The NRSV is my principal translation for Bible study, sermon writing, and worship leadership. I use it with the confidence that it reflects the highest scholarship and with the joy of knowing that it is embraced by a broad ecumenical community of churches.Now compare those quotes with these from The Green Bible and note the difference:
The NRSV is unparalleled as a translation suited for the academic study of scripture. By paying close attention to the latest knowledge about Hebrew and the biblical world, it helps the contemporary reader grasp the meaning of the text as the ancient audience would have understood it.
I continue to believe that it represents the best combination currently available of accuracy, readability, rootedness in the historic English Bible tradition, and usefulness within the life of the church.
The Green Bible will equip and encourage people to see God's vision for creation and help them engage in the work of healing and sustaining it.3Gone is an emphasis on scholarship, careful translation, ecumenicity, and an ability to address the broad sweep of God’s revelation to man. Instead, this version of the Bible is mainly interested in one thing only, the preservation and renewal of the earth. Forgotten are the words of Christ:
The Green Bible is the definitive movement Bible that shows that God is green and how we can care for and protect God's creation.4
HarperOne is proud to be working with the Humane Society of the United States and the Sierra Club in their efforts to protect the environment and the animals of our world.5
The Sierra Club is proud to partner with communities of faith in spiritually motivated grassroots efforts to protect the planet.5
The Humane Society of the United States mirrors the religious principles of mercy and compassion. Through our Animals & Religion department, the HSUS motivates religious people and communities to take action for animals.5
The Green Bible is the first ever specialty Bible that takes the issues of sustainability, stewardship of the earth, what many in the religious community call creation care, very seriously.6
With The Green Bible highlighting relevant verses and offering solid context, we must heed the call to solve urgent climactic and ecological threats facing creation.7
In it we highlight the rich and varied ways the books of the Bible speak directly to how we should think and act as we confront the environmental crisis facing our planet. As you read the Scriptures, you will see that passages speaking directly to the project’s core mission are printed in green.8
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
agriculture, air, animals, beasts, beauty, birds, bless / blessing, caring for your neighbor, city, cloud, community, covenant, creation, creator, creatures, curse, defile, desert, desolation, disobedience, dominion, drought, dust, earth, God created the earth, God’s glory in the earth, the earth belongs to God, the earth praises God, famine, farm / farmer, field, fire, fish, flowers, food, forest, fruit / fruitful, garden, glory, God’s presence in creation, grain, grass, ground, hail, harvest, holy, home, humans, insects, judge / judgment, land, life / live, light, minerals, moon, mountain, nation, new earth / new creation, obedience, peace, people, places, plague, plants, pollution, poor, power, prayer, property, rain, renew / restore, Sabbath, seasons, seeds, sky, soil, stewards / stewardship, stones, storm, tithing, trees, vineyard, water, wilderness, wind, wisdom, work / works, worldThere are the obvious topics that you might expect in this list, such as animals, creation, and the earth. There are also some topics that you might not expect, such as community, caring for your neighbor, obedience, peace, and the poor. The selection of these particular topics is symptomatic of a Social Gospel interpretation of the Bible. These topics, properly addressed, certainly fall within the realm of an orthodox view - when the list stops there though, the Gospel is muzzled, excluding fundamental Christian doctrines. The definition of Social Gospel as found in The Christian Cyclopedia is this:
Teaching of a social salvation whose objective is rebirth of society through change of the social order by mass or group action. Tries to persuade individuals to practice the social ethics of Jesus. Makes little or no reference to reconciliation with God through Christ and to the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit. For many it is essentially a this-worldly gospel of works, not a Gospel of grace for this life and heaven. The term "Social Gospel" is inadequate, since it is hard to separate "social" from "individual" gospel when applied to Christian life. ...Critics of the Social Gospel see in it an idealistic, purely humanitarian, falsely optimistic, utopian and pacifistic, social reformist movement not essentially Christian (since it bypasses essential elements of Christian doctrine and life).12These themes are also those commonly found in the more liberal branch of the Emerging Church, and explains why there are essays in The Green Bible by Emerging Church favorites Brian McLaren and N. T. Wright, the poems by St. Francis of Assisi and Wendell Berry, and an endorsement on the cover by Walter Brueggemann.
It is the job of the church to lead the world in affirming and, more important, enjoying the goodness of creation. We are not going somewhere else at the end of time, because this world is our home. And our home is good. One of the most tragic things ever to happen to the gospel was the emergence of the message that Jesus takes us somewhere else if we believe in him.14 –Rob BellMcLaren’s views are a form of liberation theology. As Pastor Bob DeWaay states,
New Light communities extend the sense of connectionalism to creation and see themselves as members of an ecological community encompassing the whole of creation. "This is my body" is not an anthropocentric metaphor. Theologian/feminist critic Sallie McFague has argued persuasively for seeing Earth, in a very real sense, as much as a part of the body of Christ as humans.15 –Leonard Sweet
...when God sees his creation, he sees (along with individuals) the unifying, inclusive realities of the group, family, community, church, ecosystem, planet, or universe - realities that enhance and enrich, not obliterate, the value of the individuals who constitute these larger realities.16 –Brian McLaren
But for Jesus and for most of his contemporaries, the ultimate hope beyond death was not to live forever in a timeless disembodied state away from the earth. Instead, they anticipated resurrection, an embodied state within this creation in a new era or age when present wrongs would be made right.17 –Brian McLaren
What does the gospel have to say about the global economy, about the growing gap between rich and poor, about stewardship of the environment, about the growing threat of violence from both terrorists and anti-terrorists?18 –Brian McLaren
Even if only a few would practice this new way, many would benefit. Oppressed people would be free. Poor people would be liberated from poverty. Minorities would be treated with respect. Sinners would be loved, not resented. Industrialists would realize that God cares for sparrows and wildflowers–so their industries should respect, not rape, the environment....The kingdom of God would come....19 –Brian McLaren
The practice that McLaren found to inform his theology leads him to what appears to be a version of "liberation theology" in which God comes to judge oppressive systems. He does so by bringing "truth and justice" into our deceived world and liberating us from the vicious cycle of injustice we created in this world. ...Salvation is about being taught to live a better way (for the sake of others and planet earth). ...So for McClaren [sic] the mission is to save the world in a social and environmental sense, not to rescue lost sinners from a lost and dying world that God is going to destroy in judgment.20While caring for the environment is certainly a worthy enterprise, it is not done through the Church, but through our vocations in the earthly kingdom. When the two kingdoms are mixed, the result is a confusion of Law and Gospel that falls short of the truth. People begin to think that environmental and social justice messages are the sum and substance of the Gospel. Note again, God’s Word does speak to the care taking of the earth, but that stewardship occurs through our vocations on a secular level. God’s Church is strictly limited to the proclamation of the Gospel. While the Bible should certainly inform our views on such things as politics and environmental affairs, it is God’s rule of the world (His earthly kingdom) through government and ordinary citizenship via the Law that these things occur. To wave a Bible around and use it as a political tool is a confusion of the two kingdoms.
"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
3. The Green Bible home page
6. Video of Mark Tauber, Senior Vice President and publisher of HarperOne. The Green Bible home page.
7. Larry Schweiger, president and CEO, National Wildlife Federation HarperCollins browse inside page, 07 Oct 2008 <http://browseinside.harpercollins.com/index.aspx?isbn13=9780061627996>.
8. HarperCollins browse inside page
9. The Green Bible home page
10. EthicsDaily.com, Green Bible page, 07 Oct 2008 <http://www.ethicsdaily.com/static.cfm?mode=thegreenbible>.
11. HarperCollins browse inside page
12. "Social Gospel," Christian Cyclopedia, Erwin L. Leuker, et. al., eds, Concordia Publishing House, 2000, 08 Oct 2008 <http://www.lcms.org/ca/www/cyclopedia/02/display.asp?t1=S&word=SOCIALGOSPEL>.
13. For a thorough review of the Emerging Church’s Social Gospel, go here: http://www.soundwitness.org/evangel/emerg_6_social.htm
14. Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005) 171.
16. Brian D. McLaren, The Church on the Other Side (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998, 2000) 34.
17. Brian D. McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2006) 184 .
18. Brian McLaren, interview with R. Alan Streett, "An Interview with Brian McLaren," Criswell Theological Review, 3.2, Spring 2006, 7, 10 Mar 2007.
19. Brian D. McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004) 121-122.
20. Bob DeWaay, "Emergent Delusion: A Critique of A Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McLaren," Critical Issues Commentary, Twin City Fellowship, Mar/Apr 2005, No. 87, 07 Oct 2008.