Banning the Bible: In Certain Churches, the Word of God is No Longer Welcome
It is the worst fear Evangelicals and Protestants have imagined. As children, our well meaning parents, pastors, and elders spoke of a coming age in which all Bibles would be burned, Christians would be detained, and at gun-point forced to renounce the name of Christ.
Such fears were stirred to get us bright-eyed “Christians” to get serious about Christ before the Anti-Christ emerges and drags us into sin and hell on earth.
When Y2K never turned out to be that economic collapse ushering into the one world government, many fled the church. Still, from time to time we poke our heads up out of our busy lives and ponder the possibility of apocalypse and Bible-banning and whether it will ever occur.
In fact, it has.
This ban has come in a form not quite recognized by our parents because our parents and our parents’ churches are doing the banning.
A firestorm of controversy is brewing. The horizon is red and preverbal blood is being spilled over which Bible translation is the true and authentic Word of God. Once only a controversy stirred by the “King James Only” folks, Southern Baptists have officially banned the NIV Bible from holding any place in their churches.
Those at the annual summer Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution in which the updated NIV translation was condemned. They barred the use of this translation in any members based congregation associated with the Southern Baptists.
Those at the convention expressed concern and down-right rage and foaming at the mouth over the “gender-neutral” wording implemented by the new NIV.
The controversy primary circles around the style of translation. KJV and ESV use “Formal Equivalence”—a direct, word-for-word, straight-down-the-line translation method. NIV has traditionally used “Functional Equivalence”—a translation based on what the word or phrase meant to the writer or reader rather than something literal.
A perfect example of the difference is what has incited the ban. The new NIV translates the greek term adelphoi as “brothers and sisters” rather than the literal “brothers” because Paul meant that the letter be for all people of Christ—not just men.
The Southern Baptists have seen such translations as a destruction and corruption of the Word of God. After all, salvation and the gospel truth of Christ could never be found in such a translation of the scripture.
Reading Banned Books
Many of our former pastors may thumb their noses and lecture us on our NIV reading habits or the fact that you might want to read something other than the Bible and Berean-bought Christian fiction. The truth is, while I was raised on the NIV, I don’t read it any more. But that is beside the fact.
We know the church has lost its’ way when a few translated words are being argued over while millions are starving, cold, naked, and without the gospel displayed in truth and love.
Reading an accurate Bible is great but it means nothing if we don’t live the Bible.
No one is contesting the command, “whatever you have done for the least of these you have done to me.”
Perhaps it’s time we focus on that, and not on whether or not Paul intended Anthropos to mean “humanity” or just “men.”
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