Re: Fwd: Off-topic Stealth Discussion

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Wed Jul 23 1997 - 07:01:20 EDT

At 02:24 AM 7/23/97 -0400, wrote:
>Carl & Jonathan:
>I was out of the loop for some time. When I finally started reading the mail
>again, the entire Stealth discussion had played out. I read all of the
>correspondance in one evening.
>I want to tell you that I am grateful that you both entered the discussion
>and that you addressed the issues in the way that you did. I am not going to
>thank you for your position, because you simply reflected what is in the
>grammar--you didn't create new grammar to please anyone or to be
>contemporary. And Jonathan--your logic and common sense was refreshing. It
>was a relief and a pleasure for me to read your observations.

Thanks. I wasn't sure that I wanted to get involved at first, because the
tone of the original messages struck me as weird, but I did learn a lot from
the discussion. I went into it without much of a position on most of these
issues, and I've started to evolve opinions.

>Needless to say, this whole thing is painful. And it is personal. Last week
>my seminary's "Letters to the Editor" claimed that publishing one of my
>articles was a "Stealth move." But the article had nothing about gender. It
>was a discussion on John 14:6.

I really like the Anabaptist view of the congregation as a community of
God's word, where God speaks to each of us, and the whole counsel of God can
only be found by the working of his spirit in the entire congregation. When
we try to shortcut this process by political correctness (for liberals) or
enforced tradition (for conservatives), I think it is a violation of the
working of the spirit, as well as a violation of the body of Christ. There
is certainly a place for authoritative action in the church, but I am
extremely uncomfortable with the spirit of much of this debate.

>I am disturbed by the ethics and the power play that was involved in shutting
>down the revised NIV. I am also disturbed that the IBS announced that the
>NIV was "the people's Bible" and if the people didn't want it translated a
>certain way, it would be translated the way they wanted it. Strange that the
>conservatives liked that guideline for translation.

Well, if the general population knew more about translation than the
translators do, then this would be a good approach. But I doubt that most of
the people active in the debate are really approaching it on a scholarly level.

>The biggest issue was that the misrepresentations and "witch hunt" tactics
>have driven a wedge between the Greek scholars and the laypeople. My Greek
>professors were traditional, but they graded us down if we failed to use
>inclusive language. My hunch is that 75% of the conservative evangelical
>Greek scholars either require or accept inclusive language in their students'

Since I *am* a conservative evangelical, I am particularly distressed by
this. I thought that conservative evangelicals were supposed to believe in
what the Bible says, rejecting traditions of ANQRWPOI (however that word
should be translated...) Enforcing rules of what the Bible is allowed to say
and requiring our translators to follow them seems less promising than
carefully examining the Bible to see what it *does* say and thinking about
how best to convey it into English.

>I am contemplating whether I should respond to this issue. I have considered
>conducting a poll of Greek professors which included the disputed texts: do
>you teach your students to translate James 1:12 inclusively? If not, do you
>accept an inclusive translations from your students? Etc. I would guess
>that the poll would reveal a consensus on the general issue, but a divergence
>on issues such as whether a singular pronoun should be changed to plural to
>maintain inclusive language. Even if it did not reveal a consensus, I would
>personally like to know the results of a poll.

I would like to see a group of scholarly evangelicals get active in this as
a counterweight to Focus on the Family, and would consider getting involved.
I might also put lots of data on my web site, but I have little time until

>Cindy Westfall
>Denver Seminary
>application in route to Roehampton

Thanks for taking the time for this. It was really meaningful for me to hear
from you, and to see that the whole discussion wasn't just a waste of words.
I don't know much about seminaries - tell me about Roehampton!


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703

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