IPS-Eye-White

Section 8B ... Controversial Issues/
Controversies About The Bible

 

003white  Section 8B... Controversial Issues       >       Index To Bible Controversies       >        A Frightful Deception

IPS-Header
Bible-Candle

A MOST FRIGHTFUL DECEPTION... THE GOOD NEWS BIBLE AND TRANSLATOR ROBERT BRATCHER

Copyright 1986 by David W. Cloud

Please Note: Each coloured link within the article will lead you to a related topic on a different page of this site. However while the text is part of the original article, the links are not. The author of this article may or may not agree with the views expressed on those pages, or necessarily anything else on this site..

CHAPTER ONE THE POPULARITY OF THE GOOD NEWS BIBLE
The New Testament portion of the Today's English Version (TEV), otherwise known as the Good News for Modern Man, was published in 1966 by the American Bible Society, and has enjoyed phenomenal success. In its first three years it sold 17.5 million copies. <Parade Magazine (November 2, 1969).> By 1971 more than 30 million copies of the TEV New Testament had been sold--in a period of only five years from initial publication! <Jakob Van Bruggen, Future of the Bible (1972), p. 19.>

In 1973 the TEV whole Bible was published and the popularity of this translation has continued unabated. At its quarterly meeting in December 1985, the American Bible Society Board of Managers presented to retiring president Edmund Wagner the 20 millionth copy of the Good News Bible. <Record, American Bible Society (March 1986), pp. 15,16.> Counting distribution in English of the New Testament portion as well as the whole Bible, plus publication of the "Common Language" versions in many other languages, the number of TEV-type Bibles which have gone throughout the world since 1966 is simply amazing--certainly well over 100 million copies and perhaps double that number! While visiting Australia in 1987, we learned that the Today's English Version has become the most popular Bible text in that country. At least this is the claim of the Australian Bible Society. A Gallup Poll in February 1991 showed that the Good News Bible is the most popular version of the Bible among British churchgoers. <American Bible Society Record (August-September 1991), p. 25.>


CHAPTER TWO THE ECUMENISM OF THE GOOD NEWS BIBLE
One reason the TEV has enjoyed such tremendous growth is due to its broad ecumenical acceptance--acceptance which was given soon after its release. The Roman Catholic Church gave official approval as early as 1969. In a news release on March 18, 1969, the American Bible Society noted that "Richard Cardinal Cushing, Archbishop of Boston, had granted this new `Bible' his official approval and that subsequent printing would bear his imprimatur. It was Cardinal Cushing who earlier gave an imprimatur to the Protestant-sponsored Revised Standard Version.

Protestant and Catholic scholars in recent years have reached substantial agreement on the translation of the Bible into English, and Cardinal Cushing's expert consultants did not seek a single change in the text of the TEV before approving it for Catholic use." <M.L. Moser, Jr., Good News for Modern Man: The Devil's Masterpiece (Little Rock: Challenge Press, 1970), pp. 74,75.>

See Holding Hands With The Pope

The Southern Baptist Convention, America's largest denomination, has also promoted the TEV widely. They commissioned the American Bible Society to publish an edition under the "Broadman Press" label and sold it through their bookstores and distributed it widely through Southern Baptist churches.

A big push was given the TEV when, soon after its publication, Evangelist Billy Graham "called it an excellent translation over nationwide television from his campaign in Anaheim, California." It was then distributed by the Grason Company of Minneapolis, the distributors of Billy Graham materials. <M.L. Moser, Jr., The Devil's Masterpiece (Little Rock: Challenge Press, 1970), p. 80.>

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, one of the most conservative Lutheran bodies in the United States, has repeatedly commended the Good News Bible. "A free copy of the entire Good News for Modern Man was among the material given to all delegates to this month's LCMS convention in St. Louis. The same Bible has been distributed free at conventions of the Lutheran Layman's League." <Christian News (July 20, 1981).> Many other denominations and organizations have followed this examples.

The Days Inns motel chain published a special edition of the TEV containing notes and supplementary materials by Bill Bright and Campus Crusade for Christ. Copies have been placed in all of their rooms. The author has come across these in his travels. In a motel room in Hong Kong we found a copy of the TEV in Chinese published by the Hong Kong Bible Society. In a motel room in the southwestern part of the United States, the American Bible Society's edition of the TEV in Spanish, Dios Habla Hoy, was prominently displayed on a dresser.

Many other examples could be given. The ecumenical acceptance of the TEV has been unprecedented.
 

CHAPTER THREE ...THE LIBERALISM OF THE GOOD NEWS BIBLE

The popularity of the Today's English Version is frightful in light of its perverted renderings of key passages dealing with Christ's deity, the inspiration and preservation of Scripture, the blood atonement, and many other doctrines.

CHRIST'S DEITY
In several important passages the Good News Bible weakens or deletes the doctrine of Christ's deity. Consider the following examples:

John 1:1

    KJV "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

    TEV "Before the world was created, the Word already existed; he was with God, and he was the same as God."

Good News translators add to the text the phrase, "before the world was created." There is no authority or reason for such an addition, unless the translator wants to detract from Christ's eternal deity. The original text does not specify a certain beginning. There is no definite article to indicate that any particular beginning is in view. The proper rendering is consistent with the biblical teaching that Jesus Christ has no origin. He always was. But the Good News perversion gives support to the false view that Christ was created in ages past. The Greek text says exactly what the KJV says: "the Word was God." This emphasizes strongly, in no uncertain terms, the full equality of Jesus Christ with God the Father. Jesus Christ is not only "the same as God"; He IS God!

The Good News translation--"he was the same as God"--allows the false view that Christ is God's Son, but not fully equal in every sense with God. A proper translation does not allow this.

 [See Section Was Jesus God? on THIS Page]

Philippians 2:6

    KJV "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God."

    TEV "He always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to become equal with God."

The proper translation says clearly that Jesus Christ was equal with God and was in the form of God prior to His incarnation. The Good News translators take the liberty to change this, and their rendering allows for heresy. Many Hindus, as well as Jehovah's Witnesses, Unitarians, and liberal Christians will admit that Christ had the nature of God [as defined by them], but not that He was and is indeed very God, equal with the Father. The TEV translators, as will be seen, lean toward this false view. One great problem with the Good News version is that it ALLOWS FOR heresy, whereas an accurate translation of the Word of God does not.

1 Timothy 3:16

    KJV "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

    TEV "No one can deny how great is the secret of our religion: He appeared in human form, was shown to be right by the Spirit, and was seen by angels. He was preached among the nations, was believed in throughout the world, and was taken up to heaven."

The true mystery of our godliness is that God Himself appeared in human flesh! Compare Matthew 1:23: "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." God WAS manifest in the flesh! The TEV rendering removes the greatness of the mystery by deleting God from the text.

1 Timothy 3:16 is one of the New Testament's clearest and loveliest witnesses to the deity of Jesus Christ, and the reading of the KJV is supported by the best testimony of manuscripts and ancient versions and writings. Yet the TEV ignores this wonderful testimony and makes it into something about how to live a godly life. The verse is not speaking of a godly life, but of the God Life, Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son of God, the Triune Godhead.

For evidence of the textual support for the KJV reading of 1 Timothy 3:16 see the pamphlet God Was Manifest in the Flesh, available from Trinitarian Bible Society, 39 Caldwell Crescent, Brampton, Ontario L6W 1A2, Canada.

1 Timothy 6:14-16

    KJV "That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see; to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen."

    TEV "To obey your orders and keep them faithfully until the Day when our Lord Jesus Christ will appear. His appearing will be brought about at the right time by God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He alone is immortal; he lives in the light that no one can approach. No one has ever seen him; no one can ever see him. To him be honor and eternal power! Amen."

The King James translation makes it obvious that Jesus Christ Himself is the object of this passage. It is a powerful testimony of His eternal godhead. The Good News rendering changes the subject in verse 15 from Christ to God, thus again robbing Christ of His full deity and leaving room for doubt about this crucial doctrine. This is wickedness.

Acts 20:28

    KJV "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."

    TEV "So keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock which the Holy Spirit has placed in your care. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he made his own through the sacrificial death of his Son."

The proper translation says God purchased the Church with His own blood. What a marvelous testimony to the deity of Jesus Christ. When Christ bled on the cross of Calvary, God was bleeding! It was God who took upon Himself the form of a man and bled and died on the cross for sin. The Good News rendering changes this by adding to and deleting from the text. This is a serious perversion of Scripture.

Colossians 2:3

    KJV "In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."

    TEV "He is the key that opens all the hidden treasures of God's wisdom and knowledge."

There is a great difference between these two translations. The KJV rendering witnesses to the fact that Christ is the very embodiment of wisdom. This is a witness to His deity. The TEV rendering weakens this witness, saying Christ is a key to wisdom, but not saying that Christ is wisdom itself. The word "key" is an addition to the text. There is nothing in the Greek to answer to this.

Colossians 2:9

    KJV "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."

    TEV "For the full content of divine nature lives in Christ, in his humanity."

Note that in the TEV the word "bodily" is changed to "humanity" without any manuscript authority whatsoever. This also changes the possible interpretation of the verse, and weakens significantly the doctrine of Christ's deity. Since God's Word says that in Christ dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily, why change this to humanity? Is "bodily" more difficult to understand than "humanity"? Of course not. Then why change God's Word--unless there is an insidious motive?

In all these instances in which the Good News translators have tampered with the text, it will noted that the changes are subtle. Christ's deity is not necessarily challenged outright, but is carefully undermined and questioned. Those familiar with the subtle nature of modernists' denial of Christ's deity will understand this and see it for what it is.


CHRIST'S VIRGIN BIRTH

Matthew 1:18

    KJV "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost."

    TEV "This was how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. His mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they were married, she found out that she was going to have a baby by the Holy Spirit."

Luke 1:27

    KJV "To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph."

    TEV "He had a message for a girl promised in marriage to a man named Joseph, who was a descendant of King David. The girls' name was Mary."

The above two verses testify plainly to Christ's virgin birth. When the verses are properly translated, there remains no doubt as to the virginity of Mary. But the TEV rendering wickedly removes the certainty of this blessed truth. My friends, if Jesus Christ was not born of a virgin, He was not sinless and He could not have paid the price for our sins. This is no light matter. The sin nature is passed through the man (Rom. 5:12).
 

InPlainSite.org Note. As much as we agree with this review of the Good News Bible, we have to take exception to the above statement. The ‘Sin Nature’ is not passed through the man. Sin is a breaking of the law and not a disease that can be passed on. See Section on Original Sin.
 

CHRIST'S BLOOD ATONEMENT
In at least 16 passages, the Good News Bible deletes the word "blood," referring to the precious blood of Christ which was shed for our sins. In most of these passages, blood is replaced with the term death. These passages are Mat. 27:4, 24, 25; Acts 5:28; 17:26; 20:28; Rom. 3:25; 5:9; Eph. 1:7; 2:13; Col. 1:14, 20; Heb. 10:19; 1 Pet. 1:19; Rev. 1:5; 5:9.

It is agreed, perhaps, that in some passages the word "blood" can be translated "death" or "murder" without abusing the basic meaning of the passage. Romans 3:15 might be an example of this. When Paul referred in this verse to men's feet being "swift to shed blood," he doubtless had in mind man's tendency toward violence and murder in general. But when it comes to Jesus' blood, we have no liberty to substitute death for blood. In fact, it is highly doubtful that we have such liberty even in passages such as Romans 3:15, since the original words of Scripture have been chosen by God.

Most certainly, though, the Bible makes it clear that Christ's blood was required for our salvation, for "without shedding of blood is no remission." (Heb. 9:22) Jesus' death alone was not sufficient. His blood also was required for our redemption, because sins cannot be remitted without shedding of blood. Thus the term "blood," referring to Christ, has deep theological significance. If Christ had died without the shedding of His blood, we would still be in our sins and there would be no hope of forgiveness or of eternal salvation.

This is why Romans 5:9-10 employs both terms to describe salvation. In Romans 5:9 we are told that we have been justified by Christ's "blood," but in Romans 5:10 we learn that we have been reconciled by His "death." It is through Christ's bloody death that we can have remission of sins.

Translators who persist in changing blood to death are perverting God's Word.


THE PRESERVATION AND INSPIRATION OF SCRIPTURE
Psalm 12:6-7

    KJV "The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever."

    TEV "The promises of the Lord can be trusted; they are as genuine as silver refined seven times in the furnace."

The TEV's rendering robs us of the marvelous testimony that God will preserve the very words of Scripture to every generation. "Promises" is NOT the same as "words"! "Trusted" is NOT the same as "pure"! "Genuine" is NOT the same as "purified"!

Proverbs 30:5-6

    KJV "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar."

    TEV "God keeps every promise he makes. He is like a shield for all who seek his protection. If you claim that he said something that he never said, he will reprimand you and show that you are a liar."

The changes made to the text by the TEV are reprehensible. There is no excuse for corrupting the Word of God this way and robbing God's people of precious passages dealing with the purity of the very words of Scripture.

2 Peter 1:20-21

    KJV "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."

    TEV "Above all else, however, remember that no one can explain by himself a prophecy in the Scriptures. For no prophetic message ever came just from the will of man, but men were under the control of the Holy Spirit as they spoke the message that came from God."

The perversion of the TEV rendering lies in subtle additions to the text. Note that the word "just" is added. The TEV reads, "no prophetic message ever came JUST from the will of man." This allows for man to have a part in inspiration, whereas the proper translation does not. The will of man is entirely omitted in the KJV reading, as it should be. God gave the Scripture; man penned it. The TEV rendering leaves room for all of the false views of inspiration so prevalent today. Even many who claim to be "evangelicals" deny that the Bible is the absolutely perfect Word of God. They want to allow for some error, for some fallibility. Many say foolish things such as that the Bible is inspired but not infallible; or that it is infallible but not inspired. Men have many clever ways of denying the absolute veracity of Scripture. But an accurate translation of Scripture proves them wrong. The Bible claims to be perfect, and it is!
 

See Section  A Remarkable Book Called The Bible

Also See   Is Private Interpretation Possible?
Does the phrase “no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20) mean that we can’t understand the Bible for ourselves?
 

CHAPTER FOUR THE GOOD NEWS BIBLE'S APOSTATE TRANSLATOR
The cause for the inaccuracy of the Good News Bible is the apostasy of its chief translator, Dr. Robert Bratcher. It is this man's apostasy which is reflected in the false renderings mentioned above. Following is a brief sketch of Dr. Bratcher's life, belief, and work.

Bratcher spent part of his early years in South America, the son of Southern Baptist missionary parents. Training in Southern Baptist theological institutions, Bratcher "took his undergraduate work at Georgetown College, then earned two graduate degrees from Southern Seminary." <Christian News (July 20, 1981).> In 1944, Bratcher received a Doctor of Theology degree from the main SBC seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. <Christian News (May 4, 1981), quoting a Religious News Service report.> He returned to Brazil as a missionary with the SBC, taught Greek and New Testament theology in a Baptist Seminary in Rio de Janeiro and also edited the "Questions & Answers" department of O Jornal Batista [The Baptist Journal], which is the official paper of the Brazilian Baptist Convention. It was in that column of July 9, 1953, that Bratcher said: "Jesus Christ would not enjoy omniscience. That is an attribute of God. ... Jesus did not claim He and the Father to be one--which would be absurd." <M.L. Moser, Jr., The Devil's Masterpiece (Little Rock: Challenge Press, 1970), p. 73.>

In a letter to Julius C. Taylor, July 16, 1970, Bratcher said, "Of course I believe what I wrote in the Journal Batista of July 9, 1953." <Donald T. Clarke, Bible Version Manual (Millersburg: Bible Truth Institute, 1975), p. 95.>

In 1957 Bratcher began working with the American Bible Society and became the chief translator for the Today's English Version. He also taught at Southern Seminary, the SBC school from which he received his first doctorate in 1944.

Though the TEV became immensely popular, little was known by the average Christian about its translator--at least not until March 1981 when some candid statements Bratcher made at a Southern Baptist Christian Life Commission seminar were given close media attention. According to Religious News Service, Bratcher cautioned those attending the seminar "not to speak in naive fashion about the authority of the Bible" since "only God's authority is inerrant." This is typical modernistic doublespeak. Bratcher "advised Christians against using isolated verses to affirm `the Bible says'." <Foundation (Fundamental Evangelistic Association, March-April 1981).>

Further quotes from Bratcher's speech were printed in the Baptist Press report written by Dan Martin, news editor, and printed in the Baptist Courier:

    "Only willful ignorance or intellectual dishonesty can account for the claim that the Bible is inerrant and infallible ... To invest the Bible with the qualities of inerrancy and infallibility is to idolatrize it, to transform it into a false god. ...

    "Often in the past and still too often in the present to affirm that the Bible is the Word of God implies that the words of the Bible are the words of God. Such simplistic and absolute terms divest the Bible altogether of its humanity and remove it from the relativism of the historical process. No one seriously claims all the words of the Bible are the very words of God. If someone does so it is only because that person is not willing thoroughly to explore its implications. ...

    "The Word of God is not words; it is a human being, a human life ... Quoting what the Bible says in the context of its history and culture is not necessarily relevant or helpful--and may be a hindrance in trying to meet and solve the problems we face. ...

    "We are not bound by the letter of Scripture, but by the spirit. Even words spoken by Jesus in Aramaic in the thirties of the first century and preserved in writing in Greek, 35 to 50 years later, do not necessarily wield compelling authority over us today. The focus of scriptural authority is not the words themselves. It is Jesus Christ as the Word of God who is the authority for us to be and to do.

    "As a biblical scholar, I view with dismay the misuse of scriptures by fundamentalists; as ... Christians we listen with alarm to the simpleminded diagnoses and the simplistic panaceas proposed with smug self assurance by Moral Majority people intent on curing the evils of this age." <The Baptist Courier, Apr. 2, 1981; the Courier is the South Carolina SBC state paper.>

He concluded his address by saying,

    "We are given authority by the Lord the Spirit to speak and to act, but we can never know in advance that we are doing the will of God. It is the height of presumption and arrogance to say, `I know this is God's will, and I am doing it.' No greater responsibility; no higher privilege is given to us than to hear and obey."

These openly apostate statements caused quite a stir among conservative Christians, so much so that the American Bible Society actually began losing financial support. A report of the events which followed is given in a report by Homer Duncan of Lubbock, Texas:

    "The American Bible Society was greatly embarrassed when Dr. Robert Bratcher, the principal translator [of the TEV] made the [previous] comments. ...

"Later Bratcher apologized for the `tone of his remarks' and said he `used language that was intemperate and that seemed to cast aspersions on those who do not agree with my position.'

    "He went on to say, `I deeply regret the language I used and I apologize to those who were offended by it.'

It should be noted that Bratcher only apologized for offending anyone, but did not apologize for the remarks themselves.

Shortly after Bratcher made these statements the American Bible Society issued the following news release:

    "`The American Bible Society wishes to state that it completely disassociates itself from the remarks made by Dr. Bratcher on that occasion and further states that in speaking as he did, Dr. Bratcher violated one of the Society's basic rules. The American Bible Society, from the day of its founding 165 years ago to the present moment, has made it a cardinal principle not to engage in theological debate nor make comment on the doctrinal positions of the churches and constituencies it seeks impartially to serve. The first article of its constitution states that "its only purpose shall be to promote the distribution of the Holy Scriptures without doctrinal note or comment"... The controversial remarks which Dr. Bratcher made in Dallas have caused grave concern among many Bible-believing and Bible-loving people throughout the nation for which we are deeply sorry, and we hasten to assure all friends of the Bible cause that the historic motivation and mission of the American Bible Society remains unchanged; namely, the wider distribution of the Holy Scriptures throughout the world, without note or comment, in the languages people speak and at prices they can afford to pay.'

    "Dr. Bratcher submitted his resignation as research assistant of the American Bible Society in a letter dated June 8th, stating: `Believing that the Bible cause which I love and which I have tried to serve in the years I have been associated with the American Bible Society will now best be served by my resignation from the ABS--I hereby submit my resignation.'

    "Even though the Bible Society has repudiated Dr. Bratcher's statement, they continue to promote and to sell the Good News Bible" <Homer Duncan, A Few Thoughts on Translations of the New Testament (Lubbock: MC International Publications), pp. 3-4.>

Further light into this situation is given by Robert L. Sumner in his report on the 1981 Southern Baptist Convention meeting:

    "The uproar following Bratcher's comments was so loud he was forced to apologize in a later press release for the `tone of his remarks,' saying he `used language that was intemperate and that seemed to cast aspersions on those who do not agree with my position.' As others have pointed out, he apologized only for offending people, not for the remarks themselves. In fact, the head of the SBC Christian Life Commission, Foy Valentine, declared, speaking of inerrancy ... `in light of the reigning heresy, I am glad he said that.'

    "Over two months after Bratcher made his statements in Dallas, and after the `society reportedly suffered severe financial losses (note this "key" to this action) since the Bratcher remarks, resulting among other things in a hiring freeze at its New York headquarters,' the ABS requested Bratcher's resignation. This action was announced in a press release on the opening day of the SBC meeting in Los Angeles and it is significant that Southern Baptists `contribute more to its work than do those of any other denomination.' Apparently expedience, not conviction, resulted in Bratcher's firing" <Robert L. Sumner, Christian News (July 20, 1981).>


THE BIBLE SOCIETY'S DUPLICITY IN CONDEMNING BRATCHER
There is no doubt whatsoever that expedience, not conviction, resulted in Bratcher's forced resignation from the American Bible Society. For proof we offer the following facts:

One, the American Bible Society did not condemn Bratcher's statements as heresy, but only expressed sorrow that some had been offended by those statements.

Two, the American Bible Society did not discontinue publication of the apostate translation which was produced by Bratcher and which reflects his theological heresies.

Three, many of the leaders and members of the American Bible Society continue to hold the same heresies as those stated by Bratcher in 1981, yet they remain in good standing within this organization because no public furor is made. This can easily be documented from our own files. In fact, we have provided much documentation along this line in our book, Unholy Hands on God's Holy Book, available from Way of Life Literature. See back cover of this book for ordering information.

Four, the American Bible Society published the Good News Bible with notes reflecting the same heretical views espoused by Bratcher at the 1981 SBC Christian Life Seminary:

    "This monstrously unreliable paraphrase [Bratcher's Good News Bible] has comments at the head of each book which are in harmony with the position about the Scriptures which Bratcher endorses. In his book, The Bible in the Balance, Lindsell says:

    "`These introductions are fully in line with the higher critical methodology which undercuts the trustworthiness of the Bible. The introductions are skillfully put together to brainwash the reader without his being aware of what is happening. For example, none of the material contained in the introductions to the Pentateuch gives the reader the faintest notion that any portion of the five books of Moses was written by Moses. The introduction to the Book of Isaiah plainly states there were three Isaiahs, and the two who wrote Isaiah 40-66 did so after the events prophesied actually took place. The Book of Daniel is late-dated at 168 B.C., after the events occurred which are prophesied in the book. None of the Gospels are said to have been written by Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. When it comes to the Pauline Epistles the readers will look in vain for any hint that Paul wrote Ephesians, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, or that Peter wrote 1 and 2 Peter.'" <Robert L. Sumner, Christian News (July 20, 1981).>

How strange for an organization to profess shock and concern at theological statements it has long approved and published!

Five, the American Bible Society was well aware of Bratcher's heretical views long before 1981. At least as early as 1953 Bratcher had denied Christ's deity, and in earlier statements he had denied the inerrancy of Scripture. The Bible Society knew Bratcher's theological views when they hired him.

An example of this is the following statement by Bratcher in 1968:

    "The New Testament scriptures were written to specific situations, at specific times, to specific groups or individuals and in response to some felt need. The New Testament writers probably never intended their work to be the gospel record of the future--so there is not a sterile order to the scriptures." <Dr. Robert Bratcher, The Baptist Courier (South Carolina Baptist Convention, February 22, 1968).>

Another example of Bratcher's public denial of the faith was evidenced in 1970 and reported by the secular media:

    "Translator for the controversial `Good News for Modern Man' told Furman University [a Southern Baptist institution] students that to keep the Bible locked up in its archaic language would be to disparage history and the medium through which God chose to speak." <The Greenville News (Greenville, SC, November 6, 1970).>

    "On November 5, 1970, after a lecture at Furman University, Dr. Bratcher talked with students: `Are there historical sections of the Bible that are sub-Christian?' asked a student.

    "`Certainly. Wishing that God would destroy one's enemies. You call that Christian?'

    "`You admit that the Bible has fallacies; then how is it valuable?' a student questioned.

    "`If we build our faith wholly on the Bible, then we are building our faith on shifting sand. We must follow the facts or there is nothing to believe. We cannot literally follow Jesus, only go in his direction'." <The Greenville News (November 8, 1970).>

In 1978 a report appeared in the Trinitarian Bible Society Quarterly Record, which again revealed Bratcher's apostate views:

    "[Christ's] miraculous birth obscured [in the TEV]. Matthew 1:25 `...till she had brought forth her firstborn son.' GNB [Good News Bible] omits `firstborn,' and so obscures the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14, `A virgin shall be with child.' It is significant that in an article in the `Bible Translator several years ago Dr. Bratcher, the chief translator, argued at length that Isaiah 7:14 should read `a young woman.' And so it is rendered in GNB, with an explicit footnote rejecting the translation `virgin'." <Quarterly Record (London: Trinitarian Bible Society, January-March 1978, No. 462).>

Obviously the American Bible Society knew of Bratcher's theological heresy long before 1981, yet the professed concern came only when there was a public outcry against some of his more blatant statements.

Six, Robert Bratcher has continued working with the United Bible Societies in the influential position of chief translations consultant.

FACT: The American Bible Society supplies approximately one-half of the operating expenses of the United Bible Societies overseas ministries. Thus the American Bible Society has continued to pay a large part of Bratcher's salary even though he no longer works directly under them.

According to the Trinitarian Bible Society Quarterly Record, "An ecumenical team has been working on a new Bible in Brazilian Portuguese, for Brazil. This is expected to be published shortly, to be followed by a second edition containing the Apocrypha. The most prominent member of the translation committee is the Rev. Dr. Robert Bratcher, who is a UBS international translation consultant. He was the chief translator of the English `Good News Bible'." <"Ecumenism and the United Bible Societies," Quarterly Record (London: Trinitarian Bible Society, October-December 1985), pp. 27-28.>

In my possession is the Bulletin of the United Bible Societies, No. 138139, 1985. The listing contained therein of the UBS Committee Membership for that year leaves no doubt regarding Bratcher's present official affiliation with the United Bible Societies. I will quote the relevant section titled "UBS Committee Membership (1985)":

    "The UBS is governed by a number of policy-making bodies. The UBS Council establishes the general policy of the UBS and reviews the actions of the General Committee and the progress of Bible Society work worldwide. The UBS General Committee between meetings of the Council formulates and reviews the general policy of the UBS. The General Committee appoints an Executive Committee from its own membership to act on its behalf to direct the general activities of the UBS and advises and directs the UBS staff. The Executive Committee appoints Sub-committees of the Executive Committee to carry out specific tasks at its request. The UBS Regional Committees develop and coordinate Bible Society policy in the region within the framework of global policy and make recommendations on all matters relating to the region to the appropriate committees and staff of the United Bible Societies.

    "UBS Council Chairman: Miss Alice E. Ball, USA UBS General Committee Chairman: The Rev. Hugo Mayr, Australia ... UBS Executive Committee Chairman: The Rev. James R. Payne MBE, Australia Global and Interregional Personnel Interregional Translation Consultants: The Rev. Dr. Robert G. Bratcher, USA The Rev. Dr. Barclay M. Newman, USA Dr. William L. Wonderley, USA"

We see from this that the entire business of Bratcher resigning from the American Bible Society and the Society's supposed concern about Bratcher's remarks was only politics. Nothing has changed. Bratcher continues to hold his damnable views of Christ and the Bible. The Bible Societies continue to support him, pay his salary, and employ him as a chief translations consultant in their work worldwide. They continue to print and promote the vile Today's English Version. They continue to reproduce it through translations into the major languages of the globe. These are the fearful facts.


THE ROOM PROBLEM: UNBELIEF AND UNREGENERACY
Bratcher held a question and answer session October 13, 1970, at the First Baptist Church, Spartanburg, South Carolina. Following are four of the questions and answers:

    Question: `Why did you leave out the blood of Jesus Christ in Romans 5:9 and 14 and other places?'
    Answer: `It is a matter of translation.'
    Question: `Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour?'
    Answer: Dr. Bratcher would not answer this question.
    Question: `Is the human heart by nature Man- centered or God-centered?'
    Answer: `Let us stick with questions about translation.'
    Question: `Is Jesus Christ God, or the same as God?'
    Answer: `Jesus is not the same personality as God.' <Donald T. Clarke, Bible Version Manual (Millersburg: Bible Truth Institute, 1975), pp. 9899.>

On October 15, 1970, Bratcher held a question and answer session at the First Baptist Church, North Augusta, South Carolina. Before anyone could ask a question, the group was advised they could not ask Bratcher questions relating to his theology. Following is one question asked him:

    Question: `If you should die, do you know you would go to heaven?'
    Answer: Dr. Bratcher would not answer this question.' <Donald T. Clarke, Bible Version Manual (Millersburg: Bible Truth Institute, 1975), pp. 9899.>

The Bible says, "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so ..." It is VERY strange for a Bible translator to refuse to testify to his salvation. The problem with many Christian leaders today, though, is that they have no salvation of which to testify.

The author of this study sat before the desk of a leader of the Bible Society of India in 1984. The leader's name was Mr. S. Biswas, and we were visiting the offices of the Bible Society of India in Calcutta. A friend was sitting beside me as we talked for several minutes with Mr. Biswas. He told us the Bible Society in India is distributing Scriptures containing the false Roman Catholic apocryphal books and showed us stacks and stacks of these which had arrived from the American Bible Society.

During the course of our conversation, I asked Mr. Biswas when he was saved, when he was born again. He sort of chuckled and replied, "No, no. Not like that. In fact, I am a third generation Christian, as my grandfather as well as my own father were Christians." He had no testimony of the saving power of Jesus Christ in his own life, but felt he was a Christian simply because his parents and grandparents were Christians. He listened politely as I told him how I was saved at age 23 after having grown up in a Christian home, yet such personal experience of the new birth was foreign to his own life. By the way, Biswas means "faith." How said that a man with such a name, a man who is a leader in a society which promotes the production and distribution of the Bible, has never been saved! Yet, as many others could testify, this is the sad condition of a great number of Bible Society leaders and workers. They have "churchianity," and Christianity as a religion. They have been baptized and confirmed. But they do not know Christ in His saving power.

See Section The Contemporary Church

My God open the eyes of many today of these fearful facts about Bible translation work, and may many take an open and bold stand against such error. For more information about the work of the United Bible Societies, we recommend the book, Unholy Hands on God's Holy Book.

We urge our readers to avoid the Good News Bible and to be careful not to give money to support its distribution. Many popular evangelical organizations support and distribute it, often without saying they are standing behind a liberal paraphrase. Be careful that you do not support its distribution unawares. Remember that the American Bible Society and the United Bible Societies are the owners and largest promoters of apostate Bibles.

For those who desire to support faithful Bible translation work, we recommend the following organizations:

Bearing Precious Seed,
 First Baptist Church, 745 Center Street, Milford, OH 45150
Trinitarian Bible Society,
39 Caldwell Crescent, Brampton, Ontario L6W 1A2, Canada
Russian Bible Society,
159 Davenport Road, Asheville, NC 28806

Bible-Candle-Back

 To Bible Controversies

www.inplainsite.org