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Letters to the Editor #2 (Study Bibles, Comets, Comments, Quizzes, and Nephews)

A couple of months ago I made the decision to remove the comment section on my blog. I did so largely because comments can only succeed where there is good moderation, and I was increasingly unable to provide that. The fault, then, was not in the commenters, but in me. In lieu of comments I have decided to accept (and encourage) letters to the editor. Today I share some of the letters to the editor that have come in this week. I would invite those of you who read the blog regularly to consider reading these letters as a part of the back-and-forth between writer and readers.

General Comments

Uncle Tim I have started to read your blog and enjoy it. I like the format and what you talk about. Keep it up!
Joshua H, Woodstock GA

Tim: Thanks, Josh. See you at Christmas!

Comments on 7 Great Study Bibles

Tim, your Infographic on Study Bibles is excellent. To be able to see the most current Study Bibles side-by-side is very helpful for the Church. One more category that would prove very helpful in light of the current debate within evangelicalism would be: “Continuationistic and Cessationistic.” (Please excuse the “ic” on the end of each of those labels…but I’m trying to communicate tendencies or theological cover to the two continuum categories. I believe your infographic would show the following results. “Continuationistic”—NIV Zondervan Study Bible, ESV Study Bible. “Cessationistic”—MacArthur Study Bible, HCSB Study Bible, Reformation Study Bible, KJV Study Bible.
Jim N, Chesapeake, VA

Tim: I believe most of the Bibles take a neutral approach on that subject, like they do, for example, on the days of creation. Most of them present the options, but do not share their own preference. I expect there would be a few exceptions such as The MacArthur Study Bible.

Comments on A Quiz on Christ

Really good quiz and the flow and format of it was great. The usability and ease of operation that it provided are perfect. On another note – it’s shaking things up a bit and helping people to see that they are not as solid as they should be in their Christology. Well done and thanks.
Paul A, Oakley, CA

The Holy Spirit, as the Author of the Word, is completely precise in identifying Mary as the “Mother of Jesus,” in every instance. I have not yet read “Knowing Christ,” but for this reason the corresponding quiz question and its answer appear to be incorrect.
Tom R, Williamsville, NY

Hi Tim, a couple of the quiz questions I think would be served well to have greater clarification or precision. First, the question as to whether “Jesus” created the universe. I actually would not say that “Jesus” created the universe. The Son of God was not called Jesus when he created all things. It was not until his incarnation that he would be considered Jesus. It would be a little tighter if that was made more clear. Of course, Jesus is the Son of God. He is only one person. However, he didn’t receive that name until the incarnation. Second, the question of whether the Son of God “became a man.” I would rather say that the Son of God “added a human nature to himself” or “added humanity to himself” not that he became a man. It could easily be misunderstood that the Son of God transformed to no longer be the Son of God in order to be a man. Or I’m comfortable with the Son of God became “the God-man.” Anyways, those are a couple things I would change in the quiz for precision in wording in order to not confuse the theological implications. Thanks!
Michael S, Pleasant Hill, CA

Tim: I received a lot of feedback on this quiz and found that many people took issue with one or two of the questions. I may circle back to the quiz at some point, and especially to the questions which generated the greatest amount of feedback.

Comments on Commenting

I have enjoyed your blog for years and I’m disappointed in you disallowing comments. I have learned so much from commenters via your blog! Because of your comment section I have bought books by authors would not have otherwise heard of, read articles, purchased songs, and watched videos. More importantly, I have enjoyed the healthy debates in your comment section. I often have my faith and beliefs challenged by commenters who have wisdom and insight that I don’t!
Kara H, Melbourne, KY

First, let me acknowledge that your blog is one of five that I view everyday! The content is broad and often enlightening. For this I am grateful. I was disappointed when you made the decision to eliminate comments. In fact, I was irritated enough to write a letter to the editor when that became an option, I wisely erased it! Now, after reading some letters and your response, I am ready to engage your decision more clearly. Your response to L. Sanders, that your time can be better spent then moderating comments, seems to be inconsistent with blogging as a form of communication, regardless if others are doing so. To use social media to broaden your reach and then to the thoughts of those who you have reached is not worth your time seems a bit arrogant! I for one, continue to believe I have much to learn and you are a significant source of that teaching so this is not goodbye but an acknowledgement of disappointment.
Tim R, Zionsville, IN

Tim: Here is another subject I will write about in the future. I stand by the decision to close down comments even while regretting that it was necessary.

Comments on The Great Christ Comet

As a scientist, I’ve always been fascinated by astronomy as it relates to the Bible, such as the Star of Bethlehem. I definitely plan on buying and reading this book. I there any reason to think that the Star of Bethlehem was a repeating, naturalistic phenomena versus a supernatural event? One reason I think this is relevant is because of modern end-times theology, which frequently points to impending astronomical phenomena that heralds the next eschatological event (such as the recent Blood Moons, for example), but have to date proved false. The people who make these foolish predictions are rightly mocked and discredited. Yet if the comet was naturalistic, and the shepherds somehow saw the signs in the heavens, to what extent should we also be diligent today to look for these signs? And what is the proper and sound means of doing so?
Greg H, Lawrenceville, NJ

I am intrigued by the star of Bethlehem. Looks like an intriguing book. But I don’t think it was a comet. I actually think it might have been an unusual constellation, such as Jupiter crowning Regulus in the constellation Leo. Check out this video for more. We’ve shown it at our church and it’s very well done:
Joe H, Chillicothe, IL

Tim: Joe was one of quite a few people to send me a link to

My small mind thinks maybe the star was a once in a life time creation that can’t be traced. But I trust the Bible that it existed, just like we can’t prove the Red Sea parted, but trust that the Bible said it did. That doesn’t make for good reading, but it’s easier to grasp.
Tim Y, North Ridgeville, OH

Thanks to all who sent in a letter to the editor. Keep it up!

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