Carroll, John. The Existential Jesus. Counterpoint, 2009. ISBN 978-1582434650.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
"The New Peace Treaty (Between God and Humanity) is a new translation of the New Testament. The purpose of this translation is to make the meaning of New Testament documents accessible to the average reader. The language is basic and often employs common slang. Highly theological or often misunderstood religious terms are broken down to their core meaning. Chapter and verse have been removed because they were added much later during the Middle Ages. The New Peace Treaty (Between God and Humanity) is designed for those who want the power and the clear meaning of the New Testament to come alive. It is the perfect translation for personal reflection and personal devotion. It is the first translation to look and read like what first century Christians would have heard if they lived in the twenty-first century."
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Immediately upon reading the book of John, I had many complaints. I will list just a few here.
This version adds and changes words to support the "voice" theme (“Before time itself was measured, the Voice was speaking. The Voice was and is God” John 1:1). It isn’t clear if the theme or the translation came first. Reading more than a few chapters quickly leads one to the conclusion that the themes were in mind before the “translating” began. Translating logos as “voice” is certainly unique. I question whether it is accurate or helpful in any way.
It appears that some syncretistic theology is peeking through this version as well. Eastern mythical concepts such as the concept "inner calling" are inserted into the text. An example is found in 1 John 1:11-12 where it reads “Though the Voice utters only truth, His own people, who have heard the voice before, rebuff this inner calling and refuse to listen. But those who hear and trust the beckoning of the Divine Voice and embrace Him, they shall be reborn as Children of God; He bestows this birthright not by human power or initiative but by God's will. Because we are born of this world, we can only be reborn to God by accepting His call.
Theological changes are made to the text such as inserting "by accepting his call" in 1 John 1:13. It might be appropriate to add such things as marginal notes. But inserting them directly into the text shows a desire to change the text according to a theological bias. The more of this that occurs in a translation the worse the translation becomes. Interpretation belongs with the reader, the teacher and the preacher.
Words in italics supposedly contain information "that would have been obvious to the those originally addressed" by the Scripture and are intended "to help the reader better understand the text.” Reading only a few verses leads me to suggest that italics show areas where the “translators” want to change or at least re-interpret the meaning of the text.
Rather than titling this “The Voice: New Testament,” it should be title “The Voice: Emergent Church Theological Document.” This is not a careful translation of the New Testament, nor is it an honest attempt to render the scriptures in the language of our day. It contains too much theological bias, syncretistic inclusions and strange renderings for it to be of any practical use. It made an interesting addition to my collection of Bible versions, but I would not recommend this to anyone for any other purpose.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I read this book as one of Thomas Nelson's Book Review Bloggers. I grabbed the chance as I have read several of Max Lucado's books and expected to enjoy this book as well. I assumed this would be an easy review for me to write. I was only about half right.
One concern nagged at me while reading this book: Lucado's conversational style of writing is distracting. He darts from one example to another in almost a stream-of-consciousness manner. Some of his examples do help to explain his arguments. But many simple draw attention away, painting pictures I don't need to look at in order to understand what he is teaching. Perhaps this style is popular, but I found it to be a deterrent in reading this book.
Yet he also comes across as a normal Christian who struggles with the same things that I do. I don't wonder if he knows how it feels to be afraid - I can see that he does. It is much easier to hear from somebody who experiences the same things that some lofty theologian. Unfortunately, he may have taken that too far. Some of the chapters felt a bit shallow.
I always find his writing to be very congenial. He does not give an air of arrogance or condescension. It is more like a conversation with a pastor or a friend than a theological treatise. I often come away from Lucado’s books with the feeling that this man wants me to succeed in my Christian life. Usually, I also have the feeling that he really knows his subject.
My general summary of this book would be this: It was not as well written and properly condensed as his other works. It had a feeling about it of being rushed into print. But I felt that he accomplished his goal of helping Christians deal with fear. I didn’t find it to be his most readable work but certainly experienced encouragement from it.