The Glory Has Departed

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I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Sunday, May 24, 2015

WELS Makes the NNIV Official

The NNIV is the #1 choice of synodical maggots.


WELS Makes it Official: All WELS congregations shall use NIV2011

NIV 2011 and filthy lucre
If they intend to use the new hymnal, that is.

As pointed out by commenters earlier this week, in our post Washington Post Editorial: The trick isn’t to make church cool; it’s to keep worship weird., by Dr. Jackson late yesterday on his blog, Ichabod, the Glory has Departed, and to me personally by concerned WELS laymen, the WELS Hymnal Project has standardized the new WELS hymnal on the NIV 2011. The Spring 2015 Director’s Update of the WELS Hymnal Project, issued May 10, 2015, by Project Director Michael Schultz, states this directly in the section entitled “Scripture Committee (SC)” – a committee of the Project chaired by Rev. Jonathan Schroeder – in the following words:
    [T]he Scripture Committee drafted a translation rubric that was approved at the first meeting of the XC [“Translation Committee” – which is also the “Scripture Committee” according to this update] in September of 2013. Their rubric followed the eclectic choice method which was approved at the 2013 synod convention. The primary working translation of the project is NIV2011, with NIV1984 serving as the backup choice where there are weaknesses or deficiencies that require changes. Since the time that resolution was approved, it has been established that NIV1984 won’t be available as a backup choice, so the committee will be bringing an updated recommendation for a backup translation... The SC reviewed all scripture references or strong scriptural allusions in the CW line of products (not including psalms). Of just under 200 instances, it identified four instances where it recommended replacing NIV2011 with NIV1984. Similarly, the PC has compared both of the NIV translations of all CW/NSS/CWOS/CWS psalmody, marking those places where changes may be necessary.

For those readers wondering what the term “eclectic” might possibly mean when applied to a Synod publication project, the statistic presented here, in Schultz’ Spring Update, ought to make that clear. Firstly, “eclectic” means either NIV2011 or NIV1984. Period. Recall, however, that the NIV2011 was touted by the Translation Evaluation Committee (TEC) – not to be confused with the Translation Committee (XC) mentioned in the Update – as being “92% identical to the NIV1984”; so, one has every right ask “How ‘eclectic’ is it, really, to limit oneself to these two choices?” (and for more helpful statistics on NIV2011 vs NIV1984, look at the Slowley and Dyer links under the ISSUES WITH NIV 2011 resources in the right hand column).

The approval of all translations was a smokescreen
to approve the NNIV.
Schroeder's complete lack of spine was evident.

But secondly, “eclectic” apparently requires that, if the balance is cited entirely from NIV2011, only four out of 200 “scriptural allusions” contained in a Synod publication need to be cited from NIV1984. Let’s see... if only (4 ÷ 200) x 100 =2% of all “scriptural allusions” come from a non-NIV2011 source, even the same non-NIV2011 source, well then, the “threshold of eclecticism” has been reached, and thus also full compliance with the resolutions of Synod in Convention. Yes. Two Percent is, without a doubt, manifest eclecticism according to WELS publishers... And it is very consistent with the “eclectic choice method which was approved at the 2013 Synod convention” – which turned out to be only the first step toward eliminating choices other than NIV2011 altogether. Literally. Five percent is the general threshold of statistical significance. Two percent, however, isn’t statistically significant at all. In fact, it might just as well be zero.

Thus, for those congregations choosing to use the new hymnal (apparently estimated at around 95% of WELS congregations, according to the Update), there will be no way to avoid using “Today’s” NIV2011 as a basis of their worship, even if they want to.

To be fair, the Update didn’t exactly say that only four verses would be sourced from NIV1984 instead of NIV2011, it said that of the 200 verses used in the current hymnal, NIV2011 did such an unacceptable job translating four of them, that, out of the gate, they recommended a different translation be used in those specific cases. They are apparently ambivalent about the rest, so, perhaps, of the remaining 196 verses, maybe they will cite 50% from NIV1984 and 50% from NIV2011. Again, given that NIV1984 and NIV2011 are “92% identical,” how eclectic would a 50/50 split be, in reality?

Missional Hymnal
The Missional Hymnal.
It's already been done...
The Update also said that these numbers only accounted for “scriptural allusions” in the hymnal, and specifically excluded the Psalter. Now, this is something worth salivating over. Perhaps they are actively debating the return of the greatest poetry ever published in the English language to contemporary Lutheran hymnals? Perhaps they will shock the Lutheran world by actually rendering the Psalms in the memorable cadences and phraseology of the mighty King James Version? Now THAT would be eclectic, would it not? Perhaps... But, alas!, it shall never be. The Update, under the section entitled “Psalmody Committee (PC),” indicates that NIV1984 and NIV2011 are the only two versions they are inclined to consider for the Psalter:
    [T]his review has included looking at all the differences between NIV2011 and NIV1984. Beyond that, the thinking of the Psalmody Committee has been shaped to the point that the members have come to a general consensus as far as their approach is concerned... The PC’s consensus is to [retain] the musically stronger refrains and tones and “[freshen] up” (tweaking or replacing) refrains and tones that have perhaps become tired or haven’t gained much traction.
At the same time, the Update, under the section entitled “Scripture Committee (SC),” suggests that a Psalter may not even be included with the new hymnal:
    Something that has not been determined is how much of the scriptures will actually be published in connection with the hymnal project. If a complete Psalter is published... then all the psalms would be in play.
Finally, it should be noted (again, according to the Update), the publication of the new WELS hymnal is planned to roughly coincide with the 500th Anniversary of the first Lutheran hymnal ever published – a collection of eight hymns, canticles and a Psalm, four of them by Luther – as some sort of commemoration, one would suppose. A hymnal based on a gender-inclusive post-Modern translation of the Bible that cannot be quoted throughout because of its apparent deficiencies. A hymnal that may or may not include a Psalter. A hymnal that will include who knows what else... I guess the Lutheran world will just have to wait and see.


Anonymous said...
I am no fan of NIV2011, so I'm not coming from a position of defending that. But this editorial is terribly slanted against the hymnal project. Like it or not, NIV84 has become the accepted standard in our churches. That's where we are in WELS today. So in places where NIV11 reads exactly the same as NIV84, it would be jarring to go with another translation. In the cases where NIV11 is different than NIV84, then something else will be considered. As I read the update, that "something else" is still to be determined. To say that the whole hymnal is somehow going to force congregations to accept NIV11 is misleading and inaccurate. At this early stage, I would plan to have my congregation use the new hymnal. I never plan on having my congregation use NIV11.

Just as misleading is the suggestion that this new hymnal might not include any Psalms. The update seems pretty clear that there will be Psalms in the new hymnal: "A similar number of pages for psalmody is envisioned in the next pew edition" (first line of p.6). They seem to be considering, in addition to the selected Psalms that will be printed in the pew edition of the hymnal, publishing a complete Psalter with every verse of all 150 Psalms. I guess I view that as a good thing.

Much has been made here at IL about the inroads that Evangelical worship is making in our circles. Many of us here decry that, as do I. The guys working on this new hymnal are on our side. I cannot repeat that strongly enough. They are on our side of this discussion. Tossing out misleading attacks and inaccurate accusations will not provide them with the encouragement they could use.

Rik Krahn
Anonymous said...
One point I believe the paper mentioned that the NIV1984 could not be used as the secondary resource and so they would have to find another secondary resource.

Also a serious question which I do not understand and for which I have not really heard a good explanation. Why is the NKJV always left out of the conversation when our WELS committee's discuss Bible Versions?

Lee Liermann
Anonymous said...
Regarding Mr. Krahn's comments "In the cases where NIV11 is different than NIV84, then something else will be considered.", what the update said was "The primary working translation of the project is NIV2011, with NIV1984 serving as the backup choice where there are weaknesses or deficiencies that require changes." But we were told by the advocates of the 2011 NIV, that is, the TEC, that there were no differences or "weaknesses" of sufficient concern to prevent the 2011 NIV from being used in the WELS. So then, under what circumstances would the 2011 NIV not be used? I think the answer is obvious.

The advocates of the 2011 NIV were supposed to be on our side too, whichever side our side is. So when I hear that the hymnal committee is on our side, I have to wonder which side our side is.

And like Mr. Liermann, I also wonder why the NKJV was never in the conversation. Our congregation did a more in depth comparison of Bible translations then any other congregation that I am aware of, and where there were difference between the NIV1984 and the 2011 NIV, NKJV was quite similar to the NIV1984 in most of the cases.

Anonymous said...
Pastor Krahn - Thank you for your comments. I have followed some of the discussion you and a number of fellow Pastor's have had on the WELS Discussions website, I have even brought up to my Pastor and Board of Elders your paper regarding confirmation - so I respect your opinion and generally agree with you. So I would be interested to get your take on a few questions I have.

I have been a constant provider of feedback to the Hymnal Committee, (whether they like it or not.), usually sending them a comment whenever they put out an update. I have even received a reply or two to some of my comments. I am hopefully that the new hymnal will be an improvement but - I have serious doubts that is possible when the preferred translation will come from the NIV2011.

Does this not point to the flaw in the last Synod Convention vote not selecting a version at all? That vote allowed publishing and the various Synod committees to default to the NIV2011 - as we have seen. Perhaps it is not as widespread as I perceive but I have seen the NIV2011 used in religion class materials (Christ Light), a Children's Christmas Service and who knows what else where it is not noticed. So how do you plan to keep the NIV2011 from becoming the normative for your congregation when the materials coming out of NPH are using the NIV2011?

Yes the NIV1984 probably is the material many younger WELS members are used to and many older members have probably become used to it as well (though I still catch myself wanting to say things like "meet, right and salutatory so to do." Back to the point - do you really think it would be that great of a culture shock to use something other than the NIV2011 for the new Hymnal? I don't think it would be that great a shock and much more comforting if replaced with a trustworthy translation?

Personally I use the KJV and the NKJV and have my children do their memory work using one of those two versions. Why has the NKJV never been seriously considered as the translation of record for the Synod? It would seem to bridge the gap between the older generations and the younger generations, is trustworthy and more accurate.

Lee Liermann

Dr. Joseph Jewell said...
Mr. Liermann,

The short answer as to why the NKJV wasn't seriously considered (I'll let Pastor Krahn give the long one, if he wishes) is that the Seminary faculty's current thinking (and thus the thinking of most WELS pastors younger than a certain age) is that any translation based upon the Textus Receptus (e.g. the KJV, NKJV, Lutherbibel) is inferior to a translation based upon modern critical scholarship (e.g. the NIV84, NIV2011, HCSB).

Given that the WELS quite happily used the KJV for decades (not to mention the Lutherbibel line, based like the KJV on the Textus Receptus, in German worship for a century or more), the view that translations in this line are so inherently flawed as to not even be considered is obviously fairly new to our circles. Judging by the vintage of the WELS pastors who hold these views most strongly, my estimate is that this new emphasis on the inferiority of TR-based translations was in full swing by the 1980s, probably either concurrent with or in support of the effort to ditch the KJV for the original NIV.