Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 4, 1968
NUMBER 34, PAGE 11-12

Broadway, Abs And Tev

Max Ray

In the September issue of the "Record", a monthly publication of the American Bible Society, there is an article entitled "Church Fair Features TEV." The article is concerning a "Christian Education Fair" sponsored by the Broadway church of Christ of Lubbock, Texas, and "Rev." William S. Banowsky. I recognize that the American Bible Society is a denominational society which may account for the title to Bro. Banowsky's name in the article. Neither am I surprised that the Broadway church sponsored a "Fair." Such things certainly are not new for this or many other churches which claim to be of Christ.

What does interest me about this article is the fact that "Over 1,000 copies of the TEV have been distributed in the Broadway church," according to Jim Bevis, Minister of Education at Broadway. The TEV is "Today's English Version" of the New Testament — translated under the auspices of and distributed by the American Bible Society. The ABS is an organization supported by over 70 different denominations, ostensibly for the purpose of distributing the Bible on a world-wide basis. They purport to do this "without profit and without comment" according to their literature. I am not prepared to dispute their claim that they do not receive a profit from their activities, but there is doubt about the part that they do this work without comment. I believe we can prove that the ABS is propagating denominational teaching in the Today's English Version or "Good News for Modern Man" as they have styled this modern version.

Just what kind of relationship Broadway has with the ABS I do not know, but Bevis is quoted as saying that he trusts that their relationship "will be one that will glorify God and spread his word throughout the world." Wonder if Bro. Bevis ever read that glory is to be given to God in the church? (Eph. 3:21) This relationship of Broadway with the ABS is simply another evidence of the denominational status of that congregation.

However, our concern is not primarily with Broadway's relationship with the ABS, but over 1,000 copies of the TEV have been distributed in that church. We feel that our concern is well justified since the TEV is simply a thinly disguised effort to teach denominational doctrine. This is not just a supposition; quotations from the TEV will prove to any student of the Bible that everything from Catholicism to Baptist doctrine to rank modernism is taught by perversions of the text.

For example: Matt. 16:18, "And so I tell you; You are a rock, Peter, and on this rock I will build my church" (TEV). In this passage there is not distinction between "Petros" and "Petra" — the pebble which Peter was and the bed-rock truth which Peter had just confessed. The Catholic claim that Peter was the first Pope, the foundation which Peter had just confessed. The Catholic claim that Peter was the first Pope receives great support from this rendition. Just how many millions of people will be easily led to believe this false idea may be indicated by the fact that the October issue of the "Record" states that over 5,000,000 copies of the TEV have been distributed in a little less than a year!

In several passages the doctrine of salvation by "faith only is taught. Here we quote several:

Rom. 1:17, "For the gospel reveals how God puts men right with himself: it is through faith alone, from beginning to end."

Rom. 3:28, "For we conclude that a man is put right with God only through faith, and not by doing what the Law commands."

Rom. 10:10, "For we believe in our hearts and are put right with God; we confess with our lips and are saved."

Gal. 2:16 "Yet we know that a man is put right with God only through faith in Jesus Christ, never by doing what the Law requires."

Apparently the ready acceptance of the TEV by the Broadway church is another step in their compromise with the Baptists. The translator of the TEV, Dr. Robert G. Bratcher, is a Baptist, a graduate of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. His work is clearly a perversion of the gospel (Gal. 1:6-9), an attempt to propagate Baptist doctrine.

While on this subject of "faith only", it is of interest to note that the TEV contradicts itself. Jas. 2:24 is rendered "So you see that a man is put right with God by what he does and not because of his faith alone." I know that the word of God is not self contradictory. This glaring discrepancy is due to the effort to produce a popular product — to give the world what it wants — a little something to please everybody -- and enough error to destroy faith in the Bible as the inspired word of God.

I predicted when I first saw a copy of the TEV that it would gain great acceptance among our liberal brethren. I based my prognostication upon the rendition of Acts 20:7; "On Saturday evening we gathered together for the fellowship meal." Now, isn't that just what the liberals are looking for? Not that they need to appeal to the Bible for authority, even a perverted version — they have been doing many things for many years for which they have no authority. This particular perversion destroys the only authority we have for taking the Lord's Supper on the first day of the week. This is one of the most forceful passages by which to establish authority by example. If the binding nature of the example of partaking of the Lord's Supper can be so destroyed, then why not disregard other such examples as regarding evangelism, benevolence, cooperation and other such matters? Again, with "to break bread" rendered "fellowship meal", what concept is immediately formed in the modern reader's mind? I realize that the most sublime fellowship is enjoyed when we partake of the Lord's supper, but is that the idea conceived by the modern mind of a "fellowship meal"? Perhaps some will think they have at last found Biblical authority for kitchens and fellowship halls!

In this same context, the account concerning Eutychus betrays the extreme liberal bent of the translators of the TEV. When Eutychus' life was restored, Paul is quoted as saying "he is still alive" thus suggesting that they had been mistaken about his death, that perhaps his breath was knocked out of him or that he was briefly unconscious. There is no suggestion that there was a miracle performed in restoring Eutychus' life.

Come to think of it, maybe some of our good "conservative" brethren will like the TEV in some respects. The command to "forsake not the assembling of yourselves together" becomes "let us give up the habit of meeting together." Thus a direct command is toned down to a gentle admonition to not give up a "habit"! Yes, I know many church members who would really welcome this! Maybe their conscience would not bother them nearly so badly if attendance is merely a matter of habit rather than a necessity.

These are but a few criticisms of the TEV, and these are based upon a casual examination of that version. There are many other things that could be found in a closer examination, but this should be enough to prove that the TEV should not be recommended for general usage. I would not recommend that this (per)version be put into the hands of anyone except someone who will view it very critically. With this TEV being distributed by the hundreds of thousands to servicemen, to young people in camps, and in various ways, I feel it is a coming threat to truth.

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