Sign the petition here: http://www.change.org/petitions/lost-in-translation

Western missions agencies Wycliffe, Frontiers and SIL are producing Bibles that remove Father, Son and Son of God because these terms are offensive to Muslims.

Some examples:
- Wycliffe/SIL produced Stories of the Prophets, an Arabic Bible that uses “Lord” instead of “Father” and “Messiah” instead of “Son.”
- Frontiers worked with an SIL consultant to produce True Meaning of the Gospel, an Arabic Bible that removes “Son” in reference to Jesus.
- Frontiers produced a Turkish translation of Matthew, distributed by SIL, that uses “guardian” for “Father” and “representative” or “proxy” for “Son.”
- SIL consulted on the Bengali Injil Sharif, advising that “Son” be translated as “God’s Uniquely Intimate Beloved Chosen One.”

By removing Father and Son, these translations fail to portray God as who he is: the familial, eternal, loving God the Father, Son and Spirit. The deity of Jesus is obscured, and thus the self-sacrifice of God on our behalf. In June 2011, the Presbyterian Church of America explicitly declared such translations as “unfaithful to God’s revealed Word” because they “compromise the doctrines of the Trinity, Scripture, and the person and work of Jesus.”

Perhaps most importantly, national Christians say these translations are harming their work. Yet Western proponents condone removing Father or Son because they say Muslims can only see sexual connotations to these terms. Numerous missionaries and national believers, however, strongly assert this is not the case. Further, Christian churches in places like Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Middle East, Turkey, and Malaysia have asked these agencies to stop producing these translations, but to no avail.

Adding fuel to the fire, these agencies have raised millions of dollars for these projects, yet donors are unaware their gifts are being used for translations that remove Father, Son and Son of God from the text.

A member of the SIL board indicated that while “a few objections” over these translations would be “dismissable,” SIL would need to respond when the “man in the pew” created a “backlash.” By signing this petition, you are letting these agencies know that your convictions, and the integrity of God’s own Word, can’t be dismissed. Instead, you are asking for a written commitment from Wycliffe, Frontiers and SIL not to remove Father, Son or Son of God from the text of Scripture.

 

 

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Minor correction: We have removed the quote attributed to John Piper. While John Piper has stated his concerns over replacing “Father” and “Son of God” from Bible translations, the quote attributed to him is from a document that is still in process with the Bethlehem Baptist Church elders. To read more about Bethlehem Baptist Church’s stand on contextualization and these translations please go to their site at: http://hopeingod.org/contextualization

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6 Responses to Lost In Translation: Sign the Petition

  1. Mark Stephan says:

    Thanks for the comment Steve. Certainly the word for ‘Son’ should not only mean sexual relation produced offspring. However, in the translations being discussed, and affirmed by the WEA panel who evaluated the policies and translations of Wycliffe, it was brought out that in all cases given, the word used for Son was, like in the english word for son, had many layered meanings. For example Arabic, which is one of the words discussed, Son can mean biological, just like in english. However ‘son’ can also mean from the same essence, or branched off of as in the example a ‘son’ of a river, which would be in English tributary. Arabic has many such instances where son does not mean biological offspring, and thus the argument given that in Arabic the word Son can only mean biological offspring through sexual relations is false.

    When Wycliffe was asked if they have any such language where they believe it is the case that the word ‘son’ only means a sexually conceived offspring, we were answered with silence. They argue that there is such a theoretical language possible. Our argument is, we aren’t talking about theoretical languages, we’re talking about real ones that they did replace the appropriate word ‘Son’ with something less appropriate, and divergent in meaning.

  2. Steve Cook says:

    Translating ‘son(s) of God’ meaningfully has nothing whatsoever to do with theological objections that Muslims might have to Biblical doctrine; the sole objective is to communicate the original meanings of the phrase as well as possible and to avoid communicating the wrong meaning, namely God’s biological offspring.

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