Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rejoinder to Jamin Hubner: Part 2

Note to readers: I have added the label "Jamin Hubner"at the end of this and the other rejoinders in this series. If you click on the "Jamin Hubner" button, you can read all the rejoinders in this series.

This is the second part of my rejoinder to a recent series of blog posts by Jamin Hubner in response to my article, “Three Basic Challenges to the ESV" (blog version; sermon audio pdf). This post corresponds to his part two response:

Hubner begins this discussion with reference to the introductory paragraph in my article in which I briefly discuss (just three sentences in the sermon audio version of my article!) the marketing of the ESV by Crossway. He takes exception with my use of quotation marks around the phrase “various leaders.” In truth, the quotations are there because I was quoting the words of Justin Taylor in his blog introducing a promotional video for the ESV. You can read this blog post here, along with the full line I partially quoted in my article: “Here’s a new video from Crossway from various leaders explaining why they trust and appreciate this translation.”

Hubner also claims to be confused by my reference to “the young, restless, and reformed.” He writes: “It's not clear what is meant by this or who these restless young people are.” In my article, however, I clearly attribute the term “young, restless, and reformed” to Colin Hansen (I wrote: “The ESV is, without doubt, the translation of choice among those whom Colin Hansen has described as ‘the young, restless, and reformed.’”). I assumed that informed readers would be familiar with Hansen’s influential and popular book, Young, Restless, and Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey with the New Calvinists (Crossway, 2008), describing the contemporary resurgence of Calvinism in the younger generation.

He then cites a long list of well known evangelicals who have endorsed the ESV. I am sure Hubner would agree that the merits of the ESV should not be determined based merely on who offers endorsements of it. The point is that this is a bandwagon marketing technique, very effectively used by Crossway. You should eat Wheaties, because the famous athlete does. You should use the ESV, because the famous preacher does.

In the blog version of the article, which is a wee bit longer than the sermon audio version, I added this line: “Questions about the ESV are rarely heard in the neo-evangelical Calvinistic movement which Daryl Hart has described as possessing ‘an extremely chummy atmosphere’ (see his article here).”

Next, Hubner moves on to the first of the three challenges to the ESV, the issue of its National Council of Churches (NCC) copyright.

His first point is essentially that this question does not matter. It is irrelevant. I disagree. I do not want to support directly or indirectly the NCC. I want to know why the NCC copyright appears in the ESV and what it means.

His next point is essentially a reductio ad absurdum argument, saying that if we ask any questions about the NCC copyright in the ESV we will eventually have “to empty entire church libraries.”

Finally, he refers to a statement by Wayne Grudem in response to an email query on this same issue. Hubner assumes I was familiar with this. In fact, I was not. I find Grudem’s response increases rather than diminishes the mystery. What private party supplied funds for Crossway to pay the NCC? How much did they pay? What other contractual agreements were stipulated? Why is the NCC copyright still retained in the ESV? Has Crossway ever made a public statement on this issue? If not, why?

The central issue this question raises is that of discernment and “separation.” No matter how much this concept might have been abused in some fundamentalistic circles, it is still a Biblical concept (2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 1 Peter 1:15-16). The question of the ESV’s NCC copyright, therefore, is neither unimportant nor irrelevant.


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