This publication is part of the series entitled, The Proper Perspective on the Bible." Other titles in this series are "The Pseudoscience of Biblical Criticism" (72 pages), "Many Relevant Questions Regarding Doubtful Passages in the NIV" (79 pages), "The Contemporary Bible Versus the Word of God" (151 pages), and "Was King James a Homosexual?" (8 pages). Additional copies may be ordered from: Carl Graham, 500 Wheeler Dr., Angier, NC 27501 USA. The reader is encouraged to make copies of this pamphlet and distribute them to those who have questions about the NIV. E-mail Brother Graham at: email@example.com
The following article is an overview of how I got involved in repudiating the modern versions of the Bible and relates my experience with the New International Bible Society over one of my booklets, Sodomy and the NIV. The article was published in the Communications Digest, February - April 1996, Volume II, Issue 2. Dale A. Hammond, Editor, First Baptist Church, PO Box 154, Frederic, MI 49733. I recommend this publication to all Bible believers everywhere.
By Carl Graham
I have an experience to share about the modem versions of the Bible that is interesting to say the least. Presently I am a strong advocate of the King James Bible as the only correct English version of the Word of God, but this has not always been my stance as I too was deceived briefly by the hype of the new modern versions. When the NIV first came out, I was excited about a Bible that was easy to read and in today's modern language, so I eagerly encouraged my friends to purchase it.
However, as I began to study the NIV and compare its readings with the King James Bible, I found that there were many differences that could not be reconciled with my fundamental beliefs. Consequently, I stayed away from the modern versions and kept with the King James Bible as I knew it was trustworthy. I must say, though, that I was led astray for a while with the New King James Version, but it was soon put aside as I realized that there were doctrinal discrepancies in it also.
I spent some time researching the various versions, but the major problem was hard to identify as scholars whom I trusted kept telling me that there were errors in the King James Bible. What they were saying didn't make sense, but I didn't have the knowledge to disprove what they were saying. I was fortunate to hear a radio broadcast as I was traveling through Greenville, South Carolina several years ago. I listened intently to a person identified as Dr. D. A. Waite. Everything he said made sense to me, and it was exactly what I had been looking for; a person who knew the problems with the modern versions and could explain them well enough for me to understand the major differences. I immediately got in touch with Dr. Waite and ordered much of his literature. Over the years he has become a friend and ally in the faith, and I have depended on his counsel in several matters since that time.
I relate the preceding story about my getting to know Dr. Waite for a single purpose as can be seen later in the story, for he proved to be a true friend and counselor in my confrontation with the New International Bible Society over my booklet on Sodomy and the NIV.
Sodomy and the NIV came into being quite accidentally. I was researching the theology of the many scholars on the NIV Committee when I discovered that there was a homosexual, Dr. Virginia Mollenkott, on the committee. I took the information I had gathered on her, which included her profession that she was a practicing homosexual and also some of her views about the Bible, and included this in the booklet.
After I completed the documentation in booklet form, I mailed it to every popular evangelist for whom I could get an address. I didn't get the response that I expected, as I found that none of these religious leaders were concerned about a homosexual being on the NIV committee. This surprised me, for this was about the time homosexuality was being pushed on the American public, and many of these same people were speaking out about this biblical sin. However, Dr. D. A. Waite and Dr. Hugh Pyle saw the point I was making about the NIV and recognized the negative implications of a homosexual having influence on any Bible. Both Dr. Waite and Dr. Pyle gave wide publicity to my booklet and because of their support it was immediately in great demand. Since then, many others have given the booklet support in various fundamental newsletters. It seems every few months someone picks up a copy and publishes my address, and I then get a flurry of requests for it.
The distribution of the booklet has been widespread. I have mailed copies to every state in the Union, Mexico, Brazil, the Philippines, England, Scotland, Australia, Norway, and Canada. I lost count of production at 10,000 copies, and I know that there were many others who copied it for distribution in addition to what I have done.
Someone must have mailed a copy to the New International Bible Society, for in the fall of 1993 I got a registered letter from them which was threatening in nature. They accused me of slandering the members of the NIV Committee and insisted that I withdraw the booklet immediately or face a possible lawsuit. This is where I called on Dr. Waite for advice, as I knew that he had also been threatened in a similar situation about one of his publications. Following his advice, I got an attorney.
My attorney assured me that I was on firm legal grounds. He seemed most anxious to get the issue into court because he believed there was a freedom of speech issue involved which should not go unnoticed. He basically told the NIV people to take their best shot and we would see them in court. His communication with the International Bible Society resulted in an apology for the threatening letter and I have heard no more from them.
In their letter to me, the NIV people denied that Dr. Mollenkott had any influence on the final product. However, they have not been consistent in their explanation of her input, for one letter from them says she was dismissed in the late 60's and another from the same office says she was dismissed in 1972. From what I have read about Dr. Mollenkott's relationship with the NIV, I am left with the impression that she was there for the duration of the project. I really don't know where the truth lies about her influence on the final product, but I know for certain that she is a homosexual, she served on the committee, and the sin of the Sodomites has never appeared on the pages of the NIV.
The homosexual issue is merely one of many doctrinal discrepancies in the NIV, as many of you know, but it is no better nor any worse than any other of the new Bible versions, but is only part of the modern movement to lead all the world into Roman Catholicism. To accomplish this, Satan is advancing on three fronts: he is giving us unreliable Bibles, flooding the Christian world with the false faith of new evangelism, and confusing the want-to-be Christians with the charismatic movement. Of course, all this leads into the full acceptance of the Roman Catholic Church, glorifies the Pope as the Vicar of Christ, and sets the stage for the Great Tribulation.
I might add that my quest to reveal the truth about the NIV has caused some ministers to shy away from me, while others just attack openly. I have been accused of less than Godly behavior (even being led by Satan), causing trouble in the Christian community, and being just plain stupid. With leaders whose attitudes are such as these, it is no wonder the Christian world is having so many problems: the people no longer have a Bible they can trust, and their ministers are leading them in the wrong direction.
I urge all that read this article to take a bold stand for the cause of Christ and His Word. The Bible must always be our rule of faith, and we must always have a translation we can trust. The King James Bible has always been trustworthy and its truths will stand proudly until Jesus returns.
Brother Graham mentioned Dr. D. A. Waite in his article. Dr. Waite is president of The Dean Burgon Society. The Society stands "In Defense of Traditional Bible Texts." Write to:
The Dean Burgon Society Dr. D. A. Waite Box 354 Collingswood, New Jersey 08108 (609) 854-4452
The question is often asked, "Is the New International Version of the Bible (NIV) a reliable translation?" The answer depends entirely on the basic belief structure of the one replying.
It is a general consensus among the evangelical community that the NIV is an excellent rendition of what God has said to mankind. The positive answer among this group is probably brought about for two reasons: (1) the translators claimed to be evangelicals, and (2) the evangelicals endorse the modern techniques of textual criticism which were employed. Others who subscribe to the theory of textual criticism will also hold a high opinion of the NIV. From a scholarly standpoint, the NIV seems to have been accepted.
However, there are those who are comfortable with the King James Bible (KJB) and hold a totally different view about the NIV. They see many new words and concepts and are convinced that these changes not only aren't necessary, some even detract from God's Word. They believe the truth never changes and if the NIV were a true translation of the Bible, it would reflect the same thoughts and comparable words as the KJB which has been around for centuries.
Clearly, there is disagreement between the NIV and KJB supporters. While there are many minor problems, the major difficulty falls in the area of providential preservation of the Scriptures and the implications this has on how God has protected His Word and kept it accurate over the passing years. The KJB translators were fully committed to an accurate translation based on their personal convictions that the Bible is the verbally inspired Word of God, and that He had preserved it in its pure form for all generations. The texts they used were the Hebrew Masoretic and the Greek Texus Receptus.
On the other hand, the NIV translators held the view that the Bible had become corrupted over the centuries and they could reproduce the original wordings by various literary techniques. They discarded the work of the KJB translators and developed an eclectic text. The major discrepancies between the KJB and the NIV are due in part to the two different underlying texts, but the most radical changes stem from the foundational beliefs of the two translating committees.
The NIV committee was made up of over 100 people with various Biblical backgrounds and doctrinal beliefs. There were many who professed inerrancy, but believed the texts of the KJB were severely corrupted. Somewhere between this and the liberal view were those who professed partial inerrancy which basically means the Bible is inerrant in matters of faith and practice but is in error in matters of history and science.
Then there was the extreme group who claimed to hold a high view of Scripture, but whose doctrine was either liberal (didn't believe the Bible was God's inspired Word), or was just generally confused regarding God's Word. The sad part of the whole situation is those who knew better let those with liberal leanings control the process and this resulted in a doctrinally deficient version of the Bible. This is clearly illustrated by the influence of Dr. Virginia Ramey Mollenkott and the treatment of homosexuality in the NIV.
Dr. Mollenkott, one of the literary consultants for the NIV translating committee, is a professed homosexual. This is verified by her own words in an interview in the Episcopal publication, Witness (June, 1991, pages 20-23). The interviewer, Sue Pierce, asked the question, "Why was it important to both of you to come out as lesbians?" Dr. Mollenkott's reply was, "My lesbianism has always been a part of me. I tried to kill myself in my teens because they told me I'd never be healed, that God had no use for people like me. I couldn't stand the thought of living a life that was useless and offensive to God. I tried to be heterosexual. I married myself off. But what I did ultimately realize was that God created me as I was, and that this is where life was meaningful."
Realizing Dr. Mollenkott's moral direction, one could expect her views to strongly affect the outcome of the NIV translation, and it does, as can be seen in the treatment of the sin of Sodom from which the term "sodomy" is derived. This word, generally used for homosexual behavior, is defined in Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary as "copulation with a member of the same sex or with an animal." As can be seen, sodomy implies more than homosexual behavior, but Dr. Mollenkott was not interested in the human-beast relationship, she was only concerned about justifying the same sex relationship of sodomy.
In her book, Is The Homosexual My Neighbor?, Dr. Mollenkott explains fully why she thinks the homosexual got bad press in the Bible. She presents all kinds of fanciful notions that the Old Testament Holiness Codes which forbid sodomy do not apply to the New Testament church. She explains in detail that Jesus did not condemn homosexuality as a loving relationship between two consenting adults. Therefore, she concludes, it has to be OK. Where Paul mentions homosexuality, she again says that it only applies to promiscuous homosexuality. The NIV clearly reflects her views.
The following readings compare the KJB and the NIV in several areas where sodomy or homosexual behavior is mentioned. Going over these, it is easy to see that sodomy was never considered as a viable concept in the NIV and homosexuality was presented from Dr. Mollenkott's viewpoint. The comments of Dr. Mollenkott are from her book, Is The Homosexual My Neighbor? (abbreviated as ITHMN)
KJB - And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, where are the men which came into thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
NIV - They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out so that we can have sex with them."
Mollenkott, ITHMN, Page 57 - "... the Sodom story seems to be focusing on two specific evils: (1) violent gang rape and (2) inhospitality to the stranger."
KJB - Thou shall not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination.
NIV - Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman: that is detestable.
(Author's note: There is quite a degree of difference between the meaning of the words, abomination and detestable.)
KJB - If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death: their blood shall be upon them.
NIV - If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them has done what is detestable. They must be put to death: their blood will be on their own heads.
Mollenkott, ITHMN, Pages 110 through 121 - "Dr. Mollenkott argues that this is part of the ceremonial laws, and as such, are to be disregarded by the Christian. She places this act on the same level as wearing clothes of two different materials."
KJB - There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.
NIV - No Israelite man or woman is to become a shrine prostitute.
KJB - Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him.
NIV - While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, "Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him."
Mollenkott, ITHMN, Page 57 - "Violence - forcing sexual activity upon another - is the real point to this story."
KJB - And there were sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.
NIV - There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites.
KJB - And he took away the sodomites out of the land and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.
NIV - He expelled all the shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of the idols his fathers had made.
KJB - And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land.
NIV - He rid the land of the rest of the shrine prostitutes who remained there even after the reign of his father Asa.
KJB - And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the Lord, where the women wove hangings for the grove.
NIV - He also tore down the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes, which were in the temple of the Lord and where women did weaving for Asherah.
Mollenkott, ITHMN, Page 59 & 60 - "Most scholars agree that in the fertility religions of Israel's neighbors, male cult prostitutes were employed for homosexual acts. The people who loved and served the God of Israel were strictly forbidden to have anything to do with such idolatry, and the Jewish men were commanded to never serve as temple prostitutes."
(Author's note: Clearly a male could be a shrine prostitute and not be a homosexual, but according to the dictionary a Sodomite is a homosexual.)
KJB - But I say unto you, That it shall be more
tolerable for the land of Sodom, in the day of judgment, than for thee.
NIV - But I tell you it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.
KJB - But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city.
NIV - I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for you.
Mollenkott, ITHMN, Page 59-"Jesus refers to Sodom, not in the context of sexual acts, but in the contents of inhospitality." And on Page 71, she expands this thought with the idea of a life long homosexual orientation or 'condition' is never mentioned in the Bible."
KJB - For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections; for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And like wise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in lust one toward another; man with men working that which is unseemingly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.
NIV - Because of this, God gave him over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.
Mollenkott, ITHMN, Page 62 - "The key thought here seems to be lust, 'unnaturalness,' and, in verse 28, a desire to avoid the acknowledgment of God. But although the censure fits idolatrous people with whom Paul was concerned here, it does not seem to fit the case of a sincere homosexual Christian. Such a person loves Jesus Christ and wants above all to acknowledge God in all of life, yet for some unknown reason feels drawn to someone of the same sex, for the sake of love rather than lust. Is it fair to describe that person as lustful or desirous of forgetting God's existence?"
KJB - Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.
NIV - Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral nor idolators nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders.
A note here to point out that this is the only place in the NIV where the word "homosexual" occurs. It is not clear from the context if this means heterosexuals who abuse homosexuals or homosexuals who abuse each other. See Dr. Mollenkott's explanation in the 1st Timothy comments following.
KJB - Knowing this, that the law is not made for righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers. For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for manstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.
NIV - We also know that law is not made for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murders, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers, and for whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine.
Mollenkott, ITHMN, Page 67 - "Interpretations of these passages depends on two Greek words used in I Cor. 6:9 which have presented a problem for translators in the King James Version, they translated 'effeminate' and 'abusers of themselves with mankind.' In the Revised Standard Version of 1952, they were combined and rendered simply 'homosexuals,' which implied that all persons whose erotic interests were oriented to the same sex were by the very fact excluded from membership in the kingdom of God. But the original intent seems to have been to single out specific kinds of same-sex practices which were deplorable."
KJB - Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
NIV - In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
Mollenkott, ITHMN, Page 59 - "The unnatural lust" thus could, in the context, and in view of the apocryphal texts to which Jude made allusion, refer to a desire for sexual contact between human and heavenly beings.î
It would not be fair to say that all the people involved in producing the NIV favored homosexuality as an alternate lifestyle, but it is fair to say that those who were responsible for the final wordings were at least sympathetic to Dr. Mollenkott's cause. One only has to look at the treatment of sodomy in the NIV to reach this conclusion.
While many believe practicing homosexuals can be Christian, there are many others who have a different conviction about what the Bible says about sodomy. For this group, it is hardly acceptable to call Sodomites temple prostitutes, or to think of same-sex relationships as natural. These same people would take a viewpoint that God hates the sin of homosexuality and will bring judgment on those who live this kind of lifestyle.
The information presented here is not all-inclusive, but is intended to sound an alarm. If the NIV is your Bible of choice, it would be prudent to look closely in other areas as well, for there are many other subjects handled just as loosely as sodomy. Don't take anyone's word for what God says; Check it out! After all, He'll hold you alone responsible.
The following is reprinted here by permission of the author, David W. Cloud:
January 25, 1997 (David W. Cloud, Fundamental Baptist News Service, 1219 N. Hams Rd., Oak Harbor, WA 98277) - We have been receiving many requests for information about Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, a lesbian who worked on the New International Version, Mollenkott is a pro-abortion feminist who claims to be a "left-leaning" Evangelical. In reality she denies the very God of the Bible and worships an idolatr6us female god of her own imagination. She grew up in a Plymouth Brethren fellowship and moved in Fundamentalist circles during her early years. She studied at Bob Jones University and taught at Shelton College in the 1950s. She has moved miles from that position, through. Today she is an Episcopalian, serves as professor of English at William Patterson College in New Jersey, and moves in the most radical ecumenical feminist circles. In the 1970s, Virginia Mollenkott was a consultant for the New International Version translating committee.
In 1978 she co-authored (with Letha Scanzoni) the book entitled Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, in which she called for nondiscrimination toward homosexuality The book argues that the Sodom account in Genesis does not teach the evil of homosexuality but the evils of violent gang rape and in-hospitality to strangers. The book also claims that "the idea of a life long homosexual orientation or 'condition' is never mentioned in the Bible" (p. 71), and that Romans 1 does not "fit the case of a sincere homosexual Christian" (p.62).
In 1979 Mollenkott participated in the 9th General Conference of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Church (a denomination composed largely of homosexuals). In a report, which was published by the Christian Century, Sept 26, 1979, Mollenkott stated, "This was the most grateful celebration of Christ I had ever attended..."
In 1985 Mollenkott admitted that she was a lesbian. In October of that year, her signature appeared on a statement supporting homosexuality that was published in the Sojourners magazine. James B. Nelson of the American Lutheran denomination, author of a book, which promotes homosexual marriages and homosexual pastors, also signed the statement.
In 1987 Mollenkott wrote an article claiming that refusal to ordain homosexual "clergywomen" is unscriptural discrimination. She wrote: "To ask lesbians and gay men to pretend they are like the majority is to deny them the self-identification and affirmation that is the natural legacy of every healthy adult. Forcing gay Christians into silence also denies them the opportunity to celebrate in gratitude to God for their authentic nature and for their life-enriching mutual relationship with a loving partner" (Christianity and Crisis, Nov. 9, 1987).
In the June 1991 issue of the Episcopal monthly entitled The Witness, she testified, "My lesbianism has always been a 'part of me.... I tried to be heterosexual. I married myself off. But what I did ultimately realize was that God created me as I was, and that this is where life was meaningful." In her plenary address before the July 1986 convention of the Evangelical Women's Caucus International (EWCI), in Fresno, California, Mollenkott warned against "heterosexism," the idea that everyone must be heterosexual.
In 1993 Mollenkott published a book entitled Sensuous Spirituality, in which she reflected on her lesbianism and her belief in a female God.
In the early 1980s Mollenkott was a member of the National Council of Churches' committee that produced an inclusive-language lectionary which addressed God in feminine terms. At a news conference at the NCC's governing board meeting on November 10, 1983, Mollenkott claimed there is some evidence that Jesus Christ was really a woman. She cited the research of biologist Edward Kessel, who argued that Jesus was "born in parthenogenesis; that parthenogenetic births are always female; that in some cases, therefore, he would be willing to refer to Jesus as 'she' - up until the last minute of sex reversal, in which case Jesus remains chromosomally female throughout life, but functions as a normal male and looks like a normal male" (Christian Challenge, August 1984).
At the November 1993 Re-imagining conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which was sponsored by the World Council of Churches, Mollenkott said: "Jesus is our elder brother, the trailblazer and constant companion for us ultimately is among many brothers and sisters in an eternal, equally worthy sibling-hood. First born only in the sense that he was the first to show us that it is possible to live in one-ness with the divine source while we are here on this planet... As an incest survivor, I can no longer worship in a theological context that depicts God as an abusive parent [referring to Christ's death on the cross] and Jesus as the obedient, trusting child." At the same conference, Mollenkott said she longed to see the creation of an interfaith "worship community" in which each member respected completely the religion of the others and Christians ceased to make missionary efforts to target members of other religions. She labeled soul-winning evangelism as "imperialistic attempts to make others such as I."
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