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Discussion Forum : News and Current Events : Wycliffe Reaffirms It Did Not Delete 'Father,' 'Son,' From Bible Translations

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Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37631
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

 Wycliffe Reaffirms It Did Not Delete 'Father,' 'Son,' From Bible Translations

Wycliffe Bible Translators denied allegations that it removed the terms "father" and "son" from Bible translations meant for Muslim countries and said any problematic texts are no longer being distributed.
Russ Hersman, senior vice president of Wycliffe Bible Translators USA, told The Christian Post that many of the works that critics like the organization Bible Missiology have pointed to as changing familial terms for God and Jesus have either done no such thing or have already been pulled from circulation.
"[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," said Hersman.
Biblical Missiology created an online petition demanding that Wycliffe Bible Translators and its partners stop the production of certain Arabic and Bengali translations of the Bible, believing them to have eliminated familial terms to describe God and Jesus.
"Apart from the recent statements, most of them do not clearly state that … the divine familial terms are NOT removed but rather that they are committed to 'accurately conveying' the 'meanings' of this terminology," said the Rev. Adam Simnowitz, a minister with the Assemblies of God of Dearborn, Mich., who is part of Biblical Missiology.
According to Simnowitz and others, Wycliffe and its partners are removing familial terms to describe God and Jesus from their translation of the Bible in order to appease Muslim communities. Examples pointed out by them include replacing "Son of God" with "Messiah of God" and "God the Father" with words like "guardian."

"Western missions agencies Wycliffe, Frontiers and SIL are producing Bibles that remove Father, Son and Son of God because these terms are offensive to Muslims," reads Bible Missiology's online petition.

"By replacing or removing 'Father' or 'Son' from the text of Scripture, these translations fail to portray God as who he is: the familial, eternal, loving God the Father, Son and Spirit."

Among the projects mentioned that Wycliffe Bible Translators and its partner Summer Institute of Linguistics have released included the Bengali Injil Sharif and Wycliffe's "Lives of the Prophets."

Dustin Moody, a spokesman for Wycliffe, told CP that "Wycliffe had little direct involvement with those two particular projects."

In the past couple weeks, both Wycliffe and SIL released statements officially denying that their translations headed for Islamic countries removes familial terms to describe God and Jesus.

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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2012/3/10 12:24Profile

 Re: Wycliffe Reaffirms It Did Not Delete 'Father,' 'Son,' From Bi

This is confusing, though the news from Wycliffe themselves is wonderful.

Did this AoG Pastor give out faulty info about Wycliffe, that started the petition that was posted about here earlier this year? That's the confusing part.

 2012/3/10 13:24


Is Biblical Missiology engaged in evangelizing Moslems?

Blaine Scogin

 2012/3/10 15:19

Joined: 2008/1/3
Posts: 189


Yes, Biblical Missiology is the blog and literature arm of Horizons International who are a major international ministry ministering to Muslims that was greatly impacted by operation mobilization and there I believe there are still informal ties between the organizations.

I've talked with Adam Simnowitz and others about this issue. Wycliffe, SIL and Frontiers are making these statements b/c while their translators were involved in the translations they weren't officially endorsed by the organizations and b/c they often retain familial language in footnotes. You can find responses to Wycliffe's statements on the Biblical Missiology website.

My understanding is that Wycliffe was in the process of producing more of these translations and reading Rick Brown (google his articles) and others who are leading translators at SIL and Wycliffe clearly shows that they have advocated these choices even if they haven't technically produced the translations. They have openly published articles arguing why familial language should be removed from the Bible for Muslim contexts.

I like Wycliffe. I want them to change their mind. I hope that making this issue public as Biblical Missiology has done will help them be transparent and reinforce faithful translation. Some of the news media has sensationalized the issue and has not been fair. I believe Biblical Missiology has been fair, detailed, and specific. They have also extensively documented their case.


 2012/3/10 16:57Profile

Joined: 2008/1/3
Posts: 189


I see that Biblical Missiology just posted this FAQ regarding the issue, which is a quick way to catch up on their argument. They have probably over one thousand pages of documentation regarding this issue, with facts, dates, citations etc. on other parts of their site. I encourage those who feel that Wycliffe is being smeared to look at the data.


 2012/3/10 17:03Profile


This controversy may be doing more harm to those Moslems who are coming to Christ in restricted nations. The attention being raised in this issue could bring unwanted attention on ministries that work under the radar to minister to Moslems. Or it could bring unwanted attention from the authorities who are persecuting MBB's coming to Christ.

As this issue is being debated in the west I think some are forgetting others are spilling their blood for Christ in these lands.

Just my half cent.


 2012/3/10 17:18


Thank you Brother Jonathan for the effort to answer our questions.
The LORD Bless you, and your ministry.

 2012/3/10 18:19

Joined: 2010/4/19
Posts: 447


This to me (I spoke with Jonathan about it) is very grievous.

What happens when a person has been reading this translation for a few years and then receives one that is translated literally? Personally, I would feel like I was hoodwinked.

Why not just present them with the most accurate translation possible and allow the Holy Spirit to do the work? Making the Word more palatable to specific people groups by changing the meanings is heretical. I can see trying to make it more 'clear' to a people group but this is not the case here.

The following statement is very telling:

On February 8, 2012, Wycliffe released a statement saying, “Wycliffe is not omitting or removing the familial terms, translated in English as ‘Son of God’ or ‘Father,’ from any Scripture translation.” It may be helpful to ask Wycliffe what they mean by this statement. “Father” is indeed removed/replaced/missing in the text of True Meaning of the Gospel, for example. If Biblical Missiology were mistaken, it would be very easy for Wycliffe to produce a translation of True Meaning that shows “Father” in fact appears in the text. But Wycliffe has not—because it can not.

Quite clearly Wycliffe is saying one thing and if fact doing the opposite, which is deception, it's that simple.

 2012/3/10 19:14Profile

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