When I decided to start a blog, I wanted to devote a section of it to ideas that are popular in modern Christendom but are simply not true. I call these “Christian Myths,” and you can see the ones I have written about so far. Interestingly enough, one of those articles (Laminin Shaminin) is the most common article on this blog that people find via search engines. Even though the majority of my writing is devoted to scientific issues, I do keep a lookout for any Christian myths that need to be addressed.
A few days ago, someone left a comment that was a bit far away from the topic of the post for me to approve. However, I read it and replied to the commenter via E-MAIL, as I always do in such situations. The person’s comment included a discussion of Dr. Frank Logsdon, a man who claims to have been an integral part of the team that developed the New American Standard Bible (NASB). I tried to track down the primary source for the quote, but I could not find it. The closest I could come is an article by David Sorenson. Here is what that article says:
Dr. Frank Logsdon was the co-founder of the New American Standard Bible (NASB). He since has renounced any connection to it.
“I must, under God, renounce every attachment to the New American Standard Version. I’m afraid I’m in trouble with the Lord… We laid the groundwork; I wrote the format; I helped interview some of the translators; I sat with the translator; I wrote the preface… I’m in trouble; I can’t refute these arguments; its wrong, terribly wrong… The deletions are absolutely frightening. . .there are so many. Are we so naive that we do not suspect Satanic deception in all of this?
Upon investigation, I wrote my dear friend, Mr. Lockman (editor’s note: Mr. Lockman was the benefactor through which the NASV was published) explaining that I was forced to renounce all attachment to the NASV (editors note: This is the same as the NASB)…”
Now, of course, this sounds very bad for the NASB. If the “co-founder” of the translation – the man who wrote the format, interviewed and sat with the translators, and wrote the preface – denounces the NASB, it must be a terrible translation. Fortunately, it is almost certainly not true.
I am not by any means an expert on the various Bible translations or their histories. However, I do have experience doing literature research. One thing this experience has taught me is to never believe quotes unless they can be backed up by primary documentation. Since I couldn’t find the primary source of the quote, that bothered me. However, it’s an old quote, so maybe the primary source is just really hard to find. I decided to dig a little more, and without much trouble, I came across this statement, which claims to be an official statement from The Lockman Foundation, the nonprofit ministry that translated and distributes the New American Standard Bible, Amplified Bible, La Biblia de las Américas, and Nueva Biblia Latinoamericana de Hoy:
The Board of Directors of The Lockman Foundation launched the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE translation work in the late 1950’s following the completion of the AMPLIFIED NEW TESTAMENT. Dr. S. Franklin Logsdon was acquainted with Dewey Lockman, president of The Lockman Foundation, prior to Mr. Lockman’s death in 1974. Mr. Logsdon was never a member of the Board of Directors, nor was he an employee of The Lockman Foundation. Mr. Logsdon had no authority to hire employees or translators for the Foundation, to set policy, to vote, to hold office, to incur expenses, etc. He cannot be considered “co-founder” of the NASB, nor part of The Lockman Foundation, nor part of the NASB translation team, nor did he write the forward of the NASB. According to our records, he was present at board meetings on two occasions — once to hear a travel report; and once to deliver an “inspirational thought.”
Mr. Logsdon last wrote to Mr. Lockman in fall of 1973 that he was moving to Florida. Mr. Lockman replied that he was surprised and saddened by his decision to leave the area. Mr. Lockman passed away in January of 1974, and no further correspondence was exchanged between Frank Logsdon and The Lockman Foundation. He resided in Florida until his passing some years ago.
The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God stands forever. Isaiah 40:8 (NASB)
Unfortunately, the website had no reference for the quote, so I contacted the Lockman Foundation directly. They confirmed that it is their official statement on the matter, and they gave me permission to publish it here.
I hope this helps to refute what seems to have become an “urban legend” among some Christians.
UPDATE (9/17/2012): Someone who read this post sent me what seems to be the primary source for this urban legend. It is a recording of Dr. Logsdon that is played in a sermon you can find here. The recording is introduced at 1:19:14 and starts playing shortly afterwards.