From SBC Resolution: "RESOLVED, That we cannot commend the 2011 NIV to Southern Baptists or the larger Christian community"

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Christianity Today editorial: “Our movement is wide enough to include a variety of methods”: Battle for the Bible Translation

Article on resolution: Southern Baptists Reject Updated NIV Bible

Text of Resolution: On The Gender-Neutral 2011 New International Version

jimfrank's picture
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The New and Improved NIV

In all fairness it must be said that the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has a skin in this game. The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) is a product of and published by Holman Publishers, the publishing arm of the SBC. Various SBC seminary professors contributed their talents to the translation of the HCSB. The SBC has considerable interest in the success or failure of the new NIV.

The New International Version is the preferred translation of thousands of American churches. One pastor friend's church changed to the English Standard Version (ESV) two years ago. Another pastor's church still uses the NIV. Both he and I prefer the Updated New American Standard Bible. Every adult in my church carries or owns an NIV Study Bible. This situation is undoubtedly typical among conservative Evangelical churches.

Zondervan, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, is staking the success of the new NIV ("new-new"?) on gender neutrality. Zondervan is in business to make money for the stockholders. That is not wrong nor do I have a problem with Zondervan's parent company. On the one hand the publisher did not learn a lesson from the failure of the TNIV concerning this issue. If reports are accurate the new NIV reduced the gender neutral verses by about 25%. This is a compromise between the conservative and the more liberal readers, though weighted to the liberal.

But on the other hand the marketers at Zondervan may believe the Emergent wing of Evangelicalism is ascending while the Conservative (read "Baby Boomer") wing is dying-off. The recent success of Love Wins, which is published by Harper, another unit of News Corp, may have convinced them to reissue a gender neutral Bible version. When Rob Bell bothered to quote the Bible in Love Wins, he used the TNIV.

If the recent failure of the TNIV is any indicator, Conservative Evangelicals will resoundingly reject the new NIV. They will stick with their aging copies of the NIV or else switch to the ESV. The Emergents will embrace the new NIV. The sales of the new NIV may well be the indicator of just how strong they are within the larger body of Evangelicalism.

This may a good opportunity for a publisher to purchase the publishing rights to the old NIV. Good News Publishers, the parent company of Crossway Books and the ESV and also the SBC are watching the success or failure of the new NIV with great interest. They can't buy this sort of advertising. And the KJV-Only crowd is saying, "See, I told you so."

JobK's picture
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I Have A Big Problem With News Corp!

First off, the world's biggest - and most influential - publisher of Bibles is also the world's biggest purveyor of pornography. That so many people are "OK" with this contradiction is disturbing. The only Christian leader that I am aware of that has even talked about it is Bill Keller, who is a marginal, gadfly "shock jock" evangelical character. Other than that, there was only this "online discernment ministry" who mentioned it only as a pretext to attack Rick Warren for allowing News Corp to publish his books, and not the larger issue of how News Corp's many arms (Zondervan et al) may be influencing Christianity.

"Zondervan is in business to make money for the stockholders. That is not wrong nor do I have a problem with Zondervan's parent company."

That is an absolutely incredible statement. It ignores what the Bible repeatedly warns about the real threat that people motivated by money pose to the faith. Were News Corp some left wing political advocacy group, a feminist/gay rights/civil rights group, their actions and activities including but not limited to making "politically correct" Bibles would be wrong, but since they are trying to make money, that makes it "OK"? Their using Bible translations to make money is just as bad as their pushing immoral movies and TV shows. Look, not long ago Zondervan was sued by a gay rights activist on the basis that their translations caused homophobia. Zondervan responded by placing the blame on the translation committee! They did so in order to reduce their legal liability in case the lawsuit proceeded. If you want evidence that Zondervan will always choose money over integrity when publishing Bibles, that is exhibit 1. There are many others.

Solo Christo, Soli Deo Gloria, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Scriptura
http://healtheland.wordpress.com

Ed Vasicek's picture
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A Three Way Race

jimfrank wrote:
In all fairness it must be said that the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has a skin in this game. The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) is a product of and published by Holman Publishers, the publishing arm of the SBC. Various SBC seminary professors contributed their talents to the translation of the HCSB. The SBC has considerable interest in the success or failure of the new NIV.

The New International Version is the preferred translation of thousands of American churches. One pastor friend's church changed to the English Standard Version (ESV) two years ago. Another pastor's church still uses the NIV. Both he and I prefer the Updated New American Standard Bible. Every adult in my church carries or owns an NIV Study Bible. This situation is undoubtedly typical among conservative Evangelical churches.

Zondervan, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, is staking the success of the new NIV ("new-new"?) on gender neutrality. Zondervan is in business to make money for the stockholders. That is not wrong nor do I have a problem with Zondervan's parent company. On the one hand the publisher did not learn a lesson from the failure of the TNIV concerning this issue. If reports are accurate the new NIV reduced the gender neutral verses by about 25%. This is a compromise between the conservative and the more liberal readers, though weighted to the liberal.

But on the other hand the marketers at Zondervan may believe the Emergent wing of Evangelicalism is ascending while the Conservative (read "Baby Boomer") wing is dying-off. The recent success of Love Wins, which is published by Harper, another unit of News Corp, may have convinced them to reissue a gender neutral Bible version. When Rob Bell bothered to quote the Bible in Love Wins, he used the TNIV.

If the recent failure of the TNIV is any indicator, Conservative Evangelicals will resoundingly reject the new NIV. They will stick with their aging copies of the NIV or else switch to the ESV. The Emergents will embrace the new NIV. The sales of the new NIV may well be the indicator of just how strong they are within the larger body of Evangelicalism.

This may a good opportunity for a publisher to purchase the publishing rights to the old NIV. Good News Publishers, the parent company of Crossway Books and the ESV and also the SBC are watching the success or failure of the new NIV with great interest. They can't buy this sort of advertising. And the KJV-Only crowd is saying, "See, I told you so."

Good points, Jim. I would add that the Emergents will soon submerge, in my opinion. Rob Bell's book has probably sold more copies to mainstream evangelicals than to emergents. I think that the ESV will be a sign of demarcation, given some time. Conservative evangelicals and non-KJV fundamentalists will use either it or the NASB, while the NIV will be sign of evangelicals more to the left with a muddy middle using one or the other.
The ESV is set to soar. Like you, my preferred version is the NASB, but too many people find it hard to read and it is not on the "what's hot" list. Additionally, the pre-updated version of the NASB had that silly "thee" and "thou" stuff in the language of prayer, leaving a sour memory in the minds of those who were once exposed to it.

For a while, things were getting pretty much to be a contest between the KJV and the NIV, the only version to ever outsell the KJV on an annual basis. Now with the rise of ESV, it will be a three way race, IMO.

Good thoughts, Jim.

"The Midrash Detective"

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Please validate

JobK wrote:
First off, the world's biggest - and most influential - publisher of Bibles is also the world's biggest purveyor of pornography. That so many people are "OK" with this contradiction is disturbing..

I'm just trying to fact check the bolded statement above. Explain to me what is the porno line of News Corp?

Here is the company website: http://www.newscorp.com/

From this navigation bar where is the porno? (I am not challenging you ... and I am not an expert on all things News ... but show me)

On the making of money ... Per the finance.yahoo.com link http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=NWS&ql=0

It is not hugely profitable (I'm an investor and I could think of hundreds of more profitable companies

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The Allegation
jimfrank's picture
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News Corp

When I wrote that I have no problem with News Corp, I was primarily thinking of Fox News. It is impermissible for a political liberal to watch Fox News unless they are "monitoring" it for conservative bias. It is the enemy along with Evangelical Christianity, Rush, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, and the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal. Concerning News Corp as a purveyor of pornography, one can argue that most movies with a PG rating or above are pornographic because something explicitly sexual is usually going on. This applies as well to much TV and cable programming. Numerous papers in England have "Page Six" girls which could be considered porn. News Corp just closed one of them, The News of the World. Fox has a division that specializes in family-friendly movies, some of which are adaptations of "Christian" novels. Does this "balance" the Page Six girls and the "very R" movies? No, but News Corp is probably no worse than other media companies such as Comcast and Viacom.

Perhaps JobK is KJV-Only? His blog links to the KJV, oops, KJB, and his avatar is John 3:16 in King James. In Great Britain and the Commonwealth countries the Queen of England owns the copyright to the Authorized Version and collects royalties to this day. However, in America it is in the public domain. One could make all sorts of arguments against that! Where do you draw the line of conscience? I do wonder if your oppostion to News Corp publishing the NIV is a form of argument for the King James, a "See, I told you so."

And to my dear friend Ed Vasicek, thanks for the encouragement. Your comments on the "submerging Emergent" movement is duly noted. That is precisely why I want to informally track sales of the "new-new" NIV on Amazon. By the way, only Ed Vasicek could come up with "submerging Emergent." He has a great gift for bad puns :O (this is supposed to be a groan!).