Thinking Ahead for Father’s Day

Classic gifts for Father’s day include tools, grilling utensils, and maybe some socks. If you are thinking of doing something different this year, consider buying your husband a book. Yes, I realize that for some guys that doesn’t sound like a gift but more like a flashback to their days doing ninth grade reading reports. So you might want to include those socks after all. But if you think your husband or dad may appreciate a book, give these five books some consideration.

Knowing God41KdLW3GkCL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ by J. I. Packer should be on everyone’s shelf. It is a modern classic and has been rewarding diligent readers since 1993. In this popular level book Packer lays out a feast for hungry souls who are tired with the fast-food meals of surface Christianity. But at about 300 pages, it is a feast that will require some perseverance. There are not too many books that I would recommend for believers before this one.

9780310513971mThe Gospel at Work: How Working for King Jesus Gives Purpose and Meaning To Our Jobs by Greg Gilbert and Sebastian Treager is an excellent book that will challenge and encourage your husband or dad where he spends the vast majority of his time and effort. Work is often hard, unrewarding, and full of frustration. Yet it is a gift of God.  From the back cover: “Many Christian fall victim to one of two main problems when it comes to work: either they are idle in their work, or they have made an idol of it. Both of these mind-sets are deadly misunderstandings of how God intends for us to think about our employment. In The Gospel at Work, Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert unpack the powerful ways in which the gospel can transform how we do what we do, releasing us from the cultural pressures of both an all-consuming devotion and a punch-in, punch-out mentality—in order to find the freedom of a work ethic rooted in serving Christ.”

downloadThe God Who is There: Finding Your Place in God’s Story by D. A. Carson. This has been one of my favorite books to read again and again over the past five years since it was written. This book is a guided tour of the entire story of the Bible by one of the world’s best (and I do not exaggerate) biblical theologians. Every time I read this book I come away humbled and rejoicing before my great God and all that He has done for sinful people. His incredible wisdom, sovereignty, mercy and grace are evident throughout. This is also one of those rare books that I enjoy giving to thoughtful non-Christians who are interested in understanding at what the Bible is all about. It has provoked wonderful conversations and gospel opportunities. Know your God and His Word better through this book.

41wuY0fnYtL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The Dude’s Guide to Manhood: Finding True Manliness in a World of Counterfeits by Darrin Patrick is the book for the man’s man. It is punchy and fun in all the right places. Besides, the cover is awesome. Eye glasses and some serious facial hair may not make you a man but it is a pretty good place to start….right? “It is filled with timeless wisdom, accessible insights and practical guidance, The Dude’s Guide to Manhood issues an encouraging and doable call to all men, whatever their age or stage. It challenges men to not settle for wandering aimlessly through our days, wounded, weak, and passive.” But instead, encourages us “to get back on the trail, embrace our gifts while facing our imperfections, and trust the God of new beginnings to lead us into all that we are destined to become: forgiven, connected, determined, teachable, content, heroic, and so much more.” This is a great book to get the men in your life. And besides, that cover is great. But I digress.

81R38l1RarL._SL1500_Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand is a fantastic read. This is a well written biography of the life of World War II Veteran Louis Zamperini. I haven’t seen the movie, I am not sure if I will, but the book was amazing! You can’t help but appreciate the sacrifice of so many for the sake of their country. Zamperini displayed true grit and determination when all seemed lost. His is a powerful story that ends with a clear and powerful witness to the work of Christ in his life. Skip the movie and read the book this summer. It will be well worth your time.


The Root of God’s Joy in Salvation

inkspill24258959.jpgWhy does God rejoice in saving sinners? This was the question I received from a friend not too long ago. As he reflected on God’s joy in salvation (particularly from the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15) it seemed to him that God would have greater joy in salvation if he did not choose those whom he was going to save from eternity past. In this thinking, if God chooses those whom he is going to save before he creates anything (Eph. 1:3-14) then his joy is necessarily reduced and maybe even eliminated since he already knows who is coming to him. So if we know that God rejoices in the salvation of sinners (which we find in Luke 15:7, 10) then doesn’t this mean that the idea of God choosing some for salvation – which, in this thinking, would limit and possibly even negate God’s joy – mean that Calvinism is wrong and Arminianism is right?

Instead of answering this question all in one long post I have decided to “eat the elephant” – if you will – one bite at a time. So I plan to answer this question in parts over the next few posts as time allows.

So why don’t we take our first bite out that proverbial elephant now? The idea implied in the criticism of the doctrine of election is that God’s joy is contingent or at least dependent in some way upon him not knowing our response to the invitation of the gospel. But if this is the case then it is clear that the Arminian teaching of conditional election doesn’t really help us at all. The doctrines of grace (often called Calvinism) teach that God chooses some on the basis of his mercy and grace alone and all for his glory. The Arminian understanding is that God chooses some on the basis of his knowing in advance who will freely choose him. Whether you are a Calvinist or an Arminian you can probably already see the problem. Both sides in this debate agree that God knows in advance who will come to him by faith. Both sides eliminate the element of surprise and of the unknown.

There is however another position, outside the bounds of historic Christianity and Scripture, that teaches that God, in fact, does not know the future. This position is called Open Theism. It takes the philosophical position (not the biblical one) that humans have the power of absolute self-determination. What this means is that God has no control over what anyone does and because we are all absolutely free from God’s providence we create the future as we make choices. So, because the future doesn’t exist unless we create it (with our absolutely free choices), God cannot know our (or anyone’s) future.

It is only in this view of Open Theism that God could be surprised by our response. This position is so clearly outside the bounds of what the Bible really teaches, however, that I will not take the time to deal with it at this point.

Bible and PenPart of the problem, it seems, is that this view (that God’s joy in salvation is in any way dependent on the element of the unknown) reduces God to being little more than like any one of us. And since so much of our joy is bound up with the element of surprise we have a hard time imagining a God who can’t be surprised and yet still knows real and boundless joy. But this ignores the reality that not all our joy – maybe not even most of it or the best of it – comes without the element of surprise. Yes there is a lot of joy when we are surprised by the ending of a movie or book. But I have watched the old movie “Rudy” so many times and it never gets old. I have read some books repeatedly and yet my appreciation and joy of them has grown deeper and deeper. I have watched my football team, the Eagles, win a game and still felt the need to read about it and watch the highlights. Yes I have enjoyed being surprised in the past at a birthday party. But I have enjoyed even more the anticipation of a birthday party I knew was coming all along. I have even had great joy in planning the surprise party for others. There are so many different kinds and degrees of rejoicing and joy that to say real joy is dependent on ignorance is true only if one ignores the evidence.

God, because of his infinite knowledge and presence, is never surprised. But I don’t think that mitigates his joy in any way. In fact I think it deepens it. He is never surprised by anything but always planning surprises for others. He is never ignorant of the end of the story and so he is able to take great joy in every little twist and turn because he knows how it turns out. Indeed, he is the one who is doing the twisting and turning to make it come to the end he designs!

Make no mistake, God takes great joy in saving sinners. But that joy is not dependent in any way upon ignorance. We will explore this theme in the posts to come.

Preparation for Worship

iStock_000004625291MediumToo often when we gather for worship we miss out on a vital part of worship: Confession of sin and need for God. Of course confession is all too often left out of our worship gatherings but that is our great loss. It is only when we allow ourselves to be humbled at our desperate condition that we can rejoice most fully in God’s gracious salvation. The stars are seen and enjoyed most when the darkness around us is greatest.

So to help you prepare to worship God with other believers tomorrow, here is a possible prayer of confession. It is loosely based upon one of the prayers from the little book Valley of Vision.


You are good beyond all our thought, but we are defiled by sin, wretched and miserable in our sin, and blind to the awfulness of our sin.

Too often our lips are ready to confess but our hearts are slow to feel our need and our ways relunctant to change.

We bring our souls to You; O, Father. Break us, wound us, bend us, mold us. Unmask to us our sin’s deformity and ugliness, that we may hate it, abhor it, and flee from it.

Our thoughts and senses have been weapons of rebellion against you. And as rebels we have misused our strength and served the adversary of your kingdom.

Give us grace to hate and mourn our senseless and foolish sin! Grant us to know that the way of sinners and rebels is hard; that evil paths are wretched paths; that to depart from You is to lose all good.

We have seen the purity and beauty of Your perfect law, the happiness of those in whose hearts it reigns, the calm dignity of the life to which it calls us, yet we daily violate and break its precepts for us.

Your loving Spirit strives within us, he brings us warnings from Scripture and he speaks to us in startling ways. Yet we choose to live life on our own terms and to our own hurt. In pride we grieve and provoke your Spirit to abandon us.

All these sins we mourn, lament, and cry pardon for them.

Work in us a more profound and abiding repentance;

Give to us the fullness of godly grief:

–         A grief that trembles and fears,

–         Yet A grief that always trusts and loves you alone,

–         A grief that is powerful and yet confident in your grace.

Grant to us through the tears of repentance that we may see more clearly the brightness and the glories of the saving cross of our Savor and King, Jesus Christ.

In whose name we pray,


Superbowls, Chip Kelly, Rocky and Training in Godliness

confweb201-6-webI am a Philadelphia Eagles Fan. This means that when it comes to Superbowl weekend I don’t generally get a chance to cheer for my team. But because I am an Eagles fan I know I can always count on next year. And if not next year, at least the year after next. Right?

In football the goal of every team is to win the Superbowl. It is one of the biggest stages in all of sports and it is incredibly difficult to get to. To get to and win the big game requires dedicated training. Teams and individuals that simply go through the motions all week in practice but try to “turn it on” Sunday afternoons can’t succeed for long. This is one of the reasons why I believe Eagles coach, Chip Kelly, has been so successful in turning around the Eagle’s organization in his first year. One of his core beliefs and emphases is “Win the Day.” This means that to win on Sunday you must “win” each day of the week. That is true whether you are to be resting, recuperating from injury, training in the weight-room, watching film, or whatever. If you work harder than the other team at each facet of your game each day than you have a much higher probability of winning on game-day. Win the Day!

I probably love that because I love Philadelphia – the town that gave us Rocky. And Rocky, if nothing, is about the underdog working and training harder than his competition so that when the big fight comes, the underdog wins. And Rocky always out-trains his competition. Don’t Believe me? Check out this training clip from Rocky 2.

If you watched that video, you probably feel like running. Go for it. I’ll wait…. Okay, so just in case you were wondering, someone did go through the trouble of tracing out his running route. All in all, Rocky ran 31.1 miles and had enough juice at the end to sprint up the Art Museum stairs and celebrate with the kids who had been running with him. And according to that clip, those kids ran something like 12-13 miles with Rocky (kids today are such lazy bums, right?). No wonder Rocky outlasted his opponents!

So what does this have to do with Christianity? Barely anything at all up to this point really. At least until Paul counsels Timothy to “train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life  and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7-8 ESV). 


We can understand the importance of training ourselves physically – especially in our body-obsessed culture – but training for godliness doesn’t get much attention. I think we all too often fall into the habit of thinking that godliness is something that you are born with or something that you turn on – like a good performance by an athlete during the game. Another popular idea is that any pursuit of real godliness probably will cause you to become legalistic and so you shouldn’t try it neither encourage others to attempt it. But godliness is something that we must train ourselves in. Thus godliness is both a journey that we progress on and a discipline that requires effort – much effort. I think Kevin DeYoung nails it on the head in his book The Hole in our Holiness when he describes this pursuit of godliness as requiring “Spirit-Powered, Gospel-Driven, Faith-Fueled Effort.” Each of those descriptions is necessary for true training in godliness.

And notice that in Paul’s letter he wants Timothy, and by extension us, to see that there are benefits, both temporal and eternal, for training in godliness. That ought to encourage us because once the Superbowl is over the stadium lights will be turned off, the confetti swept up, and everyone will begin thinking about next year. But the promise of winning the day as we train for godliness is eternal.

God help us to pursue this.

Knowing God Truly

Calvin's Institutes

A few days ago we looked at how we might gain true knowledge of ourselves and of God. Today we look at what true knowledge of God looks like. We can see the need for this kind of thinking if we will but look at the lives of those who claim to know God yet regularly live as if he doesn’t exist, doesn’t care, or is just so in love with us that he will overlook any fault because that is just who he is.

But Calvin wants us to see that we cannot say that “God is known where there is no religion or piety.” “Religion and piety? That sounds pretty formal and probably something that none of us want. Religion is something most of us are tired of. And piety – that stopped being something people wanted in the 90’s (the 90’s of a long forgotten century). But by “religion” Calvin means holy devotion and faithfulness to God. And of piety he describes as “reverence joined with love.” So where God is truly known holy devotion and a reverence joined with love will increase. This is what Calvin is driving at when he says

“What help is it, in short, to know a God with whom we have nothing to do? Rather, our knowledge should serve first to teach us to fear and reverence; secondly, with it as our guide and teacher, we should learn to seek every good from him, and, having received it, to credit it to his account. For how can the thought of God penetrate your mind without your realizing immediately that, since you are his handwork, you have been made over and bound to his command by right of creation, that you owe your life to him? – that whatever you undertake, whatever you do, ought to be ascribed to him?. . . Again, you cannot behold him clearly unless you acknowledge him to be the fountainhead and source of every good.”

So what in the end does true knowledge of God produce in our lives? 

“Here indeed is pure and real religion: faith so joined with an earnest fear of God that this fear also embraces willing reverence, and carries with it such legitimate worship as is prescribed in the law.”

And unless we make the mistake of thinking that reverence and love for God is found best in religious rites or traditions, Calvin warns us to reconsider.

“And we ought to note this fact even more diligently: all men have a vague general veneration for God, but very few really reverence him; and wherever there is great ostentation in ceremonies, sincerity of heart is rare indeed.”

That last line is powerful for us to think on for it applies to every one of us. Ostentation – the desire to be front and center – is a temptation for many. And it is often mistaken for love for God when it is combined with religious rites and words. But over the top God-talk that draws attention to the “spirituality” of the speaker doesn’t exactly resemble the Christ who humbled himself to the point of death – even death on the cross. And the kind of empty ostentation that Calvin speaks of here is a danger to every church as well. Churches that emphasize rituals, ceremony, rites, and traditions can often fall into this pit. But this is no less a danger to modern churches where lights, drums, the carefully sculpted hipster look and feel, combined with fun and exciting programs for the whole family reign supreme. Different type of ostentation but still of a kind.

This is not meant to blast your church or accuse anyone. This is simply a reminder that the true remedy for dead religion and empty ostentation is the true knowledge of God. Humble and holy devotion combined with reverent fear and love for God must be the heart-beat of our lives. May this be true whether you wear a suit and tie or a graphic tee.

Oh… and by the way. You can order Calvin’s Institutes here if you want.

Knowing Ourselves and Knowing God

Open Bible on PewKnow Thyself.

With this phrase, Plato informs us that we would better understand others when we know ourselves. This is of course true not only in human relationships but also as we seek to know God. How is this valid reasoning?

In the opening chapter of his Institutes of the Christian ReligionJohn Calvin explains the relationship like this. First, if we are truly honest with ourselves about ourselves we will be in a better position to see the glory of God. This of course is no easy feat since we are in an age where almost everyone is above average and everybody must always be a winner. But no matter how difficult it is for us to cut through the lies that we tell ourselves we must have as close to authentic knowledge of ourselves before we can know God.

Calvin said it like this:

“For, as a veritable world of miseries is to be found in mankind, and we are thereby despoiled of divine raiment, our shameful nakedness exposes a teeming horde of infamies. Each of us must, then, be so stung by the consciousness of his own unhappiness as to attain at least some knowledge of God. Thus, from the feeling of our own ignorance, vanity, poverty, infirmity, and – what is more – depravity and corruption, we recognize that the true light of wisdom, sound virtue, full abundance of every good work, and purity of righteousness rest in the Lord alone. To this extent we are prompted by our own ills to contemplate the good things of God; and we cannot seriously aspire to him before we begin to become displeased with ourselves.”

That last italicized part is a doozy and is worth contemplating for awhile. His words echo Isaiah 57:15 “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” It also is reminiscent of Christ’s opening lines to his Sermon on the Mount when he says that the kind of people that are in the kingdom, those whom God blesses (has shown his favor to) are ones who are marked by a poverty of spirit and mournful over sin.

But Calvin wisely doesn’t stop there but goes on to say that to possess an honest evaluation of oneself one must know God. He writes:

“Again it is certain that man never achieves a clear knowledge of himself unless he has first looked upon God’s face, and then descends from contemplating him to scrutinize himself. For we always seem to ourselves righteous and upright and wise and holy – this pride is innate in all of us – unless by clear proofs we stand convinced of our own unrighteousness, foulness, folly, and impurity. Moreover, we are not thus convinced if we look merely to ourselves and not also to the Lord, who is the sole standard by which this judgment must be measured.”

It may be asked why it is we must look to God to get a true estimate of ourselves. Calvin tells us it is because only God offers the perfect standard by which we are judged. “What in us seems perfection itself corresponds ill to the purity of God.” Anyone can brag about their athletic prowess, musical accomplishment, or academic achievement to their peers and subordinates. But once they are confronted with someone who is vastly superior to them, a light is shined upon them that exposes all the flaws and illuminates all their shortcomings.

Thus it is that when we look in Scripture we find that exposure to the glory of God (like that which the prophet experienced in Isaiah 6) leaves even the godliest of people

“stricken and overcome. . . . Thus it comes about that we see men who in his absence normally remained firm and constant, but who, when he manifests his glory, are so shaken and struck dumb as to be laid low by the dread of death – are in fact overwhelmed by it and almost annihilated. As a consequence, we must infer that man is never sufficiently touched and affected by the awareness of his lowly state until he has compared himself with God’s majesty.”

So, in recap, to truly know God we must know ourselves (in all our corruption and depravity). And to truly know ourselves we must have a knowledge of the glorious and holy God. We need humility to come to God and true humility is the result of knowing God. And the greater the increase of true knowledge of God in our minds and hearts the greater our lives will be permeated with fresh humility and grateful contentment.

The test of true humility is that we savor more and more of God’s glory and majesty. Likewise the test of true knowledge of God is an increasing humility before God.

Are you increasing in knowledge and humility before God?


Parenting: The Last Bastion of Legalism?

Crazy BusyKevin DeYoung recently authored Crazy Busy, a book about the busyness that all too often runs and ruins our lives. There is much in it that calls for thought and reflection. One of my favorite sections that I was surprised to even find in the book covered parenting. As a dad of three very active boys I enjoyed his chapter on parenting so much that I have decided to pass it on to in hopes that it will cause you to get the book yourself. Kevin writes:

Parenting has become more complicated than it needs to be. It used to be, as far as I can tell, that Christian parents basically tried to feed their kids, clothe them, teach them about Jesus, and keep them away from explosives. Now our kids have to sleep on their back (no, wait, their tummies; no, never mind, their backs), while listening to Baby Mozart and surrounded by scenes of Starry, Starry Night. They have to be in piano lessons before they are five and can’t leave the car seat until they’re about five foot six.

It’s all so involved. There are so many rules and expectations. Parenting may be last bastion of legalism. Not just in the church, but in the culture. We live in a permissive society that won’t count any sin against you as an adult, but will count the calories in your kids’ hot lunches. I keep hearing that kids aren’t supposed to eat sugar anymore. What a world! What a world! My parents were solid as a rock, but we still had a cupboard populated with cereal royalty like Captain Crunch and Count Chocula. In our house the pebbles were fruity and the charms were lucky. The breakfast bowl was a place for marshmallows, not dried camping fruit. Our milk was 2%. And sometimes, if we needed to take the edge off a rough morning, we’d tempt fate a chug a little vitamin D.

As nanny parents living in a nanny state, we think of our children as amazingly fragile and entirely moldable. Both assumptions are mistaken. It’s harder to ruin our kids than we think and harder to stamp them for success than we’d like. Christian parents in particular often operate with an implicit determinism. We fear that a few wrong moves will ruin our children forever, and at the same time assume that the right combination of protection and instruction will invariably produce godly children.

You can buy the book here. The beginning of a new year is a great time to read it!

Worship is War

rthymns-of-graceThe “worship wars” are never behind us. They are always with us. Just because your church has settled upon what style of music it is going to use come Sunday does not mean that worship has ceased to be a war for you or your church.

A few weeks ago I finished Rhythms of Grace, a book by Mike Cosper. It is an excellent book that would benefit every pastor (especially those who are primarily responsible for the worship order on Sundays). It speaks to the power of the worship service shaped by the biblical story of the gospel. Here is what he has to say about the “worship wars” in particular.

Whoever dubbed the debate over musical style a “worship war” failed to realize that worship is always a war. The declaration that there is one god, that his name is Jesus, and that he has died, has risen, and will come again is an all-out assault on the saviors extended at every level of culture around us. We’re taught to find a sense of hope in a political party, trusting in our duly elected saviors to make the world right once and for all. We’re taught to find our identity in our friend counts on Twitter and Facebook. We’re taught that a victory at work or good news from a doctor or a bathroom scale will satisfy us. We look longingly into the eyes of other human beings and believe that they can affirm us enough and love us well enough to end our sense of loneliness.

We believe these things because we’ve been taught them again and again. Like the ascending pilgrims of Psalm 121, we’re surround[ed] by clamorous mountains advertising happiness, sex, and power, all available for consumption. Our entertainment in television, film, and literature paints the good life this way, and it grips our heartstrings, calling us away to worship at the feet of these idols.

Worship isn’t merely a yes to the God who saves, but also a resounding and furious no to the lies that echo in the mountains around us. The church gathers like exiles and pilgrims, collected out of a world that isn’t our home, and looks hopefully toward a future. Our songs and prayers are a foretaste of that future, and even as we practice them, they shape us for our future home. (pg. 103-104)

Just before this Cosper quotes Jean-Jaques von Allmen:

Christian worship is the strongest denial that can be hurled in the face of the world’s claim to provide men with an effective and sufficient justification for their life. There is no more emphatic protest against the pride and the despair of the world than that implied in Church worship.

These are powerful words. Gathering for church with the body of Christ is a private protest against sin, satan, and all the false hopes and dreams this world offers and which vie for our affection. It is a public rebellion against the false gods of our culture that tempt us to believe satisfaction, joy, and deliverance can be found in anything other than God through Christ. Worship is war.

The following are my favorite books on worship. What are yours and why?

  1. Worship by the Book ed. by D. A. Carson
  2. Recalling the Hope of Glory: Biblical Worship from the Garden to the New Creation by Allen P. Ross
  3. Give Praise to God: A Vision for Reforming Worship ed. by Ryken, Thomas, & Duncan
  4. Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice by Bryan Chapell
  5. Rhythms of Grace: How the Church’s Worship Tells the Story of the Gospel by Mike Cosper
  6. Worship Matters: Leading others to Encounter the Greatness of God by Bob Kauflin

Thankfully Past the KJV

Bible and PenI have had the privilege of growing up in a family where both parents had experienced the new birth in Christ. One particular evidence of this reality was that we faithfully attended and supported our local church. That church, like so many other good churches, used the King James translation of the Bible. In fact it still uses that translation. It is a good translation. Up until the time of its publication in 1611 no other person or group had employed such resources in the completion of a translation. The men who were tasked with the responsibility of this new translation were the best biblical scholars of their day. They were also men with a reverent love for God. Even so, they utilized a series of checks and balances wherein their work would be reviewed by others. In many ways the King James translation is the finest example of how translation work should be done.

But this does not mean that the King James translation is the finest translation.

It especially doesn’t mean that the King James is the “only” translation that contains the word of God. The King James translators themselves viewed other translations as God’s Word. They write that even the “meanest” translation “containeth the word of God, nay, is the word of God: as the King’s speech which he uttered in Parliament, being translated into French, Dutch, Italian, and Latin is still the King’s speech, though it be not interpreted by every translator with like grace. . . . But we weary the unlearned, who need no know so much; and trouble the learned, who know it already.” So the King James translators themselves did not view their translation as the only right and good translation. Indeed, they recognized the need for improvements in all translations since “nothing is begun and perfected at the same time.” This truth is born out in history since between its publication in 1611 and 1800 the number of editions of the KJV as a whole or in part “reached nearly a thousand and produced tens of thousands of minor variations from the original edition” (David Beale, A Pictorial History of Our English Bible p. 43). And yet for all its revisions and editions many mistranslations still exist today within the text (though they are generally minor). The problem is that while the translators themselves were the best of their time they were working with defective tools. Their knowledge of the ancient languages that they sought to translate was insufficient regarding verb tenses and idioms. They also had no access to materials that would help them understand the dialect of the Greek of the New Testament. The three most ancient and greatest Greek manuscripts were as of yet unavailable to the King James translators.

codex_sinaiticusSo why do so many persist in using it? For some it is comfort and ease. They have been using it all their lives and can’t imagine switching to another translation. They struggle with the idea of a new translation (as so many struggled to accept the King James translation when it was published). For others it is the misinformation that the KJV remains the best possible translation. That is a farce but not a destructive one as long as it is not held as a means to judge others. Even so it is a farce that should be done away with.

Another reason one might persist in using the KJV is the (almost laughable) belief that every modern translation is of the devil or irreparably flawed. I will ignore the charge that new translations are the work of the devil because it is as preposterous as it is ignorant. Let me simply address one example of the concern that modern translations are irreparably flawed. Not long ago I heard a good man question the trustworthiness of the English Standard Version because it was based on the RSV (a translation not held in high esteem). That the ESV utilized the RSV at all was seen as a fatal flaw and a reason to continue using the KJV. And yet the KJV itself was based on the Bishops’ Bible, a translation initiated and overseen by the Romanist Archbishop of Canterbury, Matthew Parker. The truth that I am pointing out is that we do not judge a translation solely on what lies behind it, but upon its faithfulness to the original text of scripture. In that regard both the ESV in our time (as well as many other fine translations) and the KJV in its time are faithful and dependent. Therefore I am thankful for the KJV as I thankfully move past the KJV.

In writing all this I have failed to address a primary concern: What should motivate us in choosing a translation?

Here are a couple short but excellent resources on the subject:

The Drop Box: Caring For Unwanted Children


Around the world unwanted children are handled differently depending on what help is available medically and what is socially
acceptable. In the civilized and scientifically advanced U.S. we just murder our children at an astonishing rate (I hope you caught the sarcasm in that). In many other countries with little access to abortion centers they simply abandon the children or worse. I am not sure which is the more inhumane.

But every once in a while we are made aware of someone who goes against the grain of his society to save the helpless and give voice to the voiceless. Such is Korean Pastor, Lee Jong-rak, who built a wooden “drop box” on the outer wall of his home. But the box wasn’t intended for clothing, food, or school supplies, it was meant to collect unwanted babies.

When “the drop box” “or “baby box” was constructed a few years ago, it flew completely under the radar of Korean government officials. However, as more and more children arrive in this box every week, the nation is starting to take notice.

Lee knows that his little wooden box isn’t the best solution, but his plight points to a much larger issue of abandonment, both in Korea, and across the globe.

As a simple man, with little education and no public notoriety, Lee was voiceless, much like the children he has sworn to protect.

Click on this link to learn more about The Drop Box.

“The Drop Box” – Documentary PROMO from Brian Ivie on Vimeo.

Thanks to Justin Taylor!