Wycliffe partner, SIL International, halts Muslim idiom translation use until issue of removal of “Father” and “Son” can be further examined

Last week Biblical Missiology circulated a petititon, which begins:

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 documented in our Fact Check:
• 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,” e.g. the Great Commission in Mt 28:19 reads, “Cleanse them by water in the name of God, his Messiah and his Holy Spirit.” [1]

Concerned about these (and other) changes, thousands of Christians consequently signed the document.

 In response, a news release on the SIL site states:

“(6 February 2012) In light of a number of questions raised about our Best Practices Statement on the translation of Divine Familial Terms, we recognize it is important to have a fuller dialogue with our many partners globally and benefit from their input to our approach in Scripture translation related to this issue. Since questions about our commitment to these translation principles have been raised, we will proactively engage to understand the concerns, clarify misunderstandings, and where indicated, adjust practice.” [2]

According to Wycliffe, SIL is Wycliffe’s “primary strategic partner.”


1. http://www.change.org/petitions/lost-in-translation-keep-father-son-in-the-bible

2. http://www.sil.org/sil/news/2012/SIL-dialogue-translation-practice.htm

Latest Update:

Now, the day after its primary strategic partner, SIL International, issued the news release, Wycliffe has also posted a statement. According to Wycliffe’s Response to “Son of God” Accusations:

“While we have never intentionally sponsored a translation that neglects to properly communicate the divine familial terms, some observers have raised concerns about whether our methodology has consistently met our goal. We are listening to those concerns and are seeking God’s guidance as we re-evaluate our methodology and investigate to ensure that our commitment to accurate and clear translation is being reflected in every project. We are engaged in meaningful conversations with partner organizations, constituents, and church leaders to evaluate our standards, and expect to be prepared to issue a more complete statement soon.”  http://www.wycliffe.org/SonofGod.aspx

Published in: on February 6, 2012 at 11:22 pm  Comments (1)  
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World Net Daily article on removal of “Father” and “Son of God” from Bible translation

According to WND reporter Joel Richardson:

But now there is a major controversy developing as the latest altered Bibles are being created by organizations that most would think of as being more conservative and reasonable. At the forefront of the controversy are the Wycliffe Bible Translators, the Summer Institute of Linguistics and Frontiers, all of which are producing Bible translations that remove or modify terms which they have deemed offensive to Muslims.

That’s right: Muslim-friendly Bibles.

Included in the controversial development is the removal of any references to God as “Father,” to Jesus as the “Son” or “the Son of God.” One example of such a change can be seen in an Arabic version of the Gospel of Matthew produced and promoted by Frontiers and SIL. It changes Matthew 28:19 from this:

“baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”

to this:

“cleanse them by water in the name of Allah, his Messiah and his Holy Spirit.”

Link to entire article: http://www.wnd.com/2012/01/new-bible-yanks-father-jesus-as-son-of-god/

Published in: on February 1, 2012 at 7:15 pm  Comments (2)  
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