(Tim) Starting in 1996 or so (actually, my work on the NLT started years before this), David and I worked hard privately and publicly to oppose a number of members of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) who, working through the International Bible Society, Tyndale House, and Zondervan, were removing the sex-markings of thousands of texts of Scripture in the Living Bible and the New International Version. At the time, the NIV was the Bible translation standard of the Bible-believing, English-speaking world, so it was the efforts to modernize this particular translation that were our main public focus.
Our opponents' plan was to put out an updated NIV called the New International Version Inclusive. Since then, they've updated their work giving it the name, Today's New International Version (TNIV). In the TNIV, Hebrew and Greek words such as adam, adelphoi, and aner are stripped of their male grammatical component. These scholars, publishers, and corporate executives worked together to mute these words, ending up with new books called "Bibles" where thousands of changes had been made to render them innocuous to those of us raised in a feminized society in which it has become gauche to make references to mixed-sex groups using any word with a male marking. Thus, in their book, 'man' became 'humankind', 'brothers' became 'Christian friends' (NLT) or 'siblings' (NIVI), 'man' became 'person', and so on--thousands of times across the pages of Scripture.
As you'll see from the above reference to the NLT, the NIV was not the only Bible in wide use across the evangelical world being similarly updated. In an effort to update the Living Bible which was growing long-in-the-teeth, Tyndale House Publishers had hired a long list of ETS academics to produce the New Living Translation which, benefiting from millions of dollars in advertising and purchased product placement in national bookstore chains, was steadily gaining market share. (The writer is the son-in-law of Ken Taylor, owner of Tyndale House Publishers until his death several years ago.)
Partly because of the naturally lower expectations of accuracy the NLT inherited from its predecessor, the Living Bible; partly because the academics who had done the NLT's translation work likely expected it to be more a devotional than a study Bible; and partly because the NLT's publisher responded to expressions of concern over some of the more egregious mistranslations evident in the NLT's text with thoughtful consideration and, eventually, a number of changes to the text of the NLT's subsequent printings; the public battle was focused almost exclusively on the updated NIVI, its publisher Zondervan, and Zondervan's subsidiary (in a manner of speaking), the International Bible Society and her subordinate Bible Translation Committee.
The public became aware of the battle through the publication March 29, 1997 of Susan Olasky's cover article, "The Stealth Bible: the Feminist Seduction of the Evangelical Church," in World magazine. For almost everyone this was the first hint of Zondervan's plans and the response was a good measure of the profound theological divisions present within the vast entrepreneurial business park named "evangelicalism."
Predictably, one side decried Olasky's divisive spirit and focused their attack on World magazine...