TNIV tallies 64 endorsers; opposition statement, 100-plus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--The Today's New International Version translation of the Bible, according to an International Bible Society spokesman, "is being widely embraced by the evangelical community."

Support for the TNIV, Larry Lincoln, IBS director of communications, said, "continues to grow among respected linguists, translators, biblical scholars, pastors and other church leaders as they carefully review this new translation."

Lincoln's assessment was part of a May 29 statement issued to Baptist Press the day after 100 Christian leaders released a statement opposing the TNIV, which is a revision of the widely used 1984 New International Version.

The IBS is the copyright holder for the TNIV and NIV.

A list of 64 TNIV supporters on the TNIV website,, includes theologian John R.W. Stott; Timothy George, dean of Samford University's Beeson Divinity School in Alabama and executive editor of Christianity Today; Jim Cymbala, pastor of The Brooklyn Tabernacle; authors Philip Yancey, Tim Stafford and Stuart Briscoe; Cornelius Plantinga Jr. of Calvin Theological Seminary; Craig Blomberg of Denver Seminary; Jay Kesler of Taylor University; Linda Bellville of North Park Theological Seminary; Ron Sider of Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary; and physician/author Diane Komp.

Among specific statements made in behalf of the TNIV:

-- Timothy George: "The Reformers of the 16th century translated the Bible into the vernacular languages of their day so that 'the farm boy at his plow and the milk maid at her pail' could read and understand the Scriptures in their everyday speech. The TNIV stands in this same tradition. I predict the TNIV will have a shaping influence on the English of the future, even as it reflects today's contemporary idiom."

-- Jim Cymbala of The Brooklyn Tabernacle: "Today's New International Version is a powerful tool for evangelization in the 21st Century. God's Word was meant to be read and understood by everyone and the TNIV has been prayerfully translated toward this God-glorifying goal. I give it my highest recommendation!"

-- Blomberg: "The TNIV avoids the overly free translation of certain texts that previous gender-inclusive translations have included, while rendering gender-inclusive uses of 'man,' 'he,' 'brothers,' and the like with appropriate, contemporary English exactly corresponding to the meaning of the original Greek or Hebrew. Not to do this leaves a Bible that increasingly misleads the modern reader; as the father of two daughters I know first hand how this works! And I remain a complementarian with respect to gender roles; the two issues are quite separate."

Signers of the statement in opposition to the TNIV, meanwhile, include the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, James Merritt, an Atlanta-area pastor; his likely successor in June, Jack Graham, a Dallas-area pastor; and three former SBC presidents, Paige Patterson, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina; Tom Elliff, an Oklahoma City-area pastor; and Adrian Rogers, a Memphis, Tenn.,-area pastor.

The statement was coordinated by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, based in Louisville, Ky., and can be accessed at, along with a list of signatories, which has now surpassed 100.

Among about 15 other Southern Baptist leaders signing the statement are Robert E. Reccord, president of the North American Mission Board; and three other SBC seminary presidents, R. Albert Mohler Jr. of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Chuck Kelley of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary; and Ken Hemphill of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas.

Among other Christian leaders signing the statement are Charles Colson of Prison Fellowship; author and speakers Joni Eareckson Tada and Josh McDowell; James Dobson of Focus on the Family; "Prayer of Jabez" author Bruce Wilkinson; Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network; Ted Baehr, chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission; theologians J.I. Packer and R.C. Sproul; finance authors Larry Burkett and Ron Blue; Harold O.J. Brown of Reformed Theological Seminary; author-pastors Chuck Swindoll, John Piper and John MacArthur; D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Erwin Lutzer, senior pastor of Moody Church in Chicago; Bill McCartney, president of Promise Keepers; Dal Shealy, president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes; William Pugh, national director of Athletes in Action; Cindy Rios, president of Concerned Women for America; talk show host Janet Parshall; Dennis Rainey, executive director of FamilyLife; Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association; Jack Hayford, pastor of The Church on the Way, Van Nuys, Calif.; Terry Taylor, president emeritus of Navigators.

The TNIV's New Testament, which was published this spring, will be followed by the complete Bible, "expected in 2005," according to IBS and the TNIV's publisher, Zondervan.


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