Friday, January 6, 2012

Sign this petition: Lost In Translation: Keep "Father" & "Son" in the Bible

Here is the link:

And here is the text:

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 of Christ, an Arabic translation which removes "Father" in reference to God, and removes or redefines "Son."

• 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.” John Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, said that “it is not biblically justified to . . . remove or replace ‘Father’ and ‘Son of God’ in translating Biblical revelation of God and Jesus Christ in any language.”

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.

Consider going to the link and signing this petition, as well as checking out what missions your church supports and whether or not you are helping misguided missionaries to muslims reinterpret the bible when they should only be translating it.


  1. Here is some more background on the Turkish project mentioned as part of this petition:

    I don't know about the other language issues, but the on in Turkish is more seriously flawed than just the single issue mentioned in the petition.

  2. 'Adding fuel to the fire...' interesting metaphor, indeed! It is good for Christians to be aware of issues like these and to expose them so that Translators and Orgs would be accountable and directed towards God honoring practices and methodologies. Issues like these are hardly new to Missions, and more importantly they have and continue to be used to refine contemporary theories concerning contextualization. Consider Acts 15 and 16:1-3. Now, I noticed that you haven't followed up on this issue. Much has happened since that readers ought to be aware of. It may be wise and responsible to your readers, and fair to the mentioned orgs to publish the actions that they have taken to resolve this issue and the conclusions that they have agreed on to preserve and continue in a time tested, tried and proven method of Bible translation so that the nations would know, honor and worship our beautiful Savior, Son of God. Many have been quick to expose this issue, and rightfully so, though have seemingly only started and have added 'full to the fire' in their local contexts without containing the fire and seeing it to its end (Your article is fair and to the point and directs the reader to participate in a God honoring Conclusion). By all means, lets get 'fired up', but fired up responsibly. If you have followed up on this issue and i have over looked it, please direct me to the article. Thank you.