Posts tagged ‘Biblical Missiology’

April 30th, 2012

Wycliffe Can’t Answer Questions, Wastes Time & Resources on Irrelevance in Translation Controversy

Wycliffe Bible Translators has created an “Allah Fact Sheet” web page specifically devoted to addressing “Facts concerning the use of the term “Allah” in Scripture.” This page shows how Allah is not the moon god, his use in scripture predates Islam and millions of Christians currently use him as a term for God.  However this topic is really a non-issue in the Bible translation controversy.

Wycliffe has squandered time and resources coming up with this “Fact Sheet.” Instead it could have used the time to answer questions pertaining to the estimated “200 of the 1,500 Bible translations completed by Wycliffe since it started in 1917,” currently disputed for not translating “Father,” “Son” or “Son of God” accurately. The “Fact Sheet” seems to be a diversionary tactic, and largely irrelevant to the current controversy. The use of “Allah” for “God” was not a part of Biblical Missiology’s online petition, because the issue is about substituting “Allah” for “Father” to satisfy Muslims who object to using “Father.” Another issue is substituting “Messiah” for “Son” while clearly “Messiah” in the Qur’an is a created being.

Wycliffe also has a “Divine Familial Terms Answers to Commonly Asked Questions” page which, even when it is meant to be about “Father,” “Son” and “Son of God,” still brings up the use of “Allah” for “God.” Wycliffe asks and answers:


In the Arabic language, “Allah” is the primary term used for “God.” It should be considered the same as translating the Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic terms for God into English.

It may also be helpful to note that the term “Allah” pre-dates Islam. It appears as far back as the 5th century B.C. and many, if not all, Christian Arabic translations of Scripture since at least the 8th century have used this term.

One of my friends who has been a missionary to the Muslim world finds an irony in Wycliffe’s statement:

This is right and wrong at the same time. Yes, Arabic usage is correct. However, the connotation of the Deity of Islam and Allah has very close linkage. If one translates the text of Matt 28 as “wash them in the manner of Islamic ablutions in the name of Allah” the reader will have the clue of the context to interpret this as the Deity of Islam and how he has been revealed in the Qur’an. If after you remove “Son” and insert Messiah again this is an indication of an Islamizing of the text.

What Wycliffe is doing is stressing the denotation—i.e. the dictionary definition of Allah—and it is forgetting the connotation—i.e. the meanings associated with Allah of Islam. This is as has been pointed out a diversionary tactic. Funny that an org [sic] that is moving to talking a lot about the meaning of the text, is now moving to the more literal renderings of Allah and is forgetting the meanings associated with the name.

These heretical translations—200 languages involving Arabic, Malay, Urdu, Turkish, ectetera—affect close to a billion people. The time is now for Wycliffe to set aside irrelevance and answer pertinent questions. Anything short of a full disclosure and repentance is epic failure.

April 27th, 2012

Bad Choices, Wycliffe

Bad choices, Wycliffe. All the Biblical Missiology’s petition had asked was for you to commit in writing that you would translate ‘Father’, ‘Son’ and ‘Son of God’ accurately in Bible translations. I talked with your leadership in early February and even made it very clear this controversy is far reaching hence needed immediate action but you did not heed my advice. Not even when your leadership acknowledged your expert missiologists, linguistics and bible translators must have misled you to defend these heretical Bible translations.

Now here we are. Because of your choices, this issue will not be resolved soon. Not even at your quadrennial—every four years—meeting in Thailand next week because the global panel review would not conclude its findings by then.

Speaking of the panel, why did you submit to World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) review, an organization that cannot respond to inquiries? Not even the Associated Press could get a response about the review panel. I asked WEA—5 weeks ago—these questions and to date I have not received a response:

1) Whose idea was it to initiate the global review panel? Was it Wycliffe/SIL or WEA?

2) When will the review start?

3) Will the names of panelists be public?

4) Will the review panel address questions Wycliffe/SIL has not answered to date or is it up to Wycliffe and SIL to answer these questions?

5) When asked questions, Wycliffe officials have appealed publicly for people to wait for the outcome of the review, which will not conclude until at the end of 2012. Who came up with this arbitrary timeline?

6) There are missiologists and linguists within Wycliffe and SIL, some of them who have PhDs, who are opposed to the current Wycliffe/SIL translation practices. Will they get a chance to present their case? (When Wycliffe/SIL presents its case to the review panel, it will be coming from a minority who support current translation practices.) Thank you.

I am praying for you.

April 24th, 2012

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:

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 His work includes many articles in St. Francis Magazine such as “The Year of the Lab Rat”

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”

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.

April 11th, 2012

Internal Letter Shows Wycliffe Leadership Out of Touch with Reality

Wycliffe USA President Bob Creson has sent a letter (below) to Wycliffe employees worldwide. Mr. Creson’s letter clearly shows how out of touch he is with the reality. His letter contradicts Wycliffe’s prior official statements and correspondence. Here are a few examples:

1) Mr. Creson sent a letter to the PCA in 2011 which acknowledged Wycliffe and SIL’s involvement in a Bangladeshi Bible translation, the 2005 Injil Sharif, which is an issue in the current Bible translation controversy.

2) Wycliffe USA has issued a lot of official statements which went from total denial to “sort of” acknowledging involvement in Bible mistranslations. On January 12, Wycliffe insisted—contrary to the allegations in Biblical Missiology‘s petition—that ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ were “not removed, but are preserved in a way that does not communicate incorrect meaning.” This statement also defended True Meaning of the Gospel of Christ, an Arabic translation that removes ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ from the Trinity. Then on February 2, Wycliffe insisted it “never has and never will be involved in a translation which does not translate these terms.” Five days later it claimed, “we have never intentionally sponsored a translation.” And on February 15, Wycliffe “is making every effort to identify translations that may have used terms which do not adequately convey the divine familial relationship and to work with project partners to remove them from circulation.”

3) Wycliffe USA issued a statement, even quoting Mr. Creson, when it announced World Evangelical Alliance agreeing to lead a review of Wycliffe and “SIL Translation Practices.” Wycliffe needs to answer questions. What is there to review if Wycliffe and SIL experts have done nothing wrong?

Mr. Creson’s Letter:

April 10, 2012

Dear Colleagues,

Antonio, a mother-tongue translator in Panama, would frequently stand up at the end of a workday, stretch, and say, “Ah, this translation work, it breaks my head wide open!”

Translating accurately from one language to a dramatically different one is hard, even when the subject matter is common, everyday activities. But translating accurately about deep spiritual matters is much harder. The current discussion about divine familial terms is about as hard as it gets: How do you translate words that refer to the relationship between God the Father and God the Son? 

Like most of you, I’ve listened to both sides of the issue, and I confess I don’t know all the answers. I don’t speak the languages or live in the cultures where these issues are most critical, so I have to trust those who tell me that certain terms are accurate or inaccurate. I don’t read biblical Hebrew or Greek either, so I have to trust biblical language scholars to tell me the meanings of the words that have been translated into English, such as “Son” and “Father.”  I must also trust those who are checking translations to ensure accuracy.

Nevertheless there are certain things I’m absolutely confident of.

I know that Wycliffe and SIL have not swerved in our commitment to orthodox theology. We love the Lord and are determined to serve Him faithfully.

I know that accurate translation is difficult, but supremely important. We have been called to give people groups a version of God’s Eternal Word that expresses the original meaning accurately, not a watered-down version that avoids difficult conversations.

I know that the Great Commission was given to the Church. That’s why I feel comfortable being guided by a panel convened by the World Evangelical Alliance to consider this issue. We are part of the Church, not separate from it. When the panel is chosen, it will include “respected Evangelical theologians, biblical scholars, translators, linguists and missiologists, and will include representation of national believers from countries with majority Muslim populations and mature followers of Christ from Muslim backgrounds.” (See .) It will represent the Church (including us) well.

I also know that while this discussion is impacting all of us, it’s not about us. It’s about those still waiting to hear the Good News about Jesus…those still waiting for Scripture.  And they deserve to hear it accurately–worded as clearly as possible–so that they have the best chance to come to know Jesus, the Son of God, and submit to Him as Lord. These are people for whom Christ died, and we must remain focused on getting that Good News to them.

This conversation is demanding a lot from all of us—administrators, language personnel, support workers, prayer and financial partners…all of us.  But never lose sight of God’s perspective.  Church history, as well as the history of Wycliffe, is filled with stories of God working through difficulty to bring about good. Even now we’re seeing good in the midst of difficulty—we’re learning to partner much more intimately with the Church than we ever have before. Let’s pray that God will use these events to impress on His people that Bible translation is essential to the Great Commission and that it’s the responsibility of the entire Church. Pray that this will be a pivotal moment in the global Church’s involvement in Scripture translation so that people from all nations can hear the Good News and become Christ’s disciples.

Finally, Wycliffe is a close-knit community…a body of believers. Romans 12:5 says, “We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other” (NLT). I Corinthians 12:25-26 says, “…all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad” (NLT).

So let’s encourage one another. If one of your colleagues is concerned about a potential drop in income, pray with her or him. If someone expresses an opinion that you disagree with, be kind in your response.

And please never forget that the Administration of Wycliffe USA is here to help. At the bottom of this letter are links to Insite, UNITY, and Wycliffe USA’s website where you will find resources to help you. If you cannot access them there, please write to  and we’ll forward your e-mail to someone who can send you the information you need by e-mail attachment. If you need an answer that isn’t covered in these links, that would be another reason to write .


Bob Creson


Wycliffe USA

Wycliffe leadership is out of touch with reality. Even some Wycliffe members are shocked by the recent letter. I have analyzed it on my website. Mr. Creson’s ambivalence is shocking.

March 27th, 2012

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.”

March 15th, 2012

Wycliffe USA President Leads CBN into Filing Incorrect News Report

Wycliffe President Bob Creson appeared on CBN recently and did not answer questions that would put to rest the current Bible translation controversy. Instead he misled a CBN reporter into filing an incorrect news report.

The newscast portion on Wycliffe where Mr. Creson is interviewed starts with a voiceover quoting a February 6, 2012 statement SIL issued which announced it was suspending Arabic “audio translation.”

In this video starting at 2:48 mark, CBN News Senior International Reporter Gary Lane asks Mr. Creson, “Why did Wycliffe change the language in the Arabic version?” The reporter is referring to the translation that was suspended. Mr. Creson says, “I am assuming that we are referring to The True Meaning of the Gospel of Christ that was done by another organization Al Kalima.”

He fails to mention Wycliffe’s involvement with The True Meaning of the Gospel of Christ even when the reporter asks him twice.

The reporter later asks, “And now that you have put it on hold, what would you clarify now in order to go forward?” And Mr. Creson goes to the February 15 statement when Wycliffe still denied any involvement in The True Meaning.

Wycliffe issued a statement on February 15, 2012 stating, “The formal review will be led by respected theologians, biblical scholars, translators, linguists, and missiologists from the global Church. We expect this review to produce a report that will guide future Wycliffe USA and SIL translation efforts.”

When Wycliffe issued this statement, they were still denying any involvement in all—except for the ‘audio translation’—translations Biblical Missiology had brought to light in the online petition.

I am still in shock Wycliffe USA President Bob Creson misled CBN reporter into filing an incorrect report. I hope he retracts his erroneous statements and CBN issues a correction. Here are some of the facts:

  • The True Meaning of the Gospel and Acts in Arabic is still on sale on Amazon UK. Get yourself a “gift-wrapped” copy HERE.

This is not a Wycliffe/SIL project but they consulted on it. Biblical Missiology petition never said it was a Wycliffe/SIL project. This translation removes, among other terms, ‘Father’ and ‘Son.’ Prime example: Matthew 28:19.

  • Wycliffe USA Senior VP Russ Hersman did an interview with the Christian Post on February 7 after SIL issued the February 6 statement about the “audio translation” being pulled. He told CP, “[Lives of the Prophets] was an audio drama that originally substituted inadequate familial terms in the mid-1990s. Since that time, the translation has been removed from circulation and will not be re-released until it has been corrected and revised.”

He went on to deny Wycliffe was involved in any translation that removed ‘Father’ and ‘Son.’

  • Mr. Hersman also took to Facebook after the publication of the CP article. He was answering a question about what translations “have already been pulled from circulation.” He wrote, “Thanks for this question. As you are no doubt aware, Wycliffe USA affirmed its commitment to clear and accurate representation of the familial triune God with an official policy announcement in August 2011, roughly at the same time that SIL issued its Best Practices document. The “Lives of the Prophets” audio translation was found to be out of line with those documents and was pulled around the same time. As Wycliffe USA stated earlier today, we are in the process of re-evaluating our methodology, including the August 2011 standards, to ensure that they meet our goal of providing clear and accurate translations. We expect to issue a more complete statement on these matters soon.”

The statement on CBN video about “the pause” has nothing to do with The True Meaning. I hope Mr. Creson issues a retraction and CBN corrects its error in reporting. The Christian public has been misled to believe a lie. I have talked with Mr. Lane and he all along thought “the pause” was in reference to The True Meaning. I also called Wycliffe yesterday and have not received any clarification yet.

Please, continue to pray for Wycliffe, SIL and Frontiers leaderships. They need to come clean. And do so fast. Anything short of a full disclosure and repentance is a failure. And issuing statements full of half-truths will not resolve this issue and bring the much-needed healing to the fractured body of Christ.

March 13th, 2012

Wycliffe’s Director of Communications’ Take on Bible Mistranslations

Wycliffe Bible Translators USA leadership has taken to the airwaves trying to mitigate the damage its linguists and missiologists have brought upon this reputable organization. So far, none of the lingering questions Biblical Missiology has raised has been answered. I will share more tomorrow.

I would like to share with you what a colleague brought to my attention a few weeks ago. It is a blog entry by Dawn Kruger, who is the Director of Communications for Wycliffe International Asia Pacific and SIL International Asia area. Here is what Dawn writes about the current controversy. Since she is in charge of communications, I am surprised she wrote this entry four days after Wycliffe USA admitted it was involved in an Arabic translation, which removes ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ from the Trinity. Wycliffe had denied for seven straight weeks it was involved in this translation. Dawn writes:

So I showed you the fun parts of traveling to England. But why were the meetings significant?

The topic discussed was critical to our organization. You may have seen online that Wycliffe and SIL have been the targets of unscrupulous attacks against the principles and practices used in translating certain key terms in the New Testament. Because our goal is meaning-based translations rather than transliterations (which would be utterly meaningless if taken directly from the original language sources), translators often need to carefully search for meaningful ways of expressing difficult concepts in other languages. For example grace, mercy, atonement, sanctification [sic], etc., are often difficult to express in other languages. Even in our own Bibles, Greek terms have been adjusted to carry meaning to English-speaking readers.

But the current attacks are being levied against translations that found culturally appropriate ways of expressing the relationship between God the Father and Jesus the Son without using familial terms. In some contexts, using the terms father and son can ONLY[sic] imply a family relationship based on the father having sired the son through a physical relationship with the son’s mother. There can be no other understanding of the term. So in deference to the holiness of God and in reverence to the relationship between the first and the second persons of the Trinity, in some translations, terms were used to denote the sacredness of the father and son relationship without using those exact words.

In response, some people who do not understand the principles of accurate and meaningful translation, and are working strictly from English source texts rather than the original Greek, are levying unprincipled, untrue attacks against our organization and our closest partner — attacks that are stirring up a great deal of concern among well-meaning people looking for answers.

I contacted Dawn two weeks ago and she has not responded yet to my comment. I hope she realizes Christians who are opposed to these mistranslations are missiologists, native speakers of languages  where mistranslations have happened, pastors, linguists—some have resigned from Wycliffe and SIL, Bible translators and others who are still with these organizations. (Bold emphasis is mine.)

February 25th, 2012

After 7 Weeks of Denial, Wycliffe now Admits it was involved in producing Injil Sharif

Update: Wycliffe USA has edited its FAQ again. Now it admits they were involved in producing the 2005 Bengali Injil Sharif also known as Bengali Bible. This is after denying they were responsible for 7 straight weeks. I don’t understand why they continue editing their statements as Biblical Missiology releases evidence. Why don’t they just admit they were involved? It is very sad. A revised Wycliffe USA FAQ now read, “The 2005 Bengali Injil Sharif translation was produced by Global Partners and included a Bible Society consultant. Neither Wycliffe USA nor SIL had official involvement in the translation.” This is close. Pretty soon they will have to remove, “Neither Wycliffe USA nor SIL had official involvement in the translation.” Please pray and grieve for this once reputable Christian organization.

Wycliffe is probably not going to release any official explanation or statement. I don’t count on it especially since they have been unwilling to answer questions on record pertaining to this controversy. The FAQ was changed late yesterday after Biblical Missiology released an article, which documented Wycliffe and SIL involvement in the 2005 Bengali Injil Sharif.

Here is the initial statement Wycliffe/SIL released on January 12, 2012:

SIL did not advise this translation. A non-SIL consultant approved it, as did the United Bible Societies. The main Protestant church supports the translation, and the local Catholic seminary has praised it. This translation also explains that the term used is translating a Greek phrase of the form Son of God.

Though they originally denied having “any involvement” in the Injil Sharif, Wycliffe/SIL now admit they were unofficially involved in the project.

Gone also is Wycliffe’s previous claim the 2005 Bengali Injil Sharif was approved by the United Bible Societies.

February 24th, 2012

Clarity On Wycliffe/SIL’s Involvement In The Bengali Injil Sharif

By former missionary, now pastor, Rev. Scott Seaton of Biblical Missiology

As part of their “Pledge to Transparency,” Wycliffe posted a series of “Answers to Commonly Asked Questions[1] on February 15, 2012, relating to a controversy over translation of the divine familial terms, i.e. “Father,” “Son,” and “Son of God.” One question related to a translation in Bangladesh known as the Injil Sharif: “What was Wycliffe or SIL’s involvement in Injil Sharif (also known as the Bengali Bible)?” Wycliffe answered that “Neither Wycliffe USA nor SIL had any involvement in the Injil Sharif project. This particular translation was led by a different organization and included non-SIL consultants.” Biblical Missiology offers the following response to the categorical statement that Wycliffe/SIL did not have “any involvement.”

First, we must be clear that Biblical Missiology has never claimed that Wycliffe/SIL directly produced or translated the Bengali Injil Sharif. Rather, as pointed out in our Fact Check,[2] the translation was cited in the petition to show SIL’s general and specific influence on other agencies doing translation work. For years, Rick Brown of SIL has advocated for alternative wording for the divine familial terms, and his articles have often been referenced as a general, authoritative justification for this controversial practice. But he has also had specific influence, offering advice on key terms at critical moments, especially in regards to the translation of “Father,” “Son,” and “Son of God.”

Such is the case with the Bengali Injil Sharif, produced by Global Partners For Development.[3] Rick Brown, an SIL translation consultant, spoke at a May 2002 conference in Bangkok sponsored by Global Partners. In his two sessions, he presented his argument that Arabic demands that “son” can only mean a biological offspring, thus giving Muslims the mistaken notion that Jesus was the result of sexual intercourse between God and Mary. What, then, does “Son of God” actually mean? According to Brown at the time of the conference, the meaning of “Son of God” is equivalent to the New Testament terms “Messiah” and “Christ.” Based on Brown’s arguments at the conference and in his articles, Global Partners justified translating “Son of God” as “Messiah” or “Christ.”

Please read more HERE.

Relevant links:

Biblical Missiology petition

Why the Petition was started

Biblical Missiology Fact Check for Wycliffe’s initial response

February 10th, 2012

Pray for Wycliffe and SIL and the 340-Million Problem

Please pray for Wycliffe and SIL leaderships. They have to make some serious decisions. Contrary to what we have heard about just one translation—an Arabic audio Bible story—with error in rendering ‘Father’ and ‘Son,’ there are as many as 14.

Wycliffe USA Senior Vice President Russ Hersman admitted to the World Magazine last October there were about 30 to 40 translations that “”employ some alternate renderings” for the divine familial terms.””

Christian scholar Dr. Gordon Nickel, who has a PhD in Islamic studies, writes on Wycliffe USA’s Facebook page:

In the 1990s I witnessed a translation of the New Testament into an Asian language which consistently replaced “Son” with “beloved” (habeeb). I have a copy of the published translation. The SIL translator was a friend whom I liked a lot and very much admired! This is not a “political” attack on WBT, but a disagreement among Christians on how to render the words by which the Creator God chose to reveal Himself. That WBT are listening to concerns and engaging in conversation with Christians outside their circle is good news!

Dr. Nickel’s account shows there is at least one other translation out there.

Wycliffe USA needs to apologize publicly for how it has handled this crisis. Biblical Missiology, the group which started the public petition, which I belong to, should be thanked and not vilified. Our efforts have been called ‘satanic’ and our sincerity questioned. Some even thought I was a Muslim ‘plant.’

For those who are new to this controversy, this issue used to be discussed among Christians in outreach to Muslims circles. Then Wycliffe/SIL linguists and missiologists made it public through media interviews and magazine articles. For more information, please read, How the “Lost in Translation” Petition on Came to Be Now.

Thanks to Biblical Missiology, now ‘the man in the pew’ who donates his or her money for translations causes knows about it. Even Wycliffe and SIL staffs I have heard from want change. I hope this is a time for a God-honoring change in these two great Christian organizations.

Wycliffe and SIL need to marshal and use their resources wisely. Wycliffe USA claims on its website, “Today about 340 million people do not have any Scripture in their language. Wycliffe’s vision is to see the Bible accessible to all people in the language they understand best.” This statement reveals two problems about the present crisis. First, modern translations of the Bible are already available in both Turkish and Arabic. Why are Wycliffe and SIL even bothering with these languages? Second, Wycliffe and SIL translations contain so many mistranslations about divine filial terms that the indigenous church in Turkey doesn’t want them. The same is true for Arab Christians. Why are these organizations wasting their resources on them and now defending them? Have they lost sight of their 340-million problem?

Wycliffe and SIL leadership are meeting today. Three linguists and missiologists are responsible for this current mess. Please, pray for these leaderships as they make some tough decisions.