I turned on the news this morning, and was treated to my very first dog food commericial that was pitched to “pet parents.” This is just one more weirdness in a long succession of weirdnesses, and one that, like all the others, began with a rejection of the creational norms of sexuality. The people, having adopted the politics of barrenness, have discovered that living in the barren lands is . . . lonely. I think it was Mark Driscoll who said that Seattle now has more dogs than children. And that means, if we apply some basic math to this budding rhetorical ploy from the father of lies, that Seattle has more pet parents than it has parents. But no matter. Parents are parents, right? A wink’s as good as a nod to a blind horse.
Our salvation comes to us in the form of words. The Incarnate Word is of course foundational, but God has given us Scripture as a central means for us to come into communion with His Son, the Word. So our salvation comes to us in the form of words. But, of course, so does our damnation.
That being the case, it is astonishing how tolerant the broader evangelical world has become when the wind-sniffers in the Christian publishing world mess around with the words. I am not talking about the hard work of real translation. I am addressing the mammon monkeys who have discovered a market for their lite Bibles, and have refined their cash cow by building planned obsolesence into the system with new translations every ten minutes. That plays old Harry with Bible memorization, always a plus, and then, as an extra bonus on top of everything else, they can continue to inch toward the day when the entire Christian world receives, with loud acclaim, the publication of the ground-breaking Yea, Hath God Said? Study Bible. We are not there yet, but the deliberate sidling toward that precipice is unmistakable.
In one way, this whole thing is too serious to take seriously. When it comes to all those gender bender translation practices, we need more Christian leaders answering with the good, old-fashioned horse laugh. Who wants a Bible translation with hormone shots and breast implants? It may be out of fashion to speak so boldly, but I have to say it. Not me. That’s just creepy.
And so, in light of all this, and a lot more like it, this may be considered my public plea for the decision-makers involved with the MacArthur NIV 2011 Study Bible to pull out of that deal. Whatever the thinking was, whatever the hopes were, and however good the motives were, I cannot see a scenario where the results will be anything but a bad mess.
This is not becauses MacArthur hasn’t had a faithful ministry over many decades. He most certainly has. It is that very fact that sets up such a weird juxtaposition. It is not that the notes aren’t good. I am sure they are. But that’s the heart of the problem. I wouldn’t ever want to use a Bible where the notes were more faithful than the text. Wouldn’t seem right somehow.