Thinking Out Loud

June 19, 2013

Wednesday Link List

Your Lifeguard Walks on Water

Has it been a week already? The above graphic is from Happy Monday at The Master’s Table.

The Church of the Nativity of Our Lady from Peredki: I'd like to build something like this at camp sometime. Click the image for more info.

The Church of the Nativity of Our Lady from Peredki (16th Century): I’d like to build something like this at camp sometime. Click the image for more info.

January 10, 2013

The Ooops! Bible

Ever tried to find a pen and piece of scrap paper and then gave up and simply typed a personal message into the middle of an online project you were working on? That’s not a good idea if the project was Bible translation and you forgot to remove the message. The blog Parchment and Pen fills us in:

Proverbs 2:16 reads “To deliver you from the adulteress, from the sexually loose woman who speaks flattering words.” In the first printing of the New English Translation, there is a footnote at the end of this verse with a 1-800 number. The translator was writing the notes for this verse on his computer when he got a call and, not finding a pen, typed the call-back number in these notes. He forgot to delete them.

Ooops! (My spell checker prefers only two ohs, but to me it was a fairly big ooops.)

Click the link above for eight more, some of which you may know already. Of course this list pales in comparison to the mistakes people have made while reading the Bible aloud. Know any good stories?

On the other hand, Google the topic of “errors in Bibles” and things get a little less humorous. A cursory reading of an article like this one looks interesting, but very quickly the author uses his academic standing to deny the virgin birth.

Then I stumbled on this article, which seems to prefer the idea that Jesus was trying to maintain an existing form of Judiasm over the idea that he came to usher in something new.

Continue down that path and you end up at all the articles dealing with mis-translation, contradictions and the inerrancy debate. But some of the articles are a study in contradiction themselves, like this one.

For many Jews and Christians, religion dictates that the words of the Bible in the original Hebrew are divine, unaltered and unalterable.

For Orthodox Jews, the accuracy is considered so inviolable that if a synagogue’s Torah scroll is found to have a minute error in a single letter, the entire scroll is unusable.

But then it says,

But the ongoing work of the academic detectives of the Bible Project, as their undertaking is known, shows that this text at the root of Judaism, Christianity and Islam was somewhat fluid for long periods of its history, and that its transmission through the ages was messier and more human than most of us imagine.

Some people thrive on reading articles of this nature, and some people are already starting to glaze over. And each of us varies in our degree to which we consider the text sacrosanct. So we’d sooner allow a 1-800 number, or a grocery list to creep into the text than for anyone to suggest that the core text has been or should be altered, or that it means anything other than what we’ve always understood.

Unless of course, we’re looking for an opt-out, a free pass, which would allow us to do our own thing.

June 9, 2012

Weekend Link List

Breaking News!

Two major staff transitions at very influential churches to report today:

  • Shane Hipps,  who only recently succeeded Rob Bell as teaching pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids will step down as soon as the church finds a permanent replacement. “I knew instantly my internal shape did not fit the role they created.  But I had to ask the question, is this something God wanted me to change about myself?  Or was I simply not tall enough for this ride?  That is a question easier posed than answered.” 
  • Tony Jones’ response: “While I can understand the Elders’ decision to move in a more conventional direction — with a pastor who does the majority of the preaching — it seems odd that this person will report to the executive director of the church. It makes you wonder: What gifted preacher would come to Mars Hill without also being able to lead the staff?”

And now on to the rest of today’s links.

  • Church break-ins are nothing new, but sixteen in one county of one state just days apart?
  • After years of being told why men hate going to church, we learn that boys hate going to Sunday School.
  • The tour bus of Sanctus Real was involved in a fire early Wednesday morning, destroying the entire bus and resulting in the band losing all of their personal belongings. 
  • Prince Charles dropped by Toronto’s Yonge Street Mission on his recent Canadian tour to hear how charities and businesses are working together to create employment opportunities for young people. (Personal note: The YSM coffee house was the first place I performed as a Christian music artist.)
  • Author and televangelist Creflo Dollar was arrested early Friday on charges involving the choking of his 15-year-old daughter. He was taken into custody at his home and charged with simple battery and cruelty to children.
  • In the last 12 months, over 17 million American adults who don’t regularly attend worship services visited the website of a local church or place of worship according to a recent study.
  • Popular teen’s and women’s author Dannah Gresh on why she’s passing on the opportunity to read Fifty Shades of Gray.
  • A military chaplains’ organization is speaking out against a lesbian ceremony held at a U.S. Army chapel in Louisiana. “While the ceremony was not a marriage, it is clear that this was in fact a marriage-like ceremony…”
  • New York City Pastor and author Tim Keller offers fellow-pastors a behind the scenes look at the ministry philosophy behind Redeemer Presbyterian.
  • Veteran Christian blogger Bill Kinnon joins a disturbing number of people who “no longer” believe in the inerrancy of scripture.
  • Your friends in youth ministry might want to know about this four-week, interactive discipleship program for new Christians.

Devotions Department: After a week at what our British friends would call “the seaside”  Stephen and Brooksyne Weber offer devotional thoughts on some older hymns inspired by the ocean.

May 15, 2011

Bart Ehrman Steps Up His Assault on Scripture

Move over Marcus Borg and Shelby Spong.  Bible “scholar” Bart Ehrman has upped the ante with his new release, a book with the brazen title, Forged, published by HarperCollins, ironically the parent company of Zondervan, publisher of the NIV Bible.  From Dan Brown to the Jesus Seminar, it seems like hardly a month goes by without another volley being fired on the Bible, even as the KJV anniversary attests to the book’s endurance.   Ben Witherington III responds:

…This book should not be confused with some of Bart’s previous efforts, in particular Misquoting Jesus, as Bart is not arguing in this book merely that [there] are errors or mistakes in the Bible.   No, in this book he takes the next step in arguing that there is deliberate fraud going on in the canon, deceitful practices undertaken to convince or bamboozle some audience into believing something, on the basis of the authority of some apostle or original disciple, who in fact did not write the book in question.      In other words,  Bart is taking on not merely the conservative view that the NT is written by those authors to whom it is attributed but also the widespread notion that pseudonymity was a regular and widely recognized literary practice in antiquity, and that no one was deceived, nor was there an intent to deceive by such a practice.   This book is likely to addle scholars and lay people all across the spectrum of belief, including quite liberal ones who have for a long time argued that pseudonymity was an accepted practice in antiquity.   To judge from the early reviews … those who are looking for an excuse to call the early Christians liars and deceivers are delighted with this book.

Continue reading Ben Witherton’s critique here,  as well as this news item on Forged at CNN’s Belief Blog.

Blog at