Conservative Christians are disputing claims that the latest edition of the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) has been modified to be more "gender neutral."
Earlier this month, The Atlantic published an article claiming that the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), which has previously denounced "gender neutral" verses in its resolutions, has embraced a "gender-inclusive" version of the Bible.
The article noted that the SBC had passed a resolution in 2011, asking LifeWay Christian Stores, which is owned by the denomination, to stop selling the New International Version (NIV) because it appeared to employ gender-neutral language.
The CSB, which was finalized in 2003, was reportedly commissioned by the denomination in an effort to resist a larger cultural push to erase distinctions between genders and diminish masculinity. However, the authors of the Atlantic piece claimed that the newest revision released last fall contain several "gender-neutral" elements that were previously condemned by the SBC.
"The CSB now translates the term anthropos, a Greek word for 'man,' in a gender-neutral form 151 times, rendering it 'human,' 'people,' and 'ones,'" the authors of the article noted.
"The previous edition had done this on occasion; the new revision adds almost 100 more instances. 'Men of Israel' becomes 'fellow Israelites;' when discussing Jesus's incarnation the 'likeness of men' becomes 'likeness of humanity,'" they added.
Denny Burke, associate pastor at the Kenwood Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, disputed the claims in the Atlantic article, saying it was "demonstrably false" and "riddled with factual errors."
He argued that debate about the issue was not focused on the examples cited in the article, but rather on examples "where the biblical author clearly intends masculine meaning."
"A gender-inclusive translation will often mute the author's masculine meaning with a rendering that is gender-inclusive. That is the point of the debate," Burke said.
Burke then pointed out that the Atlantic piece did not include "a single example of the CSB muting masculine meaning with a gender-inclusive rendering. Not one example."
According to The Christian Post, the CSB uses male pronouns for God, pastors, and verses where masculinity is clearly intended.
Jonathan Merritt, one of the authors of the Atlantic piece, responded to Burke's criticism by posting several tweets comparing the CSB translation to a gender neutral version. He also pointed to a past SBC resolution condemning gender-inclusive Bible translations, including changing "brothers" to "brothers and sisters," which Merritt says was included in the CSB.
The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood also disputed the claims in the Atlantic piece, saying the committee responsible for the translation consulted the Colorado Springs Guidelines, which was created in 1997 to ensure that future translations would remain gender accurate.
The council argued that the rendering of the words "anthropos" or "adam" as "human," "people," "persons," in some contexts fits with the Colorado Springs guidelines.
"If the referent includes males and females, the translation should reflect such. The authors of the Atlantic article fail to realize or note the semantic nature of how meaning is expressed in a language's lexicon," the council stated.