Monday, October 17, 2011

His and hers

[M]y biggest beef with gender-inclusive Bibles is that they lack doctrinal precision. If you mess with the words, you mess with the meaning. [...]
Notwithstanding the doctrinal imprecision and blatant politically-correct translating agenda, there are additional reasons why I dislike gender inclusive Bibles. Undoubtedly the publishers had good intentions, and genuinely wanted to help women, but in my mind, a gender-inclusive Bible is BAD for women. [...] Here are ten reasons why:

1.  It obscures the profound symbolism of gender: [...]
2. It exalts gender above that to which it points: Changing the Bible's gender language implies that the Bible's gender language is about us. It's not. The Bible is ultimately not about male and female-it's about Jesus, the Son of Man and Son of God. The Bible does not use predominantly male gendered language to exalt men; it uses it to exalt THE Man who paid the ultimate price to redeem His Bride.

3. It diminishes the unique beauty of womanhood: [...]

4. It is less inclusive of women: [...] Because both male and female are ‘adam, both are equally represented by the first man, Adam. [...] The good news of the gospel is that both are also equally represented by the Second Man-the Last Adam-Jesus Christ. [...] If woman is not specifically identified as "man" then how can she be represented by the first man, Adam? What's more, how can she be represented by the Second Man, the Last Adam, Jesus Christ? [...]

5. It demeans women: Gender inclusive Bibles imply that women are too stupid to figure out that in the Bible, the words "man" and "brothers" are inclusive terms. [...]

6. It patronizes women: Poor little girls. The translators need to change the words of the Bible so our feelings don't get hurt. Boo hoo. Women are so easily offended.  [...]

7. It calls God's attitude toward women into question: [...]

8. It calls God's wisdom into question: Poor God. His bad. He needs our help. He wasn't smart enough to get the words right. He obviously isn't as enlightened as people living in the new millennium. We have to step in and update His image, to make the Bible more palatable to woman's modern sensibilities.

9. It encourages further changes to Scripture: [S]ince we're audacious enough to tamper with gender wording for humans, it won't be long till we're audacious enough to tamper with gender wording for God. [...] I've studied feminist theology long enough to know that naming self leads to naming the world leads to naming god.  It's audacious indeed!

10. It leads women away from truth: [...] I do [women] a disservice when I apologize for the Bible, fail to embrace its unvarnished beauty and power, and shrink back from sharing the Words that are perceived by some as foolishness and a stumbling block, yet are actually the power and wisdom of God for righteousness and sanctification and redemption. [...]
I understand that language changes over time, and that translation is not always an easy task. But I am saddened that Christians seem so eager to jump on the cultural bandwagon to update God's Holy Book with inclusive language. I don't think they realize what is at stake. I have had students struggle with understanding concepts about God because their native language did not lend itself to translating/expressing the gendered concepts that exist in the original languages of the Bible. We will lose something very critical and essential if we lose the linguistic concepts afforded us by the gendered nature of English. Retaining gender distinctiveness in our language is a battle worth fighting. There is a great deal at stake.
So ladies, please don't jump on the gender-inclusive Bible bandwagon. Be hip. Be courageous. Be politically incorrect. Insist on a Bible that acurately translates gender language- like the ESV, Holman Christian Standard, or  New America Standard.  Because in the end, inclusive language, and inclusive language Bibles, are bad for women.
~"Ten Reasons Why the New NIV Bible Is Bad for Women," by Mary Kassian (of Girls Gone Wise, posted on the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood website)

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