So I showed you the fun parts of traveling to England. But why were the meetings significant?
The topic discussed was critical to our organization. You may have seen online that Wycliffe and SIL have been the targets of unscrupulous attacks against the principles and practices used in translating certain key terms in the New Testament. Because our goal is meaning-based translations rather than transliterations (which would be utterly meaningless if taken directly from the original language sources), translators often need to carefully search for meaningful ways of expressing difficult concepts in other languages. For example grace, mercy, atonement, sanctification, etc., are often difficult to express in other languages. Even in our own Bibles, Greek terms have been adjusted to carry meaning to English-speaking readers.
But the current attacks are being levied against translations that found culturally appropriate ways of expressing the relationship between God the Father and Jesus the Son without using familial terms. In some contexts, using the terms father and son can ONLY imply a family relationship based on the father having sired the son through a physical relationship with the son’s mother. There can be no other understanding of the term. So in deference to the holiness of God and in reverence to the relationship between the first and the second persons of the Trinity, in some translations, terms were used to denote the sacredness of the father and son relationship without using those exact words.
In response, some people who do not understand the principles of accurate and meaningful translation, and are working strictly from English source texts rather than the original Greek, are levying unprincipled, untrue attacks against our organization and our closest partner — attacks that are stirring up a great deal of concern among well-meaning people looking for answers.
If you’ve come across these emails and wonder how to think or respond to what you’ve read, please go to the Wycliffe Global Alliance website: www.wycliffe.net, or the Wycliffe USA website: www. wycliffe.org or the Wycliffe UK website: www.wycliffe.org.uk. There are many excellent articles and stories on those sites that demonstrate the need for and the delicate handling of translations in places where the family relationship terms would be blasphemous to God.
That’s what the meetings in England were about. But I personally, came away with so much more than just answers to the translation questions. I’ll write about that another blog post — just to keep things short.