NIV Controversy: Participants Sign Landmark Agreement -- By: Wayne Grudem

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 02:3 (Jun 1997)
Article: NIV Controversy: Participants Sign Landmark Agreement
Author: Wayne Grudem


NIV Controversy: Participants Sign Landmark Agreement

Wayne Grudem

Guidelines Adopted For Translation Of Gender-Related Language In Scripture

If you put twelve men with strongly differing viewpoints on a controversial issue in one room, what do you get? If they are Christian men who are willing to pray together, and who share a desire that the Bible be translated accurately, then you just might get a surprising agreement.

That was exactly what happened May 27 at the Focus on the Family headquarters in Colorado Springs. James Dobson had asked that the main defenders of the New International Version meet with a group concerned about its “inclusive language” (or “gender- neutral”) editions in England (NIVI) and the United States (NIrV).

The Participants

The meeting included four representatives of the NIV: Bruce Ryskamp, President of Zondervan; Lars Dunberg, President of the International Bible Society; and, at the request of Ryskamp and Dunberg, Ken Barker and Ron Youngblood, two of the principal translators of the NIV.

Others came to the meeting to express concerns about the NIV: I was there as President of CBMW, along with our executive director, Tim Bayly, and John Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis (and a CBMW Council member).

Also at the meeting were Vern Poythress, professor of New Testament, Westminster Theological Seminary (and a contributor to CBMW’s book, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood), R.C. Sproul, Chairman, Ligonier Ministries (and a member of CBMW’s Board of Reference), Joel Belz, Publisher of World magazine; Charlie Jarvis, Executive Vice President of Focus on the Family; and James Dobson, President of Focus on the Family, who had convened the meeting.

What Happened At The Meeting?

The meeting began at 9:00 am with an extended time of prayer around the table. We sought God’s help for what was becoming a major controversy in the evangelical world. We soon saw those prayers answered, as open, frank discussion led to expressions of sincere desire, on the part of all participants, to translate God’s Word accurately.

The NIV representatives were dismayed that criticism of a proposed inclusive-language NIV for the U.S. had spilled over into widespread distrust of the current NIV. They were also troubled that they had been linked with secular feminism in the minds of many people, even though the majority of NIV translators were complementarian, not egalitarian, in their personal convictions.

Our “NIV concerns group” then presented a statement we had prepared the previous day. R.C. Sproul opened with an expression of the importance of accuracy in translation, the realization tha...

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