - Fred W. Noltie, Jr., Coon Rapids, Minn.
Baptist in a Mickey shirt
I find it slightly amusing, in light of your continuing (recent) coverage of the Disney boycott (Aug. 15/Nov. 28), that page 22 of your Nov. 21 issue has a picture of a woman wearing a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt (Mickey inside a ring of international flags). The caption under the picture reads "Word and Deed: Baptists in the United States prepare disaster relief." Seems that either the boycott was not on the mind of the Baptist pictured or not on the mind of your editorial staff. Thanks for the chuckle. - Scott Wells, Lake Mary, Fla.
Words are important
I'm writing to tell you how much I love your magazine. I'm a homeschooled 14-year-old who loves to read. Your magazine is the best I've ever read! My Mom is always amazed at stuff we bring up at dinner, ranging from what movies to see to who is running for office. When she asks where we learned it, the answer is always WORLD. There is one thing I'd like to correct you on. In the Nov. 14 issue, one of the comics says, "Thou shalt not kill." The Bible reads "Thou shalt not murder." There is a difference. If it said don't kill, how could we fight wars or enforce the death penalty? - Sarah Freed, Covina, Calif.