Richard N. Ostling takes on the very idea of an “inclusive” language Bible translation in a recent article. Here is how he describes the project:
Should the Bible call God the “Father” or “Lord”? Should Jesus be termed the “Son” of God or “Son” of “Man”? Should masculine words such as “king” and “kingdom” be allowed? Should Holy Writ have so many male pronouns?
Not if militant feminists have their way, as they do in an awkward rewrite of the complete Bible issued in four volumes: The Inclusive Hebrew Scriptures (three volumes subtitled The Torah, The Prophets, and The Writings) and The Inclusive New Testament (all from AltaMira).
These “degendered” Scriptures were produced for the liberal Roman Catholic Priests for Equality. The revisers say that “most scriptures read in worship services are still grossly sexist,” and “the continued self-destructiveness of an all-male clergy” only worsens matters.
They don’t appear to like the Bible all that much. The basic concept here is nothing new. In 1983-85, a National Council of Churches (NCC) panel performed similar surgery on familiar Bible readings in a three-year liturgical listing. NCC Protestants then published these in a trade edition.
So, what was changed? Consider these examples:
Start with the Lord’s Prayer – er, make that the “Teacher’s” Prayer. Since God can no longer be addressed as “Father” and his – er, make that God’s – “kingdom” cannot come, we get: “Abba God in heaven, hallowed be your name! May your reign come”
“Abba” is simply Aramaic for “father,” so the change seems pointless. But it’s preferable to a proposed NCC option, “O God, Father and Mother,” which sounded like two gods. “Reign” is awkward for oral readings because it hits the ear like a prayer for “rain.” Elsewhere, the translation invents “kindom” minus “g” to replace the supposedly sexist “kingdom.”
Euphemistic replacements for “Lord,” designed to be “free of oppressive connotations,” include “Our God,” “Most High,” “Almighty” and “Sovereign.”
Shunning “Son of Man,” these Catholics came up with “Chosen One” or “Promised One.” That’s preferable to the NCC’s “the Human One,” which sounded like an utterance by the Coneheads space aliens from “Saturday Night Live.”
Or take Babylon, “the mother of harlots.” Please. The famous symbol of the evil Roman Empire in Revelation 17:5 is deemed “genderist” and full of “misogyny” because “male prostitution is as old as female prostitution.” The squeamish substitute: “Source of All Idolatry.”
The revisers add words that are not in the Hebrew and Greek texts, for instance inserting women’s names when genealogies name only men.
On pronouns, the revisionists de-emphasize “his” or “him” in passages that describe Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, and bar them altogether following the resurrection.
Such atrocities are supported and greeted with excitement by those who believe that the Bible is filled with evidence of patriarchy, animus toward women, and worse. Given their presuppositions, the Bible must be cleaned up in order to meet contemporary expectations. Orthodox Christianity simply disappears behind a fog of misleading translation.
R. Albert Mohler Jr.
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