GS 2007 art 166

GS 2007 Article 166SCBP – Capitalization of personal pronouns referring to God

The advisory committee presented its second proposal:

1.      Material

  • 1.1     SCBP Report 9
  • 1.2-3 Letters from Carman West and Ottawa

2.      Observations

  • 2.1     The committee report serves as observations.
  • 2.2     The church at Chatham requested Synod Chatham to decide that all pronouns referring to God in all of the Book of Praise remain capitalized. In accordance with the advice received from synod, the church at Chatham placed this request before the SCBP. The committee received permission from the copyright holder of the NIV to use such capitals for quotations from the NIV. The committee has incorporated the use of initial capitals for pronouns referring to God for all material to be published in the Book of Praise.
  • 2.3     Ottawa notes that Synod Chatham passed on the request of the church at Chatham to the SCBP, and that the SCBP does not interact with this request as Synod Chatham appears to imply it should. Instead the SCBP simply “goes ahead” and capitalizes the pronouns. Hence more study should be done on this issue.
  • 2.4     Two churches give reasons questioning the necessity of maintaining the use of initial capitals for pronouns referring to God:
    • 2.4.1    This is not done in the NIV (Carman West).
    • 2.4.2    This does not follow current rules of English usage (Ottawa).
    • 2.4.3    This is not supported by the original languages of Scripture (Carman West, Ottawa).
    • 2.4.4    Maintaining such capitalization has no biblical grounds (Carman West).

3.      Considerations

  • 3.1     From the report it appears that the church at Ottawa is correct that the SCBP simply “went ahead” with capitalizing the pronouns referring to God without investigating the issue.
  • 3.2     To ask the SCBP to yet investigate this matter would mean delaying the publication of the revised prose section for another three years.
  • 3.3     It is noted that the NIV and ESV do not capitalize, and that the NKJV (which the FRCA uses) and the NASB do.
  • 3.4     While the points of observation 2.4 have merit, to capitalize is consistent with how the pronouns have been capitalized in our forms in the past.

4.      Recommendation

Synod decide:

  • 4.1     To retain capitalization of the personal pronouns referring to God.