The News: Both Good and Bad
Do you have a copy of the new Today’s New International Version translation? If so, you are already enjoying a familiar translation in updated, “gender accurate” form. But if you’ve heard contradictory statements about the veracity and value of this new work related to the familiar New International Version (NIV), you will welcome this issue’s lead article by John Kohlenberger, a member of CBE’s board of directors. John has followed the development of the TNIV since the inclusive version of the NIV, published in Great Britain in 1995/95, was summarily rejected—under pressure—for publication in the U.S. several years ago.
John describes the route traveled to publication now of the TNIV, and he provides not only reasons for translation choices, but also many examples comparing most of the translations of recent years. I found the article not only informative, but also immensely helpful. I hope you will too.
Following the enthusiastic response to articles in the last issue about women in the early church and first-century synagogues, we present here further ground-breaking work, this time by Rebecca Groothuis. She takes on 1 Timothy 2:11-15, that oft-confusing portion of the apostle Paul’s writings. Her careful study of a troubling passage gives new understanding that you are sure to welcome.
And don’t miss William Spencer’s delightful Mother’s Day meditation on the scriptural passage read most often on this popular day honoring our mothers. Evelyn Bence’s accompanying personal Mother’s Day retrospective will be appreciated by all, and especially other single women who, like Evelyn, sometimes find this a difficult holiday.
Finally, I would be remiss not to mention my disappointment at the ever-expanding repression of Southern Baptist women, and in particular those engaged in ministry. Actions taken last January by both international and North American mission boards serve to create further frustration for many, both women and men. In action eerily reminiscent of that taken in the wake of changes to the Baptist Faith & Message statement of faith in 1998—which calls for a wife to “submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband”—led to either resignation or dismissal of a number of faculty members at Southern Baptist institutions of learning who were unable to sign that statement with a clear conscience, Missionaries are now faced with a similar dilemma. Though many have objected to this suddenly imposed requirement, most complain that the statement of faith is being treated as a creed, to which they object most strenuously. Yet, one wonders what effect this will have on the women involved. Will we ultimately see more resignations, this time from ministry on the mission field?
The North American board has issued its own revised statement to the effect that it will no longer endorse women who have been ordained: they may not serve as chaplains, nor as pastors. If this disturbs you, please make it a point to read “An Honest Column,” by John Phelan, president and dean of North Park Theological Seminary, Chicago. You will take heart from his unwavering support of women in ministry.
One of my new friends in Florida is a Presbyterian chaplain in a retirement community. This woman recognized a call to ministry early in life, but it wasn’t until the age of 60 that she entered seminary to begin the process that would allow her finally to fulfill that call—and very effectively, I might add. Things are changing—but they still take time.