John posted earlier this month about what translation of the Bible people use for preaching. While I have my own preferences, I really try not to look down on the practices of others in this regard (although I admit to being uncomfortable if I hear someone uses The Message exclusively . . .).
In the UMC we have a free and open pulpit - pastors preach as they see fit, including whether or not to follow the lectionary and what translation of the Bible to use (within limits - certainly would not want a UM pastor preaching from the New World translation used by Jehovah's Witnesses, for example). I have known United Methodist pastors to use all of the following and be faithful to their UM doctrinal positions: the KJV family, including NKJV, RSV, NRSV, and ESV. Of course, the NIV is highly popular, and my home pastor used the NASB. Then on the scale of more dynamic equivalent versions I have heard UM pastors use the NLT, the Living Bible paraphrase, the Good News Bible, and I am sure there are more.
So it bothered me when a student I know who is enrolled at the local UM seminary shared this story with me. He was attending his preaching class one day and the only Bible he happened to have with him on this day was a New Living Translation. When he read a passage from the NLT aloud in class, his professor asked what translation he was using. When he said that he using the NLT, he was told by his preaching professor to never bring it with him again into her classroom. Now, I can understand a professor wanting to have all her students using the same translation - that's her perogative (although it makes more sense for an English exegesis class than a preaching class in my opinion). However, she didn't have to do something to embarrass a student in the middle of class, or she could have given a reason why she favored one translation over the NLT. Stories like this make me cringe - why try to force students into a particular translations that may or may not suit them well in their context for ministry?