Ichabod explores the Age of Apostasy, predicted in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, with an emphasis on UOJ, Church Growth, and Emergent Church heresies. The antidote to these poisons is trusting the efficacious Word in the Means of Grace. John 16:8. Most readers are WELS, LCMS, ELS, or ELCA. This blog also covers the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, and the mainline denominations.
[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?
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.