Wycliffe, SIL & the Current Bible Translation Controversy

Three people have asked me in the past week what I would like Wycliffe and SIL to do in order to resolve the current Bible translation controversy. I told them had these organizations heeded Biblical Missiology Society’s petition, which you can find HERE, this controversy would have been resolved in January. It is Wycliffe and SIL’s own fault this matter is on the verge of bringing them down. All the petition has asked them is for “a written commitment… not to remove Father, Son or Son of God from the text of Scripture.” Apparently, that is still too much to ask of these organizations.

There are a lot of unanswered questions. Wycliffe and SIL leaderships know the answers to questions. In October 2011, Wycliffe USA Senior Vice President Russ Hersman openly admitted to the World Magazine, “200 translation projects Wycliffe/SIL linguists have undertaken in Muslim contexts, about 30 or 40 “employ some alternate renderings” for the divine familial terms.”

What are these translations? I contacted Wycliffe and SIL on January 11 via email after their disastrous initial response to the petition and did not get an answer. (Please read Wycliffe/SIL response and Biblical Missiology’s Fact Check HERE.) I called them on January 18 (Wycliffe Orlando and SIL Dallas). Wycliffe Orlando Office promised someone would call me back by the next day. I never heard from anyone. Then again on January 24 I called, and did not get an answer. Mark you; this was before I wrote my first Yahoo! News article. After the article, finally someone returned my calls but did not answer any questions. I am committed to writing on this issue until I get the answers.

So far, all the translations in the current controversy, which Wycliffe has admitted involvement—thanks to the petition—removes ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ from the Trinity.

Wycliffe officials also need to apologize for calling our efforts to hold Wycliffe and SIL accountable as “satanic.”

  • Mike Tisdell

    My own experiences regarding the lack of communication from Wycliffe on this issue are similar. I first found out about this issue nearly four years ago, and over the years I have tried about a half dozen times to get answers from Wycliffe on a number of issues. None of my written communications have ever been returned (email and regular mail) and promises made by Wycliffe’s representatives both in person and over the phone have not resulted in a response. I recently did get a response from someone involved with Wycliffe, but he was unfamiliar with the issue and could not address the questions I had. Note: my communication with him was not through Wycliffe channels, as of today I have still not received an official Wycliffe response to any questions that I have asked.

    • http://www.cracksinthecrescent.com Hussein

      Thanks for the comment, Mike. Sad how Wycliffe hasn’t answered questions and now the leadership wants Christians to wait for WEA panel review’s findings. I will not be waiting for that answer. I know already what the answers are, which are in the Biblical Missiology petition and Fact Check. I just want Wycliffe to be honest. So far, the leadership just wants to buy time.