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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Damaged ESVs used for evangelism

The ESV Bible Blog has a "scoop" of which Crossway seems proud:
A few people have asked what happens to the damaged books and Bibles we have in our warehouse. Answer: We typically give them away to ministries who use them for evangelism. Donations help support this ministry.
(I have removed the link under "Donations" which goes straight to a page asking for money.)

So, it seems, Crossway considers it praiseworthy and a matter of self-congratulation to promote the use of damaged Bibles in evangelism, presumably for giving to non-Christians, whereas their perfect products are sold mainly to Christians. Isn't there something back to front here? Shouldn't we be showing our love for the world by giving our better Bibles to outsiders? After all, God did not send damaged stock to the world, but his own perfect, sinless and spotless Son.

My own suggestion would be to sell the damaged stock at reduced prices to poor Christians, and use the proceeds to fund giving undamaged Bibles to non-Christians. Also I would not give ESV to non-Christians because it is clearly not a suitable translation for those not used to church language - but I hardly expect Crossway to agree with me on that point.

I would have commented about this on the ESV blog itself, but as usual their comments are closed, so I have to use a more public forum.


At Thu Sep 20, 04:54:00 PM, Blogger Nathan Wells said...

Is this really a point of contention?

My word. We are all at each others throats - and for what purpose?

“You must let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for the building up of the one in need, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29)

May we learn (yes, me included!) to be more like Christ, and to love each other - even when we disagree about things such as what we do with our damaged Bibles.

At Fri Sep 21, 03:54:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Nathan, am I not allowed even to disagree with this policy? I am doing it precisely in order to build up the ones who are truly in need, those who do not believe and need to receive as much as possible of God's grace and not as second rate cast-offs.

May we learn to love the world as well as each other. But it is not inconsistent with Christian love to rebuke one's brothers and sisters gently when we see them falling into what we understand to be sin, or at least less than perfect Christian love.

At Sat Sep 22, 01:07:00 AM, Blogger Alister Cameron // Blogologist said...

I feel a little the same way as Nathan... It's like... what will we think to argue and nit-pick about next?!

That said, I wonder if we should first find out what "damaged" means. I suspect it means much less than we might imagine. They're perfectionists, after all (as one reviewer put it).

Perhaps damaged means a page or more were printed off-square, or the quillotine sliced a bit wonky, or the cover ink was off-colour, or there was a grain anomaly in the leather... or... or...

In other words, the evangelistic "candidate" may never realise he got damaged goods at all!

Finally, I suspect the wholesale below-cost sale of damaged goods to outreach groups is probably a lot simpler to organise and "manage" than low-cost sales to Christians, one by one, if that's what you had in mind.

But my point is we're speculating about what the damage is and assuming these are very clearly second-grade product and I think that may be presumptuous.

I should also add that there are far greater crimes (I'm sure) being committed in "Christian" publishing than this....

Take Bibles, and the travesty of 100s of English translations, versions, variants and "special editions", while large parts of the world either can't get one at all or not in their own tongue (yet).

The NIV people, in particular, are never agraid of targeting some niche of the English-speaking market with "their own" bible edition. Whether it's the John Maxwell Leadership Bible or the Spirit Filled Woman's Bible, or whatever.

It never ends, and that IS something to get upset about. At least Crossway (thus far) have been very restrained lglouin this.


At Sat Sep 22, 01:14:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Alister, I agree that there are plenty of other wrong things happening in Bible publishing. But I don't accept that this is nit-picking, I call it wrong, even a sin. The point is not so much the extent of the damage as the principle of it, of using our cast-offs in evangelism rather than giving it our very best.


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