This letter was faxed to Pastor Carter on the 12th of June (2002). No response has been received at the time this letter is being made public (June 25, 2002).
My only reason for making this letter public is because those who make public statements regarding any issue should be ready to be held accountable. My own writings are no exception. Anyone is welcome to question anything I write that may appear to be inaccurate.
On June 17, 2001, Pastor Carter publicly defended from his pulpit the church’s stand regarding their opposition to the Spanish Reina-Valera 1960, which had lead to the split with Elmer Fernandez and the Spanish ministry, which was of substantial size. I have been told that many copies of the tape which I refer to in this letter were sent to pastors all over the country. So I feel like I’m not interfering in something that has been solely a local church matter. Statements of Pastor Carter to which I responded are in italics.
June 12, 2002
Dear Pastor Carter,
Greetings from Tennessee. I hope this letter finds you well, rejoicing in the blessings of the Lord.
A few months ago I obtained a copy of your message of June 17, 2001, entitled “The Bitter Sweet Book” (The Spanish Ministry Problem). There were several statements presented as facts (as opposed to opinions), which do not seem to align themselves with recorded history. I present them to you here in case I overlooked something that you could point out to me that would vindicate your statements. My research is by no means infallible, so I am willing to stand corrected.
My position has never been that those who are uncomfortable with the RV 1960 (for reasons that are factual) must nonetheless use it exclusively. Those who reject the 1960 have the right to make their reasons known, as long as they remain within the boundaries of truth.
I am not above making mistakes or apologizing (even in regard to the Spanish Bible issue). For example, if you posses a copy of my book, it should have a disclaimer label affixed to the inside front cover. About two weeks after I received my shipment of books I realized to my dismay that I had inadvertently attributed a statement to Donate that belonged to a different Central American missionary. I immediately sent Donate an apology by e-mail, and I volunteered to affix disclaimer labels to my remaining books.
The statements that I would like to point out are as follows:
The trouble with Eugene Nida is that he is the man that was also on the committee for the Revised Standard Version…
No evidence was provided for this allegation. To the contrary, Nida is not among a complete listing of the 32 committee members in a recent book covering the history of the RSV. See Thuesen, Peter. In Discordance with the Scriptures New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, pp. 74-75
Mr. Nida didn’t believe in the virgin birth. That’s why in Isaiah 7:14 in the Revised Standard Version…he changed virgin to young woman or young maiden. He didn’t believe in the virgin birth.
First, no proof was provided that Nida was even on the RSV committee Secondly, no proof was presented that he did not believe in the virgin birth. I have found no statement in this Baptist minister’s writings that would imply he didn’t believe in the virgin birth. What he wrote that I had for my perusal leaned heavily in favor of the virgin birth.
The revelation of God in Jesus Christ and as recorded in the Scriptures is uniquely supernatural, for its source is none other than God Himself. –Nida, Eugene. Message and Mission South Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1960, p. 228
It is extremely important that the translator use all care and caution in the use of the word for “virgin.” The use of a word which designates both a virgin and one who participates in certain puberty rites is often quite dangerous, unless the translator is fully aware of all the practices in such puberty rites. The word for “young girl” is often not sufficient, for in many societies a considerable amount of pre-marital and pre-puberty sex experience is taken for granted. –Nida, Eugene. Bible Translating New York: American Bible Society, 1947, p. 190
He [Nida] didn’t believe in the blood atonement…
I thought myself that this might be true, based on an article written by David Cloud entitled “Editors of the UBS Greek New Testament” The quotes I read which showed questionable statements concerning the blood atonement were in books in which Nida was a joint author with someone else. Nida was a compromiser, so he apparently didn’t mind being identified with those who had differing views. In books that I had the opportunity to read in which Nida was the sole author, a far more conservative view on the blood atonement (as well as various other doctrines) emerges. In my Haines City report, I made the following statement, which I am now retracting in regard to the blood atonement: “I’m not doubting whether or not Nida was a theological liberal, as his writings on such matters as the blood atonement seem to reveal.” Have a look at what he has written regarding the blood atonement, in books in which he was the sole author:
The statement “the blood” is a very important one in the history of the Christian faith. –Nida, Eugene. Message and Mission South Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1960, p. 62
The immediate referent-function of blood is the physical substance which flows in the veins, but as it is used in the Scriptures this phrase in its conception-function points to the offering of blood (“the life is in the blood”) as atonement. –Nida, Eugene. Message and Mission South Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1960, p. 82
The Good News is that God sent His Son into the world to tell men that God is not off in some place far distant, but that He loved them and wanted to give them His Holy Spirit, if only they would be reconciled to Him. This Spirit of God is infinitely more powerful than any and all the other spirits. Moreover, the possession of this Spirit is made possible by the death of Jesus Christ, who gave his blood that he might give men life. [Emphasis mine] –Nida, Eugene. Message and Mission South Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1960, p. 182
He [Nida] believed you didn’t get instantly saved, born again, but that you worked into it, that you grew into salvation. That’s works salvation.
As with the Pharisees, who were concerned with being accepted by God because of their works, and who substituted their rules for the commandments of God, some today exchange the doctrine of God’s forgiveness of sins for mere ethical principles about conduct pleasing to the eternal. [Emphasis mine] –Nida, Eugene. Message and Mission South Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1960, p.227
Especially in the field of soteriology, the Bible presents a unique way to God. For it is not a process by which man gains his salvation through hereditary privilege, ritualistic practice, or self-subjugation, but one by which God has not only sought out man, but has provided the means and the way of reconciliation to himself. (Emphasis mine) –Nida, Eugene. How the Word is Made Flesh. Communicating the Gospel to Aboriginal Peoples. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1952, pp. 29-30
Mr. Nida was on the revision committee of the Spanish Bible in 1960.. I’m saying the 1960 version was revised by Mr. Eugene Nida. of the American Bible Association [sic]…
Secretary Nida and Mr. John Twentyman, representing the British and Foreign Bible Society, often met with the committee, but only to assist with arrangements and to provide any help the committee might require, but they were not members of the committee. [Emphasis mine] “New Light From an Ancient Lamp: An Introduction to the 1960 Revision of the Reina-Valera Version” p. 43. From the archives of the American Bible Society. August, 1959.
Final decisions as to the text of the Reina-Valera revision rested with the Editorial Committee which was set up for the program, for once the committee had been named, the Bible Society representatives [Nida and Twentyman] were only advisers to the Committee and had no vote on decisions. The basic work of the revision was done by an Editorial Committee consisting of six persons: Juan Diaz G. (of Mexico), Honorio Espinoza (of Chile), Francisco Estrello (of Mexico), Alfonso Lloreda (of Venezuela), Henry Parra S. (of Colombia), and Alfonso Rodriguez H. (of Cuba). –Nida, Eugene “Reina-Valera Revision of 1960,” The Bible Translator. vol. 12, No. 3, 1961. p. 111
I’m saying the 1960 version was revised by Mr. Eugene Nida of the American Bible Association, [sic] it wound up with only three men, finally, before the revision was committed….
All the members of the committee participated in the four full sessions, but one member of the committee dropped out of the program during the subsequent subcommittee meetings. Unfortunately, two members of the committee, Francisco Estrello and Honorio Espinosa, passed away before the publication of the edition. –Nida, Eugene “Reina-Valera Spanish Revision of 1960″ The Bible Translator. Vol. 12, No. 3 July 1961, p. 111
Many argue that it’s [the 1960] the main Bible in the Spanish world. Many others argue that it is not. You can take your pick on that.
Could you please tell us who the “many others” are that argue that the 1960 is not the main Bible in the Spanish world?
He’s [Nida] the fellow who has his fingerprints all over the Revised Standard Version.
We already proved that he was not on the RSV committee.
Daniel 3:25… [in the RSV] like a son, little “s”…
The original KJV 1611 had little “s” as well, according to the reprint by Nelson.
Remember that Mr. Nida believed that you worked your way up the ladder to salvation. He didn’t believe in spontaneous, instant “sinner coming to the altar getting born again.” He believe you gotta earn it, you gotta work.
It is the simple story of John 3, “Ye must be born anew.” It is the direct answer to charms and fetishes, magic and sacrifices, prayers and pilgrimages. It does not deny religious observances, but insists that the life is by faith and that works reflect the saving grace rather than constitute the basis of one’s acceptance before God. –Nida, Eugene. How the Word is Made Flesh. Communicating the Gospel to Aboriginal Peoples. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1952, p. 31
Even the Sword of the Lord has NOW made a rule that John R. Rice’s little booklets, and most of you have read some of those little booklets, cannot be translated into Spanish if the 1960 is going to be used for the Scripture. Because they take a stand against the liberal American Bible Society. That’s why.
When did they make the rule? Have you noticed that they now sell Reina-Valera 1960’s?
Mr. Nida is in Bible Encyclopedias. You can look him up in Bible encyclopedias where it will say that he don’t believe in the blood atonement, that he don’t believe in the virgin birth. Now that’s just fact. That’s just fact. He’s not ashamed of those facts. See, he’s in print. This is his testimony of that right here in the Revised Standard Version.
Please list for us the Encyclopedias that state that Nida didn’t believe in the blood atonement nor the virgin birth.
In your message “The Lost Book” preached during the December 2001 Spanish Bible conference, you made the following statement:
“In Isaiah 7:14 it [the Revised Standard Version] took the virgin birth out. Eugene Nida is the one who took it out. He wrote and bragged about that…It shocks me today that fundamentalists can’t make the connection between the same man that did this, why would they think the 1960 is pure when this [the RSV] is impure?”
Please document where Nida wrote and bragged about being the one who took the virgin birth out of the RSV. If you can send me adequate documentation supporting this whole statement, I will apologize to you publicly and in writing, for I doubted this statement of yours in my Haines City report.
If I’m clearly shown that I have misrepresented you in any way—now or in the past, I’m willing to submit a retraction pertaining to what was misrepresented, as well as an apology.
May this help both of us be more careful in regard to our statements of fact, especially when not presented as an opinion. I hope to hear from you soon.