Bible translation

Post on John MacArthur's money: answering objections...

Back on January 30th, we ran a post updating readers on the latest IRS Forms 990 filed by John MacArthur's non-profit companies and what they show about his annual income. Since the post, several commenters have questioned whether MacArthur really had any say over his study notes being packaged with the neutered New International Version, whether we're saying MacArthur's income is sinful; and if so, what specific sin we're accusing him of? Here are some responses to those questions and challenges:

Brothers,

I've been out of the loop for a while. I appreciate others who have responded to some of the more recent objections to this post. Now, a couple responses of my own.

First, John MacArthur himself had absolute control over whether or not to package and sell his MacArthur Study Bible notes with the neutered Bible now sold under the name New International Version. It was his decision and he alone is the man who could have stopped it. His elders board did not make the decision.  Zondervan doesn't control MacArthur's study notes. John MacArthur controls John MacArthur's study notes. This is how publishing works.

John decided he didn't want to lose out on one of the largest Bible markets in the English-speaking world, so after negotiating royalties (which unlike John Piper's royalties, remain a secret), he signed an agreement with Zondervan to sell his own study notes in the text of a Bible that everyone knows has gagged God's words for the sake of pacifying the feminists.

There's no debating these simple facts. Readers may differ concerning the reason MacArthur did this, but it's certain he made the decision to sell the neutered Bible he had previously opposed because of its unfaithfulness to the text of Scripture.

Second, the Bible commands us to exclude men from ministry who are greedy:


Inoffensive "Bibles" bear toxic fruit...

London's Mail Online reports: "Parents and godparents no longer have to ‘repent sins’ and ‘reject the devil’ during christenings after the Church of England rewrote the solemn ceremony. The new wording is designed to be easier to understand... In the original version, the vicar asks: ‘Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God?’ Prompting the reply: ‘I reject them.’ They then ask: ‘Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour?’, with the answer: ‘I repent of them.’ 

But under the divisive reforms, backed by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and already being practised in 1,000 parishes, parents and godparents are asked to ‘reject evil, and all its many forms, and all its empty promises’ – with no mention of the devil or sin. The new text ...also drops the word ‘submit’ in the phrase ‘Do you submit to Christ as Lord?’ because it is thought to have become ‘problematical’, especially among women who object to the idea of submission."

Yes, yes; "the new wording is designed to be easier to understand." Reading this news piece reminded me of the corruption of the text of Scripture in our new Bible versions. Reformed Evangelicals justified it too with the claim they were making Scripture "easier to understand." But it's all bunk. The problem our new Bibles are designed to address is not readers' lack of understanding, but the text's offensiveness. And if we're honest, we'll admit we've only begun our quest to render God's word innocuous.

Why stop with the removal of words like "Jews," "old wives tales," "man," "brothers," and "effeminate" when words like "devil," "rebellion," "sin," "submit," and "repent" remain in the text? And why do we have such little faith in the understanding of simple Christians. It was not always that way.

Starting in the seventeenth century, the Protestant, Reformed Christians of New England had one of the highest...


Tolkien and Bilbo: a little Christmas gift to you and yours...

My family loves me, so they put up with my idiosyncrasies. One was the subject of several jocular comments during our early Christmas celebration several days ago. Our good readers know how I drone on about Christians confessing our faith by not giving up the name "man" for our race.

I'll cop to it. When Christians employ "human," "humankind," and "person" in place of "man," I get facial tics. Pagans bashing in the chest of English usage to conform to their homogenized world of androgynous beings doesn't bother me at all. But when Christians do it, I wonder where they DO choose to confess their faith? If language doesn't matter, why did God say "let there be light?" He didn't need to.

And why do we bother naming our sons and daughters? Why do we call God "Father," and why did He name our race "adam?"

Here's a little Christmas gift for y'all. A Christian brother forwarded a link to this crowd-sourced lament about Tolkien making Bilbo a boy. Trying to be helpful, they provide links to machines that reverse the oppressive patriarchy of historic English. So I tried to explain...


Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson: a postmodern morality play...

Well, they'll stone ya when you're trying to be so good
They'll stone ya just a-like they said they would
They'll stone ya when you're tryin' to go home
Then they'll stone ya when you're there all alone

But I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned.

-Bob Dylan, Rainy Day Women #12 & 35

Although a number of men I'm close to have loved the show for quite some time, yesterday in our pastors meeting I was told Duck Dynasty is one of the most popular TV shows of all time, and I was floored. I've never really gotten reality shows. More recently I haven't gotten FB, either. Everybody shouting at their friends that they just went gluten-free. Scintillating ain't it?

So yeah, the Robertsons are fun and I'd like to blow their duck call once or twice to hear why it made them rich. Is it "Queeeeaaaaaaaaauuuck" or just "Quack Quack?"

In fact, Duck Dynasty's success is mostly about money... {C}


Sermon notes: Galatians Series, Number 8...

So, ask yourself—or rather, ask the Holy Spirit—what possible benefit you might receive from His use of the family relationship of "brothers" as His form of address of groups of Christians, many of whom not only did not share the same blood relationship, but also did not share the same ethnic or racial background? What might this teach you?

Well, for both men and women, it teaches us that we are a part of a new family—and one, not of our own choosing, but of the Holy Spirit’s election. No longer is our identity to be taken from our own cultural heritage, but rather from the call of God to the Church of Jesus Christ, within which we are all fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters of one another. What a tender designation to comfort the hearts of those who have grown up in homes permeated by strife, families abandoned by mothers and fathers who cared more about their own pleasure than the wellbeing of their offspring.

God has called us to Himself and, by that call, made us members of His Own Household, the Church. And within the Church, we are not Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but we are all one in Christ—brothers of God’s household.

NOTE: This is number 8 in a series on Galatians. If this is your first time reading sermon notes here, please take time to read a helpful explanation at the bottom of this post.

From the Pulpit of Church of the Good Shepherd

December 28, 2003; AM
Galatians Series No. 8
For I Would Have You Know, Brethren
Sermon Text: Galatians 1:11-24

This Lord’s Day, we turn to our eighth in a series of sermons on the New Testament book of Galatians...


Mondays with Bill: Bill Mounce won't allow HIS wife to call him "Lord"...

...just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him "Lord," and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear. - 1Peter 3:6

Bill Mounce is a New Testament scholar who sits on both the feminist New International Version 2011's Committee on Bible Translation funded by Zondervan and the anti-feminist English Standard Version's New Testament committee funded by Good News Publishers/Crossway. How does Dr. Mounce spread his feet between translation responsibilities for both feminist and anti-feminist Bibles?

Bill Mounce is able to keep one foot in both camps because he's a complementarian. Calling himself a "complementarian," Bill Mounce did a post recently telling the world that, despite the Apostle Peter's commendation of Sarah calling her husband "Lord," he himself would most certainly never allow his wife to call him "Lord." In fact, says Dr. Mounce, if my wife addressed me in any way similar to the way Sarah addressed her husband, "I would see it as a failure to lead on my part"...

We'll return to Dr. Mounce's post in a minute, but first let's set the context for Mounce's errors within the world of Evangelicalism...


Thank God for Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile...

A week or two ago, Thabiti Anyabwile, a faithful Reformed pastor from the Cayman Islands, ran a post calling for Reformed Christians to recover their ability to feel shame and revulsion at sodomitic practices (The Importance of Your Gag Reflex When Discussing Homosexuality and "Gay Marriage"). Pastor Anyabwile pointed out how those practices perverted God's sexual design and this made his readers mad, so they inundated Pastor Anyabwile's blog with catcalls and rotten tomatoes and Pastor Anyabwile apologized.

Through many years working with men and women fighting against temptations to same-sex intimacy, I've learned the precious truth that the straight and narrow road of Christian faith runs right next to the straight and narrow road of body parts and shame... {C}


Announcing the Tim Keller study Bible...

Publishers dream about Bibles because they are the cornerstone of publishing profits. Putting out a new Bible translation can assure a publisher's profitablity for generations, but short of a new translation, study Bibles do almost as well.

In a recent interview, Christianity Today's Global Publishing Director, Cliff Johnson, spoke of the profitability of Christianity Today's study Bibles:

Both the NIV Student Bible and the Quest Study Bible have been some of the most visible Christianity Today Bible products. Both were done with Zondervan and have produced ongoing revenue streams for quite some time now.

Tim Keller has been hitting doubles and triples with his books the past few years. Now he's going for the cycle with Christianity Today's recent announcement of the Faith and Work Bible to be marketed under the Keller/Redeemer trademark. Christianity Today CEO Harold Smith explains the Keller study Bible...


Copyright and Christian publishing, today...


If technology is behind many evils, although I wouldn't put it at the top of the list, the aggressive lobbying of publishers for expansion of their copyrights would be way up there. You know a recurrent theme here is the click we all are forced to perform before new software installations and updates: "Yes, I've read and agree with your 10,000 words of legalese here binding me to give notice to Apple if I ever put on a pair of socks again without explicit permission from Apple's in-house socks permissions department. And no, I will never, ever eat an apple again without paying you a user fee. Promise and cross my heart." You know the routines and the lies it's made pervasive.

But this is almost the least toxic part of the abuse of copyright, today. We have Christians threatening lawsuits against those who copy works in the public domain when those works are not and cannot be covered by copyright, so their threat is a lie. We have Bibles copyrighted when the Holy Spirit inspired every word, and Moses, Kings David and Solomon, and the Apostle Paul did the work and have been dead for many centuries. We have Mickey Mouse getting an extension of royalties for Disney simply because he has well-paid lawyers and lobbyists buying legislators who think making the Disney corporation filthy richer is fine because Disney is next to apple pie and motherhood.

It's a mess and we all need to remind ourselves that there's another way for believers...


For new Christians, a simple explanation of how to buy a Bible...

Do you have a Bible you hold and open and read and write notes in? Not a Bible app, but a real printed Bible? You ought to and here's a post giving some recommendations for choosing and using your Bible, as well as some recommendations for a few books you should have on hand as helps in your Bible reading.

As you read, always keep in mind that the Bible is the only book without error: 

But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. - 2Peter 1:20,21

No other book is so worthy of our delight and constant meditation:

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. - 2Timothy 3:16,17

In Scripture we come to know the character, the perfections, of the Only True God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Here we have revealed to us the origin and nature of man, unique among all creation. Man alone (both men and women) bears the Image of God, although by virtue of the federal headship of Adam he is wracked by sin. Here joyfully we meet Jesus our beloved Savior. Here we read of His love for lost and sinful man. Here we are brought to His Cross and promised eternal life if we believe on Him. Here we find everything we need to lead a godly life in Christ Jesus.

Read this book as close to once a year as you can. And never ever excluding the Old Testament. And as you read, don't hesitate to mark up your Bible...


The womanish translators of the NIV (2011) and the ESV...

Translations are like women. Si elles sont belles, elles sont infidèles, mais si elles sont fidèles, elles ne sont pas belles.*

For several decades, now, Evangelical Bible scholars translating Scripture have proven themselves women lacking the male capacity to stand the heat of battle and fight. This is true of Zondervan's New International Version (2011), but too often it's also true of Crossway's English Standard Version.

Zondervan's New International Version 2011

The Committee on Bible Translation is paid to produce all translations bearing the name "New International Version," which translations are then licensed and sold by News Corps' publishing company, Zondervan. The Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) is made up of men like Craig Blomberg, Gordon Fee, Dick France, Doug Moo, Bill Mounce, Mark Strauss, and Bruce Waltke, all of whom have gotten the sort of degrees mothers dream of.

Being very educated, we may safely conclude it's not out of ignorance of Hebrew or English that their Bible product, the New International Version 2011, mistranslates the Hebrew 'ishshah' as "weaklings" in each of the texts...


Recovering devotional reading (part 2): you simply must read the life and testament of Jim Elliot...

When I was young, I listened to some phonograph records on the life of David Livingstone. One story was about his encounter with a man-eating lion. When I listened to it recently, I cringed at the racist undertones. “Bwana, him big like house. Him big like mountain.” “I know Juma …". But I was also reminded why it was so helpful. It probably shaped me in ways of which I had no idea at the time. Even though Livingstone shot the lion, it kept charging and mauled his arm before the bullet finally killed it. “You know, boys and girls, God did deliver David Livingstone from the lion. But he was unable to use that arm for the rest of his life.” Narration like that taught me from a tender age that following God was no guarantee that I wouldn’t suffer, even if I was utterly faithful. 

I also remember one scene where terrifying natives were on one side of a river, hurling spears and shooting arrows and yelling at Livingstone and his friends. I can still hear the angry chief calling out in a low, ominous voice, “Go back … Go back ….”


Don Carson's promotion of gender-neutered Bibles...

One reader e-mailed asking if I was being fair in this prior post where I listed Don Carson with Gordon Fee and Roger Nicole as being guilty of the "betrayal of the Word of God's authority?" The short answer is Don Carson was paid to do so-called "translation" for the production of the New Living Translation in which thousands of words with male meaning components (adam, aner, adelphoi, etc.) were deleted in order to pacify the itching ears of our feminist culture. Carson's NLT also deleted a number of occurrences of the words 'Ioudaios' and 'Ioudaioi' in order to pacify Jews working to get Bible publishers to remove Anti-Semitic "Christ-hatred" from John's Gospel.

After being paid to do this work, Don wrote a book defending gender-neutered Bibles.

Now for the longer answer...


Burk & Trueman agree: feminism no "erosion of fundamental Evangelical commitments..."

(I)f a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit. (Matthew 15:14b)

"Seminary profs who make nice with feminists remind me of the Apostle Peter at a church potluck." - Anonymous (attributed)

Denny Burk has written a very polite and respectful response to Carl Trueman's defense of the egalitarian feminists' bona fides as faithful inerrantists (about which David and I commented in this and this post). A good summary of Burk's making nice is this commendation of Roger Nicole he gives in the middle of his post:

Roger Nicole remained a convinced egalitarian and an evangelical stalwart all the way to the end. We can think of other individuals for whom egalitarianism has not and likely will never lead to an erosion of their fundamental evangelical commitments.

It's notable that, in his follow-up to the original post defending feminists' doctrinal integrity at the point of the doctrine of Scripture, Trueman joined Burk in tipping his hat to the late Roger Nicole. Why such obsequiousness toward the late Roger Nicole who, having recently departed this world, no longer has a dog in this fight?

Because more faithfully than any other theologian of the last half of the twentieth century, Dr. Nicole defended the Evangelical Theological Society's confessional commitment to inerrancy. Among professional exegetes and theologians Dr. Nicole was Mr. Inerrancy himself...


What meaneth 'anthropos' in the Nicene Creed...

One of the exuses even good men like Wayne Grudem use to neuter Scripture is the excuse that only 'aner' means man-as-male; not 'adelphoi' and certainly not 'anthropos.'

This doesn't have application only to Scripture, but also to the Church's ecumenical creeds. One former PC(USA) pastor...


Now THAT'S a good question...

One good reader noticed I'd been gauche, using the male inclusive in the title of the post, "Three cheers for the men of Wisconsin...". So he commented, asking "Did all the women vote for the recall?! Sorry, a bit of snark." To which I responded:

Dear sibling/person/human,

You should congratulate me for maintaining Biblical usage in the face of the whole world. When I was a child, I spoke as a child. My girlfriend (now my wife) carefully instructed me never ever to use the word 'girl,' and being the son of an author and editor, I was careful to appear sufficiently progressive in all other matters. Thus repudiation of the male inclusive was what I did best. When I was a child.

But now I've put away childish things. It's become clear to me that language is a battleground, and thus that anguage is one of the most vital places to confess our faith. So I make a point of using the male inclusive in the face of all the snickers because...


"Doulos" and the NASB: "...voluntary submission to deity..."

Reading of the ESV translation committee's new concern that the word "slave" (translation of the Greek doulos) has "irredeemably negative associations and connotations," I wondered how my preferred translation, the New American Standard Bible, handled the same word (and the prefixed version, sundoulos, which generally they translate by adding "fellow," as in "fellow slave."). The NASB mostly renders it "slave," but at a number of places, it has "bond-servant,"—a fact which stood out to me when I began preaching through the book of James last year. James 1:1: "James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,...".

Here's the frequency of each of the NASB's various translations of doulos...


Honor to whom honor is due...

While we're on the subject of money...

Over the years countless times I've given thanks to God, but also to Dad and Mom Taylor (Ken Taylor and Margaret Taylor), for the way they handled the money God poured out on them.

One of the minority of privately held Evangelical publishers left standing today is Tyndale House Publishers and it's owned entirely by Mom Taylor now that her husband, Ken, passed away a few years ago. (Prior to his death, Dad owned 51% and Mom 49%. Sweet, huh?)

Tyndale House has published a number of best sellers and Dad held personal copyright on some of the best-selling books in the Evangelical publishing world including the Living Bible and The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes. Then of course, Tyndale's goose that lay ten thousand golden eggs was Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye's Left Behind series which reached sales (books and related merchandise) of over a billion dollars.

Add up the numbers and you'll see how high on the hog Dad and Mom could have lived and how much money they could have left their children...


You cannot serve God and wealth...

No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. - Luke 16:13

Recently we've spent time on Guidestar downloading and reviewing IRS 990s filed by various Evangelical ministries including Ligonier, Grace to You, Grace to You/Masters College and SeminaryInsight for Living, and Desiring God.

Like accountants, our Internal Revenue Service holds to a high doctrine of original sin--much higher than today's Reformed pastors and congregants. Taking money and conflict of interest seriously, the IRS requires nonprofits to file Form 990 answering a whole host of questions the government believes should inform the giving of those inclined to support these ministries. Then the information collected through the 990 is made a matter of public record. Here are some of the questions...


The words of man and the words of God...

At the beginning of our initial post two weeks ago were these words: "The Words of God are gone--deleted, that is--but the words of man are intact." So, to repeat ourselves, the MacArthur NIV 2011 Study Bible is two things: the Word of God and the words of man explaining the Word of God. Which one is more important? Which one should be guarded most carefully?

Before John MacArthur made the decision to yoke his study notes with the NIV 2011, he submitted his notes to the publisher for approval and was pleased they kept his words intact. Thus this...