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Monday, June 12, 2006

Is Making the Bible Interesting to Young People a Bad Thing?

FaithgirlsI have a sincere question for you today.

Many of you know that I have taken a stand against alot of the Christian consumerism and products that are out on the market today.  I've said here before that the 'more stupid a product is the more Christians will buy it'.  It seems that if you take any common household item and slap a picture of Jesus on it, you have a market hit.  It's really silly.

Today over at Slice of Laodicea, they have a post about the new Zondervan Bible called Faithgirlz! that is targeting young girls with the TNIV.  (I really don't want to get into an arguement about the TNIV version here).  Here's what Ingrid at SOL had to say about this new Bible:

Every girl may want to know that she's "special", but as a girl what I really needed to know was that my sin would send me to hell without the cleansing of Jesus' blood. The Bible is not a self-improvement, self-esteem enhancer. It's message is clear--repent or be damned. This new Bible apparently has a new, improved and upbeat message for teen girls. They have made the Bible over into a Teen Cosmopolitan magazine and I think it's an evil way to treat the Holy Word of God--the same Bible for which the martyrs died.

Is it me, or is this a little harsh?

You see, I have a little girl in the demographic that "faithgirlz" is targeting.  My girl has accepted Jesus as her Savior; so she has the 'repent or be damned' thing (as Ingrid put it) taken care of.

Is it wrong to publish a Bible that visually appeals to young girls?  (Just looking at the cover, I know that my girl would LOVE it).

Is it wrong to publish notes that help girls growing up to find positive things from scripture; yes, even things like self-esteem.

Is it wrong for a publisher to put out a version of God's Word that will maybe entice a 10 year old girl to take a greater interest in the reading of the Bible, or make it more appealing to get into a habit of reading it?

Does this type of Bible strengthen or tear apart?

What kind of Bible should a young girl have?  A KJV Ryrie Study Bible? or a Faithgirlz?  or something totally different?

Is Ingrid spot on on this one, or does she need to chill?

I'd like to hear your input on this one...

Todd

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June 12, 2006 in Trends in Today's Church | Permalink

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I have not seen the exact Bible you are talking about but I have seen others. I have given teens Bibles that look like magizines. Many of them have taken them to school. Imagine the conversations that came out of that. "What magazine are you reading?" "This is not a magazine but the Word of God." I say amen to what they are trying to do and I have seen it work.

Posted by: Jade | Jun 12, 2006 11:14:06 AM

That's Ingrid's problem.

If she's complaining about it, there's at least a 50% chance that it's something wothwhile.

Posted by: mark | Jun 12, 2006 11:34:33 AM

I don't like the magazine Bibles personally, but I don't think that they're wrong. I say whatever it takes to get young people interested. It's just like putting a bible in a veggie tales cover - that's what my kids do.

I would be more worried about the extra-Biblical content that might be included.

This just sounds a lot like my grandmother saying that I can't wear shorts to church, or that drums are evil - that kind of thing.

It's a preference that this woman is attempting to turn into a theological issue.

Posted by: Joel | Jun 12, 2006 11:50:18 AM

If Ingrid had been alive in 1450, she probably would have blasted the evil modern consumeristic bible made available to the masses because Gutenberg invented the printing press.

To me this is just a continuation of what the reformers started, getting the bible into the hands (and minds and hearts) of "common folks" who happen to be 21st century girls.

And the bible I read doesn’t have an overarching theme of “repent or be damned” but rather God’s redemption of His creation.

Wendi

Posted by: Wendi | Jun 12, 2006 12:01:50 PM

I have no problem with the cover; I'm getting real uncomfortable with study Bibles where the study notes are geared to draw more attention than the Word. How often have you sat in a group and heard, "My Bible's notes say this"? I believe in study aids, but why can't we market a Thompson Chain for 10-year olds? Let us know Google up the "Baby Got Book" video from Southpaw.
http://www.whiteboydj.com/babygotbook.html

Posted by: bishopdave | Jun 12, 2006 12:09:11 PM

My 2 cents:
Walk up to any teen and present your simplified message "repent or be damned" and see how many you reach.

Sure, I'm thinking "That's gonna get the job done!"

Right.

Posted by: Rei | Jun 12, 2006 1:08:22 PM

They are damned already; repentance is the understanding of that ABSOLUTE Truth.

Don't make the mistake of assuming you have anything to do with their salvation. We're not in sales. We are ambassadors.

Posted by: BeHim | Jun 12, 2006 2:26:41 PM

It's already been said but I'll say it again, our friends at Slice don't really tend to focus on the positive... I was involved there for a little while, but have since stopped visiting because it was all so negative. The old saying "don't judge a book by its cover" obviously applies here. As others have pointed out, the actual content may or may not be what it needs to be, but I think our friends at Slice were more upset by the packaging than anything else. Of course the irony is that leather bound 'old-school' bibles are just as 'packaged' as the pre-teen girly bibles--they simply cater to a different audience.
My two cents.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 12, 2006 4:22:44 PM

Oh my goodness!

I was just talking to my nine year old yesterday about this very thing. We, as Christians, often argue back and forth about 'nothingness' like this, when it really doesn't matter if the cover is leatherbound or has a picture of a teenage girl on it, or whatever. The bible is the bible! Any way that we can get the bible into the hands of those who would not otherwise read it is good. How many daughters of unsaved people would even think about a Thompson Chain or Ryrie Study Bible? We forget that our job is to reach the lost.

Jesus himself was persecuted and talked about because he did unorthodox and nontraditional things to reach those who might not otherwise come. I don't recall him one time saying, "Repent, or be damned!" As long as the scripture remains intact (for those who want to argue about English translations, study Hebrew and Greek, so you can know what it really says), we should not be arguing about such trivial stuff!

Posted by: viv | Jun 12, 2006 5:40:11 PM

Well.... Here's my 2 cents worth on the idea... I have a daughter and she just turned 15 today... Yep!!!!! I am getting OLD!!!! But today we where in our Christian Book store here and she was wanting a new bible, not this Todd is talking about here. But I think it is creative... and I think it is a good idea... If the cover of your bible fell off and you replaced it with a telephone book cover God's word would still be God's Word... If I meet Ingrid I'd have to say, "Yo Girlfriend, you need to go to the crib, and take a chill pill.." Because...

The way I see it... First, the bible is not a it... The Bible is God's Word... Second, The Bible is more than repent or be damned... Third, the bible is there for our improvement...Through the reading of God's word we improve in becoming more like Christ and less like me... Fourth, God's word is encouraging...

God's word is.... Should I say it Todd..Relevant... Sorry guys.. I couldn't resist...

Posted by: Jeff Ruble | Jun 12, 2006 8:57:02 PM

The good thing about the magazine style bibles is the various websites included to help connect people and plug them into serving roles or sites where there is help available to young people facing problems. We are living in an age where MySpace and other sites speak to some of our teens more than people in real life.

Posted by: ld | Jun 13, 2006 1:43:40 AM

Yeah, I think that the faithgirlz! thing is kinda cheesy and it might lean a little to the consumeristic side...but there are some kids it would totally work for. Others would consider it lame and go after another Bible.

And if I were you, I'd stay away from Slice of Laodicea. Ingrid's criticism of this faithgirlz thing is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the negativity and self-righteous judgmentalism masquerading as faithfulness to God's Word that is consistently churned out of that reactionary wasteland.

Posted by: Jackson | Jun 13, 2006 1:47:16 AM

Does God's Word Teach Salvation without repentance?

The assumption that "repent or be damned" is contrary to the Word of God is very much a misunderstanding of God's Word, Nature and Charachter and in fact, a doctrine of demons.

Repentance >>>IS>>THROUGH REPENTANCE<<< (leading to forgiveness which provides us with a THANKFUL and Joyful heart/life) over the motive AND the action (full born sin).

Presumptuous sin (Psalm 19:13) is rampant in the church because repentance is considered a one time event and if not taught that way, assumed to be such and that there is no longer ANY law against actions and motives (a false teaching); now that Christ's Blood has been Shed.

It is when we come to understand that our sin is what runs the knife blade across the throat of the animal, in the Old Testament, and the Flesh ripping whip across the Back of our Lord or 9 inch nails through His Wrists and Feet, in the New Testament, that we come to the Full Knowledge and Understanding of Repentance in a broken and contrite (repentant) heart.

It is then that we understand that God's Word should always lead us to repentance, forgiveness, thankfulness, joy, hope, peace, etc... and love.

When a person believes, or worse, teaches contrary to this essential Doctrine of Scripture (Repentance), it stands not only as a testimony against them but also as a condemnation for the approval/justification of sin (Romans 1:32).

Please let us not make light of Repentance friends. For it is the Love of God!

Posted by: BeHim | Jun 13, 2006 11:05:38 AM

Sorry Todd, the tags >>>IS>>THROUGH REPENTANCE<<< (leading to forgiveness which provides us with a THANKFUL and Joyful heart/life) over the motive AND the action (full born sin).

Presumptuous sin (Psalm 19:13) is rampant in the church because repentance is considered a one time event and if not taught that way, assumed to be such and that there is no longer ANY law against actions and motives (a false teaching); now that Christ's Blood has been Shed.

It is when we come to understand that our sin is what runs the knife blade across the throat of the animal, in the Old Testament, and the Flesh ripping whip across the Back of our Lord or 9 inch nails through His Wrists and Feet, in the New Testament, that we come to the Full Knowledge and Understanding of Repentance in a broken and contrite (repentant) heart.

It is then that we understand that God's Word should always lead us to repentance, forgiveness, thankfulness, joy, hope, peace, etc... and love.

When a person believes, or worse, teaches contrary to this essential Doctrine of Scripture (Repentance), it stands not only as a testimony against them but also as a condemnation for the approval/justification of sin (Romans 1:32).

Please let us not make light of Repentance friends. For it is the Love of God!

Posted by: BeHim | Jun 13, 2006 11:10:07 AM

Not sure what you're trying to accomplish here, BeHim... we've had this discussion before.

I have not heard anyone here EVER say that they think there is salvation without repentance.

And without repentance there is damnation and eternity in Hell.

But (and I think I speak for most people here) when I say that we don't tell a 12 year old girl to 'repent or be damned' (as Ingrid said she needed to be told at that age).

We just choose different words.

When my girl accepted Christ, she understood what sin was, and that Jesus came to die for that sin, and that she needed to turn from that sin. Doing so would guarantee her eternal life with Jesus.

She understood that her sin was bad; but I didn't tell her it was like dirty (menstral) rags.

She knew that by choosing Jesus she was also turning her back on Satan; but I didn't use the word 'damnation' with her.

In short... no one her has made light of repentance. We're just not using the words you want us to use.

Todd

Posted by: Todd Rhoades | Jun 13, 2006 11:13:07 AM

[I have not heard anyone here EVER say that they think there is salvation without repentance.]

Todd, this is pretty close to believing in salvation without repentance:

[And the bible I read doesn’t have an overarching theme of “repent or be damned” but rather God’s redemption of His creation.]

This calls to question, is His Creation redeemed apart from Repentance? and others: Redeemed from what? How and Why?

This Doctrine should be clear in the minds of church leaders as I'm sure (even in your above post) you would agree.

Posted by: BeHim | Jun 13, 2006 11:40:25 AM

BeHim -

Since it's me you are quoting (and accusing of suggesting creation is redeemed without repentance), I'll respond.

You're adding to my statement. The "meta-narrative," the overarching theme which I read in scripture is one of God's redemption. EVERYTHING in scripture points to redemption; creation, the fall, God’s revelation through the law and His chosen people, Christ’s atoning work on the cross, man’s need to recognize his inability to save himself and his depravity, and of course repentance.

Ingrid, IMO, suggested that the WHOLE story of redemption is summed up in four words, “repent or be damned,” which, again IMO, does a terrible injustice to the depth and wonder and richness of the redemption story. Worse, for 12 year old girls who are at a time in their lives struggling with issues of confidence or esteem, there isn’t a worse time to offer an incomplete redemption message weighted so on the side of the possibility of damnation.

I know full well what I’m redeemed from and into, and my statement never suggested that I didn’t. And if the bible you and I both read is contained behind the cover of “faithgirlz” then neither of us need to worry, because the words are “living and powerful and able to penetrate the very heart of every. . .” 12-year old girl.

Wendi

Posted by: Wendi | Jun 13, 2006 12:14:39 PM

Repentance of course being a VERY big part of the redemption (from separation from God) taught in Scripture; thank you for the clarity.

Which of course is what I would venture to guess Ingrid is saying just not in the words others want her to.

Posted by: BeHim | Jun 13, 2006 5:50:35 PM

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