Wycliffe still doesn’t get it

This from Charismanews: (my comments in blue brackets)

Medieval pastor John Wycliffe continues to cause a stir among churches—even in the 21st century—as his Bible translation ideas upset Christian leaders once again.

In the 14th century Wycliffe used indigenous language to convey Scripture. He angered church leaders with radical moves like replacing the Latin Deus with the English God.

Today’s Bible translators follow in his footsteps, using alternative terms for the Trinity and heavenly beings to reach new audiences—and they’re encountering the same resistance Wycliffe did.

[Wow.  Just wow.  Comparing yourself to Wycliffe and saying your opponents are the mean, nasty Catholics who oppose the truth. What happened was Wycliffe (the bible society not the man) got caught watering down the word of God to make it more acceptable and less threatening to Muslims.]

The most recent controversies surround an artistic retelling of the New Testament by Thomas Nelson,The Voice, and an Arabic Scripture linked to Wycliffe Bible Translators and Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL). The two separate initiatives use different words to convey Scripture to their audiences.

Written in a screenplay format, Thomas Nelson’s version uses the Voice instead of the Word; sometimes Eternal One when it refers to God; and messenger of the Lord instead of angel. Meanwhile, the Arabic text uses Allah instead of Father and Messiah in place of Son of God, to connect with readers in Muslim cultures.

[Voice and Word are two totally different words in the English language.  This is not a matter of translation but of rewriting.  Allah is not the equivalent of Father nor should it appear in any translation of the bible because of its use by Muslims.]

Fierce opposition has come from the Assemblies of God USA and Presbyterian Church in America. The Presbyterian Church has condemned removing references to God as Father or Jesus as Son.

“Our colleagues in SIL are taking a brave step in suspending the publication of Scripture in parts of the world where controversy has been stirred up,” says Eddie Arthur, executive director of Wycliffe Bible Translators, noting that the headline-making translations are a “tiny fraction” of Wycliffe’s 1,400-plus programs. “We look forward to the outcome of their period of global consultation.”

In the meantime, scholars from both sides of the Atlantic have expressed concern about these controversies. They’re challenging Christians to grasp the issues and consider the challenges facing translation teams.

[The critics are telling Wycliffe not to desecrate scripture!]

“There are many issues in Bible translation,” says Nick Ellis, managing editor of BibleMesh Biblical Languages. “We are communicating an ancient text into a new culture. It’s not an easy job.”

[Culture has nothing to do with it.  Language is language and what Wycliffe has done is compromise the word of God in an attempt to appease Muslims.]

For example, the argument supporting the Arabic text is that father and son imply a sexual relationship with Jesus’ mother. Yet these tensions aren’t new; they reflect an old debate of how to describe the first and second Person of the Trinity.

“It’s not just a problem of translation, it’s a theological problem,” Ellis says. He encourages these questions to lead to “contemplation and medication” on key issues like the Trinity with a spirit of love. Ellis’ prayer is that fundraising for the translation community will spike in the wake of this type of debate.

[Read – we hope our source of income doesn’t dry up since we goofed big time.]

Jon Riding, leader of the linguistic computing team at U.K.-based Bible Society, agrees that the translation community is a set of people honestly trying to do their best—and they need prayer support.

[Repentance would be good too.]

Focusing on the general issues surrounding translation, Riding says the word Allah comes from the Semitic group of languages. Close to Hebrew and Syriac, it is the equivalent of theos in Greek.

[Allah is the name of a pagan moon god not the name of the Creator of the universe.  God’s proper name is YHVH]

“If you’re going to translate Scripture for a culture that has a strong Arabic influence, you need a really good reason to give God a different name from the one He has. Otherwise, you’re importing a foreign god,” Riding says. “And that’s potentially unhelpful.”

[Allah being the foreign god that is being imported into the bible here.]

Similar challenges can be seen in conveying Psalm 23 to Eskimos. “The Lord is my shepherd” has no meaning for a culture that better understands “the Lord is my husky team handler.”

The scholarly view is that there could be unnecessary alarm over particular issues taken in isolation. “People want a conspiracy,” warned Ellis. “They want a smoking gun. We need to be working together as a church.”

[Unnecessary alarm? Are you kidding me?  Conspiracy? (slapping my forehead here in amazement) The only conspiracy is that Wycliffe caved into fear of Muslims and perverted the scriptures in a weak attempt at appeasement.  The alarm was raised by bible believing Christians and now Wycliffe is whining.  End of story.]

Our brothers in Christ

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This past week I attended the Perry Stone conference in Huntington, WV hosted by Christ Temple Church.

The greeters, ushers and staff of Christ Temple were warm and hospitable.  The facilities were clean and comfortable.

The music was wonderful.  Christ Temple choir led worship during the night services with special music by Larry and Gina Bean.  Larry and Gina led us in the morning services. The music was upbeat, loud and energizing.

The reason I like Perry Stone is because he is charismatic yet doesn’t let services get confusing or out of order.  Worship lasted for 20-25 min. followed by 10-15 of announcements and offering.  He preached for about 70-80 min. and people were free to leave during the ministry time with no brow-beating from the front.

After having been away from the charismatics for about three years I found myself checking out everything and watching everything for signs of heresy.  Surprisingly, I didn’t find any.

Yes there were differences of style from where I attend now (a SBC Baptist church) but there was nothing said or done that could be considered heretical.  No one rolled on the floor laughing hysterically or barking like a dog.

Several of Perry’s sermons were on current event topics and what a proper biblical worldview on those topics would look like. He wasn’t afraid to call sin – sin but was also quick to extend Christian love and restoration for those caught in sin.

Several of the sermons could be considered pastoral in nature.  One was on the sin of adultery, how one gets lead into it and why it is so destructive.  Another was on the iniquity of homosexuality and focused on getting people set free from the bondage of it.

My thoughts on leaving the conference were that too many times we lump all charismatics together and call all of them heretics because of what happened in Toronto.  Not every charismatic falls into that mold.  I found people at the conference had a solid biblical worldview, loved with the genuine warmth of Christ and responded to the gospel message enthusiastically.

They are our brothers in Christ.