Wednesday, May 20, 2015

WELS Makes it Official: All WELS congregations shall use NIV2011

NIV 2011 and filthy lucre
If they intend to use the new hymnal, that is.

As pointed out by commenters earlier this week, in our post Washington Post Editorial: The trick isn’t to make church cool; it’s to keep worship weird., by Dr. Jackson late yesterday on his blog, Ichabod, the Glory has Departed, and to me personally by concerned WELS laymen, the WELS Hymnal Project has standardized the new WELS hymnal on the NIV 2011. The Spring 2015 Director’s Update of the WELS Hymnal Project, issued May 10, 2015, by Project Director Michael Schultz, states this directly in the section entitled “Scripture Committee (SC)” – a committee of the Project chaired by Rev. Jonathan Schroeder – in the following words:
    [T]he Scripture Committee drafted a translation rubric that was approved at the first meeting of the XC [“Translation Committee” – which is also the “Scripture Committee” according to this update] in September of 2013. Their rubric followed the eclectic choice method which was approved at the 2013 synod convention. The primary working translation of the project is NIV2011, with NIV1984 serving as the backup choice where there are weaknesses or deficiencies that require changes. Since the time that resolution was approved, it has been established that NIV1984 won’t be available as a backup choice, so the committee will be bringing an updated recommendation for a backup translation... The SC reviewed all scripture references or strong scriptural allusions in the CW line of products (not including psalms). Of just under 200 instances, it identified four instances where it recommended replacing NIV2011 with NIV1984. Similarly, the PC has compared both of the NIV translations of all CW/NSS/CWOS/CWS psalmody, marking those places where changes may be necessary.
For those readers wondering what the term “eclectic” might possibly mean when applied to a Synod publication project, the statistic presented here, in Schultz’ Spring Update, ought to make that clear. Firstly, “eclectic” means either NIV2011 or NIV1984. Period. Recall, however, that the NIV2011 was touted by the Translation Evaluation Committee (TEC) – not to be confused with the Translation Committee (XC) mentioned in the Update – as being “92% identical to the NIV1984”; so, one has every right ask “How ‘eclectic’ is it, really, to limit oneself to these two choices?” (and for more helpful statistics on NIV2011 vs NIV1984, look at the Slowley and Dyer links under the ISSUES WITH NIV 2011 resources in the right hand column).

But secondly, “eclectic” apparently requires that, if the balance is cited entirely from NIV2011, only four out of 200 “scriptural allusions” contained in a Synod publication need to be cited from NIV1984. Let’s see... if only (4 ÷ 200) x 100 = 2% of all “scriptural allusions” come from a non-NIV2011 source, even the same non-NIV2011 source, well then, the “threshold of eclecticism” has been reached, and thus also full compliance with the resolutions of Synod in Convention. Yes. Two Percent is, without a doubt, manifest eclecticism according to WELS publishers... And it is very consistent with the “eclectic choice method which was approved at the 2013 Synod convention” – which turned out to be only the first step toward eliminating choices other than NIV2011 altogether. Literally. Five percent is the general threshold of statistical significance. Two percent, however, isn’t statistically significant at all. In fact, it might just as well be zero.

Thus, for those congregations choosing to use the new hymnal (apparently estimated at around 95% of WELS congregations, according to the Update), there will be no way to avoid using “Today’s” NIV2011 as a basis of their worship, even if they want to.

To be fair, the Update didn’t exactly say that only four verses would be sourced from NIV1984 instead of NIV2011, it said that of the 200 verses used in the current hymnal, NIV2011 did such an unacceptable job translating four of them, that, out of the gate, they recommended a different translation be used in those specific cases. They are apparently ambivalent about the rest, so, perhaps, of the remaining 196 verses, maybe they will cite 50% from NIV1984 and 50% from NIV2011. Again, given that NIV1984 and NIV2011 are “92% identical,” how eclectic would a 50/50 split be, in reality?

Missional Hymnal
The Missional Hymnal.
It's already been done...
The Update also said that these numbers only accounted for “scriptural allusions” in the hymnal, and specifically excluded the Psalter. Now, this is something worth salivating over. Perhaps they are actively debating the return of the greatest poetry ever published in the English language to contemporary Lutheran hymnals? Perhaps they will shock the Lutheran world by actually rendering the Psalms in the memorable cadences and phraseology of the mighty King James Version? Now THAT would be eclectic, would it not? Perhaps... But, alas!, it shall never be. The Update, under the section entitled “Psalmody Committee (PC),” indicates that NIV1984 and NIV2011 are the only two versions they are inclined to consider for the Psalter:
    [T]his review has included looking at all the differences between NIV2011 and NIV1984. Beyond that, the thinking of the Psalmody Committee has been shaped to the point that the members have come to a general consensus as far as their approach is concerned... The PC’s consensus is to [retain] the musically stronger refrains and tones and “[freshen] up” (tweaking or replacing) refrains and tones that have perhaps become tired or haven’t gained much traction.
At the same time, the Update, under the section entitled “Scripture Committee (SC),” suggests that a Psalter may not even be included with the new hymnal:
    Something that has not been determined is how much of the scriptures will actually be published in connection with the hymnal project. If a complete Psalter is published... then all the psalms would be in play.
Finally, it should be noted (again, according to the Update), the publication of the new WELS hymnal is planned to roughly coincide with the 500th Anniversary of the first Lutheran hymnal ever published – a collection of eight hymns, canticles and a Psalm, four of them by Luther – as some sort of commemoration, one would suppose. A hymnal based on a gender-inclusive post-Modern translation of the Bible that cannot be quoted throughout because of its apparent deficiencies. A hymnal that may or may not include a Psalter. A hymnal that will include who knows what else... I guess the Lutheran world will just have to wait and see.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am no fan of NIV2011, so I'm not coming from a position of defending that. But this editorial is terribly slanted against the hymnal project. Like it or not, NIV84 has become the accepted standard in our churches. That's where we are in WELS today. So in places where NIV11 reads exactly the same as NIV84, it would be jarring to go with another translation. In the cases where NIV11 is different than NIV84, then something else will be considered. As I read the update, that "something else" is still to be determined. To say that the whole hymnal is somehow going to force congregations to accept NIV11 is misleading and inaccurate. At this early stage, I would plan to have my congregation use the new hymnal. I never plan on having my congregation use NIV11.

Just as misleading is the suggestion that this new hymnal might not include any Psalms. The update seems pretty clear that there will be Psalms in the new hymnal: "A similar number of pages for psalmody is envisioned in the next pew edition" (first line of p.6). They seem to be considering, in addition to the selected Psalms that will be printed in the pew edition of the hymnal, publishing a complete Psalter with every verse of all 150 Psalms. I guess I view that as a good thing.

Much has been made here at IL about the inroads that Evangelical worship is making in our circles. Many of us here decry that, as do I. The guys working on this new hymnal are on our side. I cannot repeat that strongly enough. They are on our side of this discussion. Tossing out misleading attacks and inaccurate accusations will not provide them with the encouragement they could use.

Rik Krahn

Anonymous said...

One point I believe the paper mentioned that the NIV1984 could not be used as the secondary resource and so they would have to find another secondary resource.

Also a serious question which I do not understand and for which I have not really heard a good explanation. Why is the NKJV always left out of the conversation when our WELS committee's discuss Bible Versions?

Lee Liermann

Anonymous said...

Regarding Mr. Krahn's comments "In the cases where NIV11 is different than NIV84, then something else will be considered.", what the update said was "The primary working translation of the project is NIV2011, with NIV1984 serving as the backup choice where there are weaknesses or deficiencies that require changes." But we were told by the advocates of the 2011 NIV, that is, the TEC, that there were no differences or "weaknesses" of sufficient concern to prevent the 2011 NIV from being used in the WELS. So then, under what circumstances would the 2011 NIV not be used? I think the answer is obvious.

The advocates of the 2011 NIV were supposed to be on our side too, whichever side our side is. So when I hear that the hymnal committee is on our side, I have to wonder which side our side is.

And like Mr. Liermann, I also wonder why the NKJV was never in the conversation. Our congregation did a more in depth comparison of Bible translations then any other congregation that I am aware of, and where there were difference between the NIV1984 and the 2011 NIV, NKJV was quite similar to the NIV1984 in most of the cases.

Vernon

Anonymous said...

Pastor Krahn - Thank you for your comments. I have followed some of the discussion you and a number of fellow Pastor's have had on the WELS Discussions website, I have even brought up to my Pastor and Board of Elders your paper regarding confirmation - so I respect your opinion and generally agree with you. So I would be interested to get your take on a few questions I have.

I have been a constant provider of feedback to the Hymnal Committee, (whether they like it or not.), usually sending them a comment whenever they put out an update. I have even received a reply or two to some of my comments. I am hopefully that the new hymnal will be an improvement but - I have serious doubts that is possible when the preferred translation will come from the NIV2011.

Does this not point to the flaw in the last Synod Convention vote not selecting a version at all? That vote allowed publishing and the various Synod committees to default to the NIV2011 - as we have seen. Perhaps it is not as widespread as I perceive but I have seen the NIV2011 used in religion class materials (Christ Light), a Children's Christmas Service and who knows what else where it is not noticed. So how do you plan to keep the NIV2011 from becoming the normative for your congregation when the materials coming out of NPH are using the NIV2011?

Yes the NIV1984 probably is the material many younger WELS members are used to and many older members have probably become used to it as well (though I still catch myself wanting to say things like "meet, right and salutatory so to do." Back to the point - do you really think it would be that great of a culture shock to use something other than the NIV2011 for the new Hymnal? I don't think it would be that great a shock and much more comforting if replaced with a trustworthy translation?

Personally I use the KJV and the NKJV and have my children do their memory work using one of those two versions. Why has the NKJV never been seriously considered as the translation of record for the Synod? It would seem to bridge the gap between the older generations and the younger generations, is trustworthy and more accurate.

Lee Liermann


Dr. Joseph Jewell said...

Mr. Liermann,

The short answer as to why the NKJV wasn't seriously considered (I'll let Pastor Krahn give the long one, if he wishes) is that the Seminary faculty's current thinking (and thus the thinking of most WELS pastors younger than a certain age) is that any translation based upon the Textus Receptus (e.g. the KJV, NKJV, Lutherbibel) is inferior to a translation based upon modern critical scholarship (e.g. the NIV84, NIV2011, HCSB).

Given that the WELS quite happily used the KJV for decades (not to mention the Lutherbibel line, based like the KJV on the Textus Receptus, in German worship for a century or more), the view that translations in this line are so inherently flawed as to not even be considered is obviously fairly new to our circles. Judging by the vintage of the WELS pastors who hold these views most strongly, my estimate is that this new emphasis on the inferiority of TR-based translations was in full swing by the 1980s, probably either concurrent with or in support of the effort to ditch the KJV for the original NIV.

Alec Satin said...

If WELS adopts the NIV 2011, it's going to be hard not to believe that WELS has turned its back on both laity and the Word of God. The idea that the eclectic text is God's gift is far from universally accepted in the church at large. The fact that such a discussion seems to be verboten in WELS is another indication of how troubled things are here.

I came to WELS two years ago with such high hopes. Here seemed to be a denomination that was still holding strong. After previous heartbreaks when churches that I attended fell, I wanted so much for WELS to be what it presents itself to be. Yet there seems to be such a "my country right or left" attitude as per George Orwell. I've taken now to holding back my (educated) suggestions and concerns about practices which are concerning. Questioning in WELS seems to be taboo.

How can any group be healthy if everything is swept under the rug? Aren't we strengthened by questioning one another? (Proverbs 27.17)

About a year ago the subject of the hymnal came up in a WELS bible study. The young leader (not the pastor) said, "The hymnal committee has said that the NIV 2011 is substantively the same as the NIV 1984. There's no reason why we shouldn't use it." I raised some questions and provided some details as to why this wasn't the case. No response was forthcoming. Most troubling was the response of the class which seemed to have never heard of the NIV 2011, or the fact that the NIV 1984 was taken off the market.

How different are we from the Roman Catholic Church if the people are considered a separate, ignorant class trained to defer all matters of the faith to the privileged elite? This is not something Luther would applaud.

Intrepid Lutherans, you've made me so sad with this post. But thanks for keeping the information flowing.
Alec

Anonymous said...

The silence becomes deafening.

Why will no Pastor answer a straight forward question?

Rephrasing some questions I asked a while ago - If you, as a Pastor, will not use the NIV2011 to preach from - what do you do with the materials coming from Northwestern Publishing House that are now starting to use the NIV2011, particularly those items designed for the Lutheran Elementary Schools?

Why in your opinion wasn't the NKJV even considered as a viable translation option?

Lee Liermann

Anonymous said...

My take is the NIV84 was a bad translation, the NIV2011 is worse.

The NIV84 is now judged as the accepted version within WELS, therefore to move to something else would be jarring, so while the NIV2011 is not as good as the NIV84 it isn't quite bad enough to rule it out completely because to use something else would be jarring. The NIV84 was the camels nose, the NIV2011 more of the camel - when does it get so bad you try to get rid of the camel? Now that will be jarring?

First the transition from the KJV to the NIV84 wasn't jarring?

Second looking at my congregation and seeing all of the grey heads I am not so sure how jarring it actually would be to use say the NKJV - I would guess most of them grew up using the KJV.

For the first time this last Sunday I noticed a bulletin cover using the NIV2011. It's a slow drip until you have to accept the NIV2011 because all of the materials coming out of Northwestern are using it. So if you truly find the NIV2011 unacceptable for preaching Pastors - then you better jump into the fray and stop the Hymnal Committee from adopting the NIV2011 and stop buying any materials that use the NIV2011 and boldly ask for something using an acceptable version because otherwise what you will get is the NIV2011 and that will be all you get.

Lee Liermann

Mr. Douglas Lindee said...

Lee,

Vernon mentioned above that his congregation did a study showing that, of the scriptures used in the WELS catechism where NIV1984 differed from NIV2011, the NKJV was much more similar to NIV1984 -- suggesting that the difference between NKJV and NIV1984 isn't as "jarring" as some would have us believe. He sent me that study a couple of years ago, with the suggestion that it may make a good post sometime -- and I still have it. Since this subject came up, I've been thinking about posting it, but it would require some work: it is about 60 pages, and I think there was some concern related to the use of "copyrighted scriptures", given the volume of verses quoted.

As for the reason why NKJV wasn't, and probably won't ever be considered, Dr. Jewel is probably closer to the truth here than anyone is willing to admit. Reread Rev. Brian Keller's essay, Evaluating Bible Translations: Alle Schrift von Gott eingegeben (I would also point you to his appendicies: Appendix A and Appendix B) and take note of how he dances around the issue of "Alexandrian Priority," almost apologizing for mentioning the NKJV so favorably. "Alexandrian Priority" is shop-talk for the liberal theories of the historical critical method applied to textual criticism. WELS has embraced "higher-criticism," and will not at all consider a version of the Bible descending from what is today called the "Majority Text", given the dominant influence of the Byzantine family of Greek texts has on it. But first a little history...

Continued in next post...

Mr. Douglas Lindee said...

...Continued from previous post...

The time of the Renaissance in the West was a return to the classical learning of the Greeks and Romans, and as the works of antiquity were rediscovered, so were the ancient Greek texts of the Bible. Erasmus and others collected them, giving them the title "Textus Receptus" or the "Received Text," referring to the text generally "received" by the Greek speaking Early Church. It was from these newly discovered texts (which were discovered in monasteries and libraries mostly in the East, or with connections to the East, which had existed under Byzantium), along with the Hebrew Old Testament Scriptures preserved by the Jews, that Luther and Tyndale produced their authoritative versions of the Bible in German and English, each of which were "received" (eventually) by the German and English speaking peoples, respectively, as "the Bible". So highly skilled were Luther and Tyndale in the use of language (and the later editors of the KJV who essentially reproduced Tyndale), that these works are considered masterpieces of their respective languages even today, and remain endeared to the people and engrained in their cultures. These Bibles were translated directly from the Hebrew of the Masoretic Text, and the "Textus Receptus", which was essentially a Byzantine text form. Over time, as language changed, certain elements within the greater Church considered it advantageous to "revise" these versions of the Bible. In the second half of the 19th Century, the German Bible was secretly revised -- no one was told for about two decades, for fear that the German people would reject it out of hand and the publishers would lose their investment in the revision. After the Germans had been using it already for awhile, the publishers admitted the changes and charged their detractors with not knowing the difference anyway. Though the changes were minor, Kretzmann writes in his History of the German Bible that they were not improvements, and that German-speaking Lutherans in America were better off using the Unrevedierte Ausgabe.

Continued in next post...

Mr. Douglas Lindee said...

...Continued from previous post

The revision of the KJV was not secret, however. Westcott and Hort were assigned the revision task, but took it upon themselves (that is, without authorization) to conduct not only a revision of the English version, but a revision of the collection of underlying Greek texts as well -- a task for which they were unqualified, having never collated a single text prior to this. John William Burgon, Dean of Chichester, perhaps the most eminently qualified textual critic in England at the time, and others like him, were excluded -- even though they agreed that recent discoveries required a revision the "Traditional" Greek text (or TR). The question was whether classical (i.e, "lower-criticism") or newer "higher-critical" theories would be used. Westcott and Hort, and those who they surrounded themselves with, were liberal theologians and adherents of German higher criticism. It is evident that they actively excluded and marginalized conservative voices like Burgon's (nothing new here...). As liberals, they rejected the tenets of classical (or "lower") textual criticism and conducted their revision of the collection of Greek texts on the basis of higher criticism, in a way that unnaturally elevated the importance of the codices Vaticanus, Alexandrinus and Sinaiticus, by lumping the many thousands of Byzantine texts into a single "family," or a single representative text. It is from the revision committee of Westcott and Hort that we today have the Nestle-Aland "Critical Text" text published by UBS, that functions nearly everywhere as the standard on which many, but not all, newer translations are based. The problem with these texts, and the objection that conservatives like Burgen had with them is that, according to the standards of "lower-criticism," they lacked sufficient biographical data (i.e., no one was sure, exacly, what their history was -- which is curious given that they are codices, not fragments), there are only a handful of them compared to the thousands of texts that fit within the "Byzantine family" of texts, but more importantly, they were riddled with evidences of corruption. Burgen, being one of the few to have actually physically examined these codices, wrote several books on this affair, and prominently noted this last point, and even suggested the presence of Gnostic fingerprints (which is not out-of-the-question given that Alexandria was the center of Gnostic thought at that time) given a conspicuous reduction in the identification of Jesus, the man, as also God. An internet search will show much on this topic, including the fact that the NIV1984 reflects this reduction.

Continued in next post...

Mr. Douglas Lindee said...

...Continued from previous post

If interested, one source of Burgen's collected works that I can highly recommend is Volume One of the series, Unholy Hands on the Bible, which contains the following works of Burgon:

The Traditional Text of the New Testament
The Causes of Corruption of the Holy Gospels
The Last Twelve Verses of the Gospel of Mark
The Revision Revised
GOD Manifested in the Flesh
The Woman Taken in Adultery
The Secret Spanking of Westcott and Hort
Conflation and the "Neutral" Text

A comparison of Burgon to the likes of Metzger and Robertson (advocates of higher-criticism) can be instructive. For my part, although I am not nearly as widely read on the issue of textual criticism as others are, I have yet to hear or read any argument for retaining the higher-critical method, whether from Robertson, Metzger or anyone else, that is as powerful as Burgon's arguments for not doing so to begin with. I am deeply suspicious of modern writers who casually dismiss the danger of higher critical theories and their modern descendents, especially given that it has been rejected in practically every field except Biblical studies (literary and historical sciences, for example, generally reject it after empirical evidence has shown that it is unreliable). But my advice is for people to read the material firsthand, rather than accept reports about it from me or anyone else, and come to your own conclusions.

Continued in next post...

Mr. Douglas Lindee said...

...Continued from previous post

What does this have to do with the NKJV? Well, the NKJV is the ONLY modern version of the Bible published today that does NOT use the higher-critical "Critical Text." All other translations that I am aware of use the Greek found in the "Critical Text" as their basis. Instead, NKJV uses the "Majority Text," which does not give unnatural weight to those hokey Egyption copies. The Majority Text represents a different way of collating the thousands of Greek copies we have now -- essentially following the methods of traditional textual criticism by eliminating "families" and giving equal weight to all of the witnesses -- as an alternative to the Critical Text. They both use the same collection of cpoies, it's just that the bloated influence given to the Egyptian copies in the method of the Critical Text is totally eliminated in the Majority Text. Given equal weighting to all texts individuall, given the vast numbers of Byzantine copies compared to those from Egyption sources, and given the remarkable agreement of the Byzantine witnesses, the result is that the influence of the Egyption copies is dwarfed, and thus the Majority Text essentially reflects the contents of the Byzantine sources -- just like the "Textus Receptus" first collected by Erasmus (though his text was produced from only a handful of Byzantine Texts).

Continued in next post...

Mr. Douglas Lindee said...

...Continued from previous post

All of this may soon be a moot point, however, as the next edition of the Nestle-Aland "Critical Text" (28th Edition) will follow an altogether different method than one can learn from Metzger, Robertson, Aland or Burgon. It follows a relatively newly devised "Geneological-Coherence Method" -- something which I personally am only just becoming acquainted with. This new Method totally eliminates the idea of "text families," and of using them as a basis for assigning authority to certain readings, and instead compares every known variant according to a variety of criteria, in order to determine their relationship and ultimately find what would statistically be the "initial copy". And this is the critical aspect of this new Method. Beginning with the 28th Edition of the Nestle-Aland Critical Text, we will no long have, even in the original languages, anything that could be called "The Original" text, or even a representation of it. This new method is limited to producing what they call an "Initial Text" -- which may be representative of a text existing in the Third of Fourth Centuries. A second critical aspect of this new Method is the reality of continuous updates to the Greek text. It is never fixed, nor can it be regarded as even theoretically fixed, but as continuously moving and shifting, dependent on the discovery of new texts, or other historical or linguistic facts that may impact the criteria used to analyze the body of collected texts. Bible versions descending from this Method will likewise be subject to continuous updating -- and we've already been warned by the CBT (the NIV Committee on Bible Translation) of more frequent updates to the NIV (which reveals how monumentally stupid it is to standardize a hymnal project on the NIV family of translations, assuming the hymnal is going to be around for more than a few years...).

Due to the immense amount of data, computers will perform the analysis on the texts, while the whole project awaits the massive manpower necessary to enter the data. This eliminates the role of the individual pastor in selecting an authoritative reading during his study -- the computer says what it is, and there is no arguing with the computer... But it will take some time to complete -- around the year 2030, is what I recall. But already this new method has resulted in some fairly startling changes to the underlying Greek text, and it is expected to impact many of the references used as proof texts in our catechism, not only for Baptism (Mark 16), but also Headship, Church and Ministry, and others. No one really knows what the specific results will be, nor how broad their impact will be, which explains both the ambivalence of the TEC toward any specific translation, along with the rapidly changing practices of the WELS with respect to womens roles.

If you want to know more, here is a provocative paper written by a Concordia Seminary Professor on the subject: Text and Authority: Theological and Hermeneutical Reflections on a Plastic Text. To be fair, I think that the author later said his paper was intended for consumption by a select group of his peers, not by the general public, and that he would have written it differently had he known that it would see broader distribution. It's been passed around. Alot. Some of his points and positions were written to deliberately "stir discussion" among his peers (who are all academics) -- but that makes them all the more worthy of discussion.

Continued in next post...

Mr. Douglas Lindee said...

...Continued from previous post

In the best construction, your WELS pastors aren't saying anything at all, because they are ignorant. If this is not the case, then there must be something far more sinister going on. If they are not merely ignorant and disinterested, then they are deliberately not telling the truth by choosing to say nothing at all. Perhaps they think they are protecting you. Perhaps there is some other benefit to hiding the truth. The reality is, very serious changes are afoot in Christianity -- especially when it can be said of these changes, "Who knows what the Bible is going to say in fifteen years? We'll just have to wait and see."

Maybe this was more than you wanted to know... I for one will stick with what I've learned, and pray that someone much more intelligent and capable than I am is both equipped and willing to fight this war. Whoever it is, he is likely to have very few allies.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Lindee -

Truthfully I have at one time or another heard and learned most of what you relayed - either first hand or second hand from my father. What I have rarely if ever heard is a Pastor explain the issue from their view point. Given that my children memorize using both the KJV and the NKJV it is interesting to see how close in many instances the NIV84 and the NKJV are - of course when they differ it is significant and the NIV84 does much damage with what it just leaves out or the helpful footnotes which leave you questioning the authority of what you just read. I do know when Pastor's go to the Greek Text and tell you what it says you need to ask them what Greek text they are using.

I was not aware of the new theory coming out to compile the Greek texts and let the computer sort it out. Of course someone will have to write the program that does the sorting and the biases which go into writing the program will be reflected in the finished product. I will have to look into the sources you cited.

Lastly - I am curious as to what all of the WELS Pastor's who oppose the NIV2011 plan to do as it rolls out in the various NPH products? At some point you will be using it or doing a lot of work to get around it and guess what even if you go through with all the work your successor from Seminary will have no problem using it because that is what they will have been trained to use. So work to stop it now - boycott any product that uses the NIV2011 - lead.

Lee Liermann

Mr. Douglas Lindee said...

So work to stop it now - boycott any product that uses the NIV2011 - lead.

Yes, the vacuum of leadership on this issue is simply mind boggling. When we first came to WELS in 1999, one of our immediate annoyances was their use of the NIV. We had already rejected it based on a number of factors, including its use of the "Critical Text" instead of the "Majority Text" as the source of the NT translation, the use of the Greek "Septuagint" instead of the Hebrew "Masoretic Text" as the source of the OT translation, in addition to the post-Modern ideology of "Dynamic Equivalence" as a basis for the entire translation. Even without these considerations, on their face, there are simply many more and better reasons to use translations from the King James family, including far better and more precise English and continuity with the Church usage over the centuries.

When we questioned him on WELS "rejection of the Historical Critical Method" while at the same time embracing the Critical Text (which comes from the same methodology), our pastor immediately quipped "Oh! King James Only types, eh?" and dismissed all of our concerns with the list of clichés he'd been fed at seminary and throughout his ~30-year career -- all of which we had heard before, as they are repeated ad nauseum all over the internet, and are taken up in various places with thoughtful responses of theologians and exegetes who share these concerns. When we pressed him further on certain points, he said that we'd have to take it up with the professors at the seminary, "They can answer your questions, they know what they are doing." When they don't know, their fallback is the seminary -- that's where everything they do know came from anyway.

The only leadership that will emerge on this issue, is the leadership that has already been appointed -- the TEC, for one, and other liberalizing voices from the seminary and colleges that support this new direction. I'd be surprised -- pleasantly surprised -- if it happened any differently.

My Opinion.

Anonymous said...

Since the original topic of this post was the new hymnal, I think it is noteworthy to recognize what happened with the transition from The Lutheran Hymnal to Christian Worship in one particular instance. In some churches, fewer and fewer as time goes on, it is still a practice to confess the Athanasian Creed on Trinity Sunday. The Athanasian Creed, as printed in Christian Worship, begins by saying:

"Whoever wishes to be saved must, above all else, hold to the true Christian faith."

The Lutheran Hymnal, with a more historical text, uses the word "will" in place of "wishes". It says:

"Whoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic [i.e. universal, Christian] faith."

Now maybe this is a small thing, but for me, the word "wishes" implies that somehow man plays a role, while the word "will" implies to me that our salvation comes from outside of us.

I was particularly sensitive to this wording, because some of the objective justification persuasion will be heard saying:

"Everyone has been saved."

In my opinion, the word "saved" in the Athanasian Creed is harmonious with it's use in Scripture. The use of the word "saved" by some who define objective justification seems to be harmonious with neither.

What does that have to do with the new hymnal? Simply this. Considering how the words of the Athanasian Creed were changed from The Lutheran Hymnal to Christian Worship, what can we expect to see in the Athanasian Creed in the new hymnal, if it still is found in the newest version? With the 2011 NIV now bringing the concept of gender neutrality directly into worship, what's to keep new versions of the Confessions consistent with the truths they originally confessed?

Vernon

Dr. Joseph Jewell said...

Mr. Lindee,

That series of comments/posts was both scholarly and thoroughly educational (the two do not always overlap). Thank you for the work you put into helping all of us stay abreast of these issues.

"Maybe this was more than you wanted to know..."

No, I don't think so at all. It may even be worth its own post.

Post a Comment

Comments will be accepted or rejected based on the sound Christian judgment of the moderators.

Since anonymous comments are not allowed on this blog, please sign your full name at the bottom of every comment, unless it already appears in your identity profile.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License