February 2006

Microsoft Markets Better!

Here's how Microsoft would improve on Apple's Ipod packaging. An in-house Microsoft parody of Microsoft branding.

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In Africa, who marries whom?

From a friend who's studying Swahili:

Swahili is not gendered like the Romance languages of Europe; there are no masculine and feminine words. But in Swahili there are two different verbs referring to marriage: one for men, and one for women. The male word "kuoa" is translated actively as "to marry." The female word "kuolewa" is passive, and is translated "to get married." How's that for leadership?

Ninapenda Africa!

One woman's theological confession of faith...

Our readers may remember two wise comments contributed by Rebecca Jones under this blog's posts concerning Covenant College's hosting of Carolyn Custis James a week or so ago. I've had the privilege of working alongside Rebecca and her husband, Peter, in the past opposing the feminist heresy and I commend this credo, this personal confession of faith. It's obvious here that being a mother and wife is no hindrance to being a theologian. Rather, as Rebecca would put it, being a wife and a mother is, for most women, how she must be a theologian. Note particularly Rebecca's explanatory statement at the end, in italics.

It would be good for Covenant College to require any future women being considered for speaking engagements on the subject of the meaning and purpose of sexuality to read and sign Mrs. Jones' Credo before the invitation is final. After all, we're a confessional community and asking women being considered for positions of authority at Covenant College should be expected to be confessional on this issue, and not simply the issues from centuries back.

My Credo as a Christian Woman

by Rebecca Jones

I believe God created me, a woman, in His image.

I believe God has the authority, as my Creator to define my whole person; body, soul, mind, and emotions.

I believe God has chosen to reveal Himself through the world in which I live and through the incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ. I learn of both these revelations through His Word, the Bible, which becomes clear to me by the power of Jesus Christ, whose Spirit works in my heart and my understanding.

I believe that God exists as one God, in three equal persons and that these persons have Scripturally revealed relationships and functions within the trinity.

I believe that all human fellowship is a reflection of that perfect fellowship defined and experienced from all eternity by God Himself in the trinity.

I believe that God made both men and women in His image.

I believe that God gave the man a representative role in humanity in general (as seen in both Adam and Christ) and that He also gave each man a representative and authoritative role as head of his wife and of his family...

The last shall be first...

Jesus tells us that in Heaven, the last shall be first and the first shall be last. Watch this beautiful video for a glimpse of Heaven.

(Thanks, Doug.)

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DISappointment or HISappointment...

Early during my time at seminary, I saw an ad on the seminary bulletin board placed by a local family looking for someone to work about twenty hours a week gardening, cleaning, driving, and other odd jobs. I went for the interview and was hired.

My first day on the job, I met Enoch. Eighty-three at the time, Enoch had been widowed many years earlier and he lived alone. Until recently, he'd been the organist for his small Baptist church but he'd been forced to quit because his hands had become gnarled by arthritis and could no longer spread across the keys.

Enoch's entire life consisted of being at the beck and call of the family we worked for. The difference between Enoch and the other two people they employed was that we were paid an hourly wage and had daytime hours. Enoch, though, was given a car with all the car's expenses covered, and also a small gift each Christmas. For that he spent sixteen hours a day, weekdays, weekends, and holidays "holding down the fort" as he'd put it.

He did some work in the garden--the formal rose and dahlia garden was his turf. But usually, he'd sit in the breakfast room reading the Bible. He had a system I've taken up in part. Each time he finished a chapter, he'd mark it with a check mark. And something I haven't copied: he'd use a different colored magic marker each year. Almost every chapter in his Bible had at least five check marks at its head.

I'd open the sliding glass doors and walk into the breakfast room and Enoch would greet me with a cheerful, "Well, how are you?" We'd catch up on news. It was always sweet to talk to Enoch but as time went on I noticed there was never, ever any family news. Church news, yes--but no family news. Finally, one day I put the question to him directly: "Enoch, do you have any children?"

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A sort of sabbatical...

In going back over my CBMW correspondence from the late nineties, I noticed I took a sabbatical from my CBMW work in May 1997 in order to focus on other work--most especially my congregation. Feeling weary of the volume of work put in on this blog for the past couple of weeks, coming off a week when I've barely left my bedroom due to sickness, and hearing my elders' and fellow pastors' exhortations to me to focus my writing elsewhere, I'm going to follow David's example and post and respond less frequently for the next bit of time. There will be an occasional post, but please don't count on responses. They have been exhausting, recently, and much more has gone on privately that you see in the comments section.

So please be understanding if you're inclined to think I'm copping out of defending my posts. Maybe I am, but it's more likely I'm giving my writing time elsewhere. Meanwhile, I'm hopeful some of our good readers will pick up the slack and demonstrate their godly discernment and love.

David and I are very grateful for each of you and the kind support you show us in so many ways. Please pray for us and our churches and families, that God will bless us with everything we need to bring Him greater glory.

Warmly,
Your brother in Christ,

Tim Bayly

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A Letter to Tim: thoughts on the brouhaha over the origin of the ESV

Dear Tim,

I suspect Wayne Grudem's claim that the ESV's origin had nothing to do with the TNIV (in his response to Ben Witherington's blog attack on the ESV) amounts to a careful parsing of the truth--casuistry rather than flat falsehood. Literally taken, Wayne's claim is accurate. Of course, it conceals more than it reveals....

The history of the English Standard Version...

Across the years many have written about the connection of the English Standard Version to the gender-neutral Bible controversy as well as to those of us principally involved in that controversy, and it's my conviction that any one or two persons must not be the only voices leaving a written history either of that controversy or of the connection of that controversy to the new Bible translations that have since been issued. Here then is the history of the origin of the ESV written by a participant, and therefore an eyewitness.

The origin of the proposal taken to Crossway to create a new Bible from the RSV
During late Spring 1997, Wayne Grudem and I personally and frequently discussed the necessity of a new Bible translation being created in direct response to the gender-neutral work of the International Bible Society, Zondervan, and their Committee on Bible Translation. Our discussions were both by phone and in person--we worked together for the three years I was executive director of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (1996-2000)...

We carried our discussion into a broader forum, namely the larger group of leaders who were brought together and began phone and E-mail dialog in preparation for our meeting called and hosted by James Dobson in Colorado Springs on May 27, 1997 at Focus on the Family's headquarters. During that preparatory dialog, this new translation was the subject of discussion within our group both by phone and E-mail.

Indicative of our discussions was one E-mail written by Wayne in which he responded to an E-mail asking, "Do you really think another version is possible? It is an enormously expensive and consuming ambition." Wayne responded that the new translation was a "possibility" using one of three possible foundations. It could be a "redo of the old RSV," it could be a "redo... of the NRSV," or it could be a completely "new translation."

Then the evening prior to the May 27th meeting at Focus on the Family, Wayne and I met with the other anti-gender-neutral participants at our hotel and planned our strategy.

Ben Witherington's boring discovery...

A United Methodist professor at Asbury Theological Seminary named Ben Witherington keeps a blog, and this past Monday he posted a piece titled, "The Problem with the ESV."  Witherington is a run-of-the-mill feminist trying hard to hold on to an evangelical commitment to the authority of Scripture while at the same time pushing the very thing explicitly forbidden by God--namely, women exercising authority over men. As men falling into this error go, Witherington strikes me as being in the "That's not what Paul really meant" camp. None of the honesty of the late Paul King Jewett who was man enough to say, essentially, "Yeah, Paul said it and Paul was wrong."

Speaking personally, I always admired Jewett for his courage. If my son's going to disobey me, I'd rather he did it like a man: "Yes, Dad, I know you told me to come straight home from youth group but I stopped and had a frappuccino with Emily. I disobeyed you and I'm sorry." Woe betide him if he tries to lie his way out of it: "But Dad, I know how important Emily's and my sexual purity is to you and we figured Starbucks was a good public place for us to sit and talk. You do want us to avoid being alone, don't you? I mean, when it comes to weighing which you care more about--me coming straight home or sexual purity--don't you think I made the right choice?"

But back to Rev. Dr. Witherington. Breathlessly, he reported the following New Information this past Monday...

ESV Origin....

One of these accounts is a little more accurate than the other....

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Is Islam a religion of peace?

Note: Although we're not admirers of the "Israel can do no wrong" view so prevalent among evangelical Christians, neither were we happy with our President's declaration immediately following 9/11, "Islam is a religion of peace." Down through history Islam has never been known as a religion of peace, but rather a religion of jihad. It gains converts through war--and not spiritual warfare with principalities and powers, with rulers of the heavenly realms, but rather the old-fashioned blood and guts sort of war. You know, convert or move or die.

To focus our thoughts on this matter, here's a talk given last week by a veteran of the Arabic and Islamic world, Brigitte Gabriel. Yes, there are parts of her speech we'd want to quibble over, but not her essential thrust--that the Western World's refusal to acknowledge the true nature of her enemy will, if continued, prove to be fatal.

Brigitte Gabriel's Speech at the Intelligence Summit
(February 17-20, 2006, Arlington, VA)

We gather here today to share information and knowledge. Intelligence is not merely cold hard data about numerical strength or armament or disposition of military forces. The most important element of intelligence has to be understanding the mindset and intention of the enemy. The west has been wallowing in a state of ignorance and denial for thirty years as Muslim extremists perpetrated evil against innocent victims in the name of Allah.

I was ten years old when my home exploded around me burying me under the rubble drinking my blood to survive as the perpetrators shouted Allahu Akbar. My only crime was that I was a Christian living in a Christian town...

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Sally Wright's Ben Reese Mysteries

Tim's and my father used to say that there was no market for quality Christian fiction. Of course, he said this as a Christian author and publisher in the early 1980s when Christian publishers' catalogs avoided fiction like the plague.

But it's still an open question. Is there a market for quality Christian fiction?

Sally Wright, part of the CTW church family together with her husband Joe, in her Ben Wright mystery series gives evidence that good Christian novelists exist beyond Jan Karon and Marilynne Robinson. The New York Times says of Sally's series:

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