Posts tagged ‘Turkey’

January 19th, 2012

Fact Checking Wycliffe-SIL Statement on Biblical Missiology Petition

Wycliffe Bible Translators and Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) issued a statement which was sent to their associates and those who signed the petition, “Lost In Translation: Keep ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ in the Bible” on change.org, attempting to debunk assertions regarding its translators, missiologists and linguists efforts to change the Word of God. Can you imagine a Bible that does not contain “Father,” “Son” and or “Son of God” and the reason that has been given for these omissions: the terms are offensive to Muslims?

A group of Arab Christians, Christians of Muslim background (Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey etc), Bible translators, missiologists and missionaries have responded to Wycliffe—SIL’s response. I still can’t believe these reputable Christian organizations are standing by these erroneous translations of the Bible.

 

Fact Check: Biblical Missiology’s Response To Wycliffe’s Comments On “Lost In Translation”

On January 4, 2012, Biblical Missiology sponsored an online petition called “Lost In Translation: Keep ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ in the Bible” on change.org. This petition asked Wycliffe, Frontiers and SIL to commit in writing to preserve the terms “Father,” “Son,” and “Son of God” in the text of their Bible translations. In response, Wycliffe sent a document to their staff, as well as to some of the signatories of the petition, rejecting the assertions of the petition. The following is a response by Biblical Missiology, with input from current and former staff of these agencies, global pastors, translators, linguists, missiologists and theologians with significant experience on the issue.

 

About Biblical Missiology

Biblical Missiology, a ministry of Horizons International, is a network of missionaries, missiologists, translators, pastors, laity, church missions leaders, theologians, and national church leaders. What brings us together is a shared concern that people in need of the gospel, including Muslims, hear the full and faithful message of Jesus Christ. We are particularly concerned about new initiatives called “Insider Movements” (IM) and “Muslim Idiom Translations” (MIT) that present a distorted and incomplete portrayal of the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. For a list of leadership team members and contributors, please visit the Biblical Missiology website.

 

The Need For A Petition

It must first be said that the petition is not intended as a condemnation of Wycliffe, SIL, Frontiers, or any of their staff members. Rather, it is a request to correct errors involved in Muslim Idiom Translations committed by a portion of their staff and leadership. We acknowledge that the majority of translations produced by these organizations are unrelated to these issues, and we bless the faithful translations that have been produced.

Second, the petition was started only after every effort had been made to call Wycliffe, Frontiers and SIL to biblical faithfulness. Years of private exhortations, meetings with agency leaders, internal dissent from agency staff including resignations over the issue, criticism and earnest appeals from national believers most affected by the translations, group discussions, conferences of proponents and critics, missiological articles, and church and denominational admonitions, have all failed to persuade these agencies to retain “Father” and “Son” in the text of all their translations. Reading the testimonials in the “Why People Are Signing” section of the petition will confirm these efforts. In spite of these appeals, these agencies have solidified their commitment to such translations.

If this were a minor issue, then we would at this point simply have to “agree to disagree.” But this is not minor. It is hard to imagine anything more significant. Our understanding of God himself, Scripture, redemption and our adoption are all affected by removing “Father” and “Son” from Bible translations. National believers are aghast at what is being done to God’s Word in their languages, stunned by what well-funded outsiders insist on doing in spite of the nationals’ objections. After so many appeals, what recourses are left? We genuinely understand the reservations people have for a public petition, and we share those. But “peace” cannot trump truth. Thus, with great sadness, prayer, and a desire to honor God’s name, this initiative was begun to enable individual voices, from all over the world, to speak as one. It is our sincere desire that agency leaders would commit to retain “Father” and “Son” in the text of the Bible, that they would restore the good name of their organizations, and that their most fruitful and faithful days would still lie ahead. We pray to that end. Until that time, we will continue to plead that Bible translations “testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14).

Please read the rest of the response HERE.

You can sign the petition HERE.

Thank you.

January 11th, 2012

Great Omissions in New Bible Translations Have Epic Ramifications

A controversy has been brewing about omissions in new Bible translations geared toward Muslims, which, if not corrected and copies in print retracted, would hamstring Christian efforts to share the Gospel with Muslims. What is so sad about this controversy, US Christian organizations like Wycliffe Bible Translators, Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) and Frontiers are doing it. Some new translations have the “Son,” “Son of God,” and “Father” removed. Concerned Christians—some of whom have resigned from these organizations due to this controversy—have started an online petition to have these organizations retain these terms.

I expected Muslim apologists to come up with these new Bible translations in order to bolster their claim that the Bible has been corrupted. They are desperate and already use the discredited Jehovah’s Witness version of the Bible, New World Translation, to make their case. Now reputable Christian organizations have given them an impetus to further complicate Christian outreach to Muslims. If these organizations do not make corrections and or retract copies in print, these omissions and substitutions would have epic ramifications.

The petition, Lost In Translation: Keep “Father” & “Son” in the Bible, in part reads:

Western missions agencies Wycliffe, Frontiers and SIL are producing Bibles that remove Father, Son andSon of God because these terms are offensive to Muslims.

 Some examples:

• Wycliffe/SIL produced Stories of the Prophets, an Arabic Bible that uses “Lord” instead of “Father” and “Messiah” instead of “Son.”

• Frontiers worked with an SIL consultant to produce True Meaning of the Gospel of Christ, an Arabic translation which removes “Father” in reference to God, and removes or redefines “Son,” e.g. the Great Commission in Mt 28:19 reads, “Cleanse them by water in the name of God, his Messiah and his Holy Spirit.”

• Frontiers produced a Turkish translation of Matthew, distributed by SIL, that uses “guardian” for “Father” and “representative” or “proxy” for “Son.”

• SIL consulted on the Bengali Injil Sharif, advising that “Son” be translated as “God’s Uniquely Intimate Beloved Chosen One.”

 By removing Father and Son, these translations fail to portray God as who he is: the familial, eternal, loving God the Father, Son and Spirit. The deity of Jesus is obscured, and thus the self-sacrifice of God on our behalf. In June 2011, the Presbyterian Church in America explicitly declared such translations as “unfaithful to God’s revealed Word” because they “compromise the doctrines of the Trinity, Scripture, and the person and work of Jesus.”

 Perhaps most importantly, national Christians say these translations are harming their work. Yet Western proponents condone removing Father or Son because they say Muslims can only see sexual connotations to these terms. Numerous missionaries and national believers, however, strongly assert this is not the case. Further, Christian churches in places like Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Middle East, Turkey, and Malaysia have asked these agencies to stop producing…

Please sign the petition HERE. Thank you.