By Apprising Ministries special correspondent Rob Willmann of Shepherd’s Heart Bible Study
This is a repost of an original article on Shepherd’s Heart Bible Study

In a very eye-opening official press release from the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan, Rev. Dr. Altaf Khan says ‘No’ to the Wycliffe (WBT)SIL translations: (official press release)

I, Rev. Dr. Altaf Khan, the Acting Moderator of Presbyterian Church of Pakistan [PCP] would like to bring into your attention the recent translation issues brought by Summer Institute of Linguistics [SIL] or Wycliffe Bible Translators.

The controversy arose when the idea of contextualization was first floated by SIL. In the name of contextualization, SIL intended to remove Father or Son from the future translated versions citing that some local Muslims can only see sexual connotations to these terms. PCP in its General Assembly held in November 2011 [around 200 Church leaders participated], executive meeting [around 30 Church leaders] and multiple gatherings in different cities where Christian leaders from all denominations participated, has publicly condemned such justifications for the sake of convenient translation. In this regard, PCP board of directors unanimously passed the following submissions:

[Note from Rob: This is strong, concrete language. Praise God that Dr. Khan is standing up to this!]

He continues:

  1. The Precedent of Centuries old Biblical Translation established by our forefathers, missionaries, biblical institutions cannot and must not be overturned, amended, or omitted by SIL or any other foreign translating institution.
  2. That before making any changes to the current Bible translation, SIL must take into confidence all the major Christian denominations and Church leaders.
  3. The doctrine of Trinity is and remains one of the rudimentary tenets uniformly adopted by the First Council of Nicaea [Ecumenical Council 325 A.D.]. And that such well settled doctrine of our faith cannot be omitted by any Translating institution.
  4. That any interpretative measures which substantially and adversely affect our fundamental dogmas must be prohibited at all costs.
  5. That certain creeds, cannons, and beliefs which are rationally related to our faith cannot be jeopardized for the sake of any particular target audience.
  6. That any such autonomous and arbitrary act by SIL would bring irreparable injury to our faith, community, and Church worldwide.
  7. That PCP will severe its nexus with SIL or any other translating institution as a matter of principle and continue to denounce such actions at all levels. 

Friends, please read the entire letter here. The Pakistan Presbyterians need our prayers and support during this time.

Also, consider this: These Christians in Pakistan are able to make such a strong stand because they are able to read the source material (ie. mistranslated bibles) and clearly see the issue with “Son of God” and “God the Father” being mis-translated in these languages.

Again I’d like to point to these two videos:
Video 1:

Video 2:

Consider these questions:

  1. How long has this been coming? If these mistranslated bibles are the fruit, then what’s the rottenness at the core of Wycliffe that’s causing this issue? Is it “dynamic equivalency”-influenced translation methodologies, or is there more to it?
  2. Why does Wycliffe continue to state that there’s nothing wrong with these translations?
  3. Will Wycliffe continue to deny the issue? Is that modus operandi for organizations once they reach this size? I think that part of Christian accountability (especially when it comes to handling the translation of God’s Word) should be open, honest, and addressed in humility with the emphasis that God’s very words are at stake here.
  4. Will other denominations and groups take a stand with these Pakistani Presbyterians? I am standing with them on this issue.
  5. Why is the church visible not up in arms about the sycretism that’s occurring in the mission field? Is C5 and C6 contextualization the new norm form missions?
  6. If so, why? What was wrong with the past 2000 years of missions?
  7. Since there already existed quality translations in these receptor languages, why does Wycliffe feel the need for new translations?

More to come…..


To Wycliffe, SIL, And Foundations: Is the Gospel an Offense, and Dare We Change It?

Update: Wycliffe Changes their Statement on Bible Translations for Muslims

Official Press Release from Pakistan Presbyterians (courtesy of BiblicalMissiology.org)

The original appears complete with a comments section for you to join the discussion right here.

See also: