Features

'We could not be intimidated'

"'We could not be intimidated'" Continued...

Issue: "Sex, lies, & audiotape," July 27, 2002

Not all Edinburgh participants, though, are close-mouthed concerning the process leading up to the IBS press release claiming FBA endorsement of the TNIV. One Forum translation division member, Mr. Phillips, told WORLD that in 1999 when the Forum initially considered adopting translation guidelines, he opposed the action. Despite his opposition, the Forum pressed ahead and adopted the guidelines. Indicating the strength of their opposition, Mr. Phillips said that "three or four of us asked for it to be placed in the minutes that we were not in favor of going in that direction."

Were members concerned that the guidelines could be used to bolster member agencies' gender-neutral translations? According to Mr. Phillips, sufficient concern about potential misuse of the guidelines existed that Forum members "also adopted a strong resolution that this would not be used for commercial advantage. The NIV folk have done that."

But it's not merely use of Forum guidelines for commercial advantage to which Mr. Phillips objects. He said that many Forum members who were in Edinburgh decided to approve the TNIV with a minimum of information about the translation. "I've never seen a copy of it," Mr. Phillips said, "and I don't think most of the members of the Forum have seen a copy of it. We haven't seen it, we haven't analyzed it, we'd need a year to go over it."

So what did the Forum's deliberations consist of? According to Marshall Gillam, Edinburgh participant and director of Lutheran Bible Translators, Forum approval of TNIV translation principles and procedures was based, "on what was in the preface of the TNIV. That was what we looked at." Mr. Gillam would not say whether (since two agencies present had already produced gender-neutral Bibles) any opposing views were sought.

WORLD asked many FBA agencies whether IBS had recused itself from the deliberation and vote in Edinburgh concerning its own product, but the standard response was, "You'll have to speak to Gene Habecker about that." But Mr. Habecker, the American Bible Society president, also did not return WORLD's calls in his role as FBA chairman.

One difficulty for Zondervan and IBS is the simple promise made by its representatives at a meeting hosted by James Dobson in Colorado Springs on May 27, 1997: to "abandon all plans for gender-related changes in future editions of the NIV." The two organizations at one point tried to claim that the TNIV is a new translation, rather than a revision of the NIV, but the TNIV's own preface states, "Every human effort is flawed, including this revision of the NIV."

Tarred with the charge of duplicity, Zondervan and IBS seem determined to seek cover behind other organizations. Magazines like Charisma and Christian Marketing, small Bible organizations like the Bible League and Evangel Bible Translators, and even Wycliffe Bible Translators and the Summer Institute of Linguistics are all being drawn into the fray, and no end is in sight.

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