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Archive for November, 2009

Deception and Confusion: The Serpent Spoke

9781433501791From Vern Poythress’ New Release, In the Beginning Was the Word: Language, A God-Centered Approach

An Excerpt from “The Fall Into Sin” (pp. 104-105).
The events leading to the fall did not really begin with Adam and Eve, but with the serpent. The serpent said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?’” (Gen. 3:1). The fall began with language. It began with an insidious question, framed in language that the woman understood. Language played a central role in the fall, and we may suspect that it continues to play a central role in the ongoing effects of the fall.

Serpents do not normally talk. Among God’s earthly creatures, human beings alone have the capacity for complex, fully articulate language. Yet this particular serpent did talk. He began with a question that concealed its spirit of attack un- derneath a seemingly innocent request for clarification. But his next utterance unveiled his bold opposition to God: “You will not surely die.”

Clearly this was no ordinary serpent. Adam and Eve themselves could have seen that, even without any further information. It should be no surprise, then, that the Bible later on lifts the veil a little more to indicate that behind the literal snake stood a more crafty, bold, and determined opponent, namely, Satan, a powerful spirit, a fallen, rebellious archangel, who is denominated “that ancient serpent” (Rev. 12:9; 20:2; see Isa. 27:1). He is “the deceiver of the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). His deceit began in the garden. But, as the book of Revelation indicates, it continues to this day. So it is worthwhile to think about the deceitful use of language in this one case, in order to have a framework for understanding the deceitful use of language throughout history.

Satan already attempted to deceive Eve in his first question, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?’” (Gen. 3:1). He insinuated that God could withhold from Eve what was good. The deceit then escalated when Satan directly contradicted God’s earlier statement by saying, “You will not surely die” (Gen. 3:4; contradicting 2:17).

Rebellion against God involves the use of language, and the use of the mind, to undermine and obscure knowledge of key truths about humanity, about the world (the tree), and also about God. The denial concerning the effect of eating from the tree is a denial about future events in the world. But it is also indirectly a denial concerning God. The serpent seems to concede that Eve is correct about what God said, but insists that God is lying. The serpent implies that either God does not have the power or he does not have the willingness to bring the penalty of death. Probably, suggests the serpent, God never intended to execute the death penalty in the first place, but is merely producing a vain threat in order jealously to keep some benefits for himself alone, and to keep Eve from enjoying them. Maybe the serpent’s speech is all the more effective because he does not directly blurt out all his conclusions and all his ideas about God, but allows Eve to follow the trail of insinuations herself, and to arrive at her own conclusions.

Learn more about In the Beginning Was the Word.

November 18, 2009 | Posted in: Uncategorized | Author: Crossway Staff @ 7:22 am | 0 Comments »

500,000 Share the Good News of Christmas Bags Sold

Christian Retailers all over the country have played a significant role in getting the word out about Share the Good News of Christmas.

Paul Kuntz, manager of Arrowhead Parable Christian Store in Johnson City, NY, started off with an order of two cases which grew to 20 cases, then to 50. But he wasn’t nearly done. As of early November, Arrowhead Parable Christian Store has sold 180 cases of the Share the Good News of Christmas bags to churches all over his community.

“The whole idea captured me,” said Kuntz. “When I saw the quality of everything in the bag—the Bible, the invitation, the tract by Max Lucado—coordinated with such beautiful graphics, I knew this was a win-win, a no-brainer. Our managers had been kicking around ideas about how we could really be reaching out into our community and not just another retail store, and this has been just what we were looking for.”

The store held a pastor’s breakfast in October, where Kuntz told the pastors, “Here’s a great opportunity! Don’t take it back to your church committee or elder board to get their permission. If God called you to be the pastor, you make a decision today!”

One local church went through five cases at a harvest dinner, where they included an invitation to all of their upcoming seasonal events. Another church will be handing out the bags to people on the sidewalks at the city’s upcoming Christmas parade. A local businessman is working with the store to distribute 3,000 bags to low-income families who will attend a community Christmas party on December 12 co-hosted by the store and a number of local churches.

“I know you’ve had budget meetings and you’ve spent your budget,” Kuntz tells pastors. “But this isn’t going to cost you a thing. Take a couple of cases and get every family in your church to get personally involved by purchasing just five bags for five dollars. They’ll be more likely to make sure the bag gets in somebody’s hands if they pay for it than if the church pays for it.”

November 17, 2009 | Posted in: Uncategorized | Author: Crossway Staff @ 12:43 pm | (3) Comments »

Justin Taylor Interviewed on the ESV Study Bible

Trevin Wax recently interviewed Justin Taylor, Project Director and Managing Editor of the ESV Study Bible, one year after its publication.

He answers the following questions:

  1. Has word of mouth helped the sales of the Study Bible since its release?
  2. Are most readers of the Study Bible in the United States? What are some international readers saying about it?
  3. What has been the most popular feature of the Study Bible for readers? What has been the most frequent suggestion from readers about the next update?
  4. Are there any features that it seems like people have neglected in the ESVSB? Any hidden treasures?
  5. How does Crossway plan on expanding the readership of the Study Bible in the future?

Read Justin’s answers.

| Posted in: Uncategorized | Author: James Kinnard @ 8:59 am | (2) Comments »

The New Atheism demands Christian Attention and a Christian Response

9781433504976A new atheism declares that it is impossible and even dangerous to believe in God. Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., President of SBTS and author of Atheism Remix, was invited by The Campus Church to address the new atheism at the University of Louisville. Tune in here as he discusses his book and addresses questions from a live Q&A.

November 16, 2009 | Posted in: Uncategorized | Author: Crossway Staff @ 11:53 am | 0 Comments »

ESV Study Bible: A Word from J. I. Packer

I was recruited after the ESV had been launched to be Theological Editor of the Study Bible. What that has meant is that I have read the text of every article that has been submitted. There are 1.1 million words in the Study Bible. I don’t know who else has read them all, but I know that I have. The editing was a matter of ensuring that everything stated was factually accurate and that the articles flowed well. I’m excited now about the Study Bible—I believe it’s the best thing of its kind that’s going.

The reason why I’m so enthusiastic about it is largely that it takes a wider view of its task than other study Bibles do. Other study Bibles provide you with information and that’s it. The ESV Study Bible goes a step further. It’s a study Bible which not only explains the texts and expounds them accurately, but it has in it a whole series of articles for the making and shaping of discipleship to Jesus Christ on the basis of the Bible. It can be, in a very significant sense, a single-volume resource for pastoral ministry, and indeed for personal life, because it’s doing the job which professional catechists have been doing ever since Christianity started—teaching people the truths that Christians live by and teaching them how to live by those truths.

The ministry of an adult catechist is something which the early church understood very well. Every church worth its salt had an adult catechist to instruct inquirers. The catechism ministry has fallen very much into disuse in our time. And it is my privilege, I think, first of all to appreciate its importance, and then myself to model it in the writing and the teaching that I do. And then, in this particular project, to contribute to other people entering into the ministry of the adult catechist, with many more people profiting from that ministry on paper. Because that is what the ESV Study Bible really is—a catechizing document. Catechists teach people the truths that Christians live by and teach them how to live by those truths. That is what the material in the ESV Study Bible, taken as a whole, actually does. That’s the benefit that the reader of the Study Bible will get from the articles on Christian doctrine, on Christian ethics, on Christian faith and life, and a Christian stance in relation to any number of errors and alternatives that our time has produced.

What is it that I like most about the Study Bible? I think the simplicity and straightforwardness of its presentation of just about everything. The language that the drafters of the various articles have chosen seems to me to be down-to-earth, everyday language that any reader will find easy to understand. The text that the Bible works with, of course, is the ESV text, which has a straightforwardness, a simplicity, and a crispness which I very much appreciate. I like brisk, economical statements, and the ESV Study Bible is full of them.

The ESVSB will do two things for you, which you badly need. It will tell you what the Bible text means, at every point from Genesis to Revelation, and it will show you how to live by Bible truth and position yourself as a faithful Christian in the modern world. To do those two jobs together, I believe, is to render major service to Christians today.

The Trackback Thursday Contest Continues!
We will be giving away a new ESV Study Bible every day through Wednesday 11/11/09. Here’s a reminder on how the contest works.

November 11, 2009 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Bible News,ESV Study Bible,News | Author: Crossway Staff @ 7:55 am | (9) Comments »