February 16, 2012
Lifeway Declines SBC Request to Bar NIV from Stores
Chairman: "We do not believe the 2011 NIV rises to the level to where it should be pulled or censored."
The trustees of LifeWay Christian Resources unanimously voted to continue selling 2011 New International Version (NIV) Bibles in its chain of bookstores, even though the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) at its annual convention last June asked the publishing organization not to do so.
CT reported that the SBC passed the resolution criticizing the NIV update as an "inaccurate translation of God's inspired Scripture," largely because the translation avoids using male terms in passages where context suggests that both genders are intended (except where the pronoun in question has messianic allusions).
In the resolution, convention delegates asked LifeWay, which is owned and operated by the convention, not to sell the Bibles.
At LifeWay’s February trustee meeting, both a task force in charge of following up on the SBC’s resolution and the trustee executive committee recommended that LifeWay continue to sell the Bibles, Baptist Press reported.
Committee chairman Adam Greenway emphasized that the decision was not an endorsement of the NIV 2011.
"It is not that we are endorsing the 2011 NIV," Greenway told Baptist Press. "We endorse what we publish, and the translation we publish is the Holman Christian Standard Bible. That is the translation that we endorse. … We are not giving a stamp of approval. ... We are simply saying from a retail perspective, we do not believe that we should cease carrying and make available to the public the 2011 NIV. … We do not believe the 2011 NIV rises to the level to where it should be pulled or censored or not carried in our retail chain."
Greenway said both Albert Mohler Jr. and Russell Moore of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, along with several others, supported the continued sales of the 2011 NIV.
During that same meeting, LifeWay president Thom S. Rainer addressed the company’s decision to end its relationship with Susan G. Komen for the Cure because of its relationship with Planned Parenthood. (CT reported last month on LifeWay’s decision, as well as Komen’s brief split from Planned Parenthood.) Rainer said LifeWay was reviewing options for the use of the special pink Bibles it had already produced for Komen, but that the Bibles would not be destroyed.