Archive for July, 2010
On Sunday, I announced that DSC will now be using the English Standard Version of the Bible in its corporate worship. For many of you, something along the lines of “well, it’s about time!” was what came to mind when you heard that. Others might have wondered why we’d switch from using the NASB after so many years. So let me expound on each of those possible responses.
Why is DSC Switching to the ESV?
1. The ESV is a very good translation. It’s an “essentially literal Bible translation that combines word-for-word precision and accuracy with literary excellence, beauty, and readability.” It’s in a similar translation vein as the NASB, but is arguably more readable. (You can read more about their translation philosophy here.)
2. The translation committee, and the 50 or so scholars who reviewed the translation committee’s work, are top-notch evangelical scholars with whom we regularly find ourselves in agreement. It’s also endorsed and used by many pastors and other ministry leaders that we, as a church, already respect.
3. Crossway, the ESV’s publisher, has been smart and generous with their translation. The ESV is increasingly available in a variety of multimedia formats. For instance, I have a searchable ESV widget on my Mac. Unlike some other publishers (particularly the Lockman Foundation who publishes the NASB), Crossway seems quick and selfless to give the ESV freely for other ministries to use. They also have some great covers on their Bibles, if aesthetics is a factor for you.
4. The ESV Study Bible is, in my estimation, the best study Bible available. We want our people to be using the ESVSB, so it makes sense for us to be preaching from the same translation. Similarly, the ESV Children’s Bible is the best children’s Bible I know of. We are often pointing parents and children to these Bibles.
5. Perhaps for all of the above reasons, it already seems to be the translation in the hands of most of DSC-ers. If it has become the most widely used translation in a church that has been using something else, it probably is an indication that we are indeed behind the times!
So Why Did it Take Us So Long to Switch to the ESV?
Well, I’m afraid I have to take the majority of the blame for that, for two reasons:
1. I have a general suspicion of bandwagons, not because bandwagons are never right, but because I can easily and thoughtlessly go along with them — especially when I already like who’s on the wagon! So when many good, godly, wise, smart people so quickly came out in favor of the ESV, I felt the need to wait, read, wait, study, and let simmer until I was myself convinced that the ESV is not only a good translation, but the best translation. So over the years I have casually used the ESV along side other translations and the originals, and occasionally spent intense times studying it in certain places. No translation is perfect (the French have a saying, “all translation is treason!”), of course, but I do think the ESV is the best overall English option.
2. I have had one preaching Bible thus far — an NASB which I bought in 1999 in my first week of my first pastorate. It’s been an old friend through over a decade of weekly preaching and teaching. The thought of putting it down has seemed like taking your old dog out for a one way trip to the Mesa. Well, I don’t have to shoot and bury my NASB thankfully, but it is time that its disintegrating pages find some rest on a shelf. The old dog just can’t hunt like it used to. I suspected for years that my next preaching Bible would be an ESV, but I’d been putting it off and limping around with my old familiar NASB. The ESV will take some getting used to, for sure. Perhaps the biggest reason is that beloved passages are in different places on the page in my new ESV, so I’m a little clumsy with it.
But that, in fact, reminds me of something else I appreciate about the ESV. No matter the edition, page layouts are exactly the same. Get a new ESV and 2 Cor. 4 will be in the same place. I like that. That’ll help me when, 30+ years from now, I’m the old dog who’s limping along.
We were privileged to have Ed Stetzer preaching for us on Sunday, July 18th. He preached from 1 Peter 4:8-11, “Empowering All God’s People for Mission.” If you missed it, please do take the time to listen.
Dr. Stetzer is President of LifeWay Research (SBC) and is LifeWay’s Missiologist in Residence, where he oversees a large team of Christian researchers examining the health of churches worldwide. He has planted, pastored, and revitalized numerous churches; and he has trained pastors and church planters around the world. He holds two master’s degrees and two doctorates, and has written several books. Dr. Stetzer is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USA Today and CNN.
In short, he is one of this generation’s leading thinkers in the areas of evangelism, church planting, and culture, so, again, it is a great privilege for us to have him preach for us. He’ll be preaching from Invite a friend to join you that Sunday.
If you’d like to spend some time getting to know Ed and his work some more, here are some things to check out:
- You can click over to his blog for all kinds of stats, studies, and articles
- Specifically, you may want to read a series of blog posts on what it means to be “missional”
- You can watch Ed faithfully preaching the gospel and mission on TBN of all places
- You can watch him teach on “The New Media” at R.C. Sproul’s Ligonier Conference
- Or, you may want to pick up one of Ed’s books and start reading
On Saturday, a team of about 20 DSC-ers will leave for the Navajo Reservation in Steamboat, AZ. Through next week they will be doing daily Vacation Bible School for Kindergarten through High School at Bethel Navajo Baptist Church.
Many thanks to everyone who pitched in by cooking meals and buying supplies.
Please pray that God will prepare hearts, and for clarity and boldness as they love, serve, and proclaim the gospel (Eph 6:19-20) along side our Navajo brothers and sisters.
Fred Zaspel was recently at DSC, preaching a wonderfully helpful message on suffering in the book of Job. His outline alone was, frankly, worth memorizing:
- Suffering often comes as the result of an unseen conflict in the spiritual world.
- The inadequacy of human reasoning in the presence of tragedy and suffering.
- God is sovereign and supreme over Satan and our suffering.
- We must read this book as Christians.
From an article on the same theme, Fred expounds this last point like this:
Throughout the book Job feels lost, lost in maze of unanswered questions. Chiefest of his concerns is his desire for God. This is why we hear him say things like, “O that I knew where I might find Him!” “O that I had someone to go to Him for me!” And so on.
And it is right here that we find ourselves giant steps ahead of him. He searched for a mediator, someone Who could speak for both parties. We have that mediator, and we know Him. He is Jesus Christ. Job wanted someone Who would not only plead his case, but sympathize with Him. We have Him, and He is the One who “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” He is “touched with the feelings of our infirmities,” and so He invites us to come boldly before His throne of grace and there find “grace to help in time of need.”
At this point there is a world of difference between us and Job. We have the revelation of Christ, Who has told us and shown us His great and undying love. He has told us that through Him we have direct access to the Father. And He has told us that we may and should come to Him with every problem we face, and there find Him not only sympathetic, but full of grace & mercy perfectly suited to our specific need.
With that advantage over Job, Job’s faith is all the more remarkable. And ours is all the more reasonable.
If you missed it, please take the time to listen to the whole of Fred’s message; or, even if you did hear it, read through the article version. I know how I need these truths impressed upon my remembrance and affections more and more. Lord, work in us such that we might suffer well!
For those of you who missed it, last Sunday night Fred Zaspel gave a very helpful exposition of Romans 9, which was followed by a Q&A. As promised, we’re providing several suggested follow-up resources here for those wanting further study of Romans 9 and the related doctrines of election and predestination.
Entry-level Books on God’s Sovereignty in Salvation:
- Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, by J. I. Packer
- The Doctrines of Grace, by James Montgomery Boice and Philip Graham Ryken
- Putting Amazing Back in Grace, by Michael Horton
- Chosen by God, by R. C. Sproul
- Election and Free Will, by Robert Peterson
- Chosen for Life, by Sam Storms
- Willing to Believe, by R. C. Sproul
John Piper’s Sermons on Predestination and Romans 9:
- Those Whom He Predestined He also Called, Pt 1 and Pt 2
- The Absolute Sovereignty of God: What Is Romans Nine About?
- Unconditional Election and the Invincible Purpose of God
- The Fame of His Name and the Freedom of Mercy
- The Freedom and Justice of God in Unconditional Election
- How God Makes Known the Riches of His Glory to the Vessels of Mercy
- God’s Ultimate Purpose: Vessels of Mercy Knowing the Riches of His Glory
Mark Driscoll’s Sermon Romans 9: