inclusive bibleBecause I am a bookseller, I spend many hours searching catalogs, reviews, and sample books. I receive thousands of notices about new titles each month, and not a few samples which must be evaluated. I refer to it as the monthly “needle-in-a-haystack” search. Even limiting ourselves to children’s books in the categories of history and historical fiction, the volume is still close to overwhelming.

Still, although much of the work is just “work,” it is punctuated with the joy of finding (with some regularity) a new book that’s worth reading and recommending.

And then there are the moments when something crosses my desk that stops me dead in my tracks. Such was the case today when I turned the page of a new book release catalog and stumbled upon the description and material for The Inclusive Bible, billed as the “First Egalitarian Translation.” It is being published by Sheed and Ward, an imprint of the Littlefield Publishing Group. The translation itself was done by an obscure group called Priests for Equality affiliated with Catholics Speak Out, which is one of the projects of the Quixote Center in Hyattsville, MD. Got all that? Short version: its a bunch of very left-of-center dissident catholic activists.

The background to The Inclusive Bible is just as telling. According to their own web site, it began in 1988 when Priests for Equality received permission to use “inclusive language texts” developed by Dignity, San Francisco. And yes, Dignity, San Francisco is exactly what you imagine it to be.

The resulting “translation” is enough to make one want to rent one’s garments and pronounce the charge, “blasphemy.” Sackcloth and ashes would also be appropriate.

Here are two sample texts:

John 8:3:

New American Standard: “And the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery …”

Inclusive New Testament: “A couple had been caught in the act of adultery, though the scribes and Pharisees brought only the woman …”

Colossians 3:18-19:

New American Standard: “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be embittered against them.”

Inclusive New Testament: “You who are in committed relationships, be submissive to each other. This is your duty in Christ Jesus. Partners joined by God, love each other. Avoid any bitterness between you.”

The Colossians text in particular betrays the underlying goal of the “translation” – a version which is not just politically correct and pro-feminist, but also gay-friendly. I’d really like to see what they do with Romans 1:24-28, but I don’t want to spend $25.

Sadly, the New Testament version of these “translations” has been around for over ten years now, and I have found university courses, seminary courses, and mainline denominations citing and using them.

Debased culture, debased language, debased and adulterated scriptures.

We live in perilous times. The clearly discernible agenda is to make biblical Christianity unfashionable, and then illegal. Twenty years ago, that would have sounded far-fetched. But each fresh hell has moved us closer to the firestorm/collapse.

God help us!

-Rob Shearer
  Director, Schaeffer Study Center

I chose the title thinking it was a quote from Shakespeare. I am informed that its actually a witticism from Dorothy Parker.