If Bible Translations Had Dinner Together

A coworker sent me this link on “If All the Bible Translations Had a Dinner Party.” While not every translation is represented you’ll get the idea. Here’s just part of it. Very funny.

King James Version (KJV): Hear, hear! Thou young Bibles have no sense of tradition or languages. Thou goest hither and yon, getting makeovers every three years.  NIV, in the last ten years thou hast gotten plastic surgery and thou hast begun dressing like a metrosexual. Thou hast lost thy manhood! I haven’t changed one jot or tittle in over 400 years! [Takes small sip of merlot from a goblet marked “Ebenezer”].

NIV: I am not dressing like a metrosexual! These are skinny jeans. They’re supposed to look…skinny. And in terms of my manhood, let me make something…

The Message (MSG): Dudes, why does Old Man James always talk like that? [Slurps on Redbull]. I mean, like, what’s the difference between “Thee” and “Thou”? And what are jots and tittles? Are they like “Mike & Ike’s”? Honestly, I feel like I’m talking to someone who speaks Mexican. Whatev’s. I totes don’t get it.

ESV: Okay, okay, listen. Yes, I have been getting a lot of attention lately, and I did have a snazzy marketing campaign, but that doesn’t mean I’m bet…

MSG: Dude, can you talk a little quieter. My son, The Message Remix, is competing in the X-Games, and I’m trying to watch on my phone. He’s totes shredding the half-pipe.

Amplified Bible (AMP) [nervously rubbing hands together, perspiration forming on mustache]: I just want to say that I’m really grateful, excited, thrilled, jazzed, stoked to be here. I talk a lot, say a lot of words, run my mouth when I get nervous, anxious, stressed, worried, so please ignore, deny, pay no attention to me. Did I say too much?

KJV [speaking very loudly]: Translations these days have no sense of history, no sense of tradition. I wast commissioned by King James himself. I am practically royalty. Back in my day, there was no New Living Message Voice Remix. There were no glow in the dark covers or Bible XTremes. There was only the king’s English, and we liked it that way. Message, who doth commissioned you? Was it a President or Prime Minister?

MSG: Uhh, a guy name Eugene. He’s from Montana, I think. Wears Birkenstocks. Totes awesome dude.

Today is My Birthday

I’m taking the day off from blogging today since it is my birthday. I know, I know, this is a post. But it didn’t take much thought. I’m thankful to the Lord for 57 years. Some high and some low but through it all he’s been with me sustaining me with his grace and mercy.

Is There a First-Century Fragment of the Gospel of Mark?

By blog standards this is already old news. But I know a few of my readers don’t spend a lot of time looking at blogs. I appreciate it that they spend any time at all on mine. So for the benefit of those who may not have heard there is a speculation that a fragment of the Gospel of Mark has been found that could date back as far as the first century. If this proves true it would be the earliest extant fragment of the New Testament. To date the earliest fragment is P52 which comes from the Gospel of John (also known as the John Rylands Papyrus #457). This fragment comes from the second century.

One of the more fascinating things about this recent find is that it was discovered in a mummy mask. For a cautious approach to this discovery see Larry Hurtado’s post here. Justin Taylor offers his own thoughts here.

Below is a YouTube clip from Dr. Craig Evans explaining the discovery in more detail.

“I Love Jesus but Hate the Church” – What would John Calvin Say?

It is always disastrous to leave the church.” The words are from John Calvin. The strong ecclesiology of John Calvin is hard to find in much of contemporary evangelical ecclesiology. It is more fashionable to hear that one hates the church but loves Jesus. “Who needs church?” is the question of the day. Here’s what Calvin said,

“Fanatical men, refusing to hold fast to it, entangle themselves in many deadly snares. Many are either led either by pride, dislike, or rivalry to the conviction that they can profit enough from private reading and meditation; hence they despise public assemblies and deem preaching superfluous.” (Institutes of the Christian Religion 4.1.5)

Clearly, Calvin knew churches had problems. But he warns against leaving simply because there are problems.

“The pure ministry of the Word and pure mode of celebrating the sacraments are, as we say, sufficient pledge and guarantee that we may safely embrace as church any society I which both these marks exist. The principle extends to the point that we must not reject it so long as it retains them, even if it otherwise swarms with many faults. . . . But I say we must not thoughtlessly forsake the church because of any petty dissensions.” (4.1.12) He plainly says those who seek a church “besmirched with no blemish” are looking in vain (4.1.13) but we must remember that it “is no less true that the Lord is daily at work in smoothing out wrinkles and cleansing spots” and from this “it follows that the church’s holiness is not yet complete.” (4.1.17)

It is true many evangelicals do not trace their heritage to Calvin directly but they are related to the Reformation in general as Protestants. I sometimes wonder what some Protestants believe are the necessary elements to a worship service. Indeed, are there any at all? For Calvin it was the preaching of the word and the proper distribution of the sacraments. Catholics have established guidelines in order for a Mass to be valid or invalid. (This is an interesting feature about Catholic liturgy. It is common to hear a Protestant say they were not being “fed” by a service/pastor/sermon but I’ve never heard one say their service wasn’t valid. The difference lies in the sacramental nature of the Catholic Church. Can Protestants learn something from this? Could it be said of a Protestant service that it is “proper” or “improper”?) I’ve been to numerous Protestant services where the sermon was omitted to allow for more singing or for prayer or for a special event. I’ve never been to a Protestant service where singing was omitted so maybe that’s the essential feature for some—there must be sung praise. The omission of the sermon is an intriguing phenomenon given the importance Protestants place on the Bible in general and preaching in particular. I’ve not seen the sermon omitted from a church that observes a liturgy. (Those churches include Presbyterian, Christian Reformed Church, Lutheran and Catholic.) Granted, it may happen but I’ve not seen it. Most of my experience has been with Baptist, Independent, Nondenominational, CRC, Evangelical Free, Charismatic, and Catholic churches.

This post is not intended to be a critique of any denomination. It is rather to stimulate thought on what constitutes the essential features of an evangelical church service. Are there any? Is it right to expect any?

But more important is the drift we’ve seen from the thought of someone like Calvin to what we see today. I think Calvin would be horrified at the sentiment expressed by “I love Jesus but hate the church.” What do you think?


Don’t Miss “The January Series” 2015 at Calvin College

Every year Calvin College hosts “The January Series.” What’s that? Take a look:

“[t]he January Series [is] a daily, hour-long cultural enrichment series. Presented at 12:30 pm in the 1000-seat Covenant Fine Arts Center Auditorium on campus, the series is open without charge to students, faculty and the west Michigan community. . . .Thanks to the tireless efforts of our founding director, June Hamersma, who served as the series director for its first 20 years, the January Series has become an important part of the cultural and educational offerings in the state and has received nationwide attention. The International Platform Society, founded by Daniel Webster in 1834, has awarded the series the Silver Bowl Award for “Best Campus Lecture Series in the U.S.A.” three times (1994, 1995 & 1999) and has since retired the award. In 2008 we opened our program beyond our auditorium walls to remote sites across the country. Each year we have expanded and in 2015 we will have 40+ churches, schools and community centers across North America—and one European site—that will watch the live presentation as part of our January Series audience. In 2014 we had a total audience of more than 38,000 people over the fifteen days of lectures.” (From the website.)

Every year I try to attend at least one or two of the lectures. This year I’ll be going to hear Tova Friedman who is a child survivor of the Holocaust and Dr. William Hurlbut who will be speaking on “From Chemicals to Consciousness: The Mystery of the Human Mind.” For a full list of speakers see here.

This year for the first time we will be live streaming the event here in the store. If you’ve never been to the January Series I encourage you to take a look at this year’s speakers to see if there is anything that might interest you. There is a wide range of topics addressed.

Janaury Series

Rob Bell Gets His TV Show (Thanks to Oprah)

Now that Rob Bell has moved from West Michigan you can hear crickets down the aisle that once held his books in our store. When he was here we would have to order a couple hundred of his books just to ensure we could have them on the shelf for the first couple of weeks. Now our initial order might be twelve copies. But fans of Bell will soon get to see him on national television as he starts his own TV show on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network). He’s being billed as a “rock-star speaker” and “one of America’s most influential and progressive spiritual leaders.” For many within the evangelical movement Bell has moved further and further to the left. His leanings toward a soft universalism and his defense of gay marriage has caused conservatives to distance themselves from him. For others this will prove to be an open door. Bell will likely appeal to the “I’m spiritual but not religious” and the “I love Jesus but hate the church” groups.