The issues of concern related to the TNIV remain. For the sake of the Gospel, we must hope and pray that we do not confront these same issues in the updated NIV. At the same time, we must avoid reckless talk. Even where we must disagree, we must recognize that everyone involved in this discussion will face the judgment of God for how this disagreement is conducted. (HT: TC Robinson)That was the normally incomparable Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
I must object to Dr. Mohler's sentiment in the strongest possible terms. In fact, I would go so far as to say that his objection, along with those aired by other misguided linguistic conservatives, is damaging the Gospel. Why? First, they are opposing God's word being translated in the language of the common people. The English language has changed, end of story. Whether or not it was a feminist agenda that changed the way we speak is irrelevant. We are stuck with a gender-neutered pronoun laden English tongue like it or not. These men are betraying their Reformational and Protestant heritage with such opposition. They promote an elitist translation (the ESV) replete with archaisms and with a strong literary feel. The ESV is fine for your average theological geek, but I've found that the average Christian finds it a difficult read.
Second, their wrong-headed certitude in this matter compromises them when they express certainty over issues that DO matter. For instance, I just heard Dr. Mohler rightly putting N.T. Wright under the spotlight over his doctrine of justification. Do you think sympathisers with NTW's erroneous articulation of the doctrine will take Dr. Mohler's concerns seriously given his muddle-headed rhetoric over the TNIV? Or how about Piper the next time he defends penal substitution? Is the temptation not for some to think, "well he thinks just as strongly about translating Scripture into the language of the people and he's way off on that. Is not this attachment to penal substitution just another example of mis-guided zealotry?" Piper and Mohler and stalwarts and true defenders of the faith; I love them dearly. I just wish they'd back out of this needless fight.
Dr. Mohler is correct, we will all be judged by God for how this disagreement is conducted and also how it impacts on the gospel. I just pray that he, and the other leaders who created such controversy when the TNIV was released will see the error of their ways before publication of the gender accurate NIV2011.