Has World Reformed Fellowship Endorsed Wycliffe in Translation Controversy?

Wycliffe Global Alliance (WGA) is promoting an article on World Reformed Fellowship (WRF) website as if it is a WRF’s position on Wycliffe’s translation controversy. It claims, “Steve Taylor of the World Reformed Fellowship (WRF) has expounded thoughtfully on the allegation that, somehow, Wycliffe and SIL have compromised the truth of the Gospel through their translation of key biblical terms in such communities.” WGA is promoting Mr. Taylor’s article even contrary to WRF official statement preceding the article clearly stating:

One point of clarification – the WRF has taken no official position regarding the issues raised by Steve Taylor and Phil. The matter of appropriate translation practices has never been formally addressed by the WRF. It may be addressed at some future point but, as of this date (April 5, 2012), the issue has not been officially addressed by any decision-making authority within the WRF. In fact, the only body within the WRF that can, according to our By-Laws, make formal doctrinal statements is the General Assembly of the WRF. The last such General Assembly met in 2010 and the next General Assembly is scheduled for 2014.

A Wycliffe USA member who goes by pseudonym “Al Smith” has been promoting Mr. Taylor’s article on social media as if it were World Reformed Fellowship’s position. A Facebook user who read the article challenged Mr. Smith:

Thanks so much, Al — but are you highlighting Steve Taylor’s statement or Sam Logan’s statement? It’s only “another point of view” if you are referring to Steve Taylor’s statement. Sam Logan, international director of the World Reformed Fellowship, indicates that WRF “has taken no official position” on these issues. By the way, would you by chance be with Wycliffe/SIL? Your Facebook profile looks a awful lot like the one created by Janet Reeves, who is also responding to these issues. If you are with WBT/SIL, please indicate this. Are you? This would be important information for accountability/transparency. If by *any chance* you are a WBT member using an invented identity to promote information that is perceived as favorable to Wycliffe, this could raise some interesting questions. Hey, if I’m wrong, just say so. Thanks.

I contacted the International Director of WRF Dr. Sam Logan and he stated, “As noted on our website, the WRF takes no position on the matter that is being discussed regarding translation practices.”

Mr. Taylor is a member of WRF and is not speaking for World Reformed Fellowship. Another WRF member responded to him:

The reader may view the reference to the Mission Frontiers article at the end of Steve Taylor’s article as an endorsement of this article by the WRF.  This is not the case, I am told.  According to the editor of the website these are simply the words that Steve Taylor provided as a part of his submission.  The interested reader will note that the comments posted to this Mission Frontiers article on their website indicate how controversial the article is.  A more serious reader will wonder, and would begin to research where this ideology comes from and why the Muslim background church is so angry about it.

‘Does the WRF endorse removing “Son of God” from the text of Scripture?’  As a member organization of the WRF that keenly feels the impact of such translations of the Scriptures on our church planting work this is an important question for us.

This article by WRF member David Garner is an important one to interact with:http://www.reformation21.org/articles/a-world-of-riches.php

The work of WRF member Bill Nikides is equally important and can be found in hot-off-the-press Chrislam – How Missionaries are Promoting an Islamized Gospel, available from i2ministries.org His work includes many articles in St. Francis Magazine such as “The Year of the Lab Rat”http://www.stfrancismagazine.info/ja/content/view/575/38/

Lest the reader imagine that Steve Taylor’s view of what is happening in Wycliffe is uncontested from within the organization, Matthew Carlton’s treatment of the issue is a vital read: “Jesus the Son of God: Biblical Meaning, Muslim Understanding, and Implications for Translation and Bible Literacy”http://www.stfrancismagazine.info/ja/content/view/569/38/

Wycliffe has been avoiding questions, resorting to diversionary tactics. All  Biblical Missiology petition has asked is for Wycliffe to put in writing that it would always translate “Father,” “Son of God” and “Son” accurately. Apparently, this is too much to ask of Wycliffe.

  • Peter AGE Okorugbo (Evang)

    I think the more important issue is not whether WRF has endorsed or not but, the diversionary tactics in the face of such apparent mistake by the translators.

    I have no doubt with the good intentions that motivated the translation but, trying to be evasive and defensive even worsens the matter, re-enforces the aligation (false) propagated against the Bible and the intergrity of the Christian faith.

    in the context of the Christian faith that we profess, it is humility and repentance they need to employ at this time to glorify God and shame the devil. The Church knows their contribution and even intention in this matter.

    Furthermore, the impasse, challenges and threats occasioned by the religious pressure and puzzle of Islam for a global Caliphate to world peace and kingdom development puts the world and the Church at a crossroad, is reflected various conclicts all around the world to test the ingenuity of the Church as the light and the salt of the world while the Islamic world watches how the Church responds to its bait.

    But, I bring the world the good news of the prophetic potential for the reconciliation of the age long religious divide and conundrum “by the wisdom of the just” – goslamology!

    The whole matter is rooted the religious ignorance that our Lord Jesus predicted about in the bible with the possbiility also of its reciliation.

    And, the Church also should realize that the resolution of this issue does not lie within the premise of the wisdom of this world.
    But, better are ye if know this things. Shallom!