Just A Word - Christianity Today

Articles from the Non-Profit Communications Ministry

Christianity Today is considered a leading voice of the evangelical movement with its coverage of the global church. Every monthly print issue and daily website updates include interviews, feature articles, essays, and commentary from leading Christian thinkers, and theological analysis on current issues, trends, people and news events that impact people of faith. Christianity Today delivers commentary from a biblical perspective, covering the spectrum of choices and challenges facing Christians today.

Take time out to follow the thoughts of the authors of Christianity Today, be encouraged and provoked to engage in current affairs of the world from an essential Christian perspective. 

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Jan

The Most Dangerous Thing Luther Did

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And other facts about Bible translation that transformed the world.

At the very beginning of the Reformation, the only Bible available was the Latin Vulgate, the Bible Jerome had produced in Latin in A.D. 380. It included both a translation of the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament, plus Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, Baruch, some additions to the Book of Daniel, and 1 and 2 Maccabees.

This was not a book the general public was familiar with. It was not a book most individuals or families could own. There were pulpit Bibles usually chained to the pulpit; there were manuscripts of Bibles in monasteries; there were Bibles owned by kings and the socially elite. But the Bible was not a book possessed by many.

Furthermore, the Bible was not in the language of the people. Yes, the well-educated social elite could read Latin, but your average resident of England or France or Germany or Italy or Spain knew only snippets of Latin from the Mass. And indeed, often enough they garbled the snippets they knew. If you want to get a good feel for the poverty of biblical literacy in the general public in this era, read Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, written between 1387 and 1400 in Middle English. Confusion and misunderstandings of the Bible abound in Chaucer’s stories.

The Latin Vulgate may have been the Bible that gave Luther his revolutionary insights, but Luther quickly realized that if things were really going to change, it would not come just by debating theology with other learned souls. The Bible needed to be made available in the vernacular, in his case, German. In my view, the most dangerous thing Luther ever did was not nail the 95 Theses to a door. It was translating the Bible into ordinary German.

Luther’s ‘Heresy’

By 1522, Luther had translated ...

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1

Jan

John the Baptist and Baptism (Theology for Life)

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Hosted by Drs Ed Stetzer and Lynn Cohick

In this episode of Theology for Life, Ed and Lynn talk about John the Baptist and different baptismal traditions. How should we view baptism, and what do we find in Scripture? What’s happening in baptism? And what’s the role of repentance in baptism?

Dr. Lynn Cohick is professor of New Testament at Wheaton College.

Dr. Ed Stetzer holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College, is executive director of the Billy Graham Center, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group.

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1

Jan

The California Fires Are Purifying My Priorities

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The threat of disaster forces me to reckon with salvation—mine and others.

For a week now, I’ve been tracking live online maps of Northern California. The blue dot representing our house is in the “fire watch” zone. We are not in immediate danger but close enough to know many people who are—and close enough that I’ve been fielding messages all week: “I saw the fires on TV. Are you safe?”

A few weeks ago, I was starting a mental list of potential Christmas luxuries. Now I’m making a list of the most important “grab bag” necessities, which is exposing a much deeper set of priorities.

If we had ten minutes to evacuate, the “essential” list is surprisingly short: our kids. The dog. The folder with our passports, birth certificates, and green cards. Our wallets. Phones and chargers. Maybe our wedding photos. But the rest is replaceable.

The looming threat of fire—or any other disaster—distills down our core values not just in practical ways but also in spiritual ways, too. As thousands face devastating displacement and loss, Jesus’ words to clothe, visit, care for, and feed others in need (Matt. 25:35–36) sound out a clarion call to action. My family and I are thinking deeply over how to donate and give well in this crisis.

But there are other words from Jesus that strike an even deeper chord as I hear story after story of devastation.

In Luke 13, Jesus was asked to comment on a local tragedy: Pilate had killed Galilean Jews and mixed their blood with sacrifices—a horrific, bloody offense. Jesus’ response was stunning. He told them not to draw any conclusions about whether the Galileans were worse sinners simply because they’d suffered. That tragedy and others like it weren’t indicative ...

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