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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Dissent not dissing

Adrian Warnock has just put up another of his many good posts. This time he links to Paul Whiting's guest editorial on this blog, and then says:
Come on people, you can do it, lets get some serious discussion going (without getting heated!).
Now let us take note that Adrian is a very enthusiastic user of the ESV. I'm glad whenever anyone, but especially people like Adrian who preach and have quite a bit of influence through their blogs, find a new Bible version they are excited about and benefit from. I have said this a number of times in comments on various blogs, probably including Adrian's. I happen to be one of those who is not excited about the ESV, but I am glad for those who are. I see the ESV problems and, to me, they overshadow the good that is in the ESV. I find the ESV painful to read (I do have hope that recent revisions, as well as more extensive future revisions, will make the ESV more attractive to my literary senses). I guess I see the proverbial cup half empty. On the other hand, the cup for Adrian is at least half full, and probably more full than that. Adrian thoroughly enjoys the ESV, but recognizes that it is not perfect, and he has been encouraging other bloggers to honestly express their opinions about the ESV. But some who have reservations about the ESV have been hesitant to say so, perhaps because of the "dangerous" climate which has been created publicly surrounding English Bible versions in recent years. There has been far too much dissing of various versions, and not enough gracious dissent.

I, for one, do not ever want to diss the ESV or any other version (and I hope my statements in the preceding paragraph, telling how I react to the ESV is not dissing; I surely do not intend it to be so). I know that Dr. Wayne Grudem (who is named after me, don't you know?!! Nah, just kidding.) and others who first envisioned a Bible version substitute for the NIV and, especially, for changes being made to the NIV which they viewed as inappropriate, were totally sincere. They are godly men who were trying to do what their entire being and understanding of bibical doctrine tells them is right. Yet I have seen followers of Dr. Grudem dissing various versions in ways that I don't think Dr. Grudem would do. He seems more of a gracious man than one who would say mean things about Bible versions. He freely points out what he disagrees with in a Bible version, but he is not mean-spirited about it, unlike some who agree with him about Bible translations.

So, I want to say how much I appreciate the way that our brother, Adrian, approaches potentially divisive ("diss-isive"?!!) topics about Bible translation. He states his own position freely, but graciously invites others to state theirs. And I never sense that he is just waiting for someone to take him up on the invitation so he can pounce on a dissenting viewpoint.

Paul wrote that we should "speak the truth in love"? This doesn't mean that we redefine "love" as I have sometimes seen done, to rationalize unloving behavior and language towards those with whom we disagree. No, it means acting as our Lord acted, truly lovingly, while also stating the truth--he is our Example, we can state the truth, as best as we understand it, while also being loving. We can trust God to punish those with whom we disagree, if he ever thinks that is necessary. It is not necessary for us to punish them ourselves. I'm not saying that we should not speak up honestly about sin. I'm just saying that we need to act like Jesus as he related to sinners (and I'm not suggesting, of course, that Bible translators with whom we disagree are sinning by translating as they do!).

So, Adrian, here's to you. I appreciate you and the loving attitude you have in your posts, even while you invite others to offer dissenting views. I have not seen you once diss anyone or any Bible version. May this be true of me, also, and may it be true of each of us. May it be true, also, if we ever discuss versions which have had so much controversy surrounding them, such as the TNIV, on this blog. If we do, let us act in Christlike ways, even as we disagree with each other. And let us not resort to name-calling of any kind, whether or each other or of translators of any Bible versions. Let us not burn any Bible translators at the stake, as has been done in the past!

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