In Robert Alter’s 1996 translation and commentary on Genesis, he says there is an “unacknowledged heresy underlying most modern English versions of the Bible,” and that error is “the use of translation as a vehicle for explaining the Bible instead of representing it in another language.” I agree. A translation’s chief aim should be to re-present the Word.
And we can apply this thinking to Christian Missions. What happens when we craft a theology and practice of missions in the vein of the above heresy? A raft of errors will occur, indeed. If missions is a vehicle for explaining Christ, you will end up with an ism. However, if missions re-presents Christ to another language, that is, another culture, then you will end up with Christendom. The former turns missionaries into explainers of Christianity, the latter is a Biblical view of missions–you are an ambassador of Christ and Bride, the Church.
Bible translation should represent the Bible in to another language and missions should represent Christ in to another language, in to another culture.
“The human heart has so many recesses for vanity, so many lurking places for falsehood, is so shrouded by fraud and hypocrisy, that it often deceives itself” (Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, III.II.10).
Thoughts on Proverbs 6:1-5:
1 My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,
2 Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth; thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.
3 Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.
4 Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.
5 Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.
Self-control exercised over the tongue, the words of our mouth, will be like a wall around a city; disciplined speech is protection.
“Christian prudence will keep us clear from such engagements, which bring distress upon our families, dishonor upon our name, and reproach upon our religion. While the “good man sheweth favor, and lendeth, he must guide his affairs with discretion (Psalm 62:5)” (Charles Bridges, Exposition of the Book of Proverbs).
Self-control/prudence with the words of our mouth will protect:
1) Our families
2) Our name
3) Our religion (Christ & Church)
Self-control/prudence with the words of our mouth will protect us and our friends:
“Even to the recipient, an unconditional pledge may be an unintended disservice by exposing him to temptation and to the subsequent grief of having brought a friend to ruin” (Commentator Derek Kidner).
“So far is the doctrine of Christ’s satisfaction from throwing open a door to impiety and spreading a couch for security and negligence that it is the most efficacious means of holiness and the death of sin itself (which Christ assigns as one among others of the ends for his death. ‘That being dead unto sin, we may live unto righteousness; that henceforth we may no more live unto ourselves, but to him who died for us and was raised again for our justification,’ as Paul so often reasons on this subject (Rom. 6; Tit. 2:14; 1 Pet. 2:24)” (Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, Volume 2, 437-438).