The Internet Monk on The Lutheran Study Bible, Lutherans and Evangelicalism: A Correction and Kudos
Recently a blog post was put up by Michael Spencer on his popular blog site: Internet Monk. Spencer, a Southern Baptist minister, teacher, and all-around usually lovable curmudgeon over against much that is going in American Evangelicalism, has some good things to say about The Lutheran Study Bible, and a number of other resources from Concordia Publishing House. He “gets it” in his review as he describes the key and most important features that make TLSB unique among Study Bibles available to Christians today. His claim that the ESV Study Bible contains more articles and such is not correct. But that’s a minor quibble.
The major error he makes in the article, and I don’t blame Michael, for he knows only what he is told by others, is his suggestion in his post that Concordia Publishing House is keeping its resources out of view of many people. The fact is that Concordia Publishing House sells its resources to tens of thousands of non-Lutheran congregations, thousands and thousands of bookstores, and what is most significant: Concordia Publishing House markets and sells its resources on the world’s most popular Internet bookstore site: Amazon.com where great Lutheran resources are avaialable 24/7/365 worldwide, as well as on Concordia Publishing House’s web site. Just Google on “Lutheran Study Bible” and you will easily find The Lutheran Study Bible. We do not extend large discounts to small amateur-type e-commerce sites, but this in no way means that we are not “out there” with our resources. One of these small operations is a sponsor of Michael Spencer’s blog site and, I believe, is the source of his mistaken assumption in his post. But his point about Lutherans not being shy to be Lutherans and get the word about Lutheranism is spot-on.
The burden to get Lutheranism “out there” rests squarely on the shoulders of our Lutheran pastors and laypeople. It’s time for Lutherans to be bold about asserting the treasures of the Lutheran Reformation. Stop hiding the candle under a bushel, and for the love of Christ, stop apologizing for being Lutheran! This is a golden opportunity to put forward the unique message of classic Lutheranism. I’m glad that the Internet Monk, aka Michael Spencer, likes Lutheran resources. I agree with him that Lutheranism is not just for Lutherans anymore! Spencer is spot-on correct about the real appeal of Lutheranism and it is not when Lutherans start imitating big-box non-denominational churches and other Evangelicals.
Overall, an otherwise fun post to read, informative and with good points, even with the mistake.
Oh, by the way, about the name The Lutheran Study Bible, couple of points: First, I double-dare anyone to come up with a new name for a Study Bible. Go ahead. Try. I can almost bet you that it has already been used, or something close to it. There are literally dozens of Study Bibles on the market, with a diverse group of names. Second, we believe in truth in advertising and the whole “bait and switch” thing that some Lutherans resort to in order to gain a hearing is simply wrong. We are Lutherans. It means something. And if we don’t know or care what it means, why are we Lutherans? Third, and this is a point not many people know about, Crossway, the publishers of the English Standard Version of the Bible graciously allowed us to use the ESV translation on the condition that we clearly identify our ESV Study Bible as…drum roll please….a Lutheran Study Bible. No problem! We had already long before decided to call it The Lutheran Study Bible, but just so you know.
Oh, one more thing. Note to Michael: If you use my photos, could you at least properly attributing them? ; )