18 March 2017

Today's NIV

Recently I reported in a comment of an experience I had at a local Evangelical Church that related to the newer edition of the New International Version (NIV).
Starting in 2011, the NIV switched over to gender-neutral pronouns. As to the reason why, I'm sure some justifications have been given but at the end of the day it must be admitted it's a capitulation to the gender-climate and political correctness.

As deplorable as that is and clearly it must be stated that it represents a serious departure from any kind of notion of textual preservation and equivalence in translation (dynamic, formal or otherwise), the theological implications are even more startling.
Sitting in church that Sunday morning I followed the instructions and turned to Psalm 8 but then was left mystified by the reading. Not only was it foreign sounding, something was seriously wrong.
When I say 'foreign' I'm not referring to the fact that I was using a different translation (in this case the NKJV). I expected that but this was something really strange. Psalm 8, a well known passage, quoted often in the New Testament is specifically about Christ. All the Psalms are to some extent, but there are some that are overwhelmingly Messianic in character.
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?
You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their feet:

Psalm 8 cannot be rendered in gender-neutral language because of not only the textual considerations but the doctrinal implications. If rendered as gender-neutral the Psalm loses its Christocentric meaning in the New Testament. It becomes generalised and is no longer Messianic. This directly contradicts the way in which it is utilised by the Spirit-inspired New Testament authors. The point of Hebrews is effectively destroyed. Quoting the Psalm to argue for the supremacy of Christ, the Old Testament reading results in a non sequitir, evidences and conclusions which fail in light of the premise of the argument.
It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. But there is a place where someone has testified:
“What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    a son of man that you care for him?
You made them a little lower than the angels;
    you crowned them with glory and honor
    and put everything under their feet.”
In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them.
The Psalm references man and his placement vis-à-vis the creation, the angels etc... And yet it has another meaning in which the Son of Man refers to Christ as 'the' Son of Man or the Son of Adam, or elsewhere (Romans 5, 1 Corinthians 15) the Second Adam. The ideas run together. Isolating the Psalm and translating it in a way that deliberately obscures this point is dubious and yet typical of modern liberal 'scholarship'.
This also is a direct attack on the authority of the Apostles and their authoritative rendering of Old Testament texts.
Basically the NIV, which was always a deeply flawed translation based on a bad text and governed by unacceptable translation methods... has crossed the line. It is no longer a 'Bible' that Christians should or even can use. Its translation is quite literally heretical.
Perhaps the saddest part is that I was supremely disappointed to find names like RT France, Bruce Waltke, Gordon Fee and Douglas Moo involved in the project. These are considered good conservative Evangelical men and I must say I have benefitted from some of their previous work and commentaries. It's hard to know what to think now. What kind of discernment can they possibly have to involve themselves in a project like this? And to go beyond that, they have willingly participated and profited from a heretical perversion of God's Word. There has to be some sort of consequence within the larger Church.
It's possible some of these men were not involved in the 2011 gender revision. I just don't know. But I would certainly want my name removed from it and I certainly would not take any royalties if that was part of the original deal. The notion of profit in this instance is problematic in and of itself, but that's another matter.
I was also surprised to learn the older NIV which was deficient enough has been discontinued. Interesting that with endless 'updates' no one is left with anything solid and reliable. Already the ESV is falling prey to this tendency. While it hasn't fallen into the tiger-pit that the NIV finds itself in, it's well on its way.
The foundation which produced the NIV reflects both a seriously defective view of the text, one that ironically undermines its own authority. The consequence of the NIV's approach is to downgrade Scripture. If cultural concerns and relevance are chief, how long before not just gender is changed but doctrinal content as well? If pronouns can be modified, why not nouns or verbs? That would change the meaning?
It's too late for that.
I remember the buzz when this translation was first released and at this point it's by no means the only gender-neutral translation. I didn't pay a lot of attention because to my mind, once you've abandoned the textual position you're bound to head down these roads. And yet to be honest I never fully considered the implications of this issue when it came to passages like Psalm 8. Sitting in a congregation and hearing this translation in person, used liturgically, was like a thunderclap.
Finally, I must say this also reflects a certain commercial element which is not surprising as Zondervan which owns the NIV is part of the Murdoch News Corp empire. This charlatan has literally purchased a majority of the Christian marketing and publishing world and has for years been making merchandise of God's people, manipulating and steering them toward his own media brands and ultimately shaping their view of the world.
For this reason and some others, we didn't make it through the service. We walked out during the sermon and have no intention of returning. Their loose attitude to Scripture has permeated the whole of their worship. I was already grieved and put to the test by everything leading up to the sermon. While I do not doubt there are some believers in the congregation, I cannot in good conscience bring my family into fellowship and communion with them.