We blogged last week
about the two broadcasts of Focus on the Family in which Wayne Grudem was the guest and continued his attacks on the TNIV. (You can download the broadcasts for free in MP3 format
or order a CD from FOTF.) There was no opportunity given on either FOTF broadcast for anyone to response to the accusations against the TNIV made by Dr. Grudem. In this post Dr. Stan Gundry, who was one of my professors in Bible school, responds. Feel free to link to this blog post
so that as many people as possible can have the opportunity to hear a response to Dr. Grudem. It is only proper in debates like this that each side can fairly be heard. Dr. Gundry posted his response to the Bible Translation discussion list
last night. He has given permission for his response to be posted here, as well. Here it is:
Normally I am a lurker on this list but every 2 or 3 years I emerge from my hole to issue a challenge, and I am doing so now.Categories: TNIV, Focus on the Family, Wayne Grudem, Stan Gundry, gender-inclusive
I have found the list discussion of the FOTF Q&A between Grudem and Dobson concerning the TNIV to be fascinating and informative, and I commend both sides for the high level of discussion.
But I am troubled by a larger issue that all sides on this list are largely ignoring. As scholars on any side of this issue, don't you find it difficult to take seriously a discussion allegedly intended to inform the Christian public that represented only one side of the discussion? To make matters worse, how can you not be offended by a discussion that was not only tendentious, but also inflammatory in its rhetoric, even to the point of being misleading and bordering on being libelous? And many statements were at best simplistic to the nth degree? These are strong words. But lest I be accused of violating the list rules, I must point out I am not attributing motives to or commenting on personalities; I am simply identifying what was said and rendering a judgment on that. Allow me to give the evidence from the streaming audio that I istened to last night and took notes on. These are not always exact quotes, but they give the sense accurately. I will cite the places from the first and then the second broadcast by minute: second. If you have not heard these broadcasts for yourself, I encourage you to do so. I think you will find I have been guilty of only one thing--understatement.
First Broadcast, 10/26/05--
3:50 Dobson accuses the translators of changing the words of scripture, of tampering, and Grudem agrees,
12:37 Grudem says that the TNIV translators took out words to satisfy modern readers--words that are offensive to them.
25:00 Throughout Grudem repeatedly refers to over 3600 translation inaccuracies, but at this point he goes further and says that in over 3600 places the TNIV is not trustworthy, and you don't know where these 3600 places are [so by implication the whole version is untrustworthy].
Second Broadcast, 10/27/05--
0:40 They have tampered with Scripture.
2:25 The TNIV translators gave way to political correctness.
7:50 Grudem says the TNIV doesn't like "him" in Rev. 22:18, so they changed the very words of the verse that says don't change the words of the Bible.
9:30 Grudem asks if Greek and Hebrew word meanings have changed between the NIV and the TNIV [when the real questions is has English changed, or do we have a better understanding of the Hebrew and Greek?].
11:00 Dobson--culture is influencing how the Bible is being translated, followed by the claim that the 3600+ changes are not justified, followed by a slippery slope prediction.
13:00 Grudem predicts that translating pater as parent is setting the stage to translate references to God as Father to God as Parent. His logic is that the TNIV eliminated English masculine generics because they found them offensive, so what is to prevent future revisions from eliminating other things that might be regarded as offensive, such as God as Father and the exclusivity of Jesus.
15:56 The TNIV makes a tragic mistake in thinking they have to tone down some of what the Bible says.
16:15 A Bible that takes 3600+ masculine oriented terms out of the Bible takes a lot of manhood out of the Bible--it's not as much a man's Bible anymore [I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I heard this one].
23:50 Grudem's concluding advice: Don't buy or support gender neutral Bibles. Buy an "essentially" [a nice waffle word] literal translation, then you can have one you can trust as the very words of God.
This kind of attribution of negative motives, implied attack on the integrity and scholarship of the TNIV translators, and simplistic claims/argumentation is inexcusable, in my view. And I will be disappointed if scholars on both sides of this debate, including those on this list, do not rise up with one voice and identify it for what it is and condemn it. Your silence will be understood as agreement and approval.
In the interests of full disclosure--Senior Vice President and