PHOENIX (ABP) – The Southern Baptist Convention went on record June 15 saying it “cannot commend” the 2011 New International Version Bible translation and its use of gender-neutral language.
“This is as big as it gets,” said Tim Overton of Halteman Village Baptist Church in Muncie, Ind., who brought his resolution to the floor after a resolutions committee declined to include it in their report. “This is the word of God. The best-selling Bible translation in the United States is now gender neutral.”
Overton said the NIV retains 75 percent of gender-neutral language included in a Today’s New International Version translation denounced by the Southern Baptist Convention in 2002.
Russell Moore, a member of the resolutions committee and professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said the committee didn’t feel the same sense of urgency about the new NIV because the translation process was more transparent and there are other translations available that weren’t around in 2002.
“As Southern Baptists, I don’t think we have the luxury of not speaking to this important issue,” Overton said. “People are buying this translation unaware of what’s happening. We are the anchor of the evangelical world.”
The resolution expressed “profound disappointment” with NIV publishers Biblica and Zondervan Publishing House for their “inaccurate translation of God’s inspired Scripture.”
It asked LifeWay Christian Resources, the SBC publishing house, to refuse to sell the translation in its stores and encouraged pastors to make their congregations aware of concerns about the new NIV.
“We cannot commend the 2011 NIV to Southern Baptists or the larger Christian community,” the resolution concluded.
Bob Allen is managing editor of Associated Baptist Press.