Rick Mansfield has blogged about a double standard of Bible bias
which he has observed in Christian bookstores. The stores will carry the New Living Translation and The Message, both of which are gender-inclusive (or gender-accurate, depending on your point of view), but not the TNIV, which, according to my studies, is 2% less gender-inclusive than the NLT
. Since the campaign to discredit the TNIV began a number of years ago, I have personally experienced a range of emotions about that campaign conducted by some Christian leaders in the U.S. I have felt anger about the tactics used and the (probably unknown to the authors) high degree of misinformation contained in attacks on the TNIV. I have felt frustration not knowing what, if anything, significant can be done to try to correct the injustice. I still don't know what to do, other than occasionally expressing my feelings in public, and sometimes pointing out some of the errors in claims against the TNIV. Here is what I commented to Rick on his post:
Rick, I have had the same experience in Christian bookstores. Lately when I have asked the reason for not stocking the TNIV, I have been given the answer, "It's a corporate decision." That chain of Christian bookstores has decided not to carry the TNIV. And what caused them to make that decision. The negative publicity about the TNIV, of course. The campaign has been very effective in convincing millions, most of whom do not know how to evaluate the claims, including the corporate management, that the TNIV is a dangerous Bible. It baffles me to figure how how, if at all, it is possible, to correct so much misinformation about the TNIV. A number of Biblical scholars who have attended ETS or other scholarly conferences where the TNIV has been discussed now often know enough to evaluate the claims about the TNIV. But the Christian public does not, unless people have made the effort to find a copy for themselves, read it, and discover that it really does have the same wonderful message of truth that God has revealed through all other accurately translated English Bible versions.
I'm old enough to remember the same kind of campaign against the RSV after it was published. That campaign sealed the fate of the RSV so that it was not to be used in conservative churches for many years. Ironically, a number of those currently opposing the TNIV have regularly used the RSV. And, as you know, because of their respect for the RSV, they got permission to revise it to become the ESV which is a version acceptable to those opposing the TNIV.
So, do we fight fire with fire? Is that how God wants us to proceed? Somehow I don't think so. I don't know what the answer to this great injustice is. Perhaps the answer is that it is one way that God can bring beauty out of ashes, and replace the NIV/TNIV tradition with an even more [communicatively] effective translation such as the NLT. I don't know. It's only an idea. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next 10-20 years.
Whether or not you agree with me that inaccurate claims have been made about the TNIV, what do you think are appropriate ways of righting what we honestly believe are wrongs?