• Wycliffe/SIL produced Stories of the Prophets, an Arabic Bible that uses “Lord” instead of “Father” and “Messiah” instead of “Son.”
• Frontiers worked with an SIL consultant to produce True Meaning of the Gospel of Christ, an Arabic translation which removes “Father” in reference to God, and removes or redefines “Son,” e.g. the Great Commission in Mt 28:19 reads, “Cleanse them by water in the name of God, his Messiah and his Holy Spirit.”
• Frontiers produced a Turkish translation of Matthew, distributed by SIL, that uses “guardian” for “Father” and “representative” or “proxy” for “Son.”
• SIL consulted on the Bengali Injil Sharif, advising that “Son” be translated as “God’s Uniquely Intimate Beloved Chosen One.”Check out the petition here.By removing Father and Son, these translations fail to portray God as who he is: the familial, eternal, loving God the Father, Son and Spirit. The deity of Jesus is obscured, and thus the self-sacrifice of God on our behalf. In June 2011, the Presbyterian Church in America explicitly declared such translations as “unfaithful to God’s revealed Word” because they “compromise the doctrines of the Trinity, Scripture, and the person and work of Jesus.”Perhaps most importantly, national Christians say these translations are harming their work. Yet Western proponents condone removing Father or Son because they say Muslims can only see sexual connotations to these terms. Numerous missionaries and national believers, however, strongly assert this is not the case. Further, Christian churches in places like Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Middle East, Turkey, and Malaysia have asked these agencies to stop producing these translations, but to no avail.Adding fuel to the fire, these agencies have raised millions of dollars for these projects, yet donors are unaware their gifts are being used for translations that remove Father, Son and Son of God from the text.
A member of the SIL board indicated that while “a few objections” over these translations would be “dismissable,” SIL would need to respond when the “man in the pew” created a “backlash.” By signing this petition, you are letting these agencies know that your convictions, and the integrity of God’s own Word, can’t be dismissed. Instead, you are asking for a written commitment from Wycliffe, Frontiers and SIL not to remove Father, Son or Son of God from the text of Scripture.
Why People Are Signing
4 days ago14 people like this reason
As a former Muslim, I can attest that a literal translation of filial terminology in Muslim languages will provide the clearest gospel picture for Muslims. It will also help dispel the Muslim misconception that Christians have tampered with the Bible.
4 days ago13 people like this reason
I have a PhD in Islamic Studies and 10 years of field experience in South Asia, Hebrew, Greek, Arabic, Urdu and Baluchi. I have been debating this point with SIL personnel since the early 1990s but have found them reluctant to take the advice of anyone outside of the SIL circle. I believe that removing Son of God is is a serious mistake of the worst kind and damages gospel witness among Muslims. I have read the articles of Rick Brown and do not find them convincing biblically, theologically or (especially) with regard to the Muslim context. Is there any way to get SIL to listen?
4 days ago12 people like this reason
I am a Wycliffe member, working in software development under SIL. Spurred by the PCA’s stand (which has already affected my support base), I am now considering the end of my 26-year Wycliffe career over this issue. Years of intense internal protest by many support workers as well as translator/linguists over this issue has made no difference, except to disturb the ministries of many Wycliffe good people. It appears that only external pressure, resignations and the cutting of financial support *might* stop this trend. It’s time for the “man in the pew” to do what only he can.
4 days ago11 people like this reason
Arabic is my native language so I can affirm that there is no valid reason to change those terms in Arabic.
4 days ago11 people like this reason
I feel like a victim of false advertising. What I thought I was giving to Bible “translation” has been going to Bible “reinterpretation”. It’s not easy providing for a family nowadays. Every gift to missions is a sacrifice. I’m angry.
- Wycliffe, SIL Issue Guidelines on Translating ‘Son of God’ Among Muslims (christianitytoday.com)
- Lost In Translation: Sign the Petition (biblicalmissiology.org)
- Jumping from the Sinking Wycliffe Ship: Why Theology Matters (biblicalmissiology.org)