Last fall Newsweek magazine used this headline to tell of the latest inclusive language version of the New Testament and Psalms. In this new version God is no longer “Father” and Jesus is no longer “Son.” The hierarchical title of “Lord” is excised, it is said, as an archaic way to address God. Nor does God (male pronouns for the deity have been abolished) rule a “kingdom.” The editors of the new version explain that the word “kingdom” has a “blatantly androcentric and patriarchal character.” Newsweek said that “even God’s metaphorical ‘right hand’ has been amputated out of deference to the left-handed.”
A couple more examples: in the prologue of John’s Gospel, “the glory he has from the Father as only Son of the Father” becomes “the glory as of a parent’s only child.” (jn. 1:14) And the Lord’s Prayer? In the new version it begins: “Father-Mother, hallowed be your name. May your dominion come.” (Luke 11:2) In a number of other places the title “Father” for God is changed to “parent” or “Father-Mother.”
We are beyond the point of being shocked anymore by the arrogance of “scholars” as they toy with the original languages in which the Bible was written and, at the same time then, with its content. The “Jesus Seminar” scholars come out annually with reports calling into question the authenticity of certain words or acts of Christ.
What disturbs more than anything is that apparently Oxford University Press (which produced this version) is confident there is a market for it. Newsweek suggested who that market might be when it referred to “readers who find the Bible sexist, racist, elitist, and insensitive to the physically challenged.”
“A Fundamental Reinterpretation”
We don’t often agree with what a national news magazine has to say on religious matters. But what was said at the conclusion of the Newsweek report is right on: “The editors do not claim that Jesus spoke in gender-neutral language. But they obviously think he should have. The changes they have made are not merely cosmetic. They represent a fundamental reinterpretation of what the New Testament says — and how it says it….”
The finger of blame can hardly be pointed in the direction of those who will purchase this version. Wouldn’t any of us be happy to discover, according to the sinful nature, that there is a “word of God” which excuses and condones, even endorses and approves, a behavior or lifestyle conducive to the flesh — a behavior or lifestyle which a literal translation condemns?
Where is the sense, anymore, of trembling before the Word of God (see Is. 66:2)? An objective study of the biblical text makes clear that God will not countenance altering a jot or tittle of it (see Mt. 5:17); and, in fact, that He will bring terrible plagues upon those who add to or subtract from it (see Deut. 4:2, Rev. 22:18-19). Such words ought to give all students of Scripture pause before they tamper with the Bible.
— Pastor Paul Fleischer
We have a sure prophetic Word By inspiration of the Lord; And tho’ assailed on ev’ry hand, Jehovah’s Word shall ever stand.
By pow’rs of empire banned and burned, By pagan pride rejected, spurned, The Word still stands the Christian’s trust While haughty empires lie in dust.
Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word; Curb those who by deceit or sword Would seek to overthrow Your Son And to destroy what He has done.