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Monday, May 7, 2012

Wycliffe Bible Translators responds to criticism of Bible translations for mostly Muslim readers
Bible translator says ’Latitude’ necessary to avoid misunderstanding

By Michael Ireland
Senior International Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

NEW YORK (ANS) -- With the help of the World Evangelical Alliance, Wycliffe Bible Translators is reviewing a controversial translation of Scripture which is designed to help Muslims understand the nature of God.

The translated terms in question are "God the Father" and "Son of God."

Bob Creson, president and CEO of Wycliffe, explained why the translators took the steps they did, reports Charlie Butts of

"Within some of these cultures -- and they're dominated by Islam -- there is sometimes a misunderstanding when you translate directly or use common terms [such as] 'Son of God' that God the Father actually had a sexual relationship with Mary to produce his son, Jesus," Creson told OneNewsNow.

Creson says that "(it) is theologically unsound and an anathema to us." So Wycliffe has given translators "some latitude" in coming up with equivalents that communicate the same thing without the misunderstanding.

According to OnenewsNow, Wycliffe is submitting to an independent review of its work by the World Evangelical Alliance, which is appointing a panel of scholars for the review.

"We are partnering with the church," Creson acknowledged, "and as some legitimate critics from the evangelical church have come forward, we want to honor that so we feel like it is the right thing to do to take a pause."

Creson says while that is being done, Wycliffe is committed to not publish translations in those groups where there is controversy concerning translation of the terms.

While Wycliffe maintains it is trying to present the gospel message to a diverse array of communities, Dr. Barrett Duke of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention says that is no excuse, OnenewsNow reported.

"We should not change the words of the Bible in order to accommodate a particular religious group," Duke contends. "The Spirit inspired those words. The Spirit gave them to the writers for a specific reason."

Duke pointed out that even in the first century, there was division as the Holy Spirit revealed the Trinitarian nature of Christianity.

"Yet even then the Spirit, knowing that it would cause some confusion and some conflict, still saw to it that the writers of Scripture referred to God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit," Dr. Duke noted.

"So, if the Spirit of God wasn't troubled with using these terms, we shouldn't be either, and we need to lay out the Trinitarian nature of God for all cultures and all people," he said.

Duke commends Wycliffe for its tremendous and accurate work in the past and its willingness to submit its work to scrutiny of the World Evangelical Alliance.

Wycliffe is involved in more than 1,500 Bible translation programs in 90 countries.

** Michael Ireland is the Senior International Correspondent for ANS. He is an international British freelance journalist who was formerly a reporter with a London (United Kingdom) newspaper and has been a frequent contributor to UCB UK, a British Christian radio station. While in the UK, Michael traveled to Canada and the United States, Albania,Yugoslavia, Holland, Germany,and Czechoslovakia. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China,and Russia. Michael's volunteer involvement with ASSIST News Service is a sponsored ministry department -- 'Michael Ireland Media Missionary' (MIMM) -- of A.C.T. International of P.O.Box 1649, Brentwood, TN 37024-1649, at: Artists in Christian Testimony (A.C.T.) International where you can make a donation online under 'Donate' tab, then look for 'Michael Ireland Media Missionary' under 'Donation Category' to support his stated mission of 'Truth Through Christian Journalism.' Michael is a member in good standing of the National Writers Union, Society of Professional Journalists, Religion Newswriters Association, Evangelical Press Association and International Press Association. If you have a news or feature story idea for Michael, please contact him at: ANS Senior International Reporter

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