16 January, 2009

Is this really necessary?

The Green Bible is yet another invention of a publishing house designed to make money. There, I said it.

I don't want to rehash a subject that's already being talked about elsewhere: The Rubicon & God's Politics, but isn't there a better way to talk about the issues presented in "specialty" Bibles?

The paramount message of the Bible is SALVATION for the lost, isn't it? So why would we overshadow that by highlighting an agenda instead of God's life-changing gospel? Whereas some Bibles are red-letter Bibles that highlight the words of Christ, the Green Bible is a green-letter Bible, highlighting every verse that talks about the earth. Brian MacLaren, a contributing author to this Bible likes this idea: "You realize how much of scripture depends on human beings having a real connection to the land, so they can understand the metaphors and imagery drawn from it. You also realize how much biblical writers have to say about our responsibility to care for the land."

Call me old-fashioned, but I'm not sure that this is such a great idea. In fact, although I have some of them on my own bookshelves, I'm beginning to think that "specialty" bibles in general aren't such a good thing.

~ Rob


Lee Morest said...

I'm not so opposed to this. I take this stance in consideration that Christians have been know all to well to be "too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good." One could go so far as to argue that the purpose of man, to care for creation, in a relationship with God was His original intent before the taint of sin. I personally feel that we have gotten so far removed from that, that we feel nothing else matters except for our single relationship with the Lord. There is however, more to this relationship thing, and I beleive being good stewards is a big part of it. I agree to the point of the main message of the Bible. But I see this "specialty Bible" simply emphasizing an aspect and responsibility of that relationship no different from past specialty and devotional Bibles. I don't thing anything is lost here, but rather gained through an understanding in an area that I think that we often do not take seriously enough and may be surprised at just how serious God may take it.

Nathaniel Newcomb said...

"Wall of Text" disclaimer: This is long, it is my thoughts on this subject, you have every right not to read it.
I understand the idea that "Chrisitans" haven't been the strongest proponents of caring for Creation, and that this could be a means of reminding us. I do think that it is an important thing, we were made from the Earth to care for it, but highlighting everything that has to do with the Earth (with no such extra emphasis on the Covenants or teachings of Christ) would more redirect attention to the environmental aspect than add it to one's current focus. Also, if currently secular environmentalists read this "green letter" bible first, they probably won't pay as much attention to the "red letters". Watching that video, most of the people they interviewed either, aren't Christians, haven't read the bible, or haven't read very much. For instance (from memory): "If you read Revelation, God says he'll destroy it all at the end, so if you're really religious, you shouldn't care because it will all be destroyed anyway". This person may have read revelation or even the whole bible, but with that kind of thought process, they probably missed a few other key principles. True "Christians" who have read the bible for actual study are most likely already aware of their responsibility to care for Creation.
In reality, I think this edition of the Bible will primarily accomplish two things: 1. We'll get new "converts" that are all about the environmentalism but will probably miss the Salvation part, 2. Secular environmentalists will use it to push their agenda on Christians. This is not to say that some Christians won't read it and be more inspired to care for Creation, or actually realize their responsibility, and that some environmentalists "on the fence" won't truly accept Christ having been affected by reading it, I'm saying these cases will probably be the minority.
As for "specialty bibles"; the words are all the same (perhaps phrased differently in different translations), so if you read it with the true intention and mindset of learning what God wants you to, and leave yourself open to it, you will do just that. The only advantage I see to a bible with a specific focus is if you were studying something specific for a sermon or study outside your regular reading. In those cases however, most "standard" bibles come with a topical index of some sort anyway. Or, in a more contemporary fashion, find a bible website with topical search, or there's always "www.google.com".