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Religion Notes

"Religion Notes" Continued...

Issue: "Unholy matrimony," Feb. 13, 1999

Impeach DeMent?

Coral Ridge Ministries has sent petitions with 60,000 names to members of Congress seeking the impeachment of U.S. District Judge Ira DeMent of Montgomery, Ala. CRM, a broadcast ministry headed by D. James Kennedy, pastor of 9,500-member Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., has drafted articles of impeachment against the judge and is looking for a congressional sponsor for them, CRM spokesman John Aman said. Judge DeMent banned certain school-sponsored religious activities in Alabama's DeKalb County (WORLD, Sept. 19, 1998). The petitions accuse him of abusing his office "to oppress our Christian freedoms." But even the judge's harshest critics on Capitol Hill did not seem eager to champion the CRM cause.

Read those footnotes

Praisers of the inclusive-language Bibles argue that they make the Bible clearer for modern-day readers. But that may only be true for those who read their footnotes carefully. For example, a reader interested in the term "son of man" should look at Daniel 7:13-14 and related New Testament verses like Matthew 24:30, Luke 21:27, and Revelation 1:12, which clearly refer the reader back to Daniel 7. Each use of this title in the NT is, in a small way, further support for the deity of Christ. The verses should all be translated "son of man" in order to make clear the inter-testamental connections. How do the new inclusive versions hold up? The translators do a good job with the NT passages. All of the versions except for the Oxford Bible (a radical inclusive version based on the New Revised Standard Version) translated the NT passages as "son of man." The New Living Translation offered some confusion with a footnote to Revelation 1:12: "like a man." But the translators made a muddle of the Daniel passage. God's Word, the Contemporary English Version (CEV), and the NIV Inclusive Language Edition translated Daniel 7:13 as "son of man," although the NIVI added confusion with a footnote that translated the phrase "human being." The New Century Version and the New Revised Standard Version translated it "human being," although the NRSV tried to provide clarity by adding a footnote "like a son of man." The New Living Translation translated the phrase "like a man." In a footnote the NLT gave an alternative reading "like a Son of Man; Aramaic reads like a son of man." So much for clarity.

New Bible entries

Evangelical publisher Crossway has obtained a license from the National Council of Churches to do "a limited revision" of the Revised Standard Version (RSV). In the works for more than a year, the agreement with NCC will allow Crossway and its translation advisers to make changes in the verses that caused the RSV to be suspect in the minds of many evangelicals-for example translating Isaiah 7:14 as "young woman" rather than "virgin." The Revised Standard Version has long been respected as a "word for word" translation, but it is unclear how many evangelical Bible readers will give up their favored versions. For those readers who love the King James Version, a small publisher in South Dakota has undertaken a limited revision. The Third Millennium Bible (TMB) updates "only those words which are obsolete or whose meanings have changed since its first publication in 1611." The TMB keeps the begots, thees and thys, and cansts. But it replaces obsolete words like bewray with betray, murrain with pestilence, sith with since, and minish with diminish. The TMB also includes the Apocryhpha, as did the original King James Version.

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