May 8, 2021

Worldly Word

It has been said that Thomas Jefferson cut out of the Bible those things that he didn’t agree with– miracles, and the like. That’s nothing compared to what people are doing today to the Bible under the impression that we have to be politically correct:

As evangelicals debate the inclusive-language Today’s New International Version (TNIV), many liberal mainline churches have slipped far down the slippery slope in what they have done to the Bible.

In 1990, the National Council of Churches published the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), an inclusive-language rendition of the well-accepted Revised Standard Version (RSV). This translation keeps masculine references to God and to Jesus, but changes them for human beings, getting rid of the generic “man,” putting “brothers and sisters” where the original just has “brothers,” and using awkward plurals and repetitions to avoid the generic “he.” Never mind that the messianic title “Son of Man” is now “a human being.” What the NRSV did to the RSV is pretty much what the TNIV did to the NIV.

But that much inclusive language was not enough for many mainline churches. An Inclusive Language Lectionary, a rendition of Scripture texts read during the worship service, takes the next step of changing the gendered language for God. Today, the congregations who use this lectionary in Sunday worship pray to “our Father-Mother.” Jesus is not the Son of God, but the “child of God.” The pronoun “he” is not even used for the man Jesus, replaced with ungrammatical constructions: “Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us” becomes “Jesus Christ, who gave self for us” (Titus 2:13-14).

But that much tinkering proved not to be enough either. In 1995, Oxford University Press published the New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Version. This revision of the NRSV not only uses gender-inclusive language for God and Jesus (“God our father-mother”), it also eliminates, in the words of the introduction, “all pejorative references to race, color, or religion, and all identifications of persons by their physical disability.” In avoiding all “offensive language,” “darkness” is changed to “night,” lest it offend black people, and “the right hand of God” is changed to “the mighty hand of God,” lest it offend left-handed people.

But that does not go far enough. The liberal Catholic group Priests for Equality published in 2004 the Inclusive Bible. “Kingdom” is both sexist and authoritarian, so the priests made up a new word, “kindom.” Adam is not a “man,” he is an “earth creature.” And to avoid offending homosexuals or others in nontraditional relationships, the words “husband” and “wife” are changed to “partner.”

But since radical theology depends on demonizing the “patriarchy” of the Bible, the Inclusive Bible includes footnotes admitting that “the actual Hebrew is even more brutal” and chastising the apostle Paul for his retrograde attitudes. Then the translators just change the text to something more suitable.

But the Inclusive Bible does not go far enough either. The Bible version Good as New: A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures uses what its introduction calls “cultural translation.” Not only is it inclusive, it translates ancient terms into their modern-day equivalent. Thus, “demon possession” becomes “mental illness.” Even names are changed: Peter, Nicodemus, and Bethsaida become “Rocky,” “Ray,” and “Fishtown.” Religious terminology is eliminated, as not being in accord with our culture: “Baptize” is changed to “dip”; “salvation” is changed to “completeness.”

The translation describes itself as “women, gay and sinner friendly.” Thus, when Paul says that it is better to marry than to burn, the Inclusive Bible says, “If you know you have strong needs, get yourself a partner. Better than being frustrated.” The Inclusive Bible follows the higher critics in leaving out the Pastoral Epistles and Revelation, and it follows The Da Vinci Code in including instead the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas. This translation is endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the evangelical leader Tony Campolo.

But does any of this matter, as long as people are exposed to the Bible? Yes, it does. The bisexual deity “Father-Mother” is not the true God, nor is this made-up religion Christianity. These translations are not the Word of God. Just the Word of Man.

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7 thoughts on “Worldly Word

  1. I have been arguing this same topic with many people and have been ridiculed for still reading the King James version, because it is out of date, language-wise.

    People have complained about all the “thou’s and thee’s” and such and said, “people don’t speak like that anymore”

    My answer “no one speaks like Shakespeare any longer, so why hasn’t anyone come the NRSV for it?

    I do not like the changes in some of these so-called “modern bibles” one even left out the blood of Jesus! That is not acceptable.

  2. I have experienced this directly in a mainstream denomination. It was in a play dedicated to the church’s 150th anniversary. There was Gaia the Earth Mother and Ego her son. The only biblical thing they mentioned was that Noah got drunk. They spoke of gay and feminist rights and sufferage as well as ecological ideals. Given that they should have at least mentioned God as the creator and Jesus as his son…we were apalled. So this stuff does happen.

  3. Hey MIn,

    I did some research regarding the King James Version to see how it compared with the new revised versions and my speculation was correct, the revised versions, do take out a lot of words and gives a watered-down version of the KJV.

  4. These translations go beyond the intent of the Author of the Book (God), for no other purpose than to appease their sin and fall into what God warned as ‘a different gospel’.


    I had no idea it was SO bad! I thought there was ONE version out there that changed the pronouns, not so many!

    I think i might be sick!

    UGH I cant even think of anything to say to convey my disgust… seriously this literally turns my stomach.

    *holds back the barf*

    Mrs. Meg Logan

  6. Leticia:

    It could be argued that the KJV adds a lot of words to God’s intention. The newer versions aren’t ‘watered down versions of the KJV’ but, in many cases, new translations from the same or similar Greek sources. You may disagree with the result, but the KJV is no more inspired than any other translation.

  7. I heard an archaeologist once say that the best translation to read was the one that you have. That being said, there are different reasons behind different versions– and the ones that you have to watch out for are those that have an agenda. Some would disagree in regards to age of the originals versus prevalence being the deciding factor of which interpretation/translation to go with. Since no major doctrines are different, however, we can faithfully accept that God’s Word is what He meant it to be.

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