Wycliffe Associates departing from Wycliffe Global Alliance

By March 2, 2016
(Photo courtesy Wikipedia)

(Photo courtesy Wikipedia)

International (WAS) — Wycliffe Associates, an international organization that involves people in the advancement of Bible translation, has announced that it is not renewing its affiliation with the Wycliffe Global Alliance, a network of Bible translation organizations formed in 1991.

Wycliffe Associates President Bruce Smith informed staff and volunteers in Orlando, Florida, on March 1, 2016. The decision is also being communicated to global partners in person, by phone, and by e-mail.

For 49 years, Wycliffe Associates has been serving Bible translation and will continue to hold true to God’s Word. Smith cited several reasons for Wycliffe Associates’ departure. The first is Wycliffe Associates’ commitment to support only Bible translations that use literal common language for Father and Son of God. The Wycliffe Global Alliance includes Bible translation agencies that do not include Father and Son of God in some translations of the Scriptures. “For Wycliffe Associates, literal translation of Father and Son of God is not negotiable,” Smith said in his public statement.

Photo courtesy Wycliffe Associates)

(Photo courtesy Wycliffe Associates)

Additionally, Wycliffe Associates plans to provide open-license Bible resources to its church partners to further accelerate the work of Bible translation. They support local church authority for translation quality. Smith went on to say, “The local body of Christ has both the responsibility and authority as stewards of God’s Word in their language. Wycliffe Associates supports the Church’s authority in Bible translation.”

Wycliffe Associates will continue to operate under the same name, holding to the principles followed by its namesake, John Wycliffe, in accurately translating the Scriptures. The decision to depart from the Alliance was made by the Wycliffe Associates board of trustees at their February 26, 2016.

Today, the Orlando-based organization is accelerating the work of Bible translation in 75 countries with resources, training, and technology. Its vision is to see the entire Bible in every language by the year 2025.



  • Philip Darko says:

    Great move and ask that the Lord will continue to lead you as you translate the Bible in many nation.Continue to pray alongside you as the goal 2025 is achieved.Eccl.9:11.

    God bless the Wycliff Associates team in Orlando and all the other staff worldwide.

  • Father-Son language is the primary bridge to understanding the eternal relations within the Trinity. I applaud the difficult decision of Wycliffe Associates to separate from the Wycliffe Global Alliance. It reflects Wyclilffe Associate’s commitment to their promise to abide by directives of the World Evangelical Alliance’s (unofficial) subcommittee that was established to give guidance on this key issue.

  • It would seem appropriate for WA to change it’s name to avoid the confusion with WBT. If the truth be known, you are no longer associates of WBT but actual translation directors.

  • Yolanda says:

    I wasn’t confused until I read Marilyn’s comment and looked it up online. Now I am not sure which of these organizations is the classic Wycliffe Bible Translators. Or if it is yet a third organization 1) Wycliffe Bible Translators 2) Wycliffe Associates 3) Wycliffe Global Alliance… Will the real Wycliffe please stand up? Maybe this can be clarified in a future article.

  • Ruth Kramer says:


    Here’s a link with a brief history of the Wycliffe Global Alliance. We will be following up soon with a Wycliffe Associates interview.

    In the meantime, I hope this helps:


  • Thank you. The inclusive language has been very confusing especially with the “Muslim-friendly” Bibles, and adds fuel to the contention by Muslims that Christians have changed the Bible – which we have when we start altering the text to make it more acceptable to those of the Islamic faith

  • John Roomes says:

    I do agree with this Marilyn Wolgemuth. Make it clean to avoid confusion as I would like to think there is a desire not to create a disunity in the Body of Christ.

  • Leonard Vose says:

    It seems like your two positions are not logically consistent. You cannot “support the church’s authority in Bible translation” in all cases while still demanding a “literal translation” of any portion of the Word. What is your position where the church decides (has decided) to use something other than “literal common language” for Father and Son of God?

  • Pat Lester says:

    Isn’t Wycliffe Associates the same as Wycliffe Bible Translators?

  • Dear Bruce:
    From the day I first met you until this moment I have had great respect for you. At this moment that “respect” has moved across the line to ADMIRATION that one holds for a champion.

    I have had to TRY to explain what WBT/SIL is up to to faithful donors who hold true to the Scriptures in pure form. I did that only to find that there are now REALLY Two Wycliffe’s – the fundimental and the liberal. Breaks my heart.

    THANK YOU for taking the stand – and my compliments to the BOARD for standing behind you. I HOPE this does not mean you will leave WA – God has used you in such a powerful way and I feel that WA still needs you.

    Much love in CHRIST,
    Peter P. Brouillette
    W.A. Senior Area Director, Retired (1999)
    Proverbs 16:9

  • My congratulations

    Trusting Jesus

  • Linda Rice says:

    Ditto Peter B. above. Thanks be to the Lord for His work in you, your faithfulness to the authority of His words, and your labor of love.

  • Grace says:

    no, WA is different from WBT

  • David Wulf says:

    My wife & I have worked at WA this Winter. I am proud of the decision to maintain Father & Son of God in the Word of God. May we ever hold true to His Word. God bless WA !

  • Since the Father/Son translation is only an issue with Muslim audiences, it would made sense for WA to concentrate on translating for Muslim audiences.

  • Ralph Howell says:

    To change or leave out “Father” and/or “Son” is not true to the Hebrew and Greek…BUT along with translation there does need to be proper TEACHING. Use the correct words in the translation, but perhaps have footnotes that explain a bit more. Jesus is God’s Son, but not a Son brought about by the way human beings do it. This is a long-time error that has existed within the minds of Muslims who centuries ago saw Mary being exalted to a level of near divinity. Added to this the incorrect idea that God supposedly had sexual relations with Mary and that is how Jesus was born. “Father” and “Son” should be retained combined with the proper teaching of Scripture.

  • David Oken says:

    Unfortunately, English is not my first language! I am confused on who stands where? Is it the WA that is standing for non negotiability of Jesus as “Son of God” or is it the WGA? My only understanding at the moment is that WA has left WGA on the account of the translation of the ‘Son of God.” When I know who stands where, I could comment.

  • Exactly, and it’s not linguistically an issue for any language I know of in Nigeria. This looks like a straw-man argument. Literalness is regularly the enemy of accuracy in translation, but it makes for a good idol. The crucial need for Bible translation in many evangelised fields is the fact that Christians – including many church leaders – still do not really understand the Bible through English and do not recognise their lack. Worse, familiarity in the (Nigerian) church with the Bible as an obscure book means it’s surprisingly hard to work towards truly accurate translations. This is a very shaky foundation for WA to build on, even leaving all the linguistic and literacy issues to one side. WA when they were associating with Wycliffe (Global Alliance) actually did much useful work genuinely supporting Bible Translation.

  • Daniel Carl says:

    WGA (Wycliffe Global Alliance) includes a whole bunch of different organizations (see http://www.wycliffe.net), just one of which is WBT (the main organization) and, until recently, WA. Both the main organization WBT (Wycliffe Bible Translators) and the split-off WA (Wycliffe Associates) remain committed to the literal translation of the “Son of God” and are submitted to the WEA statement; note that the wording above was “The Wycliffe Global Alliance includes Bible translation agencies that do not include Father and Son of God in some translations of the Scriptures.” This does not include WBT, which remains the main translation organization. Beware of subtle wording issues which may make it appear that WA is the only organization committed to guarding the quality of translation.

  • We just realized that WBT and WA were two different organizations and the reason why. Oh, we really would have liked to know this before. It was never mentioned when we went to the fund raising dinners. So glad to know it now and to commit all our donations (as small as they are) to WA. I did call the WBT and requested to be removed from their mailings and emails and told them why. I will miss the Monthly listings of their Finish Line prayer lists and letting us know how the translations are going in various language groups.

  • This is true great commission that Jesus command us to do. I thank God that I’m part of those who took this move in our dear Country Nigeria.
    I was a secretary in-charge of accepting this move in Nigeria and today over 30 languages have benefited the right to have God’s word in their heart language.
    God Bless you #BruceSmith and the WycliffeAssociates.

    We stand with God through Christ and we continue to work by his ways.

  • David Oken, Thank God that you are in Nigeria here with me. Please visit us to have our source text which is different with what is use in Paratext and our software for translation and see to yourself what is true and right please. or send me your email address and I can provide you with necessary information please.

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