Two days ago I was forwarded a link by my precious mother, sent to her by a Christian publishing house. In said email they advertise a new Bible translation titled The New Reformation Bible (a Spanish language exclusive). The promotional material brags of its superiority (as they all do), which includes the following lines:
“A Reformation to Transform the Modern Age…Celebrating 500 years of the Reformation, God’s Word challenges us unto faith and unto a commitment towards a revival of our nations… [This Bible] doesn’t look towards the past but towards the future. It’s based on the virtues of the 1517 Reformation but it desires to extend itself with the intention of creating a new reformation…It offers the best resources of Biblical exegesis and exposition along with support from the latest discoveries from the humanities, including sociology, psychology, anthropology…”
A few observations are in order.
The advertising lines repeat the tired, clichéd, romantic talking points employed by all of the publishers who promote new versions of the Bible. At this point it has become plainly obvious that these publishing houses create the “new” translations not for the church’s benefit, as is constantly claimed, but for increased profits. Since these companies have to pay royalties to other publishing houses when they reprint other “translations”, they found a way to circumvent having to pay said royalties – create your own “translation”.
I use the quotation marks above to demonstrate the silliness of it all. God gives humanity a singular text and yet in the English market alone there are more than 100 different versions of the Bible, many widely divergent from the original manuscripts and their essential message.
Some would accuse me of being overly critical about the fact that we have so many translations available to us and demand that I should be thankful instead. Considering the true reasoning for the massive amounts of versions, I’ll continue to embrace my innate skepticism towards the matter – thank you very much!
As for this particular translation being a Reformation-based Bible, I shudder at the idea. Firstly, there is no need for a reformation in the literal sense, only a continued faithful adherence to Christianity as is found in Scripture. Using the term reformation gives the impression that Christianity has become deformed and that it needs to be returned to its original state. Christianity itself has never and will never experience such a thing. The faith has been and continues to be preserved by God. (Matthew 24:35; Jude v.3) If anyone deviates from the true faith, that isn’t an indicator of Christianity having become corrupted but an indicator of non-compliance to its tenets. (1 John 2:3-6)
Secondly, a Reformation-based Bible which seeks to mirror the historical period is another idea I cringe over. There are things that occurred and concepts that were promoted during the Reformation which are not deserving of the unique honor bestowed to God’s Holy Word. Yet, this is exactly what “Reformed Christians” do as they see through the eyes of the so-called Reformers. One could even argue that they subtly deify these men, as made evident by the lavish praise heaped on Calvin, Luther and the like, while their flagrant shortcomings defended and even omitted at all costs by their apologists.
This Bible version is a microcosm of the aforesaid. Its pages contain a copious amount of images depicting Martin Luther, famous phrases which emanate from the Reformation period and Luther’s commentary on various theological issues.
Is this not the same Martin Luther who did not object to the pope granting indulgences (paying the Vatican for the partial absolution of individual sins) but only opposed their abuse? Is this not the same Luther who wrote anti-Semitic diatribes? Is this not the same Martin Luther who scolded peasants who were fighting to free themselves from the oppressive rule of the Catholic Church, demanding that they continue to comply to its heretical and totalitarian rule?
As an added point of emphasis which will frustrate our Lutheran sycophants; Luther was not bestowed the revelation of salvation through faith alone in Christ alone. Paul was given that revelation by God 1,500 years earlier (as evidenced in his letter to the Romans).
We must also make mention of the profane rantings of John Calvin who advanced the Augustinian idea of God predestining some to death and some to life, even in the face of Biblical evidence to the contrary. (1 Peter 1:2; 1 Timothy 2:4) Calvin was also no adopter of Christian virtue. During his time in Geneva, Switzerland he became the city’s resident tyrant and murderous despot.
Lastly, the contradictions drip from the advertisement. How is it possible that this particular Bible doesn’t “look to the past” but spends its time extolling the supposed virtues of the Reformation and its players in order to inspire a new reformation of sorts? Did the ad writers not notice the inconsistency? Or could it be that they left it there intentionally thinking that certain people are too stupid to notice?
As for the inclusion of secular humanism (psychology, sociology and anthropology) as an aid to Biblical study; such a thing is truly blasphemous and incongruous with the Bible.
The Scriptures are God’s divine revelation to man about his fallen state and his need for salvation through Christ alone. This makes absolute sense when one considers that no one knows man’s condition more intimately that the One who created him. However, humanism seeks to overturn this truth by teaching that man’s answers about his condition and the universe at-large are only to be found within man himself.
This is a faulty notion considering that humanity is flawed to begin with and didn’t create itself. Man’s thoughts and inclinations are reprobate. How can man, being as defective as he is, provide a solution for himself when he is trapped by his own condition?
Hence, placing secular humanism within the same sacred text that disproves secular humanism is illogical and dangerous. It promotes a false notion that the Bible and humanism can mix.
It appears that this newfangled Bible does the opposite of what it promises to do: It will inspire personal deformation instead of inspiring an adherence to the faith “once for all given to the saints”.