Synod 2006 approved Today’s New International Version of the Bible (TNIV) for use in the Christian Reformed Church, but not without heated debate because of the version’s gender-inclusive language.
Calvin Theological Seminary professor Jeffrey Weima told delegates that 93 percent of the text is unchanged from the New International Version (NIV), used by the majority of Christian Reformed congregations. And only one-quarter of the 7 percent that has changed deals with gender. He said that a translator always has to interpret the original intent from the text into a changing language. “The art of translation is the art of compromise,” he said
The CRC currently recommends six versions for use in worship services: King James, American Standard, Revised Standard, NIV, New Revised Standard, and now the TNIV.
Rev. George Cooper, Classis Northern Illinois, said he feared that the changes were done to comply with feminist influences and asked whether they were motivated sociologically or theologically. Rev. Tyler Wagenmaker, Classis Zeeland, cited a long list of evangelical theologians and pastors he said do not support the TNIV.
Rev. Stanley J. Groothof, Classis British Columbia North-West, defended the TNIV, citing a survey that had been conducted in a way that tested students’ perception of certain Scripture passages. “‘Man’ is no longer heard in a generic fashion, but in a gender-specific fashion,” said Groothof.
Synod did not approve the New Living Translation for use in worship services because it has not yet been studied. Synod also asked the CRC’s Board of Trustees to establish a standing translation committee to study and make recommendations to synod about the use of new Bible versions.