"I was disappointed with the tone of the war that erupted," wrote CT Senior Editor Ed Dobson, referring to the heated controversy surrounding the proposed introduction of generic pronouns into the New International Version of the Bible (see "Bible Translators Deny Gender Agenda," p. 62). Ed, who pastors Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was "surprised at the intensity of the fuss.
"When I preach from the NIV and the text uses a male word that refers to all human beings, I always explain the use of that word. First Corinthians 15:58 states, 'Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm … '; I either explain that brothers is to be understood generically or I add the word sisters. This is exegesis—interpreting the text for all to understand. To call this caving in to a feminist agenda and conforming to political correctness is so shocking that I am at a loss to understand . …
"In my opinion, the translators were attacked unfairly. First, they were accused of capitulating to the feminist agenda. I know some radical feminists, and they would never consider that adding sister to the word brother would be caving in to their agenda. A radical feminist would demand that God be addressed as mother!
"Second," Ed continues, "people's motives were unfairly attacked. Christians who accept the ordination of women were viewed as deniers of biblical truth. Now some who uphold women's ordination have ignored biblical truth, but many have not. The people I know who are evangelical and egalitarian have come to that conclusion through their study of the Scriptures and not their desire to conform to the winds of cultural change. While I disagree with them, I do not suspect their commitment to the Bible.
"What troubled me most was that anyone who was egalitarian or who was interested in updating the English language of the NIV to include both genders was accused of opening the evangelical tent to a humanist, radical feminist, liberal agenda. Such accusations are nothing less than evangelicalism's own form of political correctness. An oppressive conformity is being demanded. Can we discuss changes in American English and their bearing on Bible translation? Can we discuss the role of women in the church and the world? Can we discuss the relationship between the church and the body politic? Can we discuss the protection of the environment? Can we discuss the moral decline of our culture? Can we discuss these issues without attacking each other's motives or calling into question one another's commitment to the Bible? If we cannot, and it appears that we are heading in that direction, then we are entering a new phase of evangelicalism—fundamentalist political correctness."
Good questions to ponder.
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