Posts tagged ‘SIL’

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 27th, 2012

Wycliffe/SIL Delay Tactics Continue-WEA Review

Wycliffe/SIL evasion of questions regarding the current translation controversy continues. A press release has been sent out. Wycliffe and SIL are submitting to a World Evangelical Alliance’s (WEA) independent review panel which will conclude its report by the end of this year. Yep. You read that right!

While majority of Wycliffe and SIL’s financial support comes from the United States, apparently, there is no sense of urgency for Wycliffe and SIL to resolve this issue for the US Christian public which wants answers to questions now. This long review period does not preclude Wycliffe and SIL officials from answering questions.

Wycliffe has called our efforts to hold it accountable “satanic.” I wonder if Wycliffe officials will apologize to us now that it is realizing we have been right all along. We will see.

WEA press release:

WEA to Form Independent Review Panel on Wycliffe and SIL Bible Translation

New York, NY – March 27, 2012

In the light of certain controversies about Bible translation, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), as a respected and trusted global evangelical association, has been asked to form a panel to independently review Wycliffe and SIL International’s translation of “God the Father” and the “Son of God.”

“Rejoicing that many Christians globally do not have to learn Hebrew or Greek to read God’s Word and wishing to strengthen Evangelical unity on the basis of God’s Word, the WEA has agreed to facilitate an independent external audit of Wycliffe and SIL International’s practice of the translation of “God the Father” and the “Son of God”,” said Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, Secretary General of the WEA.

Wycliffe Global Alliance and SIL International as organizations dedicated to the accurate translation of God’s Word are committed to applying this review’s recommendations. The panel’s mandate includes reviewing SIL’s translation practices; setting boundaries for theologically acceptable translation methodology particularly in Muslim contexts; and suggesting how to practically implement these recommendations.

Facilitated by the WEA, this transparent and independent review will be conducted by a global panel of 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.

Reports throughout the process, as well as the final report, will be sent to Wycliffe and SIL International. The intention is that the panel’s final report will be delivered by the end of the year 2012.

PRESS CONTACT: newsservice@worldea.org

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.)

March 12th, 2012

The Assemblies of God Gives Wycliffe a Deadline

The Assemblies of God (AoG) and Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) are the only Christian denominations that have taken a stand against Wycliffe Bible Translators and SIL’s involvement in Bible translations that removed ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ from the Trinity. PCA acted last year.

The AoG’s statement, “Essential Scriptural Integrity,” was on page 28 and 29 of the March 4 issue of the denomination’s magazine, Pentecostal Evangel. The statement, in part, reads:

For many years Assemblies of God World Missions has partnered in ministry with Wycliffe Bible Translators. While some missionaries are appointed by AGWM to do Bible translation for specific and unique reasons, most of those with a specific calling to Scripture translation are assigned to Wycliffe. The AG World Missions Executive Committee made this determination because of the highly specialized nature of Bible translation into other languages. Presently 35 AG missionaries work with Wycliffe.

In the last year the propriety of this long-held partnership has come into question for the first time. A major factor in this issue is how the Scriptures are translated for Muslim readers. Nearly every Muslim has heard the name of Jesus. Most even revere Him as a sinless prophet. But they think of Him only as a human being—not as God the Son.

Communicating God’s Word for Muslims presents challenges regarding their beliefs concerning the Trinity and Jesus as the Son of God. Consequently, some translations designed for Muslim readers remove familial terms, such as Father, Son, Son of God, Son of the Living God and Son of Man, from the text. In their place, alternative terms are used, such as “Beloved of God,” a familiar Arabic Muslim characterization often used when referring to Muhammad.

Wycliffe addresses its translation standards on its ministry website: “In certain circumstances, specifically where it has been demonstrated that a literal translation of ‘Son of God’ would communicate wrong meaning, an alternative form with equivalent meaning may be used.” The problem arises in what is meant by communicating “wrong meaning” and “equivalent meaning.”

AGWM missionary leaders, missiologists and scholars have met twice with leaders of Wycliffe and its partner ministry, Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL), to deal with the increasing disagreement concerning Bible translation practices.

Dr. Mark Hausfeld, director of Global initiative—Reaching Muslim Peoples, a ministry of AGWM, states, “Initially, familial language in the Bible is offensive to Muslims because the Qur’an and their religious instruction teach them not to apply such words as ‘Son’ and ‘Father’ to God. Our responsibility as followers of Jesus is to build relationships from which we can instruct Muslims in the truth of such familial terms from the biblical text as translated from the original languages. There is no need to change biblical language to try to help the Holy Spirit bring the Muslim to the understanding of the inspired text.”

Dr. Greg Mundis, AGWM executive director, says, “Our Fellowship is deeply committed to the integrity of Scripture. I believe we have done due diligence in researching, reflecting and searching both the Scriptures and our hearts. This places us in a position in which we cannot agree with Wycliffe/SIL’s stated and publicized position.”

AGWM has established a four-month review period until May 15, at which time a final decision will be made concerning its ongoing relationship with Wycliffe/SIL. The consequences could include asking AG personnel to leave Wycliffe/SIL, recommending that AG churches withdraw financial support for Wycliffe/SIL personnel, and engaging in translation ministry with other organizations holding a position on Bible interpretation comparable with AGWM convictions.

Dr. George Wood, general superintendent of the U.S. Assemblies of God, says, “Our Fellowship is unrelentingly committed to the authority and infallibility of Scripture. While we appreciate the challenges missionaries and translators face in intercultural communication, we will neither compromise nor dilute God’s eternal truth, nor change its intended plain meaning.”

In this challenging issue concerning Bible translation, AG World Missions leadership approaches this four-month time of review with fervent prayer and determination that our mission will neither compromise concerning the truth of God’s Word nor communicate inaccurately the nature of God the Father and His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

Emphasis mine. Wycliffe USA still has as its doctrinal statement on its website HERE, the statement at the center of AoG’s concern. I wonder how long it takes until Wycliffe leadership realizes this is not a minor issue.

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

http://www.change.org/petitions/lost-in-translation-keep-father-son-in-the-bible

Why the Petition was started

http://biblicalmissiology.org/translation-petition-faqs/

Biblical Missiology Fact Check for Wycliffe’s initial response

http://biblicalmissiology.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/LostInTranslation-FactCheck.pdf

February 24th, 2012

Wycliffe Establishes a Call Center, Questions Go Unanswered

Wycliffe has established a Call Center to handle questions related to the Bible translation controversy. Why is this reputable Christian organization wasting its resources when this call center cannot answer any question pertaining to this controversy? I have called and also emailed the center at response@wycliffe.org

Please email or call (800) 992-5433 and try to get answers. You will be transferred to the call center as soon as you start asking questions pertaining to this controversy.

Pray for the leadership of this organization and SIL. This issue is not going to go away until questions are answered. So far, the leadership has hidden behind web postings in the form of four statements that contradict.

Relevant links:

Biblical Missiology petition

http://www.change.org/petitions/lost-in-translation-keep-father-son-in-the-bible

Why the Petition was started

http://biblicalmissiology.org/translation-petition-faqs/

Biblical Missiology Fact Check for Wycliffe’s initial response

http://biblicalmissiology.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/LostInTranslation-FactCheck.pdf

February 23rd, 2012

Wycliffe Takes Stonewalling to a New Level

Wycliffe Bible Translators is still stonewalling. The leadership probably thinks this issue would go away but it wouldn’t. Not especially when each one of their statements has been full of lies. Not even the statement from February 15.

I called both SIL and Wycliffe offices this afternoon. And no official could give me information about where Rick Brown—their missiologist and linguist responsible for some of these mistranslations—went for graduate school. I called SIL in Dallas first and was asked to call Wycliffe in Orlando. Mark you; I wasn’t asking any questions pertaining to the controversy. I just wanted to know where Mr. Brown went to graduate school.

No luck. I wonder if releasing information about his educational background has any security implication. I spent a total of 15 minutes on the phone and could not get an answer. Even Mr. Brown’s boss Freddie Boswell, Jr., has colleges he attended listed. Why not Mr. Brown’s?

Wycliffe has taken stonewalling to a new level.

 

Wycliffe Bible Translators is still stonewalling. The leadership probably thinks this issue would go away but it wouldn’t. Not especially when each one of their statements has been full of lies. Not even the statement from February 15.

I called both SIL and Wycliffe offices this afternoon. And no official could give me information about where Rick Brown—their missiologist and linguist responsible for some of these mistranslations—went for graduate school. I called SIL in Dallas first and was asked to call Wycliffe in Orlando. Mark you; I wasn’t asking any questions pertaining to the controversy. I just wanted to know where Mr. Brown went to graduate school.

No luck. I wonder if releasing information about his educational background has any security implication. I spent a total of 15 minutes on the phone and could not get an answer. Even Mr. Brown’s boss Freddie Boswell has colleges he attended listed. Why not Mr. Brown’s?

Wycliffe has taken stonewalling to a new level.

Relevant links:

Biblical Missiology petition

http://www.change.org/petitions/lost-in-translation-keep-father-son-in-the-bible

Why the Petition was started

http://biblicalmissiology.org/translation-petition-faqs/

Biblical Missiology Fact Check for Wycliffe’s initial response

http://biblicalmissiology.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/LostInTranslation-FactCheck.pdf

February 22nd, 2012

Wycliffe’s Richard (Rick) Brown Heresy?

For those of you who heard me on the radio, here is a link to the quote from Wycliffe/SIL expert Rick Brown on Salvation. No wonder ‘Son’ is gone from Matthew 28:19 in both Wycliffe’s Turkish and Arabic Muslim-Idiom Translations:

There is no statement that one must believe Jesus is the Lamb of God or Image or Word or Wisdom of God incarnate or even that he is God himself incarnate. There is no requirement for  belief in the virgin birth nor other such teachings. There is no statement saying that people must use one particular title for Jesus in order to be saved.

What Must One Believe about Jesus for Salvation? IJFM 17:4 (Winter, 2000)

Relevant links:

Biblical Missiology petition

http://www.change.org/petitions/lost-in-translation-keep-father-son-in-the-bible

Why the Petition was started

http://biblicalmissiology.org/translation-petition-faqs/

Biblical Missiology Fact Check for Wycliffe’s initial response

http://biblicalmissiology.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/LostInTranslation-FactCheck.pdf

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