I was being interviewed by a group of pastors. They were from a Fellowship of Independent Churches in central PA and were planning a cooperative Missionary Conference. I believe they wanted assurance that I met their doctrinal standards before extending an invitation to me to be one of the speakers.
All knew that my wife and I were members of the Africa Inland Mission and served in Tanzania, E. Africa. Also, at that time the churches in the USA were facing the tensions of the “ecumenical movement” and cooperative relationships and their standard included one’s view of the King James Version of the Scriptures.
One of the questioning pastors asked me, “What version of the Bible to you use in your ministry in Africa”? With impish nerve, I replied, “The Union Version”!
There was deathly silence. Finally I was asked to explain myself. I explained, “In Tanzania, for the vernacular, we use the Kisukuma Bible. But, for wider audiences we use the Swahili Bible which is called “The Swahili Union Version”.
There was a bit of a sigh of relief and the meeting soon adjourned. Possibly as a result, I was not invited to be a speaker at their Missionary Conferences. Later, one of the pastors asked me to meet with him and he explained that if that vernacular Bible and the “Union Version” had the KJV as its basefor translation, it would be acceptable. In my mind (not vocalized, thank goodness!) I thought that maybe the Great Commission passage in Matt. 28:19 should be read, “Go ye therefore and teach [English to] all nations… .”
Irreverent? Yes, but it did cross my mind!!