The Wartburg Project

October 31st, 2018

49. Evangelical? Is This a Pro-Trump Bible?

I love your translation of the New Testament and Psalms and look forward to the whole Bible coming out. I have a concern about the name "Evangelical" in your translation. I understand the historic roots of the name, but living in Southern California as I do, the term takes on a pro-Trump slant, since many American Evangelical leaders have been so supportive of the President. Using your translation with "Evangelical" in the title is a stumbling block to some people reading and using your good translation.

Thanks for the feedback on the EHV. It was quite a surprise for us. When we chose the name, it never crossed our minds that the use of the word evangelical (which means for the Gospel) would be interpreted by some readers as pro-Trump. When we chose the name evangelical, President Trump was barely on the horizon politically. I suppose this situation is evidence of the state of polarization we have reached in our society.

Every Bible we print includes a definition of the term evangelical, which should help guard against the misunderstanding about which you are concerned.

Our translation is called Evangelical because its highest goal is to proclaim the good news of the gospel of salvation through faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ, God’s eternal Son. Though there are many topics in the Bible, all of them are there to serve the gospel of Christ. All of our work in producing and distributing this translation is directed to the glory of God and to the eternal salvation of people’s souls.

The members of the board of the EHV have the word evangelical in our churches’ names, but our churches are not engaged in political endorsements. There are a lot of good words, including ecumenical, orthodox, catholic, even welcoming, that have been appropriated by advocates of a particular doctrinal view or agenda. I am a Lutheran. Some people associate the names Lutheran or Methodist with a liberal political activism, ignoring the diversity of the churches who use those names. The solution is not to throw out the names, but for people to explain their name and what it means to them.

We cannot do anything to change the name now, because the full Bible is ready to print, but we can continue to show by our words and actions what evangelical means. Not all people who are evangelical are Evangelicals, and not all Evangelicals have the same political views. Not all are pro-Trump, in spite of some outspoken people who appear on TV as alleged spokesmen for Evangelicals. Thoughtful Christians need to look at the diversity behind various labels and not lump apples and oranges together. The best way to show what evangelical really means is by words and actions that proclaim the one gospel to all people, regardless of their race, gender, age, economic status, or political view.

If evangelical is misunderstood as pro-Trump in the minds of some people, this will not likely be a lasting problem for our translation, which will quickly be known as the EHV (to a large degree it already is). Rarely does anyone ask whether the NIV is really new or international. It is simply the NIV. No one, or at least very few, think the ESV is actually the standard version for English speakers (same for the CSB).

An easy solution for users of the EHV who are concerned that a segment of their audience might be put off the term Evangelical and not give their message a fair hearing is to simply call it the EHV and to show by their works and actions what the word evangelical really means.

It was very interesting and eye-opening to get your perspective, so we are sharing it in this FAQ in order to reach a wider audience of potential users of the EHV.

For more information on the name Evangelical Heritage Version, see FAQ 15: Why is your translation called the Evangelical Heritage Version?