Around the Interweb (12/12)

The “New” Calvinism: Stupid, Salvation, or Save-able?

The “new” Calvinism is all over the place, for better or for worse. Some think it’s completely stupid, others consider it the salvation of evangelicalism. Julian Freeman weighs in with his take:

Somewhere in the middle of those two positions, I think, lies two particularly helpful cautions. . . .  John Piper warns the New Calvinists about ‘dangling, unconnected wires’ in their lives which hang between doctrine and practice, between the sovereignty being preached and the sanctification of those preaching… Piper reminds the young Calvinists that while their ‘movement’ has the potential to do great things, if their practice doesn’t match their preaching, the whole movement will fall apart.

Just this morning I read a brilliant little article on a similar vein from Tony Reinke, called Young, Restless, Reformed, and Humbled. There we are reminded of the absolute necessity of humility (especially!) in those who claim to be Calvinists of any sort. To believe in the doctrines of grace, but not be humbled by them and your ability to live them is profoundly inconsistent. Reinke writes, ‘First, look at the depth of your theological convictions. Thank God for that–it’s a gift. Second, compare those convictions with the shallow daily decisions that are made totally uninfluenced by them.’

What I appreciate in what both Piper and Reinke are saying is this: The movement in and of itself is nothing; but it may be something, if we let the gospel do its full-orbed work of changing us from the inside out. If we are changed by what we preach and live like what we preach is really true, then maybe this movement is save-able. Maybe God really will use it to do great things for his great name in our day, in our part of this world.

That’s my hope, anyway.

In Other News

Video: I found this funny. Don’t judge me.

Theology Review: The new issue of Themelios is now available at The Gospel Coalition.

Translation: Kevin DeYoung offers his take on the new NIV’s interpretation of 1 Tim 2:12

In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

A review of Servanthood as Worship and an interview with its author, Nate Palmer

Reflecting on the classics you just can’t get into

John MacArthur on the true spirit of Christmas

Douglas Moo, the Updated NIV and Jesus' Sense of Humor

Last September it was announced that the rather poorly received TNIV translation would be discontinued and that work would begin on an update of the widely regarded NIV translation for release in 2011. As of November 1, 2010, the updated NIV text has been made available online at

Dr. Douglas Moo, the head of the translation committee for the New International Version, introduces the updated translation in the following video:

The press release follows:

The Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) is the body of scholars with responsibility for overseeing the text of the New International Version of the Bible.

The Committee was established in 1965, and we continue to meet every year, under the terms of the NIV charter, to monitor developments in biblical scholarship and English usage and to reflect these developments in periodic updates to the text.

The Committee is made up of leading evangelical Bible scholars drawn from various denominations and from some of the finest academic institutions in the world. We are passionate in our pursuit of the NIV’s core philosophy – the desire to mirror, as closely as possible, the reading experience of the original Bible audience. When the books of the Bible were first written, they let people hear exactly what God wanted to say in language that was natural and easy for them to understand. Standing with our predecessors in the work of translating the NIV, this is the experience we strive to reproduce for the Bible readers of our time.

Over at his blog, Darryl Dash had the opportunity to interview Dr. Moo about the updated NIV. Here’s an excerpt:

What are some challenges to being on a Bible Translation committee of which those who have never done it would not be aware?

First, I should say that I consider it to be a tremendous privilege to be on the CBT: my work on the committee is the ministry that I have most enjoyed in the course of my life. Imagine sitting around a table with 14 other scholars talking about the Bible and what it means and how to say it! There are, of course challenges. We don’t always agree and, because we are all passionate about our work and the text, our disagreements can be strong. But in the midst of these debates, there is at base a sense of unity around our common passion and common task.

I’ve been checking out the update and for the most part, it’s very close to the 1984 edition; sadly, they kept one of the TNIV translation decisions that winds up masking Jesus’ sense of humor in Matt 4:19:

ESV: And he said to them [Peter and Andrew, who were fishermen], “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

NIV 2010: “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

It’s a minor thing (bordering on irrelevant), but it’s kind of fun to see Jesus make a pun. :)

That said, I hope that the update will be a blessing to all its readers.


What translation are you using?

If you’re an NIV reader, will you be getting a copy of the updated text?

The Surprise End of the TNIV


If you’ve been following the Christian circles of the blogosphere, you’ve no doubt heard that Biblica (formerly the International Bible Society), copyright holders of the NIV and TNIV translations, would discontinue the publication of the TNIV Bible. The TNIV, an update of the bestselling NIV, has been at the center of controversy since it’s release in 2002, for it’s use of gender-inclusive language, among other issues.

Recently, in an article on Christianity Today, Biblica CEO Keith Danby offered the following statements:

“In 1997, IBS announced that it was forgoing all plans to publish an updated NIV following criticism of the NIV inclusive language edition (NIVi) published in the United Kingdom. Quite frankly, some of the criticism was justified and we need to be brutally honest about the mistakes that were made,” Danby said. “We fell short of the trust that was placed in us. We failed to make the case for revisions and we made some important errors in the way we brought the translation to publication. We also underestimated the scale of the public affection for the NIV and failed to communicate the rationale for change in a manner that reflected that affection.”

Douglas Moo, chairman of the Committee for Bible Translation (the body responsible for both the NIV and TNIV), offered some additional comments:

“We felt certainly at the time it was the right thing to do, that the language was moving in that direction,” Moo said. “All that is back on the table as we reevaluate things this year. This has been a time over the last 15 to 20 years in which the issue of the way to handle gender in English has been very much in flux, in process, in development. And things are changing quickly and so we are going to look at all of that again as we produce the 2011 NIV.”

I’ll admit, I was actually quite surprised at this announcement. As I wrote about a couple weeks ago, I used to use the TNIV before switching to the ESV, and I still occasionally refer back to it (and the NIV) when I want to compare against the ESV. I’ve known about some of the controversy surrounding the translation, but I honestly didn’t think it would ever come to the point where the entire thing was scrapped (phased out over the next several years, of course).

What I greatly appreciate about how this debate has concluded is the tremendous amount of humility exhibited.

Both Danby and Moo have admitted that there are important errors in the translation, and therefore it needs to be reevaluated. Danby’s comments, in particular, greatly impressed me. Frankly, if it were me in his position, I don’t know if I have the character it requires to be as forthright as he has been in the short comment above.

It takes a great deal of humility to say, “We made a mistake.”

I think that’s an important lesson for a guy like me.

Second, from what I’ve seen from those who are opposed to the TNIV so far, there’s also a tremendous amount of humility being exhibited in their responses. I have yet to see something with a feel of “We won!” and for that I am truly grateful.

Just as it takes a great deal of humility to admit a mistake, it also requires a great deal to not lord it over those who’ve done so.

So what are your thoughts on this?

Does this announcement come as a surprise?

Does it affect you or your church?

Are you excited/curious to see what the next iteration of the NIV will be?

A Bible with All the Words: How I Learned to Love the ESV

This video caught my attention yesterday and it made me smile.

Piper is a man who is passionate about the Bible. You can tell, if nothing else from the fact that he spent two minutes of his sermon last week, that he really, really loves the words of Scripture. They’re really important. And because every single word is important, it can be argued that we do ourselves a disservice when we don’t give ourselves the opportunity to read them all.

Let me tell you a story about a man named… me.

The first Bible I read for myself was The Message paraphrase (sorry if you just spit something at your monitor). I bought this at the Christian bookstore that is now a board shop down the street from my house in London. And, y’know what? It was really helpful for me. God, in His mercy, saved me through the text of that paraphrase. Neat, huh?

But, I quickly became dillusioned with The Message. Certainly not because it was horrible and evil, but because as I read it, something seemed to be missing. And in September/October of 2005, just a few months after becoming a Christian, I bought… The TNIV. [Read more…]