Thursday, September 21, 2006

Presbytery of Olympia Affirms Ordination Standards

The Presbytery of Olympia (in the state of Washington) affirmed the ordination standard found in the Book of Order (2005-2007) at its meeting on September 21. The motion approved by the Presbytery was:

“We hereby declare that in our discernment of the movement of the Holy Spirit, every mandate of the Book of Order (2005-2007) is an essential of reformed polity. Therefore, any violation of a mandate of the Book of Order (2005-2007) constitutes a failure to adhere to the essentials of reformed polity and thus presents a bar to ordination and installation.”

Now for the rest of the story (in the words of Paul Harvey). The senior pastor of the church that was presenting the motion had come to the last meeting of the Presbytery’s General Counsel. Some members of the General Council were concerned about the motion. The Council was going to recommend that the motion be referred to a task force that was being formed to help foster discussion on the approved PUP report. At today’s meeting, the motion was made by the senior pastor of the church making the recommendation. In just a few minutes a member of General Counsel was recognized by the moderator and two motions were made. There can’t be two motions at the same time so the motions had to be separated. The first motion was to have twenty minutes of discussion with each person limited to three minutes. That motion passed and the discussion began. At the end of the twenty minutes the second motion was presented –the motion to refer. That motion failed! The Presbytery then approved the motion printed above. The final vote was 68 in favor of the motion and 41 against the motion.

Once again we are seeing that the PUP report has failed to provide peace, unity or purity. The PUP report has brought confusion; the PUP report has brought anger; the PUP report has caused people to leave the PCUSA. Praise God that there are Presbyteries willing to take a stand based on scripture!

Today we are going to look at another site that could be helpful for Christians— The site does provide a lot of useful information on a variety of topics; it also tries to sell books to the user.

The site provides three options for the users: Use the Bible, Understand the Bible and Share the Bible. The “Use the Bible” section allows a person to look up specific verses or words. The user has six English versions of the Bible to choose from: King James, New King James, New American Standard Bible, English Standard Version, New Century Version and the Message. It would be nice if they also provided access to the NIV, TNIV or The Message//REMIX. The site is heavy on translations that are of the “formal equivalence” style. Additionally, the King James is filled with an unacceptable number of errors and these errors are carried into the New King James Version. Making available several good “functional equivalence” Bibles would provide a better balance to the site’s users. (Read my posting from September 12 for an explanation of formal and functional equivalence.)

The “Understand the Bible” section functions like a Bible dictionary or encyclopedia. Type in “Absalom” and see what you will find. There are free articles from Smith’s Bible Dictionary and Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary. There are also three additional books that a person can purchase that would have entries on Absalom. I did a quick Google search for “Absalom” and was able to find a wealth of information. Not knowing the theological assumptions of the eBible sources, I would try to use additional sources to gain a well round perspective on the topic I was looking up.

The third option is “Share the Bible.” This allows the user to tag a verse and to view verses that have been tagged by other users. I am still relatively new on the whole “tag” thing. Flickr, a photo web site, was my introduction to tags. Users can place tags on their photos (such as “sailing,” “sailboat,” “BVI,” etc.). People can search for photos with specific tags and then view those photos. Two summers ago my wife, mother-in-law and I spent a week on a narrow boat on the canals of England. In Flickr you can search “narrow boat” tags and see what narrow boats actually look like. eBible’s tags are placed there by individual users. This allows you and me to place our ideas about a verse on the web to influence others. It also means that we are subject to the how others would tag a verse. I think that it is an acceptable tradeoff. There is a HUGE list of tags or you can search for specific tags.

eBible will be one of the sites that I use. My guess is that will be of greater help to me.

Check out eBible and see what you think.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


This post is for the pastors out there--specifically PCUSA pastors. I have been served a subpoena in a divorce case. The person wanting me to testify is the one who comes to my church. He has never talked to me about testifing. I received the subpoena through the mail. I have contacted GA lawyers and am still waiting for their return call.

My fear is that people will be hesitant to confide in me if there is the possiblily that I could be called to testify.

Has this happened to any of you? How about confidentiality issues? What did you do?

Please post to this blog or if it is too confidential I can be emailed at:


Biiible – What are your preferences?

When it comes to technology I believe that there are three kinds of people: users, true tech lovers and those who refuse to use today’s technology. Oh, that if only I was a true tech lover! It is much easier for me to learn how to use technology by having someone show me how to use it! Forrest, my son, was the one I would call for burning a cd or setting up my I-Tunes play list. Glenn is the person I call to find out about the latest web sites, blogging and wikis (he just showed me some new stuff that I will write on next week). Brenda, my wife, is who a check with to find where our trip pictures are stored on the web. Do you get the picture? I am a user of technology. is very user-friendly (even for me). The “preferences” are quite helpful. This site is set up to use many of the Google search functions—I did not know how to use most of the Google search functions! Learning about the “not” word (-) search was great. I can see many possible applications for this type of search. It will be fun to see how many other Google search functions will work.

Cross-referencing has finally hit the web! Due to weight constraints I can only carry so many Bibles with me. My “study” Bible stays on my desk. The parallel Bible I carry with me does not have cross-references. This has been one disadvantage of using my “office-away-from-the-office.” Biiible has made cross-referencing very easy to use. Praise God! Just click on the link to the cross-referenced verse and it takes you to that verse.

STOP THE PRESSES! I just found out that the various versions of the Bible can be downloaded as a Word document. This is great news! This means the user can “copy” and “paste” texts. This will make it much easier to create PowerPoint slides.

Check out

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Biiible – Take it With You

More and more pastors are finding alternative locations for getting their work done. Regular readers of this blog know that I have “an office” away from the office—The Oasis. (There are currently three pastors here at The Oasis.) I have grown accustomed to having the internet available when working on sermons and classes. I carry the TNIV-Message//REMIX in my in my backpack. However, I don’t carry a concordance (too big and heavy). So… what’s a pastor to do? has a feature call the “Biiible Café.” Biiible Café has sixteen English versions of the Bible that can be downloaded in PDF format. (The NIV is 1,751 pages!) There is a search function that allows the user to search the PDF documents just like using the search function on their web site! WAY COOL! There is also a PDF file with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books (292 pages). WAY COOL! But wait… that’s not all. There are downloadable fonts for viewing in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. Java makes all of this possible.

So… what are the implications for Biiible Café? I can now store multiple versions of the Bible on my computer (for no cost) and have access to them every time I turn on the computer. Imagine flying across the country and being able to access four different Bible translations while working on your Saturday night/Sunday sermon! WAY COOL! I can now be teaching a class and quickly look up verse, even when I do not remember the chapter and verse. Biiible Café will have no useful implications for the “unwired” in my congregations. I hope that the “wired” (wireless in my household) in our midst will find this to be a very helpful tool.

Check out today!

Monday, September 18, 2006

The B-I-I-I-B-L-E

“The B-I-B-L-E, yes that the book for me

I stand alone on the Word of God

The B-I-B-L-E”

Young children have learned to this little song for years and years. Before our kids could sing this song before they knew how to spell. The good news was that that our kids grew up knowing how to spell “Bible.” The bad news is that today’s high tech kids may have to learn how to spell “Bible” a new way—B-I-I-I-B-L-E!

There is a fairly new web site out there: Biiible calls itself a “Bible search engine for the Google freak.” I just heard about the site this weekend and have been checking it out.

On the surface it looks a lot like, but don’t let that fool you. With a person can type in a verse (eg/ John 1:1) and that verse will show up on the monitor. The user can choose from 20 English versions of the Bible or numerous non-English versions as well. The user can also view the entire chapter that the verse is located in. Biblegateway also functions as a HUGE concordance—being able to search any of its versions of the Bible to find a word or phrase.

Biiible offers SO MUCH MORE! Today I will only focus on a few of its features. Click on “Study tools” and some fantastic tools appear. The “Dictionary Browser” allows the user to look up any word in an English translation with a built-in dictionary of the Bible. The Strong’s number for each Hebrew and Greek word is also given. The “Bible Stories” button links the user to the most familiar stories of the Bible. The Bible timeline helps the non-historian get a sense of when the various biblical events happened. There is also a maps section in the study tools. The maps section is the only part of the study tools that leave something to be desired.

Check out Tomorrow I will look at other features of this site.