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Wycliffe Responds to Criticism of Bible Translations for Muslim Readers

  • Religion Today
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2012 May 09
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May 9, 2012

With the help of the World Evangelical Alliance, Wycliffe Bible Translators is reviewing a controversial translation of Scripture which was designed to help Muslims understand the nature of God, ASSIST News Service reports. In various translations, "God the Father" and "Son of God" were replaced with the Arabic equivalents of "Lord" and "Messiah," because, according to Wycliffe president and CEO Bob Creson, "there is sometimes a misunderstanding" in Islamic cultures "when you translate directly or use common terms [such as] 'Son of God' that God the Father actually had a sexual relationship with Mary to produce his Son, Jesus." After controversy about the translation, Wycliffe has submitted to an independent review of its work by a panel appointed by the World Evangelical Alliance. Meanwhile, it will discontinue publishing the translations in question, Creson said. While Wycliffe maintains it is trying to present the gospel message to a diverse array of audiences, some say that is no excuse. "We should not change the words of the Bible in order to accommodate a particular religious group," said Dr. Barrett Duke of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. "The Spirit inspired those words. The Spirit gave them to the writers for a specific reason. ... If the Spirit of God wasn't troubled with using these terms, we shouldn't be either, and we need to lay out the Trinitarian nature of God for all cultures and all people."