ESV Catholic Bible UPDATE

Discussion in 'Translations and Manuscripts' started by Rutherglen1794, Jan 28, 2020.

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  1. Rutherglen1794

    Rutherglen1794 Puritan Board Junior

    This is a follow-up to a previous thread (See )

    I emailed Crossway directly regarding my concern about the ESV Catholic Bible.

    This is the official statement given to me:

    “Two years ago, Crossway was approached by Roman Catholic leadership in India about adopting the ESV into Catholic church life and liturgy. After careful consideration, we were glad to license the ESV for publication by an Indian publishing house, supplying Bible readers in this part of the world with a sound translation. Though it is not our calling to publish resources for the Catholic church, we are grateful for this opportunity to support their desire to provide an essentially literal and academically current translation of the Bible. We remain as committed as ever to publishing gospel-centered resources in the historic stream of the Reformation.”

    Let’s have a discussion about what is contained in this statement, not about supposed hidden motives about making money or the like. I have been assured that if the discussion devolves into hypotheticals or unfounded assertions, then it will be shut down. Let’s keep it focused on the statement given.

    What do you all think?
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  2. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Doesn't the RCC have enough scholars to do their own translation compared with other texts? Why capitulate and allow your work to be changed for the purpose of the RCC? What hath Christ to do with Baal? That is a nice reply but I am wearied by pragmatic ways. My preference is not for the ESV even though my congregation uses it. I use it some as I do other translations I don't usually refer to. But that might be another discussion.
  3. Rutherglen1794

    Rutherglen1794 Puritan Board Junior

    For the record, we don’t know if they allowed changes to the ESV text. All we know for sure is that the Apocrypha was included.
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  4. W.C. Dean

    W.C. Dean Puritan Board Freshman

    Still doesn't sit well with me. They claim to promote Reformation virtues but are happy to provide Romans with a modified translation. The very reason the men of crossway hold to Reformation virtues is because the Roman Catholic church had turned Christian religion into an idolatrous, devilish church. In my opinion it'd hypocritical.
  5. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    There were some references mentioned in the other thread to changes in the script.
  6. Rutherglen1794

    Rutherglen1794 Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, but we don’t have specific examples to prove it; nor has Crossway confirmed that they have allowed changes.

    A moderator I talked to would like the discussion to be about what we know for certain, and we don’t have certainty about potential changes to the text.
  7. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    If it is documented or any subsequent statement from the publisher comes to light then that can be discussed. Otherwise, limit discussion to the OP.
  8. Rutherglen1794

    Rutherglen1794 Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, it is very strange to say that they wanted to help Catholics, and then to affirm that they are pro-Reformation. The logic is so flawed.

    Is getting a “sound translation” into a region presumably without one worth supporting the ‘Catholic Church’?
  9. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    If this statement is all there is to it, I don't really see the issue. Crossway publishes a licensing agreement in the front of every Bible about being able to quote up to 500 verses without permission, and requiring written permission for longer than that.

    And as for what we know on changes, there is no proof of any changes made yet. There is proof of changes that were not made, such as 1 Tim 3:15, which a number of Catholics I've come across believe has a Protestant bias in the ESV.

  10. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

  11. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    Perhaps I'm just really obtuse, but sticking strictly to the statement by Crossway in the OP, how is allowing the RCC the use of what they believe to be a good, sound translation of the word of God "supporting" them in a bad way? Can you help me understand what I'm missing?

    If a Roman Catholic came up to me and said, "hey, would you be willing to let me have that extra copy of the Bible you have?" I'd say sure. If he offered to pay me for it I'd still say sure. If he said he was going to copy it and resell it to friends, I'd still say sure. Is this a different scenario?
  12. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Specifically it is mentioned that the biggest change was in the book of Tobit. It was totally redone. The apocrypha was translated in 2010.

  13. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Handing an RCC member a copy of the 66 books is not the same as handing him a RCC bible with it's notes and emendations.
  14. Rutherglen1794

    Rutherglen1794 Puritan Board Junior

    But this isn’t for 500 verses. This is allowing the ESV name to be on a Catholic item, and enabling a Catholic project.

    Is this not essentially helping spread the Catholic message?
  15. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    Is that the case? I thought it was specifically printed without any notes. I've seen no notes in any of the photos of the pages besides translation notes.
  16. Rutherglen1794

    Rutherglen1794 Puritan Board Junior

    Reread this section:

    “Though it is not our calling to publish resources for the Catholic church, we are grateful for this opportunity to support their desire to provide an essentially literal and academically current translation of the Bible.”

    That is so problematic.

    The ecumenical tone is very troubling. Should they not be denouncing the false Catholic Church?

    What if this was a cult, and not the RCC?

    You would not support equipping heretics with Bibles to go out into the world and spread their false gospel, would you?

    That, to me, seems to be the real issue here. This is most certainly not “contend[ing] earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.”
  17. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    I'm still not really understanding, and that might be my fault. Perhaps this would help me: What would an appropriate licensing agreement look like? Or do you think there can be one at all?
  18. Rutherglen1794

    Rutherglen1794 Puritan Board Junior

    No, I don’t think a Christian organization can justify giving the RCC licensing rights to its Bible translation, especially in the context of it being used in their false worship.

    Edit: This isn’t a product we are talking about. It is God’s inspired Word to men.
  19. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Why can't the RCC do their own work? What hath Christ to do with Baal. Also, almost every Bible I have seen has come with some notations, recommendations, and prefatory intro.
  20. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    I am not opposed to sharing my Bible with a Roman Catholic. I am disheartened that an Ecclesiastical body that has disowned the Gospel of Jesus Christ and pronounced anathema upon those who believe the Gospel and in the One and only true Mediator between God and Man has now possibly looked more endearing to those they oppose. An angel of supposed light is putting on clothing that might be used to deceive even more. At the same time God is able to override RCC dogma and tradition which has authoritative preeminence over the Bible in the RCC by His Spirit. I pray for mercy and grace.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2020
  21. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    Okay, thanks. I believe I understand your concern and point of view.

    However, I would tend to think that if I could give a copy of the Bible to everyone in the world, I would (sort of like what the Gideons aspire to do). That would of course include all the heretics in the world who might use it to further their heresy or use it in false worship. Perhaps that's a different scenario than licensing but that's where my thinking goes.
  22. Rutherglen1794

    Rutherglen1794 Puritan Board Junior

    I do think that that is a different scenario.

    For me, this hazy ecumenicalism (which, by the way, would have been kept secret from us Western Protestants had we not stumbled upon it from others) casts a shadow of suspicion over Crossway as a publisher.

    I’m not saying they have some hidden, underhanded motives; but I feel I need to treat them now the same way I do The Gospel Coalition: Be diligent and thorough in making sure what they are offering is sound.

    Also, this adds to the handful of potential problems with using the ESV as my long-term translation.

    The others being things like the 2016 ‘Permanent Text’ debacle; the questionable changes made in Genesis; Crossway’s enabling of the grotesque Scripture art fad by providing Bibles for, and encouraging people to use, art as a form of personal devotion; the high number of textual changes in a relatively short period of time compared to a similar translation like the NASB; the appearance of being a marketing-juggernaut that hurried a translation to market when another English translation was definitely not needed; etc.

    These things together do not give me confidence in the long-term wisdom of committing myself and my family to the ESV. It’s a shame I bought so many before this.
  23. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    As another thought, it seems problematic for protestants to say "we will never let you use any of our translations." That means the alternative is for them to create their own and that's not a better situation for anyone.

    This is a good subject for me to chew on a bit and I'm not seeing the clear, simple answer.
  24. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    My gut tells me there is context to consider that might not immediately come to mind for us who live comfortably in the West.

    1. Persecution of both protestants and Catholics is increasing sharply in India. This is causing them to rely on each other more than in the past simply to survive and maintain their work. And the Reformed missionaries I know there, who are seeing a great number of conversions amid all of this, report that the Catholic missionaries are taking note and often will freely allow evangelicals to teach in their schools and so on, realizing that the evangelicals have something true and better to offer. In short, some Catholics there are opening up to gospel teaching due to the hard times.

    2. Catholicism is splintering in new and bigger ways. Worldwide within the Catholic church, there is a growing and more visible rift between old-school and progressive factions and an increased willingness to admit displeasure with the Vatican. One result is that evangelical-curious factions are becoming bolder as well. So you might find Catholics, even pretty high up in the church, who say in effect, "We trust an evangelical publishing house and the values and teaching they represent more than we trust what the Vatican might give us." Is this a positive development, or must such Catholics be rebuffed and told to go back to Rome where they belong?

    3. There are 1.3 billion(!) souls living in India, most of them in spiritual darkness. If you believe you have a solid translation of the Bible, and if any group at all wants to make that translation more assessible on that subcontinent, might you say yes in the belief that the Spirit uses the Word powerfully even where it is distributed by those who are part of the darkness? How can you say to all those souls in India, "No, we will let you remain in darkness because we have to make sure that we, here in Wheaton, Illinois where there is no persecution and churches are abundant, are kept insulated from any tricky entanglements"?

    I would not guess this was a slam-dunk decision for Crossway, but I can see why they might end up saying yes. If one's primary outlook on the world is that it is a dangerous place and the church must hunker down and insulate itself from the evil out there, one probably says no. But if one sees the church as an advancing force, used by the Spirit to bring the gospel into the world with power, one might see this as an opportunity to make inroads. Both are true to an extent. It would be a mistake to see the whole affair through one lens only.
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  25. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Not necessarily. If a Catholic who didn't have a bible came to me and asked for a Bible so he could find Catholic proof-texts, I would give it to him.

    Disclosure: I am a New American Standard guy, so I am not carrying water for Crossway.
  26. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Senior

    My concern lies more in what is NOT contained in the statement. The Bishops Conference of India has publicly stated that changes were indeed made to the text of the ESV without clearly enumerating what those changes were. That is what is difficult to understand. Why would they allow Roman Catholics to make changes to their translation? Why would that even be necessary if the translation is so acceptable to these Catholics if the reason for such changes was not doctrinal in nature?
  27. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    Its use in the RC liturgy could be significant. People will be singing the ESV: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." They may also be reading it in their lessons. Until shown otherwise, the publisher appears to be sharing the powerful word of God with Indians sitting in pews.

    The Apocrypha is not evil in and of itself. It has widely been used by Biblical theologians to give insight into language translation and to understand the context of the New Testament as it developed in the intertestamental period.
  28. Rutherglen1794

    Rutherglen1794 Puritan Board Junior

    You aren’t a Christian publisher. And that’s one person Apples and oranges.
  29. Rutherglen1794

    Rutherglen1794 Puritan Board Junior

    If no changes were made, you are okay with it?
  30. Rutherglen1794

    Rutherglen1794 Puritan Board Junior

    Isn’t it more accurate to say that they are sharing the Word with those who obscure it, and lead their people astray?

    And does Crossway’s almost complete silence on the matter—other than a small, ambiguous statement when asked—concern you?

    If they released a statement going into more depth for those of us who support this non-profit publisher, then maybe we could talk about the issues you bring up.
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