Michael LeFebvre Posts
January 11, 2013 by Gerald Hiestand
Dr. Michael LeFebvre (a Pastor in the SAET Second Fellowship) has recently published an article addressing current translation controversies in Muslim missions in the International Journal on Frontier Missions. From the intro of the article…
“A controversy has emerged in recent years over the best way to translate certain New Testament terms for Muslim cultures, terms like “Son of God” for Jesus and “Father” for God. Many Muslims believe that when Christians call Jesus the “Son of God” it means that God physically (sexually) sired Jesus by Mary. Such an idea is so repugnant to Muslims that when they encounter it in the Bible, some refuse to read further! Christians of course vigorously deny this idea. Nevertheless, this misunderstanding is widespread in Muslim societies. Because of this and other concerns, some translators concluded that using a word-for-word translation for “Son of God” and “Father” in muslim languages communicates a wrong meaning.
In a series of articles from 2000 to 2007, Rick Brown documented alternate ways in which some translators have avoided the connotations sometimes evoked by traditional approaches.1 At that time, he suggested meaning-based (rather than formbased) translations would provide accurate meaning and avoid offensive connotations. In particular, at that time Brown proposed the use of synonyms like “Christ of God” or “Christ sent from God” along with an explanation in the translation’s introduction about the meaning of divine familial terms. As translations using non-traditional terms or phrases for “Son of God” began to appear, many missionaries, national church leaders and other Christians reacted with alarm. Subsequent writings refined the approach and addressed criticisms,4 but the controversy continued and intensified.”
This is an interesting article, and one worth reading for those wrestling with translation philosophy. The article is also a great example of ecclesial theology by an ecclesial theologian.0 Comments
August 15, 2011 by Gerald Hiestand
Biblical scholarship requires work in the Bible’s original languages. Usually we are referring to Greek and Hebrew (and a smattering of Aramaic) when we talk about the original languages. But there is another language in which much of Scripture’s message is written: geography. The terrain, highways, settlements and strategic movements described in Scripture are part of the Bible’s story, and part of its theological language. There are two great tools for studying and teaching biblical geography that I want to highlight here, and one of them is free!
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to complete a field course on Bible lands geography with Dr. Carl Rasmussen. The course was conducted on site in Israel and Jordan, through Jerusalem University College. Dr. Rasmussen is an adjunct professor with JUC, and he is Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is the author of the NIV Bible Atlas, which is the first resource I want to recommend. I actually have the older edition myself and am anxious to get ahold of the updated edition (which has been out for a year, now). But it is an excellent reference tool which I use often in sermon preparation.
The free resource I want to recommend is Dr. Rasmussen’s “Holy Land Photos” website (www.holylandphotos.org). Through years of his own field studies, as well as leading countless on-site classes in Bible lands and writing atlases and Bible handbooks, Dr. Rasmussen has developed an extensive collection of photographs of biblical sites and archaeological artifacts. In recent years, he has been putting all of those photographs online in a database which he wants to make available for use by pastors and teachers. At the time of my writing, the site offers 3319 photos from 328 different sites. The photos can be downloaded as full resolution files or in PowerPoint ready sizes. Be sure to take a look at this site, add it to your resources list, and pass along the link to others.
Michael LeFebvre1 Comment
April 22, 2011 by Gerald Hiestand
Michael LeFebvre (Second Fellowship) has a new book out this week, co-authored with Philip Ryken. Below, please find the publisher’s description of the book, along with a few endorsements.
About Our Triune God
How are we to relate to a three-personed God? The idea of the Trinity may initially seem too abstract to understand, but the truth is that a deeper knowledge of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit has daily importance. Convinced that many Christians “have some level of awareness that God is triune…[but] are virtually Unitarian,” the authors have written a practical and theologically robust resource to help readers grow closer to the Triune God.
Philip Ryken and Michael LeFebvre examine the doctrine of the Trinity in four parts. They explain the roles of the Father, Son, and Spirit in salvation; answer difficult questions about the Trinity; explore the believer’s relationship to each person of the Trinity; and provide an exposition of the various Gospel narratives depicting how the three persons of the Trinity work together to accomplish the redemptive purposes of God. Their careful treatment of these central truths captures important implications for the Christian life.
Our Triune God is a helpful guide for Christians wanting to deepen their faith and for pastors as they shepherd their congregations toward a richer love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
“Philip Ryken and Michael LeFebvre have written a delightful book that will help us to better understand the great truth of the Trinity; one God in three Persons. Better yet, it should cause us to grow in our appreciation of the distinct works of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in our salvation and sanctification. I heartily commend this book.”
-Jerry Bridges, author, The Pursuit of Holiness
“The Westminster Shorter Catechism tells us that ‘man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.’ In this book, the authors bring that affirmation to life by showing us that the Trinity is not just a doctrine to be believed but a relationship to be experienced and enjoyed. Pastors, teachers, and believers everywhere will be refreshed and challenged by this stirring call to a deeper participation in the love of the triune God.”0 Comments
-Gerald Bray, Research Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School