A Book Review from Books At a Glance
By Mark Coppenger
My SBTS colleague Ted Cabal has edited the Apologetic Study Bible for B&H, and now I’m involved with the Unapologetic Study Bible for Nelson. It sounds a bit like tit for tat, with our proudly proclaiming that we’re not going to grovel before skeptics the way he and his writers did. But, of course, that’s absurd. For one thing, apologetics is not groveling, and, besides, our study Bible has apologetical uses as well. Yes, there’s a play on words in the titles, but the two address different matters. Apples and oranges.
The Unapologetic Study Bible is unapologetic in that it takes unflinching moral stands on a range of issues that have faced the church throughout its history—from transgenderism to Islam to pagan environmentalism to stem-cell research to socialism. It quotes the ancients (e.g., Athenagoras and Cyril of Jerusalem), the not-so-ancient (e.g., Shaftesbury and Baxter), the modern (e.g., Sayers and Kuyper), the contemporary (e.g., Carson and Piper), and a variety of less familiar voices (e.g., Dothie and William of Malmesbury).
It recounts events (e.g., the Welsh Revival and the protection of Jews by Bulgarian Orthodox bishops in WWII), profiles heroes (e.g., “Uncle” Li Tianen and Ruby Nell Bridges), unpacks concepts (e.g., “just war” and “cruel and unusual punishment”), punctures cultural conceits (e.g. cohabitation and pre-nuptial agreements), offers words of caution (e.g., cosmetic surgery and the use of credit), and champions virtues (e.g., the work ethic and pulpit bravery).
It incorporates, as sidebars, over 400 of the 2,400 articles featured in the online Kairos Journal (kairosjournal.org), indexed not only by topic but also according to text (in that they are distributed throughout the Bible, embedded in 57 of its 66 books). Furthermore, those who purchase the Bible are given code access to the entire site (which has heretofore been limited to those in vocational ministry). Many of the articles are available in Greek, Portuguese, French, Russian, Spanish, and two Chinese dialects.
The genesis of this site and Bible is fascinating: In brief, Emmanuel Kampouris, the CEO of American Standard Corporation (plumbing supplies, Trane, Westinghouse Air Brakes) and Camille Bonora, a veteran Muppeteer on Sesame Street, were quickened in the Lord about the same time (he, after losing the wife of his youth to cancer). They met at Times Square Church and were married, forming a dynamic duo committed to energizing the church to engage the culture prophetically. (In this, they were particularly inspired by the example of Anglican minister, Henry Venn, who shepherded the Clapham Sect, including William Wilberforce.) Upon his retirement from the company that he had strengthened greatly, he established the Emmanuel Foundation to help fund Christian endeavors, one of which was the above-mentioned web site, for which he employed two dozen of us to build and fill it.
An NIV version is forthcoming, as well as NKJV and NIV versions of The Storyline Study Bible, incorporating much of “The Biblical Story” featured at BibleMesh (biblemesh.com), another Emmanuel Foundation project to which many of us on the Kairos Journal team have contributed.
An early ad for Kairos Journal read “A Prophetable Meeting,” superimposed on dozens of names, key voices from church history – Ambrose, Bede, Luther, Newton, Massillon, Schaeffer, Cyprian, Ryle, Dabney, Edwards, Bonhoeffer, Chrysostom, Augustine, O’Donovan, Henry, Graham, Wesley . . . and on and on—each unapologetic in his own way (and yes, there are plenty of unapologetic women featured on the site, from Amy Carmichael to Edith Cavell to Nonie Darwish to Frederica Mathewes-Green to Margaret Thatcher).