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Old 04-03-2009, 10:54 AM
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Brother Tim Brother Tim is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Gainesville, FL
Posts: 864

Brother Manny and others who serve as missionaries, I honor your commitments to do all that you are enabled to do in ministering to those to whom God has sent you. I fully recognize the desire and drive that you have to get the message out through every means possible.

Respectfully, I would ask you these questions:

Brother Manny, you use the New Testament missionaries as evidence that the Gospel was put into the language of the people. Is there evidence in the NT that the Scriptures were translated into these many languages? Can a missionary learn and use the language so that communication is possible while at the same time train individuals in the English language? Is it possible that Matthew's way and God's way are not mutually exclusive?

I would ask any of those who would emphasize translation over English-training:

Let us consider a missionary going to a location where English was not known. The missionary faces a difficult challenge. Which is better? Learn the language to a level sufficient to accurately translate the Scriptures into this new language, or develop the English skills of the people. Yes, there is a middle ground, but for the purpose of discussion, I am dealing with the emphasis of translation over training or the reverse.

I would readily admit that either approach is a daunting task, and should be undertaken only through much prayer. There are advantages and disadvantages to either path. For the translation path, accuracy is paramount. The translator must not only be very skilled in the denotation of the vocabulary, but its connotation as well. Additionally, the receptor language must be robust enough to handle the deeper message of the Scriptures. Finally, most language groups that are not already exposed to English are not themselves either written languages or the population is predominately illiterate.

For the English-training route, the learning-the-language barrier must still be conquered. Some have said that English is difficult to learn. I have also heard the opposite. The fact remains that English is global, and is increasing in its influence. Given the fact that training and learning any language can be a challenge, what advantage does this path have over the first. I would say that there are several.
1 ) The people are not dependent on everything being presented in their language. The non-English reader is limited to only the material (Scriptures and other) that has been translated. He cannot listen to the massive amount of preaching/teaching available in English. He cannot take advantage of printed reference materials (dictionaries, etc). He is dependent on those who can speak and write in his language.
2 ) Because English has a global influence, the people receive a greater advantage in many aspects.

I have quickly sketched out a few of my thoughts here. The issue is much deeper than can be covered in a post, but hopefully others can follow the ideas that I expressed.