World Magazine: heresy by implication

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Update: Apparently, even though some seem to have understood what I meant from the outset, others did not. I'm not going to remove any words, but I'll clarify in brackets, in a few places at length.

I'm de-linking World Magazine's blog, and I'm encouraging anyone who feels strongly enough about this to do the same. There's a fairly reputable view that the English language has no semantically gender-neutral but grammatically masculine terms. I think that's true of the dialects of most people I interact with on a daily basis, though I don't think it's true of every native English speaker. They think the view is false altogether [and have a history of very harsh comments to the effect that those pursuing translations according to this view are pursuing an anti-Christian agenda].

I have no problem with that view [though their language has been way over the top in the past]. I disagree with the views expressed on that site from time to time. That won't stop a link. Most of the sites I link to express views I disagree with. One of the reasons I wanted to link to them is because I really like Gene Veith, who posts there regularly, and Marvin Olasky was the source of what George Bush calls compassionate conservatism, which I think is generally the right sort of view to take and why I like him so much. It really came from George Will, but Bush got it from Olasky. [I should also say that they're one of the best news sources in the Christian blogosphere, largely because of the amount of content.]

[I've had trouble with some of what authors on their site and in their magazine have said in the past, which has now and then seemed a bit too over the top in a way that can easily offend non-believers on non-gospel issues, and this happens way too often for me to consider my links to them to be anything more than tenuous.]

[There's also the issue of the level of trolling that goes on at the site, which I supposed they could do something about but don't consider it as important as I do. They have banned at least one person, a racial segregationist who claims biblical support for his position and converted every discussion to his own pet issues, which was the original reason I de-linked them maybe about a year ago and then linked to them again when they had banned that particular commenter.]

[In my experience, at least on posts that have interested me enough to look at the comments, something like a third of the comments at their site are from people who hate Christians or at least hate evangelicals. Another third maybe consists of reactionary religious right types who have been spoon-fed beliefs and have no arguments to back up what they say. The other third are careful enough thinkers who discuss things reasonably, though not always with views I agree with. The low signal-to-noise ratio in the comments is why my tenuous confidence in linking to them is so easily shaken. This is the second instance when the tenuous nature of my desire to have links to them is broken by something that just goes way too far.]

The reason I've removed my two links to them (in two different categories -- Christian and conservative) is because one of the writers at the site has a post up today equating the somewhat controversial view about language (which is the only issue the people with the magazine differ with the TNIV translators on) with being anti-Christian. [See the comments below for a link to the post. It defeats the purpose of de-linking them if I'm going to link directly to the entry, so the arguments from people who say I should have linked to the post just baffle me.]

[Here is the context for those who don't want to go to the World site to read it yourself. Rolling Stone magazine wouldn't run an ad for the TNIV, claiming it doesn't run religious ads. The religious right complained and called it persecution, insulting millions of genuinely persecuted people. World covered this. Now it turns out Rolling Stone will run the ad after all. At the end of the post giving factual information on this, the World intern said, "Considering the TNIV�s gender-inclusive language, Rolling Stone�s anti-Christian agenda may yet realize some fruit." In context, this seems pretty clearly to indicate that the gender-inclusive language of the TNIV will now ironically be achieving the magazine's anti-Christian agenda even though they had viciously opposed the ad. What follows assumes that interpretation, which seems to me to be by far the most natural one.]

[RazorKiss's comments below and at other sites seem to me to produce an alternate interpretation. It took me reading three different explanations of his interpretation and then directly attempting to read each sentence of the World post in this way to see how the words of the post could possibly mean what he's saying they obviouly mean. I can now see that this is a possible interpretation. If the original author explains that this is what he meant, all that follows is not about his post at all, and I will retract it. I don't expect that that's the case, and most readers of his post seem to agree with me, which makes me think my interpretation is the more natural one. Given the principle of charity, I will wait until the original author has more to say before either retracting or continuing to uphold my comments. More on that as and if it develops.]

I'm sorry, but I don't see anything about whether the English language has gender-neutral pronouns of a certain sort when I look through the Bible to seek to understand the gospel. This kind of division is very close to the kind the New Testament repeatedly condemns, because it raises a dispute that's quite literally about words to the level of the gospel. Unless they apologize for this, I will not promote them as Christian [i.e. I will not send readers from my site, many of whom are not Christians, to that site as one that I will tell them is uncontroversially representative of Christianity], because their site's portrayal of what the gospel is just doesn't coincide with what the Christian gospel really is [not that I'm saying they don't believe the gospel, just that there's a clear statement there that unintentionally implies something at odds with the content of the gospel, according to what seems to me to be the most natural interpretation].

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SmartChristian reports. So a writer for World Magazine Blog linked to the story about Rolling Stone reversing its decision on running the TNIV advert, and concluded with this sentence, "Considering the TNIV’s gender-inclusive language, Rolling Sto... Read More

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One of the bloggers on World Magazine's blog made this unfortunate remark about the TNIV translation of the Bible, "Considering the TNIV’s gender-inclusive language, Rolling Stone’s anti-Christian agenda may yet realize some fruit." We *are... Read More

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I'm sorry, but I don't see anything about whether the English language has gender-neutral pronouns of a certain sort when I look through the Bible to seek to understand the gospel. This kind of division is very close to the kind the New Testament repeatedly condemns, because it raises a dispute that's quite literally about words to the level of the gospel.

World has a long history with this issue. In their opinion it is not just a matter of changing pronouns but corrupting the meaning of the text. Christians can certainly dispute the validity of that claim (though I think World is right) but if its true then it is, in a sense, anti-Christian." After all, we can�t even begin to understand the meaning of the Gospel if its meaning is being corrupted by playing linguistic games.

You haven't linked to whatever it is you are refering to--and I think I might understand why--but that means I don't have a very good idea what it is you are saying.

If I can't find the World post, then I really can't understand the issue.

I think you have a good point, and I disagree with Joe. It's certainly WRONG to change the meaning of the Biblical text (if that's what's going on). But is it anti-Christian? Well, take another example: it's wrong to lie. But is it anti-Christian? It doesn't seem useful to me to describe it as anti-Christian, as it makes it sound like anyone who lies isn't a Christian. But since Christians sin, too, this is obviously false. Christians OUGHT not lie, just as they ought not change the meaning of the Bible (if in fact that's what's going on), but presumably someone can be a Christian and sin by doing either of those.

So, what, then, does it mean to say they're anti-Christian? I don't think it's usefully applied here.

I would only say someone is anti-Christian if they oppose Christianity (the gospel, particularly) or Christians generally (i.e. refuse to hire Christians or something). As much as I disagree with using supposedly gender-neutral language in a Bible translation, I don't think that is out-and-out opposition of the gospel message, so I'd hesitate to call it anti-Christian. Anti-tradition, maybe, or maybe just plain stupid (we could argue about that), but anti-Christian? Show me where it says that in the Bible.

That doesn't mean I support the translation. I don't. I think it's a mistake. But Jeremy's right: The Bible itself doesn't say anything like, "Anyone who tries to translate this text with gender neutral language will be eternally condemned."

There are enough people who think that Christianity is primarily about obedience to certain ethical teachings already, without World encouraging that idea.

Just one more thought: If you don't see World's comment as a problem, how would be if they said this: "Anyone who promotes the TNIV translation is not a Christian." I think that's obviously something they have no right to say, and similarly, "Anyone who promotes the TNIV translation is opposed to Christianity." But how is the latter one different from what they actually said? (Promoting the TNIV fits with Rolling Stone's anti-Christian agenda). They're saying that promoting the TNIV is anti-Christian -- in other words, no Christian would promote the TNIV. Even if they're right and the TNIV is stupid (which seems like a fairly sticky issue -- hardly a given -- now that I've read Jeremy's previous posts) it seems possible that Christians might make a mistake and support it.

This reminds me of another statement I detest. People say, sometimes, "No one can be a liberal and a Christian at the same time." (I suppose you could also say this by saying, "Modern liberalism is anti-Christian". Generally speaking, I don't like modern liberalism, and I think it goes against what the Scripture teaches in many places -- but what if the thief crucified next to Jesus who repented was a liberal? After he repented, Jesus said, "Surely you will be with me today in paradise." There was no conversation about politics. They died. The thief had become a Christian.
True Christianity will affect someone's political views, I think. But this probably usually happens over time, by study of the Word, etc. And I certainly have no right to say that no one can be a liberal and a Christian -- just as much as I have no right to say that no one who lies can be a Christian (lying is a sin, but Christians sin), or even worse, no one who eats carrots can be a Christian (eating carrots isn't a sin -- but suppose I've somehow made up my mind that I ought not eat carrots for some reason...).

This is dangerous. Let's not go there. World is wrong to speak that way.


Have you read "The Word of God in English" by Leland Ryken? If so, I'd be interested in your thoughts.

Okay, I found it. I'm not sure the WORLD writer is meaning to what you think he's saying. It seems he may just be a little careless in his language while trying to be funny.

I do agree with you that if he intends to say that the TNIV is anti-Christian, then he's wrong. Anti-Christian would mean (at least to me) that there is an intent to distort what the Bible says. Even if the TNIV does, in fact, distort the true meaning of scripture, surely that is not the intent of the translation. The intent is rather to bring out the true meaning of scripture.

Whether the translation succeeds at that or distorts the true meaning instead is a matter for debate, but it seems just plain wrong to call it anti-Christian unless one believes it is a purposeful attempt to change the true meaning of the Bible. You can call it misguided, or foolish, or even just plain wrong, but you can't rightly call it anti-Christian.

However, that said, I'd like to understand better exactly why you think this is the sort of issue that a blog should be de-linked over.

So to show World that it's wrong to declare others anti-Christian and that they are causing "divisions" you're going to publicly declare that their position is anti-Christian and divide yourself from them by not linking to them?

Andrew, that's not what I said. I said their site has a false portrayal of what the gospel is. I don't think the magazine intended that, and I don't think the writer intended that. If they apologize, I will reinstitute my link to them. Otherwise, I will take them not to care if someone posted something on their blog that entails that the gospel includes a technical issue in linguistics on which they take the minority view.

Rusty, I've not read it, but from what Craig Blomberg says in his review that I did read, I think I'd be disappointed with what he says on this issue.

Rebecca, I agree that the writer means to be funny, and I agree that he was being careless. I'm complaining about what he said and about what it implies. This isn't the sort of thing to make jokes about. David M. has explained better than I could why I think it has the consequences I said it does.

As for de-linking them, they already walk a fine line. I hesitate to link to them anyway, because it's not the sort of site I want to steer those reading my blog who aren't believers toward. There are a lot of nuts there. The comments were often as bad a signal-to-noise ratio as 2/5, long before they got as high in the Ecosystem as they now are, and I usually just don't want to look at the comments at all nowadays. The posters themselves also hold positions I consider quite extreme and not representative of evangelicalism as I know it, not just on this issue but on a few others.

I linked to it out of respect for Gene Veith and because I appreciate Olasky's role in shaping George Bush's views in some of the areas where I really like what he's done and said. It doesn't take much to send me over the edge so that I'm not linking to them. I've done it before when they wouldn't ban Badonicus the racist, who monopolized every discussion thread and turned it to be about his issues with how race-mixers are evil and Jews and Judaio-Christians (Christians who like Jews) are not Christians. When they finally banned him, I linked to them again. I don't intend this to be permanent. I intend that when they apologize for the uncareful language, I will link to them again. I truly hope they care about this.

Joe, I think there's a confusion here. It's one thing to hold a view that ends up having a consequence that conflicts with important Christian teachings but not to know that. That's not really being anti-Christian. I think this is true of Arminianism (in its more extreme form), but I don't consider Arminians to have rejected the gospel. They don't see that one or two of their views might lead to that if followed to their logical conclusion.

My argument is that the TNIV view, even if has consequences that deny the gospel, would be the way I consider Arminianism to be. I don't think the TNIV view even has consequences that deny the gospel or even any important Christian doctrines. Complementarians like Craig Blomberg and D.A. Carson insist that American English is more accurately translated (in one respect) in the TNIV way, and I think there's something to that. Almost every change from the NIV changes the meaning no more than to supply an English pronoun for a subject when the Greek has no subject at all except what the verb implies. Even out of the rest, I'm not aware of even one change from the NIV that affects doctrine in any serious way, and any passage that might be purported to be changed in meaning in the TNIV is not going to affect gospel issues or even positions on gender roles, largely because other passages state those doctrines as clearly in the TNIV as they are in the RSV, ESV, NASB, or whatever other translation you prefer.

Okay, that helps. I think I understand a little more why you de-linked them. I have my issues with them as well, but I always thought that was just because I was an uptight liberal Canadian. :)

Anyway, thank you for taking the time to explain....

I have to disagree with you, for one simple reason: How the sentence is constructed.

It doesn't match what I was told to expect. It doesn't match your description, when I read it. I don't even read World Mag - so I don't care either way - but I dislike a big ado about nothing.

Rolling Stone's agenda in deciding to not run that ad was, indeed, anti-Christian. The sentence structure used clearly denotes that the subject of the "anti-Christian" statement, was, in fact, Rolling Stone. They are anti-Christian because their worldview is antithetical to Christianity, and their decision to not run the ad was based on a supposed policy to exclude ALL religious advertisement. (Which, incidentally, I think is a lie, through their teeth.)

The only time the post mentioned "anti-Christian" was linked to a noun, via possession. "Rolling Stone's anti-Christian agenda". I don't know how the statement could be any clearer. Rolling Stone has never, ever, ever been pro-Christian. It's a ROCK magazine.

The sentence, (read in my mind's eye paraphrase), reads "despite the TNIV's gender-inclusive language, the anti-Christian agenda of Rolling Stone may bear fruit for Zondervan.

The subject of the sentence prior is Zondervan, and the storm of media attention garnered for it. The "gender-inclusive" statement is simply referring to the prior media storm created by that gender inclusiveness.

So, what they are in essence saying, is that Rolling Stone's bungle may have negated the storm of negative controversy, by potentially promoting Zondervan positively, as being "discriminated against".

I don't see anywhere where they call anyone who doesn't agre with the TNIV as "anti-Christian" - they call Rolling Stone anti-Christian. Which, if you've kept up with Rolling Stone's policies, and articles over the years, is indeed consistently anti-Christian/Judeo-Christian moral values.

The article makes no "endorsements" of the TNIV, calls noone "anti-Christian".

I don't know World Mag, and I really don't care either way what they say - as I rarely read them, unless linked to them, like I was here.

But, looking at the linguistic elements, I don't see either of the above, in any way, shape, or form.

Reading the sentence as written, even with a anti-article outlook going in, due to your post, I saw absolutely nothing of what you described. Linguistically, your problem doesn't exist. If you want it to say something other than written, thus implying that he mistakenly wrote something, but meant something else... you might have a chance to make that work. I don't see any reason to think so, however.

Anyway - that's my take. I don't care about World Mag - but I don't see anything even remotely close to what you're talking about in that sentence, as written - unless you take a healthy dose of "interpretation" to it. A VERY healthy dose.

Jeremy's point is sound. If anything it will make the authors take greater care with their written words.

RazorKiss, you've got it backwards. World hates the TNIV, and this guy thinks the feminist agenda of the TNIV is anti-Christian. The reason you can't see it is because you were looking for something against those who oppose the TNIV. He was saying something against the TNIV itself. I'm not sure how you got that reversed, but your comment makes it clear that you did. Look again, and I think you'll see it. Pretty much everyone else has, so I'm not alone in this.

The joke doesn't make sense if he meant 'despite' instead of 'considering' (which are opposites anyway, so I don't know why you made that substitution). He says it might be ironic that they accepted the ad, because accepting the ad promotes their anti-Christian agenda. Why? Because it's the TNIV, which is a gender-neutral translation. Considering that fact, the anti-Christian agenda will be furthered. That's exactly what he says. It's right there. I'm not adding anything.

This digs into the essential problem with translation -- whatever translation you make will require making decisions about meaning and the proper words to use to express it.

And when you are dealing with translation from a language which is essentially dead (be it Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, or Latin) to one which is still living and in a process of dynamic change, the problem becomes even more pressing. Word choices that made sense in one decade don't necessarily seem as good decades later. So unless one wishes to artificially declare that a certain archaic translation is the definitive one (such as the KJV only folks), then you are always going to have arguments over semantics.

Like it or not, BOTH SIDES of the pronoun debate are right. Traditionally, male pronouns are "inclusive" of both genders, just like in Spanish. But culturally we have shifted away from that, and translators can legitimately select either the old or new convention on pronouns. Unfortunately, the contemporary "gender neutral" useage sometimes results in unattractive wording.

And then there is the literal vs. dynamic equivalence debate. See "The message" or "The Good News Bible" for examples of translations that stray far afield but try to be faithful to the Gospel. But then again, the furhter you go from a literal translation, the more you risk bias... and unfaithfulness.

What is the solution? Charity -- or the adoption of the traditional Muslim precedent that the Word of God should not be translated and must be understood only in the language given by God. I recommend the former over the latter.

Jeremy, from what I recall (I'm a faithful World reader and have had some interaction with Marvin Olasky), Bergin--the author of that particular post--was/is an intern. Because it's a blog written by multiple authors, and the fact that Bergin is probably still feeling his way around, I don't think his voice/views should speak for the entire organization. Nor do I think the intent of the blog is to be homogenous, but to allow a diversity of opinion and expresion. If it were coming from Olasky or Veith or one of the other senior staffers (or if it were printed that with that wording in the actual magazine and it wasn't an op-ed), that might be a different story.

Everyone seems to have different criteria for severing ties...I came close to doing it with World simply because of their blogroll. I have problems with people linking to crude ads, or even to blogs that have crude ads, which is why I wrote a post entitled "Unholy Alliances" and decried World for linking to Captain's Quarters because of its sultry (potentially causing someone to stumble with porn) ads...which I think ultimately tie back to libertarian roots, which interestingly enough, World tries to coerce to the side of family values in the latest issue of the magazine.

But I digress...anyway, came to discover most big name Christian bloggers link to CQ, so I realized that shunning them would be about as effective as me boycotting Disney. Then again, I don't have as much clout as you, and this is a different issue, a theological one...or sigh...maybe it's just the case of a rash intern mincing words instead of articulating exactly what he means.

Just for the record--I checked at CQ for the offending ads which were akin to soft porn (which I hadn't done in ages) and they're gone. At the time, I had emailed him and never got a response and the ads were always there when I would check back, so whether it was intentional or happenstance, I'm glad to see them gone. must be late and I must be 9 months pregnant because I meant to say that I hadn't checked CQ in ages (not soft porn!).

Marla, I understood what you meant.

My argument was that they shouldn't allow it on the site without correction, response, retraction, or explanation. If RazorKiss is right, and this alternate interpretation is right, then explaining that would suffice. I read his comments on three different blogs, then read one of them in conjunction with the original post, going back and forth between the original entry and his comments, until finally I could see how the words could mean what he's saying. His interpretation was not at all obvious to me, and I've seen one other person out of quite a few agree with him. So I don't expect that to be what happened, but that would do it if it was. Olasky or Veith could ask him to explain or apologize. My point was that they let it on the site, there was more than one complaint, and they did nothing the rest of the day.

I think you may underestimate yourself if you think you have less clout than me. I'm higher in the Ecosystem (which just means I have lots of links in people's copy-and-paste bootstrapping blogrolls), but you get get more hits per day, and more of them are Christians. I think that easily counts as more influence among Christians.

I'm not convinced the bloggers at World even read the comments their posts receive. Maybe occasionally.
Jeremy, did you send him/them an e-mail about your concerns?

I've seen Veith and Olasky comment on posts and change posts in response to comments, so I know they do read them. I have not emailed anyone. I tried to click on this intern's name, and it took me to something completely different. Their code is all messed up in that part of the sidebar.

Hi Jeremy,
It's a lot clearer now that you have amended the post. I'm not much into this polarisation of who agrees with who though. When I read World mags post it came across to me the way it did to RK. Now that you have given a clearer explanation, I can see it from your perspective. I think getting World mags own response is a good idea.
I'm done with this myself anyway. But I did want to say I appreciate that you have clarified the background to your position.

I'm not much into this polarisation of who agrees with who though.

It was polarization that I was initially opposing. I'm no strong TNIV enthusiast, though I don't consider the anathema many at WorldMag think it is. It was their raising that issue to the level of the gospel by saying the translation philosophy serves an anti-Christian agenda that I take issues with.

If you're talking about my mentioning of who agrees with my reading of what the post actually says, I wasn't trying to draw a line and set up a battle with sides. I was simply pointing out that most of the people who have read the post have taken the interpretation I have. That says something about how the post will likely to be read by many other people, and it shows that my interpretation is not unreasonable.

Fair enough. I don't recall saying your interpretation was unreasonable. I commented more on the others delinking issue. We may just have to differ on that. As I said - I appreciate the clarity of the amended post. Have a good day Jeremy.

(I posted this at World also)

That last line is definitely unclear (now I remember sort of doing a double-take when I first read it). Momentarily I was able to interpret it the way Razor's Kiss did, but it was like looking at one of those pictures (where you have to stare for 20 seconds) and the hidden image comes into view. Sometimes I can do it and sometimes I can't. Regardless of the true intent of the author, how can anyone decide whether it's anti-Christian until we've read this version all the way through? It may or may not turn out to render the Word of God blasphemous, so all opinions are fair game IMHO...

Jeremy, I really think that rather than letting assumptions precipitate drastic action, you ought to email the source directly--comments are not a reliable way to communicate with staffers. I'm tempted to do it, but I'm already overextending myself right now...yet I hate to see what I think it unnecessary division among Christians all the way around.

I want to be clear here on the interpretations available for the post we've been talking about, so I'm going to quote the entire content of the post and then look at the interpretations:

Leading rock �n� roll magazine "Rolling Stone" has reversed its recent stonewalling of a half-page ad for Zondervan�s forthcoming TNIV bible translation. The ad will run in the Feb. 11 issue, 10 days after the release of the complete TNIV. By initially rejecting the ad, Rolling Stone unwittingly created a swirl of media attention that Zondervan believes will significantly increase sales. Considering the TNIV�s gender-inclusive language, Rolling Stone�s anti-Christian agenda may yet realize some fruit.

OK. Here's how I read it (reading A):

Leading rock �n� roll magazine "Rolling Stone" has reversed its recent stonewalling of a half-page ad for Zondervan�s forthcoming TNIV bible translation. The ad will run in the Feb. 11 issue, 10 days after the release of the complete TNIV. By initially rejecting the ad, Rolling Stone unwittingly created a swirl of media attention that Zondervan believes will significantly increase sales. Considering [i.e. taking into account, bearing in mind that] the TNIV�s gender-inclusive language [i.e. that it will have negative consequences], Rolling Stone�s anti-Christian agenda may yet realize some [of its own] fruit.

Now here's another way to read it (reading B):

Leading rock �n� roll magazine "Rolling Stone" has reversed its recent stonewalling of a half-page ad for Zondervan�s forthcoming TNIV bible translation. The ad will run in the Feb. 11 issue, 10 days after the release of the complete TNIV. By initially rejecting the ad, Rolling Stone unwittingly created a swirl of media attention that Zondervan believes will significantly increase sales. Considering [i.e. taking into account, bearing in mind that] the TNIV�s gender-inclusive language [i.e. that the decision not to run the ad and then later to run it has raised lots of media attention in the TNIV], Rolling Stone�s anti-Christian agenda may yet realize some [Christian] fruit.

Now I think the "considering the TNIV's gender-inclusive language" seems to be coming out of nowhere if it's the popularity and not the gender-neutral language itself that we're considering. Also, I'm not sure how "gender-inclusive language" is supposed to be equivalent to "media attention from refusing to run the ad and then deciding to run it". Those seem to be completely different elements.

Presumably those reasons are why RazorsKiss offers the change in the following version (version C):

Leading rock �n� roll magazine "Rolling Stone" has reversed its recent stonewalling of a half-page ad for Zondervan�s forthcoming TNIV bible translation. The ad will run in the Feb. 11 issue, 10 days after the release of the complete TNIV. By initially rejecting the ad, Rolling Stone unwittingly created a swirl of media attention that Zondervan believes will significantly increase sales. Considering [i.e. despite] the TNIV�s gender-inclusive language, Rolling Stone�s anti-Christian agenda may yet realize some [Christian] fruit.

Reading C solves both problems I raised with reading B, but it involves a meaning of 'considering' that doesn't sound like English. That's why I find both reconstructions so far to be implausible.

I can see how that could mean that if it said 'despite', but I just can't hear 'considering' meaning despite in this sentence. That just isn't one of the things that word can mean. It's a word that calls attention to the fact and then goes on to say something that our consideration of that fact will make sense of. It doesn't seek to ignore that fact by saying it's not having an effect.

Now RazorsKiss has claimed that my reading is ungrammatical. I'm not sure how, since the grammar on my reading is exactly the same as the grammar on his first reading above. It's saying that because of one factor having something to do with gender-neutral language, the anti-Christian agenda of the magazine may bear fruit. There's a question about whether the agenda itself is bearing fruit despite their caving in, which is what seems more obvious to me, or whether the agenda is bearing fruit for Christianity despite the fact that the magazine opposes Christianity. Either is grammatically possible, and either is grammatically identical. The difference is semantic.

The only other difference is in the clarificatory expression about what "considering the TNIV�s gender-inclusive language" refers to. In both cases, it serves as a causal connective. We're being told to consider that feature as salient to what follows, as if it somehow explains the main clause. This is so for both cases. If it's grammatical for RazorKiss's interpretation, then it's grammatical for mine.

He also claims that his interpretation is more plausible than mine because there's fine print between the lines of mine. Well, as I have just shown, either interpretation above has fine print, with some mighty hefty fine print contradicting the terms actually used in C and just taking it to mean something other than what it says in B.

I said before that I had come to see how the post can mean what RazorsKiss wants it to mean. Now I'm not so sure. I think I saw some of the elements that allow parts of the sentence to make sense with alternate readings. Considering what I've looked at in this comment, I just can't see any way to put them together that makes sense as a whole sentence. This is the closest I can see, which isn't what anyone has so far said (Reading D):

Leading rock �n� roll magazine "Rolling Stone" has reversed its recent stonewalling of a half-page ad for Zondervan�s forthcoming TNIV bible translation. The ad will run in the Feb. 11 issue, 10 days after the release of the complete TNIV. By initially rejecting the ad, Rolling Stone unwittingly created a swirl of media attention that Zondervan believes will significantly increase sales. Considering [i.e. taking into account, bearing in mind] the TNIV�s gender-inclusive language, Rolling Stone�s anti-Christian agenda may yet realize some [Christian] fruit.

This sentence makes grammatical sense and could, I imagine, be said by any number of people who think the TNIV will bear Christian fruit because of its gender-neutral language. It's just that I don't expect someone at WorldMag to say something like that. They think the TNIV is a perversion of God's word. So I'm at a complete loss. I can't see how the final sentence can mean any combination of the things I've seen RazorsKiss suggesting in various places.

Maybe setting it out coherently as a whole will help clarify if there's something in his interpretation(s) that I'm missing here. His piecemeal approach that never brought it back together again didn't help me get a sense of what he thought the sentence was supposed to mean. I hope that putting it this way might help with that. It certainly helped me to see that the various elements that in isolation seemed ok to me really don't fit together to make a meaningful sentence, or at least one that WorldMag types would say.


I said my peace. You treated it pretty fairly in your "set all of them side by side" approach, I suppose.

But, really, it doesn't matter. Tomorrow is Friday, and I can post about my excursion to see a Messianic Jew, and tear into some Francis Schaeffer!

So, yeah.

No ire intended. I tend to come across a bit more "cutting" than I mean to, sometimes. I gave some reasons a few posts back on my blog why I use this name... My tendency to sound as if I'm slashing, when only a pinprick is required weighs rather heavily into it :D

God bless Jeremy.

I like those meta-ethics posts.

This article gives a good overview of the TNIV debate, including a history of the controversy, with who supports and who opposes it:

I hope you'll read it. And thanks for the vote of confidence about my role as as blogger :)

Marla, I sent an email yesterday to the one address they have on the site, and they haven't responded. I wish they had an email address for the author of the post (or for Gene Veith or Marvin Olasky), but clicking on a name on the author list goes to completely the wrong thing. I've corresponded once about little things with Veith, at his initiative, but since my hard drive fried I lost his email address.


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