Thanks to a commenter here I’ve just learned that the people at Zondervan have officially killed the Today’s New International Version (TNIV translation). Christianity Today blog has just released news of this decision which had been brewing in the headquarters at Zondervan within the last ten days. Zondervan’s past and present supporters of the TNIV have been sorely let down. I am currently reeling from my deep disappointment with this decision. At this point, I don’t really know what to think. My emotions are going up and down as I am writing this blog post.
I suspect that Zondervan may have a strategic plan on the drawing board to rally support from the Christian community before they launch the new edition of the NIV in 2011. Zondervan feels that how the TNIV was handled was a mistake. Christianity Today’s blog post writes:
“Whatever its strengths were, the TNIV divided the evangelical Christian community,” said Zondervan president Moe Girkins. “So as we launch this new NIV, we will discontinue putting out new products with the TNIV….
We are correcting the mistakes in the past,” Girkins said. “Being as transparent as possible is part of that. This decision was made by the board in the last 10 days.” She said the transparency is part of an effort to overhaul the NIV “in a way that unifies Christian evangelicalism.
The first mistake was the NIVi,” Danby said. “The second was freezing the NIV. The third was the process of handling the TNIV.”
Well, was the TNIV a victim of division or a cause of division in the evangelical community? I believe the TNIV was a victim of division rather than a cause of division. The cause of division came from its critics who railed against gender-inclusive language but these are the same people who did not say a thing against the New Living Translation. That was hypocritical.
Is Zondervan caving into the pressure of the bias against gender-inclusive language? In my opinion, they are. Perhaps there might be several spots in the TNIV where gender-inclusive language could be curbed, but on the whole, it is a very good translation. People like me and many others who supported the TNIV will be disappointed upon hearing this sad news that came to my attention yesterday.
Douglas Moo, chair of the Committee on Bible Translation stated:
“I can predict that this is going to look 90 percent or more what the 1984 NIV looks like and 95 percent what the TNIV looks like,” he said. “The changes are going to be a very small portion of the whole Scripture package.”
Okay, so how much of the new NIV will actually contain gender-inclusive language? 95 percent?…75 percent?…50 percent?…25 percent? Or God-forbid 10 percent? I think the decision-makers at Zondervan are probably so dizzy trying to make sense of what happened that they have no idea what to do about the new NIV.
Will I trust Zondervan to make decisions on their future editions? My trust has been betrayed. What seems to be determining Zondervan’s business decisions is profit. So the TNIV had not been selling well… so is it the almighty dollar that’s going to determine their publishing decisions in the future?
As far as I’m concerned, the only gender-inclusive translations I am going to read regularly at this point will be the NLT and NRSV. My feelings toward Zondervan and the TNIV has turned from positive to negative. For now, I am going to lay down my TNIV aside for now. How ironic that I was just reading Deut. 31:12 from the TNIV earlier today in front of a group of thirteen parents and students.