AN ANNOUNCEMENT TO CHURCH LEADERS AND CONGREGATIONS IN TURKEY

As known, towards the end of 2011 a translation of Matthew’s Gospel was published and put on sale under the title of “The Meaning of the Glorious Injil from the Pen of the Apostle Matthew” generally known as ‘A translation for the religious’.

Since 2007, written and verbal communications in connection with this translation have been continuing at the initiative of the organizers of this translation project and at the request of our Council of Representatives. Following these exchanges, it was established that this translation used a number of terms which were harmful to the basic doctrines and concepts of Christian belief. And so in order to avoid Turkish speaking people, whether Christians or non-Christians, from being exposed to wrong teachings and misunderstandings, the translation committee was asked to change the points which, it was felt, were undermining Christian theology.

In the period that followed, the committee working on this translation project took notice of our views on these sensitive points and made some changes and furthermore included the original Greek text and its literal Turkish equivalent in the publication. However, they did not take into consideration our concerns and warnings about words vital to Christian belief and used adverse terms such as ‘God’s representative’ instead of ‘Son of God’, ‘Mevla (Protector/Helper)’ for Father and ‘Repentance ablutions’ for ‘Baptism’ in their translation. In short, our warnings about this project that it was obviously going to open the way to great problems came to nothing and unfortunately the translation of Matthew’s Gospel containing these errors appeared on sale.

We all, of course, want the Holy Scriptures to be read and understood by every sector of society.  The translations produced by the Bible Society in the first half of the 20th Century are excellent in being true to historical Christian theology and also excellent for people who expect and understand classical religious expressions. The translation committee was reminded of this and it was explained to them that the ‘Translation for the religious’ would bring great harm than good. While it is desirable for different groups of people to understand the Injil, the undermining of basic theological teaching will only open the way to greater problems and confusion. Those responsible for this translation are aware of our serious concerns about this since the dialogue between us is ongoing and must continue to be. For this reason, we are expecting them to change the misleading words in their translation.

In conclusion, as leaders of local Protestant churches that are members of the Alliance of Protestant Churches, we find in the afore-named publication, the misleading translations of these very important and foundational New Testament terms to be wrong and extremely adverse. We stress the need to change these terms and wish to inform all churches and their congregations that we find this translation that presents the Injil in corrupt terms, to be unacceptable and unusable and that we most certainly cannot approve of it.

With our respects,

The Alliance of Protestant Churches (TeK)

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4 thoughts on “AN ANNOUNCEMENT TO CHURCH LEADERS AND CONGREGATIONS IN TURKEY

  1. Pingback: Turkey’s government is concerned about deceptive practices of some western missionaries | HaMilim

  2. Pingback: Smoke, Mirrors, and Misdirection in Bible Translation | HaMilim

  3. The dangers posing the church of today (in the USA anyway) is the church itself. Intolerance and self righteousness, greed and conservatism, glorification of Capitalism, lies based on political party views, demonizing of individuals, alienation of intellectual thinkers and scientific types, seeing themselves as being persecuted even while striving to remove the rights of others, slanders about certain world leaders, and out right lies told to youth groups within the church. The inability to respect research and analytical studies regarding the Bible. Being divisive and in opposition to Jesus teachings about how to relate to those we love as well as those we call our enemies. All of these things I have been a direct witness to in my short journey as a Christian in what we call the Bible belt. If you ask me what is the most severe threat to the church these days? It is the church itself.

    • James,

      Just to be clear, this is an English translation of a Turkish document written for the Turkish church. This letter was the response of the Turkish church to its own members when some western missionaries armed with their “research and analytical studies” of the bible refused to listen the concerns expressed by the Turkish church regarding new ideas that western missionaries were proposing about what ministry should look like in Turkey. Thomas Cosmades, one of the most respected NT scholars from Turkey, was among those who raised his concerns with the translation and missiology practices being introduced by these western missionary agencies.

      I also think it is important to realize that demonizing far too often goes both ways and it is always wrong regardless of which side is engaging in it. It is a mistake to not recognize that there truly are many gifted intellectual thinkers and scientific types that are involved in real research and analytical studies of the Bible and still hold very conservative views. They are not anti-scientific nor are they anti-intellectual and their rejection of the opposing views of other scholars is based on well-reasoned arguments and not ignorance. We should remember that it is frequently those, on both sides, who most loudly herald the accusation of intellectual incompetence that themselves demonstrate intellectual incompetence by refusing to consider any evidence that would require them to reexamine their own hypothesis.

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