There are many pressing concerns for modern Bible translations, such as linguistic precision, readability, and cultural engagement. Which of these should be the leading concerns for modern translators? In this episode of Exploring Hope, Keith Whitfield discusses Bible translation with D. A. Carson.
By: Dr. Bruce Little
In September, 1965 Francis A. Schaeffer set off a small explosion in the evangelical world with his lectures at Wheaton College’s Spiritual Emphasis week. Schaeffer gave ten lectures, one in the morning during chapel (30 minutes) and the other in the evening (40-45 minutes) Monday through Friday. In that brief time Schaeffer delivered a message that reverberated across the evangelical landscape providing important answers for many and provoking criticism from others. Now 50 years later the effects are still being felt.
Schaeffer had been invited by Dr. Hudson Armerding, recently elected president of Wheaton, to bring a series of messages on evangelism and spirituality to open the school year. In correspondence, however, Schaeffer requested that the lectures should not be promoted as evangelistic meetings in the common understanding of the word and suggested a title something like: “Christian Reality, Intellectually and In Practice in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century.” The actual title was “Speaking the Historic Christian Position into The 20th Century”. Later that year the same lectures were delivered at Westmont College. In addition, earlier that year some of the same material had been presented in Boston at a series of lectures organized by Harold O. J. Brown. Brown was working with InterVarsity campus ministry as well as on staff at Park Street Baptist Church while working on a PhD at Harvard. Due to the avalanche of requests for the lectures, Wheaton requested permission to transcribe the lectures. Whereas Schaeffer was intending to write a book containing many of the key ideas presented in the lectures, he agreed to the transcription but only for distribution to Wheaton and Westmont staff and students. In 1968, Schaeffer published the book bearing the title: The God Who Is There: Speaking Historic Christianity into the 20th Century.
Speaking of these lectures as historic in terms of evangelical thinking is not hyperbole. Schaeffer touched a nerve, especially in the young evangelicals of the day who were tempted to move to neo-orthodoxy or give up on evangelicalism altogether. One must remember this was in the mid-sixties when so much that had been accepted as right came under attack –all authority was under suspicion. Schaeffer clearly understood what was going on. As one report put it, Schaeffer understood the students better than they understood themselves. When in October Dr. Armerding contacted Schaeffer about coming to Wheaton to do a summer school class, initially Schaeffer hesitated because since returning to Switzerland he had received enough invitations to keep him traveling for nine months.
Schaeffer surprised the young evangelical minds when he pointed out that honest questions required honest answers – honest answers about the world and man. If, he stated, Christians were to communicate the Gospel to 20th century man it must be rooted in the framework of truth, truth that could be open to honest discussion. Truth was dependent on reality, and reality was what it was because God is there – He is the Creator. For Schaeffer, the biblical system could be considered to be true without any appeal to authority. Christianity is true because it is true to what is there, what he called the truth of the universe. Every person must live in the world as it is; as true personality – person as true person because God is person. Furthermore, salvation and spirituality had truth-content without which they both became meaningless.
Schaeffer explained that communication with modern man could begin with reality – the truth of what was. He called this pre-evangelism. Man lives in a world created by God and if a man has non-biblical presuppositions about this world, then his pre-suppositions will create a tension with the real world. In order for man to live with the tension, he builds a “roof” to protect himself from the blows of reality. In pre-evangelism the Christian, in love, removes the roof so man can really feel the strength of the tension between the real world and his non-biblical presuppositions. Modern man must see for himself the logical conclusions of his own presuppositions. When this happens, the Christian then lovingly takes the Word of God and shows how the person can live properly in this reality – God’s reality because God is there and salvation speaks to this reality.
Though some would later accuse Schaeffer of being too rationalistic, his lectures clearer proved that accusation false. Schaeffer explained that a person could never start with man as an independent, autonomous being and build a cantilever bridge to God. However, in Christian communication with modern man, it is possible to begin with man because he is a personal being made in the image of God who is personal. Man is truly fallen, but in ways he still bears the image of God; therefore, man can know about his world – he is fallen, but he is not junk. Repeatedly Schaeffer spoke of this as the mannishness of man. Man still had categories of thought that fit the world as the world truly is, he longs for certain things, and he desires certain things. Man is a true person, he is not a machine as naturalism had made him. So, Christians must respect humanity as personal, and this was precisely the point of contact with modern man.
Truly, this was explosive to the young evangelical minds resulting in a renewed passion to reach the lost.
Dr. Bruce Little is Senior Professor of Philosophy, and Director of the Francis A. Schaeffer Collection at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
On Wednesday two television journalist were murdered on live TV. Wednesday evening Dr. Russell Moore posted an article answering the question: “Should we watch murders on Social Media?” Dr. Moore writes:
I watched a video this morning that I’m ashamed to say I viewed. No, it wasn’t pornography—at least not the kind of pornography we typically think of. The video was the live shooting of two television journalists as they were reporting in Virginia. At the time, I saw the post on Twitter, which noted “unexplained shooting noises.” When I watched the clip, I assumed there was gunshots around them and that the journalist and her interviewee had ducked for cover. It wasn’t until much later that I learned that what I had seen was a cold-blooded murder, streaming across my Twitter feed.
There’s much debate right now as to whether news sources should show the video, or whether people should watch it on their social media feeds.
Art Rainer recently published an article on his blog addressing the issue of tithing while dealing with debt and other substantial financial burdens. In this article he writes:
When faced with financial difficulties, the question of whether or not to tithe or give often arises. And the reason is simple. There is a desire to use every last penny to help get themselves out of the situation. If you have or are facing financial challenges, you have probably considered not giving. It may seem to be the most logical option for you. But before you decide to abandon your giving, consider the following five points.
Earlier this week, SEBTS student Ashley Gorman published a post on her personal blog pondering what would really happen if we defunded Planned Parenthood and ended abortion. Ashley writes:
If the life of abortion as we know it ends, so will life as we know it. And I mean that in a good way. The end of abortion would change everything. Our comfortable little lives would be over in favor of a very uncomfortable, but glorious new, Gospel-soaked path. If the lights of all the Planned Parenthood practices and other abortion providers shut off for good, then the lights in our homes will have to turn on…Christians have been so removed from this issue in general for way too long. If we say we care about life, then why are we not already adopting kids that have a horrible life right now? Why are we not fostering unwanted children? Why should we even wait for some organization to be defunded before we engage the need happening in our backyard?
Dougald McLaurin is a SEBTS student (and Reference Librarian) who recently re-enrolled in the Ph.D. program after a hiatus. In a recent blog post he discusses techniques useful in managing anxiety in the process of research and writing.
Let’s face it, we all think that experienced authors are in a class of their own. The muses love them more thanwake up in the morning and beautifully constructed prose just flow from their pens. It’s almost effortless. All they need is pen an know what they are going to say and they say it perfectly. Our writing feels more like Odysseus trying to get home–full of difficulties.
It is the beginning of the fall semester of learning at institutions of higher education near and far. While seminary students face many of the same challenges as all college and graduate students, Brian Renshaw, a student at our sister seminary, SBTS, recently published a helpful post with 30 tips specifically targeted to help new seminary students. Brian writes:
I am beginning my second semester of doctoral studies. I thought it may be beneficial to write (from a current student’s perspective and one that recently finished his M.Div.) some of the things I wish I would have known before beginning seminary.