LifeWay Tells Critics of 2011 NIV Bible: 'Trust the Trustees' [Excerpts]
Southern Baptist members upset with the products sold in Lifeway Christian Resources bookstores were admonished Tuesday to trust the trustees who determine what materials are sold in the chain....Lifeway announced five months ago that it would not discontinue the sale of the updated NIV Bible despite some Southern Baptists voicing concern over the translation's gender-neutral language.
On Tuesday a SBC member demanded that [LifeWay President and CEO Thom S.] Rainer explain the company's decision-making process.
Rainer responded by urging SBC members to trust the judgments of the company's board of trustees who decides major issues for the Christian resource retailer. While he admitted that they don't look at every single product that is sold in stores, Rainer said the trustees "ask the tough questions" in order to ensure that questionable material is barred from shelves.
"We must trust our trustees," he insisted. "Trust the trustees. That's how we make the decisions."
Still another SBC member questioned that trust, arguing that LifeWay's decision to continue selling the updated NIV is in direct opposition to the SBC 2011 decision to reject the translation. The member highlighted the apparent opposition when he asked Rainer who should Southern Baptists trust – the SBC or Lifeway. Though several denominations are patrons of LifeWay's bookstores, the company is affiliated with the SBC.
Rainer said the SBC appoints 57 trustees to serve on LifeWay's board. He defended the decision detailing how trustees met for several hours, listened to testimonies, combed through presentations and argued both sides of the issue before concluding that there was simply not enough evidence to ban the updated NIV Bible from shelves. Rainer said the process was difficult but assured that LifeWay leaders pray for wisdom to handle such situations correctly.
[TBC: The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is not to be governed by a consensus reached by a "magisterium." Scripture speaks of the wisdom found in a multitude of counselors. Further, we are each accountable to "prove all things, hold fast that which is good" (1 Thessalonians:5:21). Consequently, the trust required by Rainier would be in defiance of the Lord's admonition.]