Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Extremists use Bible translation mistake to foment anti-Christian sentiment
India-Extremists in India are stoking and spreading the flames of persecution over a Bible translation mistake.President of Words of Hope, David Bast, says their radio ministry office is in Ranchi, Jharkhand state.They broadcast Christian radio programs in several of the languages spoken in India including Hindi. That's why the latest report alarmed them. On October 20, Bast explains,"There was a huge anti-Christian demonstration in the streets of Ranchi. People came from all over India, not just this area, to protest this particular version of the Bible and to denounce Christians, in general." The controversy stems from one word in the Oraon Bible translation. It centers on the translation of Deuteronomy 12:2 which reads, "You shall surely destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green (spreading) tree."The context of the passage deals with the children of Israel approaching the end of the time they were wandering in the desert after the exodus from Egypt. According to Words of Hope's Lee DeYoung, the passage in question is part of God's instruction to the tribes concerning what they had to do to make the land ready prior to entering Canaan. The term used for "spreading tree" in Oraon happens to coincide with the name of the religion that the tribal group practices.Extremists claim the point of the passage is proof of a Christian effort to annihilate a particular Indian tribe of people. They've spread the mistranslation and roused thousands to their cause. Militants also demanded mass burnings of the Bible throughout Jharkhand, as well as the renunciation of the first of the Ten Commandments.Bast says he's also been made aware of a demand for public punishment over the translation mistake.While the translation troubles did not come from Words of Hope, ministries like theirs are affected."The Christians in this city are asking us to pray for them to defuse the tensions here, and they're acting in concert to try to negotiate with more reasonable elements the unreasonable demands that are being placed upon them."The Bible Society has publicly apologized for the mistake and corrected it, but the pressure is high.There have been scattered reports of those who have been attacked as they came out of hiding and tried to go back to their villages.Extremists have been reported to be lying in wait and forcing them to reject their faith."Christians have renounced the faith and gone back to Hinduism. It's the only way to save their lives to be able to come back into their homes."
Keep praying for believers and for those in ministry that their faith remains strong throughout this time.
As in the days of Noah...