DID FRANK LOGSDON HELP
ORGANIZE THE NEW AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION?
By David W. Cloud
February 15, 1996 (David W. Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, Michigan 48061, email@example.com) - We have received a number of requests for information on S. Franklin Logsdon. He was a respected pastor and Bible conference teacher who participated in the founding of the New American Standard Version (NASV). Later he rejected the modern versions and publicly disassociated himself from the NASV. Now the Lockman Foundation which owns the NASV, is insinuating that Logsdon did not participate in that project to the extent that his own testimony would indicate he did.
I know something about these matters. I was the one who first transcribed Logsdon's testimony from an audio cassette and put it into print. I transcribed the message from the tape in 1991, and it was first printed in O Timothy magazine, Volume 9, Issue 1, 1992, and reprinted in Volume 11, Issue 8, 1994.
INTRODUCTION TO FRANK LOGSDON'S
by David W. Cloud
S. Franklin Logsdon (1907-1987) was a respected evangelical pastor and popular Bible conference speaker. He pastored Moody Memorial Church in Chicago (from 1950 to 1952). Prior to that he pastored Central Baptist Church in London, Ontario (from 1942-50). He also pastored churches in Holland, Michigan (Immanuel Baptist from 1952-57), and Eerie, Pennsylvania. He taught at London Bible Institute in Ontario, Canada. He preached at Bible conferences (such as Moody Founder's Week) with well-known evangelists and pastors such as Billy Graham and Paul Smith of People's Church in Toronto.
Logsdon authored a number of popular books and commentaries published by Zondervan and other Evangelical Publishing Houses. A notice on the cover of his book Lest Ye Faint states, "One of the most popular and best loved pastors is the author of this book. Mr. Logsdon is an uncompromising defender of the faith once delivered to the saints, and each Sunday in Moody Memorial Church in Chicago, thousands of people gather to have their souls refreshed from the divine springs of Christian truth."
In the 1950s Logsdon was invited by his businessman friend Franklin Dewey Lockman to prepare a feasibility study which led to the production of the New American Standard Version (NASV). He also helped interview some of the men who served as translators for this version. He wrote the Foreword which appears in the NASV. In a letter dated June 9, 1977, to Cecil Carter, Brethren Elder in Prince George, British Columbia, Logsdon said this:
"As an honorary member of the Lockman Foundation, producers of the Amplified New Testament and the New American Standard, I was invited to California back in the fifties to do a feasibility on utilizing the copyright of the 1901 which was as loose as a fumbled football. I was delighted and went. When it was decided to proceed with a revised publication, I assisted Mr. Lockman in interviewing a few of the men who served as ‘translators.’ What was finally used as the Foreword was taken from the feasibility report. I had little to do with its production. I received #7 of the Deluxe copies, but did not for years even look inside it. It was too cumbersome to carry with me on the road" (S. Franklin Logsdon, June 9, 1977, to Cecil Carter).
In the later years of his life Logsdon publicly renounced his association with the modern versions and stood unhesitatingly for the King James Bible. In the same letter Logsdon wrote to Cecil Carter of Prince George, British Columbia, "When questions began to reach me [pertaining to the NASV], at first I was quite offended. However, in attempting to answer, I began to sense that something was not right about the NASV. Upon investigation, I wrote my very dear friend, Mr. Lockman, explaining that I was forced to renounce all attachment to the NASV. ... I can aver that the project was produced by thoroughly sincere men who had the best of intentions. The product, however, is grievous to my heart and helps to complicate matters in these already troublous times."
Logsdon moved to Largo, Florida, in his senior years and died there August 13, 1987. His widow, Beatty, subsequently moved to Wheaton, Illinois.
In the mid-1980s an audio cassette of Logsdon's testimony in regard to Bible versions was sent to me by Dr. David Otis Fuller, who passed away in 1988. I do not know where or exactly when Logsdon was preaching this message. There is no indication on the tape itself. I transcribed the message from the tape in 1991, and it was first printed in O Timothy magazine, Volume 9, Issue 1, 1992. -- David W. Cloud
THE NEW AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION
by S. Franklin Logsdon
Following is Logsdon's precise statement in regard to his involvement with the New American Standard Bible:
"Back in 1956-57 Mr. F. Dewey Lockman of the Lockman Foundation [contacted me. He was] one of the dearest friends we've ever had for 25 years, a big man, some 300 pounds, snow white hair, one of the most terrific businessmen I have ever met. I always said he was like Nehemiah; he was building a wall. You couldn't get in his way when he had his mind on something; he went right to it; he couldn't be daunted. I never saw anything like it; most unusual man. I spent weeks and weeks and weeks in their home, real close friends of the family.
"Well, he discovered that the copyright [on the American Standard Version of 1901] was just as loose as a fumbled ball on a football field. Nobody wanted it. The publishers didn't want it. It didn't get anywhere. Mr. Lockman got in touch with me and said, ‘Would you and Ann come out and spend some weeks with us, and we'll work on a feasibility report; I can pick up the copyright to the 1901 if it seems advisable.’
"Well, up to that time I thought the Westcott and Hort was the text. You were intelligent if you believed the Westcott and Hort. Some of the finest people in the world believe in that Greek text, the finest leaders that we have today. You'd be surprised; if I told you, you wouldn't believe it. They haven't gone into it just as I hadn't gone into it; [they're] just taking it for granted.
"At any rate we went out and started on a feasibility report, and I encouraged him to go ahead with it. I'm afraid I'm in trouble with the Lord, because I encouraged him to go ahead with it. We laid the groundwork; I wrote the format; I helped to interview some of the translators; I sat with the translators; I wrote the preface. When you see the preface to the New American Standard, those are my words.
"I got one of the fifty deluxe copies which were printed; mine was number seven, with a light blue cover. But it was rather big and I couldn't carry it with me, and I never really looked at it. I just took for granted that it was done as we started it, you know, until some of my friends across the country began to learn that I had some part in it and they started saying, ‘What about this; what about that?’
"Dr. David Otis Fuller in Grand Rapids [Michigan]. I've known him for 35 years, and he would say (he would call me Frank; I'd call him Duke), ‘Frank, what about this? You had a part in it; what about this; what about that?’ And at first I thought, Now, wait a minute; let's don't go overboard; let's don't be too critical. You know how you justify yourself the last minute.
"But I finally got to the place where I said, 'Ann, I'm in trouble; I can't refute these arguments; it's wrong; it's terribly wrong; it's frightfully wrong; and what am I going to do about it?' Well, I went through some real soul searching for about four months, and I sat down and wrote one of the most difficult letters of my life, I think.
"I wrote to my friend Dewey, and I said, ‘Dewey, I don't want to add to your problems,’ (he had lost his wife some three years before; I was there for the funeral; also a doctor had made a mistake in operating on a cataract and he had lost the sight of one eye and had to have an operation on the other one; he had a slight heart attack; had sugar diabetes; a man seventy-four years of age) ‘but I can no longer ignore these criticisms I am hearing and I can't refute them. The only thing I can do--and dear Brother, I haven't a thing against you and I can witness at the judgment of Christ and before men wherever I go that you were 100% sincere,’ (he wasn't schooled in language or anything; he was just a business man; he did it for money; he did it conscientiously; he wanted it absolutely right and he thought it was right; I guess nobody pointed out some of these things to him) ‘I must under God renounce every attachment to the New American Standard.’
"I have a copy of the letter. I have his letter. I've shown it to some people. The Roberts saw it; Mike saw it. He stated that he was bowled over; he was shocked beyond words. He said that was putting it mildly, but he said, ‘I will write you in three weeks, and I still love you. To me you're going to be Franklin, my friend, throughout the course.’ And he said, ‘I'll write you in three weeks.’
"But he won't write me now. He was to be married. He sent an invitation to come to the reception. Standing in the courtroom, in the county court by the desk, the clerk said, ‘What is your full name, Sir?' And he said, ‘Franklin Dewey...’ And that is the last word he spoke on this earth. So he was buried two days before he was supposed to be married, and he's with the Lord. And he loves the Lord. He knows different now.
"I tell you, dear people, somebody is going to have to stand. If you must stand against everyone else, stand. Don't get obnoxious; don't argue. There's no sense in arguing.
"But nevertheless, that's where the New American stands in connection with the Authorized Version" (S. Franklin Logsdon, from an undated audio cassette message).
THE LOCKMAN FOUNDATION’S
ABOUT FRANK LOGSDON
The Lockman Foundation has made the following statement in regard to Logsdon: "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 or part of the Lockman Foundation. According to our records, he was present at a board meeting on two occasions -- once to hear a travel report; and once to deliver an ‘inspirational thought.’ Mr. Logsdon 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 Lockman Foundation, 1995
THE TRUTH ABOUT FRANK LOGSDON’S
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE NASV
We don't know the motive for this communication from the Lockman Foundation; apparently they are giving information based on their resources at hand. Obviously they don't have all the facts. This was admitted to me by a translator who represents the Lockman Foundation and the New American Standard Version. In an e-mail message to me dated February 16, 1996, Dr. Don Wilkins said, "Perhaps the truth of the whole matter is that none of us has all the facts about the situation."
I have three witnesses to Logsdon's involvement with the NASV that would stand up in a court of law: First, there is Logsdon's own spoken testimony which we have on audio cassette. This has been authenticated by Christians who knew him. Second, we know that Logsdon's widow in Wheaton, Illinois, has authenticated his testimony in regard to the NASV. Third, we have a copy of a letter from Logsdon to Cecil Carter of Prince George, British Columbia, June 9, 1977. I have known Brother Carter for many years. He is a faithful elder in a Brethren assembly and a respected member of his community.
Part of the problem has been caused by some who have made claims for Logsdon which he did not himself make. Note that Logsdon never said that he actually worked on the NASV or the Amplified Bible translation or that he was an actual employee of the Lockman Foundation. He did not claim to be "co-founder" of the NASV. He said he was a friend of Lockman and as such was invited to come out to California and help launch the venture. According to his own testimony and that of his widow, that is precisely what he did. Logsdon was a highly respected Bible teacher and author, and there is certainly no reason why he would have lied about these matters. He had nothing to gain thereby. To the contrary, he was considered a nut by many of his peers for taking a stand against the modern versions.