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Should we capitalize "Biblical" when it refers to Holy Scripture...

Capitalizing "Biblical" when it's used as an adjective pointing to God's Word is acceptable, stylistically; but more, it's a confession of faith. So why is the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) agin it?

In few areas is an author more tempted to overcapitalize or an editor more loath to urge a lowercase style than in religion. That this is probably due to unanalyzed acceptance of the pious customs of an earlier age, to an unconscious feeling about words as in themselves numinous, or to fear of offending religious persons is suggested by the fact that overcapitalization is seldom seen in texts on the religions of antiquity or more recent localized, relatively unsophisticated religions. Is is in the contexts of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism that we go too far. The editors of the University of Chicago Press urge a spare, down style in this field as in others: capitalize what are clearly proper nouns and adjectives, and lowercase everything else except to avoid ambiguity. (CMOS, 14th ed.)

The above is a good summary statement of the significance of orthodox and pious Christians continuing to capitalize "Biblical" when it refers to Holy Scripture...


Delusions of grandeur...

A friend of a friend commented that he thought the posts on Wheaton's announced policy change toward homosexuals weren't likely to raise the hue and cry I must he hoping for. This made Mary Lee and me laugh out loud.

But then maybe his comment was an April Fool's joke?

In case he was serious, though, let me put his mind to rest...


Hey Tim, why do you use the word 'sodomy'...

Some time back, one of my seminary professors who remains a dear friend wrote taking issue with my use of the word 'sodomy' to refer to same-sex carnal knowledge:

I find your use of the word 'sodomites' a bit inaccurate, because the sin of Sodom was not solely homosexuality, but also (maybe primarily) lack of concern for the poor.

Ezekiel 16:49-50 Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.

Jude 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

I hear this objection frequently. Just yesterday, a reader commented:

Using a word like sodomite , while largely accurate , is not helpful or proper in dialog .  Here's why.  Many in the world ,especially young people are just cruel to homosexuals ,  calling them such names , showing no mercy or opportunity for God's repentance  .  So  'Gay' folk are conditioned by this verbage to see it as name calling .    And I don't see Jesus calling folk 'names', except for the religious hypocrites .     and thirdly ,  we don't like folk using names on us that we don't like -  haters ,   anti- choice , etc .     4)  Jesus was friend of such folk .    One of things I really like to do is go to a local gay pride type event .  These folk are used to Christ followers only heaping pointing fingers at them .  They really open up each year I go and just begin to friend them and dialog .   I met some deaf guys this year who still text me .     Who wants to go sometime and be 'friends of sinners '  ?

One of my closest friends agrees. He told me he thought my use of 'sodomy' and 'sodomites' made me look to our readers like I was a member of the lunatic fringe.

First, a little street cred...

House rules...

Dear Readers,

Again recently we've asked for identification information from those submitting comments that are personal in their criticism of the author of the post (usually David or me), a publicly known leader, or another commenter on Baylyblog. This has long been our policy: if a reader criticizes the character of someone, if he gets personal, he needs to identify himself by name—first and last, and verifiable.


To our dear readers...

This post is deleted on the advice of my better half. She's wise. 

FAQ: about comments...

If people haven't noticed, when the identity of a commenter is unknown to readers, I've started putting their names inside quotes to make it clear that readers don't actually know who they are. (This is not true of names like "Fr. Bill" and "Kamilla" for obvious reasons.)

I'm not doing this to be obnoxious, but to make a point of the anonymity of most of what goes down on the web.

This is not to say anonymity is not sometimes required. We had a case recently where someone identified with Baylyblog was threatened with termination at his annual evaluation because his identity could be traced to this blog. Please pray for our brother's protection. Still, we are convinced we should each do our best not to try to avoid shame over our idenitification with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

One further matter: we have men who consistently lie about their identities, and almost always they are the ones whose comments are viciously personal and lie about God and His Word...


Meeting Valerie Kyriosity in person...

Today Mary Lee and I had the joy of meeting Valerie "Kyriosity." Valerie was passing through on the way to the wild west and did us the kindness of stopping in Bloomington for lunch. We'd never met her in person although we'd known her through her excellent contributions on her own and other's blogs. Thus it was good finally for all of us to meet in person.


Some helpful questions...

(TB: Under another post, a Christian sister we've come to respect has asked a series of questions I make a stab at answering below. For the context of her questions please look at comment number thirteen under the above post. First her comment in full, followed by my responses quoting part of each numbered item in what she wrote.)

I mean this as an honest comment/question, not a baiting or critical one. 

First, I was taught to believe that a wife must submit to her husband and a husband must love his wife as Christ loves the Church. A wife is not a doormat, nor is a husband is a tyrant. Furthermore, a couple will work out a balance of this principle in their marriage that is Biblical and fits their personalities and won't look the same for every couple. I assume you would generally agree with that.

Why Baylyblog?

A brother who's ordained to pastoral ministry wrote: "I'd like to hear some real-life examples of how you and the pastors of Clearnote Church, Bloomington (or Christ the Word) are 'playing the man' for their flocks. Not the blogosphere stuff, important as it is...."

"Not the blogosphere stuff?"

The web is our lives, today--all of us. We do FB and e-mail and get our news and views there. Or should I say here?

So David and I view the web as a wonderful tool through which it's possible to bypass the suits of the publishing corporations and radio and conference ministries who will never do anything to jeopardize their moneymaking. We use the web to feed and guard and protect and admonish and warn our flocks.

The printing press was a central component to Luther and Calvin's reform of Geneva, bypassing the coffers of Rome. And the web is, we pray, a central component to the reform of Bloomington and Toledo...

Our new blog design...


House rules on comments...

Dear Readers,

Again recently we've asked for identification information from those submitting comments that are personal in their criticism of the author of the post (usually David or me), a publicly known leader, or another commenter on Baylyblog. This has long been our policy: if a reader criticizes the character of someone, if he gets personal, he needs to identify himself by name—first and last, and verifiable.

We've also long said that men should identify themselves when engaging in public teaching and discussions of Scripture's doctrines. It's not good to be a closet Christian, to have a secret commitment to doctrines that are hated, and therefore a clear confession of Christ in this evil day. Unashamed acknowledgment and proclamation of everything Jesus commanded is integral to our fulfillment of our Lord's Great Commission. If we're not faithful in these small things, our Lord may well not find us worthy of the larger stewardship of the baptism of blood.

He has warned us of the consequences of being ashamed of Him, of publicly declaring His word that sodomy is an abomination against God, His word that greed is idolatry and greedy men will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, His word that woman is not to teach or exercise authority over man because He created Adam first, then Eve.

Take those Biblical doctrines under the most intense attack today: it's precisely those places where our shame or zeal is best measured...


FAQ: about title changes...

If you've read Baylyblog for a while, you've learned that we make changes to posts after they go up. Some of those changes are to correct my failure to honor Jesus in my tone or arguments, some are because I catch typos, some are to correct factual errors, and some are to improve clarity. Well over ninety-five percent of those changes are made in the first hour following publication and are insignificant. Four of the remaining five percent are made in the first twenty-four hours and are usually insignificant. Less than one percent are made later than that and those late changes are almost always due to more significant mistakes, so when those changes are made, they're usually noted at the beginning of the post. Which is to say significant changes are always noted.

Blogs aren't hard print publications and one of the principal differences is that blogs aren't static. After a magazine is printed it's impossible to make a correction, but it's the work of a moment to correct a post. Some online publications are mirror images of hard print publications, so they follow hard print rules. Others have no hard print version and are able to make insignificant changes without facing the problem of a discrepancy between the article's hard copy and its online version.

Online publications should not be forced onto the Procrustean bed of hard copy rules. Hard copy and online publications are as different as night and day, so new wine should be given new wineskins.

I mention this because a web site has noted that I changed the title of a post published yesterday and they assumed my title change was due to readers e-mailing me with negative feedback...