NIV concern likely to motivate motion

MUNCIE, Ind.—Indiana pastor Tim Overton hasn’t given up on persuading LifeWay Christian Resources to stop offering the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible in its retail stores now that Zondervan no longer publishes the 1984 edition that remains popular among many Southern Baptists.

“As Southern Baptist Convention leaders learn more about the gender-neutral NIV, they become more concerned about LifeWay’s decision to sell this inaccurate Bible,” Overton told the TEXAN in anticipation of an upcoming SBC Executive Committee meeting. There he will make his pitch for EC members to mediate his grievance against LifeWay’s board which declined his request at last year’s annual meeting to reopen a study of whether to sell the translation.

At their Aug. 27-28 meeting, LifeWay board chairman Adam Greenway reiterated that the availability of the NIV translation does not constitute an endorsement. While two trustees voted against the refusal to reconsider, including Texan Lynn Snider of Spring, the LifeWay motion took issue with public criticism of the 2011 edition, noting, “The translation does not use gender-neutral wording for the names of God and contains no gender changes with respect to God’s name.”

Snider agreed with Overton’s concern, stating, “I don’t think LifeWay ought to be selling Bibles that aren’t as close to the original autographs as we can get them, though it’s obviously politically correct.”

Overton provided EC members with a 36-page report created for LifeWay trustees when he initially urged reconsideration. It features the text of two previous SBC resolutions expressing concern about gender-neutral translations, including a 2002 statement asking LifeWay not to distribute Today’s New International Version (TNIV) and the 2011 resolution he penned which encouraged pastors to make congregations aware of translation errors while requesting LifeWay “not make this inaccurate translation available…”

“If the Executive Committee specifically asks LifeWay to cease selling the gender-neutral NIV, they will have little choice but to comply,” Overton wrote. Current practice undermines the Southern Baptist belief in inerrancy, he added. “This is not a time to circle the wagons, but to act on principle.”

The NIV translation is one of four choices offered for LifeWay’s Explore the Bible curriculum this fall, Overton observed further.

If the Executive Committee fails to act to his satisfaction, Overton said he anticipates making an appeal to messengers meeting in Houston June 11-12.

Most Read

Baptism Sunday: Southern Baptists ‘Fill the Tank’ nationwide, celebrating new life in Christ

LEXINGTON, Ga.—The last two years have been a whirlwind for Pastor Matt Bartlett and Lexington Baptist Church. At its recent low point, the 176-year-old church had 39 people in attendance, with half being from the pastor’s …

Stay informed on the news that matters most.

Stay connected to quality news affecting the lives of southern baptists in Texas and worldwide. Get Texan news delivered straight to your home and digital device.