Posts tagged ‘russ hersman’

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.

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.