Wineskins Archive

December 9, 2013

The Voice: Translation True to Christ (Apr 2012)

Filed under: — @ 10:30 am and

By Edward Fudge

Like feathers in the wind, gossip is scattered and never recovered again. The same can be said of “news” that gets the story wrong. And it does not matter whether the misrepresentation is intentional and malicious, or accidental and based on ignorance. My friend and gracEmail subscriber Dr. David Capes learned this the hard way recently, after a misguided reporter launched a horrible falsehood in USA TODAY. Then CNN repeated the misrepresentation, spreading it even more. Now the untruth has hit the realm of blogdom, where zealous scribes roam unpatrolled, like gunshooters in the Old West spreading both havoc and order.

You should know that my friend David Capes is a highly respected professor of theology at Houston Baptist University, and an elder at Ecclesia, the Houston church pastored by Chris Seay, who is also my friend and a gracEmail subscriber. Anyone who knows David Capes even slightly knows that he loves Jesus, preaches Jesus, and serves Jesus. In the scholarly world, he is recognized as an advocate of an early high christology, which means he urges that the New Testament’s view of Jesus as incarnate Son of God did not evolve over a long period of time but reflects the belief of Jesus’ followers from the first. Which means that Dr. David Capes, as lead scholar for The Voice, a Bible translation just released by publishing company Thomas Nelson, would never take Christ out of the Bible, as the news media mentioned above ignorantly charged, and as some good folks are naively repeated across the internet.

So what’s the real deal? Simply this. The Greek word for “anointed one” is christos–“Christ” in English–the most familiar title associated with Jesus in the New Testament. Jesus Christ. But it is precisely that, a title, not a last name like “Capes” or “Fudge.” So when David and his fellow scholars came upon the Greek word christos while translating the Voice–a version intended for regular folks unfamiliar with theological words and technical Greek terms–they actually translated christos and said “the anointed one,” or “God’s Anointed,” instead of simply spelling the Greek word in English letters by substituting the word “Christ.”

Leave out Jesus? “Nonsense!” says Dr. Capes. Jesus is “the central figure of the New Testament.” This whole fiasco reminds us that you cannot believe everything in the news. And hopefully it reminds Christian bloggers to check facts before repeating stories by people we do not know. If you forwarded the misrepresentation to anyone, I urge you to send them this correction. Even if you did not help spread the falsehood, I urge you to help counter with truth by sending out this gracEmail to everyone on your list. Let’s help believers get a reputation for accuracy in reporting. The air is too cluttered with feathers and rumors as it is. Those of us who profess to follow God’s Anointed One–who claimed also the titles of Truth and Light–surely can do no less!

Copyright 2012 by Edward Fudge. You are urged to reproduce, reprint or forward this gracEmail, but only in its entirety, without change and without financial profit.

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