[Personal Letterhead]

Zondervan Publishing
5300 Patterson SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49530
USA                                                                                        20 February 2002

RE: Today's New International Version Bible.

Dear Valued Friends and Peers:

             I am writing in regard to the publication of the Today's New International Version Bible (TNIV). I only recently was made aware of the controversy surrounding the publication of this new version. I secured the free download from the Zondervan website and made it a point to research it myself.

             I would like to point out a few issues. First, the circumstances surrounding the production of this particular version. I first learned of this controversy from a Police Chaplain friend of mine. I then read the statement by Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, and signed by notable others within the Christian community, concerning the use of “gender-inclusive” language in the translation of God's Word, the Bible. The use of this politically correct buzzword, “gender-inclusive,” or “accurate,” or “neutral,” foretold the foundation and context of the rest of the debate.

             It is clear that at some point there was a consensus on this issue among these notable men. At some point representatives of the International Bible Society (IBS) had reversed themselves on this issue, then reversed themselves again. Regardless of the finer points of the debate, at the most, this shows a casting off of accountability by the IBS and Zondervan to the core Christian community. At the least, it is unprofessional.

             Second, the premise for the production of this particular version and the reasonings why we even need it at this time, in light of the current culture wars, taints this from the start. The influence of the cultural Marxists, Post-modernist thinking, militant feminism, and the proponents of the “new orthodoxy,” is evident throughout the debate; the simple fact that we are even having this debate over “gender” and gender neutral terms in Biblical text. I would recommend the reader acquire the manuscripts, “Death of the West” by Patrick Buchannan, “America's Thirty Years War” by Balint Vazsonyi, or  "Whatever Happened To America?” by Jon Christian Ryter, in which those who would undermine the American nation and Christianity’s influence in the nation through incrementalism and gradualism, and especially gender politics, is brilliantly articulated and exposed.

             For the sake of time, we’ll focus on the Zondervan TNIV “rah-rah” site for this new version. Most of the evidence is obvious in the comments from TNIV supporters Zondervan has chosen to post. PC terminology and superficial humanist thought is littered throughout.

             One individual states: “This is a changing world we live in and the reasons given for updating the language to bring more people to Christ and the Word makes perfect sense.” The original translations of the Word of God have prevailed through two thousand years of Church history and the accompanying world changes, yet we need another translation, most which have been crafted only in recent times? As if the exclusive work of the Holy Spirit can be “helped” by tinkering with the Word of God? Give me a break.

             One individual states: “I have always felt awkward with references to "men" as if women didn't exist or count.... This is the way a text should be inclusive.” The writer, a mere man, has belied his personal and subjective bias against the Word of God, betraying the cultural Marxist’s PC influence in his heart, and now, through the TNIV Bible, will be able to have a God created in his own image. As long as he doesn’t feel “awkward.”

             And one man even goes so far to state: “I'm free!!!! I recently broke out of the KJV-onlyism jail....” The inerrant and unfathomable Word of God, that truly sets men free, depicted as a jail. How tragic.

             The Bible says: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

             This is all the “inclusiveness” the Church needs. Toying with the Word of God to make it more palatable to a generation so clearly under the influence of cultural forces few understand is careless and criminal.

             The IBS and Zondervan have not gone far enough in conforming their contemporary re-evaluation of the Mind of God. These types of transliterational gymnastics and positional justifications are also evident on many of the “Christian” pro-homosexual websites—a very destructive lifestyle. As American “Christendom,” the moral compass of any society, becomes more “tolerant” and “inclusive,” bullied, coerced, and intimidated into silence by cultural Marxists, militants, and politically correct ideologues, this is another issue that will demand inclusion. Why not address this now in the new translation? There are many homosexual “Christian” scholars available that seem to know what they are talking about, ready to advance their own type of “inclusiveness” and correct the antiquated translations on account of of the new “enlightenment.”

             Unfortunately, intellectualists and ministerial “Ph.D.’s” tell us how to think, that is, they interpret the Bible as they wish instead of allowing the Bible to interpret itself. Thus, we have intellectualists who testify that Christ was not God, that women can be preachers, that sodomites can be preachers of the Gospel and valid communicants of churches, etc. To them truth is culturally determined instead of eternal.

             Are Zondervan and the IBS succumbing to political correctness/cultural pressure in deciding to craft this version? Sure they are. That conclusion, in light of current social mores, by those who are politically aware, is inescapable. The preface to the NRSV explains exactly what led to this: It was a requirement from the National Council of Churches, a notoriously liberal organization not representative of the true Church, to eliminate “masculine-oriented language,” to “mute the patriarchalism of the culture of the biblical writers.”

             And this is sanctioned by the Lord and the Holy Spirit, this alteration of the Word of God? I think not. It is the corruption of Western culture conforming the Church to its standard, the “new orthodoxy,” instead of vice-versa.

             Yet, a friend who is an author and publishing industry insider chided me thus: “It should not surprise anyone that genderless "translations" are now being considered by the major Bible publishers who are now being threatened with the lack of distribution into the book stores. At this time, there are three book distributors that control 90% of all book distribution in the United States. When pressure is applied on folks like Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, and every other Christian publisher, they have a decision to make: give the distributors what they want or find their own means into the chain stores which, through their contract arrangements with these distributors, are forced to do what the distributors tell them if they want inventory ...Compromise beats lack of sales.”

             It is unfortunate Zondervan and the IBS, catering to a clientele under the influence of secular, temporal social forces, contrary to Christianity and Biblical Truth and principles, are bowing to market forces as well, instead of taking a stand on integrity and principle, as guardians of the Word of God. This text is already being deployed from some pulpits as “authorized.” It certainly is not.

             Let’s examine this further from a Biblical point of view. The Bible states: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” (John 1:1-2) The Bible, in its entirety, claims to be the essence and personification of Jesus Christ the Lord. Yet, the Bible also states: “For I am the LORD, I change not....” (Malachi 3:6) and “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8) The Word does not change.

             Yet, the IBS and Zondervan feel this particular version is justified? The Bible goes further: “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Proverbs 35: 5-6) And clearly, in light of the evidence and current social influences, these additions are unjustified and fall under that condemnation.

             Also, another grave caution against those who would negligently alter the written, inerrant Word of God is clearly articulated in the final book of the Bible: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19)

             The consequences to the culpable may not be immediate, but they are certainly eternal.

             The Bible says, “If my people (another gender neutral phrase already in the original translation), which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (II Chronicles 7:14)

             I’m sure the archaic term “repent” is another transliteration liberal “scholars” are desirous to change, yet the particulars involved in this foregoing conflict need to do just that. The particulars involved are trifling with forces they clearly don’t understand. Secular humanism, cultural Marxism, and Post-modernist thought—outside influences—are evident throughout the context of this debate. The controversy surrounding this demonstrates that. If the particulars involved in this still insist on proceeding, it is hopeful the Church will, “Voice our opinions at the Bible bookstores and other retailers—with our pocketbooks,” as one friend stated it, and leave it there.

             Regardless, those in the world who bear the burden of bearing the Sacred Trust will prevail in the end, as two thousand years of Church history has proven.

             My Regards,

             Michael A. Baker

             Michael A. Baker


             International Bible Society Headquarters
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             Focus on the Family
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