Wycliffe to “re-evaluate our methodology” concerning Muslim idiom translations removing ‘Father’ and ‘Son’

Wycliffe Bible Translator’s primary strategic partner, SIL International, stated recently that “we will put on hold our approval of publication of translated Scripture around which this criticism is focused. We expect this dialogue with partners, and the corresponding hold period, to commence immediately and run for an extended period.” [1]

This is in response to a petition circulated by Biblical Missiology, 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.” [2]

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

Now, the day after its primary strategic partner, SIL International, agreed to halt further translations, Wycliffe has released its own 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. [3]


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

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

3. http://www.wycliffe.org/SonofGod.aspx

Published in: on February 7, 2012 at 4:19 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. So much breaking down. As foretold.

  2. How dare you change the wording of OUR Holy Bible to satisfy an other religion. I have not seen the Muslim’s changing anything in their book to satisfy us. Exactly the opposite if we even look at their book they are screaming and killing people. The Designation “Father” and “Son” are basic to our doctrinal beliefs. Our Lord Jesus used the word “Father” to address the Lord God his self, so Wycliff thinks they are good enough to actually change the words of our Lord? We are commanded to preach and teach the Word as it is written, not some watered down version that another religion wants us to use. I say we should all withdraw our support of Wycliff in everyway, their Missions program needs to be dismantled until they can realize we are Christians with a Father, a Son and A Holy Spirit at the very foundation of our religion. Remember Wycliff the words in that Bible that are in Red is the actual words of our Lord and not to be messed with.

  3. This reprinting was not for the dissemination of the Truth. They say they “have never intentionally sponsored a translation that neglects to properly communicate the divine familial terms”…. It’s not about “divine familial terms.” With that comment, they reduced this exposition to nit picking.

    If you’re going to win Muslims to Jesus Christ, then you better tell them the Truth about Him; they will have to accept the designation of “father” or “son” because everyone is assuming that you will also retain the Biblical doctrine of Jesus Christ’s identity. He is all God, all man. Seems to me someone needs to read I Timothy 3:16 and the first Epistle of John. “16And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory….”

    Changing the designation “Father” and “Son”, also changes the basic doctrine of Jesus Christ, divinity robed in flesh, the Word Incarnate. It irrecvocably alters salvation and the Great Commission. Muslims are the only group which has a problem with the divinity of Jesus Christ His position as “the only begotten” son of God.

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