Thursday, November 1, 2012

WELS Reviewers Blast ESV’s Readability

By David Becker

Christian News, November 5, 2012


The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod came out with extensive reviews of three Bible translations. The Translation Evaluation Committee of the WELS "decided to limit the review to...the English Standard Version (ESV), the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), and the NIV11. All three of these translations were prepared by cross-denominational teams of evangelical Christians, with all translators holding to the inerrancy of the Bible. All three use the same Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, following the best practices of contemporary scholarship. All three are readily available in print and digital formats. All three are overseen by cross-denominational oversight committees that intend to improve the translations periodically." 102 members of the WELS, all male, participated in the review of the three translations.    
The ESV received much criticisms in the reviews. Here is just one example. "In my opinion, the ESV is not really a literal translation, it is an exercise in nostalgia. Some people want something that sounds more like the KJV. If that’s what they want, that’s ok, but I am not a fan of the recurring theme that it is 'in the great tradition of English Bible translation.' I think it is more honest to say that the ESV is a revision of a revision (the RSV) that few people really like to begin with." Many other ESV reviewers said pretty much the same thing. Just check the attached file. There is a huge number of similar comments that could be cited.

I'm attaching two files recently released by the WELS TEC: the introduction and the ESV review document. The complete set of files released by the WELS TEC is at

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A Challenge to the ELS, CLC, and AFLC

“WELS Reviewers Blast ESV’s Readability” on page one by David Becker comments on a 139 page report on Bible translations just released by the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. How many will read this report?

CN has shown for years in issues of Christian News sent to almost all WELS, ELS, and LCMS schools that confessional Lutherans should publish a Bible translation which is the work of true Lutheran scholars rather than a mixture from evangelical, charismatic, fundamentalist and liberal churches. It should use William Beck’s An American Translation. The AAT is primarily Beck’s work but incorporates helpful suggestions made for some 35 years by some of the best confessional Lutheran scholars in the LCMS, WELS, and ELS.

However, it is simply not politically correct in the LCMS and WELS to recognize anything coming from Christian News, referred to by various critics as racist, anti-Semitic, fundamentalist, reptilian, hatemonger, Nazi, liar, etc.

Perhaps the Church of the Lutheran Confessions, Evangelical Lutheran Synod, or Association of Free Lutheran Churches should publish the translation by confessional Lutheran scholars using Beck’s AAT as a basis to get the Bible done in a short time, leaving it open for valid changes in future printings.

Beck’s New Testament (AAT) was first published by the LCMS’s CPH in 1962. Several LCMS conventions asked CPH to publish Beck’s entire AAT. CPH said it would but then declined. Now under Paul McCain, with the financial support of the Schwan Foundation, the LCMS promotes the ESV, which is 91% the work of the RSV translators. Almost all of the RSV translators denied the deity of Christ. The RSV, which McCain says is reliable, is copyrighted by the liberal National Council of Churches.

1 comment:

  1. I have a blog where some of these issues are discussed: It is open for discussion for whoever may choose to do so.