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AND THE N I V.
TRANSLATIONS OF THE BIBLE
PROVIDE INFORMATION TO ASSIST PREACHERS IN THE PROTECTION OF THE CHURCHES IN THE
September 17, 2001 (first published October 20, 1997) (David Cloud, Fundamental
Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061-0368,
866-295-4143, email@example.com) - On January 25, 1997, we published an article
on Virginia Mollenkott, a literary consultant for the New International Version.
Many have asked us for information on this woman because of her connection,
however significant, with this popular modern version. Thus we gave a general
overview of her life and writings as follows. (A more complete overview is
contained in the article “Virginia Mollenkott,” which can be viewed at the
Way of Life web site.)
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 idolatrous female
god of her own imagination. She grew up in a
“In 1978 Mollenkott 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
“In 1979 Mollenkott participated in the 9th General Conference of the Universal Fellowship of
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.
In October 1985, Mollenkott’s signature appeared on a statement supporting homosexuality which was published in the Sojourners magazine.
In her plenary address before the July 1986 convention of the Evangelical Women’s Caucus International (EWCI), in
In 1987 Mollenkott wrote an article claiming that refusal to ordain homosexual “clergywomen” is unscriptural discrimination.
In the June 1991 issue of the Episcopal monthly entitled The Witness, Mollenkott 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 1993 Mollenkott published a book entitled Sensuous Spirituality: Out from Fundamentalism (
At the November 1993 Re-imagining conference in
In 1994 Mollenkott published The Divine Feminine: The Biblical Imagery of God as Female (
In the year 2001, Mollenkott published Omnigender: A Trans-religious Approach. Among other things, she describes her aversion to wearing dresses. “One of the greatest benefits of coming out publicly as lesbian was that I could go through my closets and give away all my dresses and skirts except for a few Gertrude Stein-ish floor-length skirts that somehow seemed less of an affront to my nature” (David W. Cloud, “Virginia Mollenkott,” Fundamental Baptist Information Service, Jan. 25, 1997, updated August 24, 2001).
publishing this article we received some harsh comments from certain
fundamentalists who are defenders of the modern versions. One Bible college
professor sent me a note saying, “publish the truth; don’t stoop to
supermarket tabloidism.” In our reply to him I made three points:
1. When I first published the article on Mollenkott, I was not trying to make a direct connection between Mollenkott and the NIV’s weakness on the issue of homosexuality. My goal in printing the article originally was simply to reply to our readers who are asking for information about this woman.
2. A public letter issued by Kenneth Barker (undated but distributed in late 1993 or early 1994), Executive Director of the International Bible Society, says that they knew nothing about Mollenkott’s homosexuality in the early 1970s. That is possibly true, but I do know that others knew of it or at least strongly suspected it. I have heard from people who have known her since the 1950s, both personally and professionally, and her homosexuality was suspected even then. Dr. Donald Waite used to teach at Shelton College, where Mollenkott once taught. In his Bible for Today publication for March-April 1994, Dr. Waite gave the following report: “Mollenkott’s perversity was known about long before the NIV was first published, so that one man (Arthur Steele) refused to accept the full presidency of
3. Even though Barker’s letter claims that Mollenkott was consulted only in a minor way in matters of English style, the fact remains that her name has been plainly listed in their literature for almost three decades under the heading “Literary Critics and Other Consultants.” Only recently were we told her role was inconsequential. Furthermore, Mollenkott’s own account differs from Barker’s. “Barker is playing little word games. It would be a different story if Edwin Palmer were still alive; he knew me; had heard me speak and sent me sheaf after sheaf of translations to review over a period of three or more years, including several gift editions for the committee members when the work was first completed” (Mollenkott’s reply to Robert Kasten, Jan. 20, 1995, cited from Why Not the NIV? by G.R. Guile). Mollenkott said, further: “… they would send me big swatches of translations . . . many chapters at a time . . . perhaps several shorter books from the Old Testament or the New Testament. . . . I would write notes all over manuscripts which I was sent, both praising phraseology . . . and asking questions . . . something I would typically write would be, ‘Would the Greek or would the Hebrew permit this word’ which would seem to me to be much more understandable…”(Ibid.).
If we had known earlier what we know today, we would not have hesitated, as we originally did, to suggest that the New International Version is weak on homosexuality due to the influence of homosexuals. The parallels are too striking to be incidental.
THERE WAS ANOTHER HOMOSEXUAL ON THE NIV COMMITTEE
Virginia Mollenkott was not the only homosexual who worked on the New International Version. Consider the following letter we received from a friend in
"A while ago I heard a
rumour that Marten Woudstra, who was apparently not just on the Committee for
Bible Translation of the NIV, but actually head of the Old Testament Committee,
was a homosexual and friend of Evangelicals Concerned. He has been dead for a
couple of years at least, but I thought this was vitally important information
considering the way the NIV handles homosexuality/sodomy.
"I took the opportunity today to telephone
"I asked Dr. Blair if he knew Marten Woudstra. Yes, he was very familiar with him. Woudstra had been on the mailing list of Evangelicals Concerned from its inception. Although Woudstra had no formal ties with ECI, once when he was in
"Dr Blair categorically stated to me on the phone today (23.9.97) that other members of the NIV translation committee were quietly supportive of ECI, but he was not able to tell me any names for obvious reasons.
"Woudstra was once the OT Professor at Calvin Seminary, the college of the Christian Reformed Church (Dutch Calvinistic). Over 70% of CRC churches now use the NIV. Dr Woudstra wrote a commentary on Joshua which appears in a series of commentaries also contributed to by such illustrious 'evangelical' names as F.F. Bruce.
"In the early 80's (this date would be good to have more accurately) there was a synod meeting of the CRC. At the beginning of the week there was a debate as to whether or not graduates of Calvin Seminary should be required to hold that Adam and Eve were literal persons. Later that week there was to be a debate about homosexuality.
"Woudstra championed the cause of a literal belief in Adam and Eve. The conservatives in the denomination rallied behind his stand and the vote was won. However, later in the week, Woudstra stunned the conservatives by stating (in the homosexuality discussions) that we cannot go to the OT to formulate our views on homosexuality. He limited his comments to the OT (his specialty) and stated that there was nothing in the OT that corresponded to the homosexual orientation and monogamous life long loving relationships among gay people today. The 'sodomy' of the OT simply involved temple rites and gang rape (Gen 19). Woudstra lost this debate but had made his position clear. He was a supporter of homosexuality, and was 'orientated' that way himself.
"Is it any wonder that the OT and NT of the NIV is soft on homosexuality with the involvement of Woudstra, others on the CBT and the likes of Mollenkott? Dr Blair's phone call today has confirmed that to me in no uncertain terms.
"I hope this letter has been helpful. It is merely a report of a phone call, but I feel it is a very revealing one. I have tried to report what Dr Ralph Blair told me as accurately and unexaggeratedly as possible.
"Yours in Christ,
We will probably never know exactly what role Woudstra, Mollenkott, and perhaps other homosexuals had in the translation of the New International Version. The NIV publishers are not necessarily in a position to be candid about all of this. After Carl Graham published his booklet “Sodomy and the NIV” in 1991, he was threatened with a lawsuit by the publishers of the NIV. The following is his description of this:
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. D.A. 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” (Carl Graham, introduction to the 2nd edition of Sodomy and the NIV, p. iii).
following article was written by Graham after he researched the connection
between the NIV's rendering of passages touching on homosexuality and the
presence of a homosexual on the translation review team. It is amazing to see
many direct parallels between Mollenkott's views about homosexuality and the
translation of the New International Version. In some people’s book, two and
two still equals four. IF
MOLLENKOTT OR WOUDSTRA (ALONE, OR IN CONJUNCTION WITH SOME OTHER HOMOSEXUAL) DID
NOT DIRECTLY INFLUENCE THESE TRANSLATIONS, THERE MUST HAVE BEEN OTHER MEMBERS OF
THE NIV COMMITTEE WHO WERE AMAZINGLY LIKE-MINDED WITH THESE MODERN
THE SIN OF HOMOSEXUALITY CAN BE CONDEMNED OUT OF THE NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, BUT IT IS NOT AS PLAIN AS IT IS IN THE AUTHORIZED VERSION. We have seen repeatedly that this is one of the devil’s tactics. He does not completely change or remove a doctrine; he merely tampers with it. In a fierce warfare, the difference between winning and losing often depends upon very small details. To clandestinely dull a warrior’s sword is tantamount to open sedition.
The sad fact which must be faced is this: IN SCHOLARLY EVANGELICAL CIRCLES, THE IDEA THAT HOMOSEXUALITY IS SOMEHOW COMPATIBLE WITH CHRISTIANITY IS GAINING A WIDENING SYMPATHY. The book by Virginia Mollenkott and Letha Scanzoni, Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? (Harper & Row, 1978), received favorable reviews in Christianity Today, The Christian Century, The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, and The
The rest of this report is written by Carl Graham of
AND THE NIV
By Carl Graham
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 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 Textus 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 were 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
In her book, Is The Homosexual My Neighbor? (V. Mollenkott and L. Scanzoni, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1978), 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.
GENESIS 19:5 - THE SIN OF
KJB - And they called unto
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
[NOTE FROM BRO. CLOUD: The Bible plainly states that the sin for which God judged Sodom was connected with gross and strange immorality. 2 Peter 2:7 refers to Sodom's "filthy conversation." The same Greek word is translated “wantonness” in Rom. 13:13 and 2 Pet. 2:18. Jude 7 refers to
LEVITICUS 18:22 - SODOMY
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.”
LEVITICUS 20:13 - SODOMY
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.”
DEUTERONOMY 23:17 - SODOMITE
KJB - There shall be no whore of the daughters of
NIV - No Israelite man or woman is to become a shrine prostitute.
JUDGES 19:22 - SODOMY
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."
I KINGS 14:24 - SODOMITES
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
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.
[NOTE FROM BRO. CLOUD: The rendering “male shrine prostitutes” is an interpretation as is the rendering “sodomite.” According to Strong’s, the Hebrew term is “qadesh, kaw-dashe'; from H6942; a (quasi) sacred person, i.e. (techn.) a (male) devotee (by prostitution) to licentious idolatry.” In the Authorized Version this Hebrew word is translated “sodomite” and “unclean.” The term “sodomite” was brought over from the
I KINGS 15:12 - SODOMITES
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.
I KINGS 22:46 - SODOMITES
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.
II KINGS 23:7 - SODOMITES
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
MATTHEW 11:24 - JUDGMENT UPON SODOM
KJV - 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
LUKE 10:12 - JUDGMENT UPON
KJB - But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for
NIV - I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for
Mollenkott, ITHMN, page 59. "Jesus refers to
ROMANS 1:26 & 27 - HOMOSEXUALITY
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 unseemly, 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. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
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?"
I CORINTHIANS 6:9 - REJECTION OF HOMOSEXUAL BEHAVIOR
KJB - Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the
NIV - Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the
Here we would 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.
[NOTE FROM BRO. CLOUD: We also see that the New International Version replaces the “effeminate” of the KJV with “male prostitutes.” The word “effeminate” in the KJV is from the Greek word “malakos,” which Strong defines as “soft, i.e. fine (clothing).” The Greek word appears three times in the New Testament, and in the Authorized Version it is translated “effeminate” one time (1 Cor. 6:9) and “soft” two times (Matt. 11:8; Lk. 7:25). The New International Version translators had no authority to translate this word as “male prostitutes.” They have replaced the New Testament term “effeminate,” which aptly describes male homosexuality in general, with the term “male prostitutes,” thus diluting and perverting the meaning of the passage.]
I TIMOTHY 1:9 & 10
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 menstealers, 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 - "Interpretation 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
JUDE 7 - STRANGE FLESH
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,
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."
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, nor 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.
ends “Sodomy and the NIV” by Carl Graham.
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