Westminster John Knox Press

I received an e-mail recently from Westminster John Knox Press (WJK) of Louisville, Kentucky, informing me of a 50 percent discount with the promo code WJK21 until the end of the year. In addition, shipping is free on all orders over $50. The only problem is that there is not much of value put out by this publisher. And not wonder, for WJK is “the academic and trade imprint of the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation (PPC)” The PPC is the publishing agency of the Presbyterian Church (USA), the largest and most progressive Presbyterian denomination. Visit one of these churches and you might find not only a woman pastor, but a gay or lesbian pastor.

According to WJK, “Books and resources published under the WJK imprint cover the spectrum of religious thought and represent the work of scholarly and popular authors of many different religious and theological affiliations. WJK publishes approximately 60 new books and other resources each year and manages a backlist of more than 1,800 titles that are sold throughout the world.”

WJK was formed in 1988 by a merger between Westminster Press of Philadelphia and John Knox Press of Richmond and Atlanta. The definitive English edition of Calvin’s Institutes was published by Westminster Press in 1960 as part of the Library of Christian Classics. This is, I think, the only book published by Westminster Press or John Knox Press that I still own. Years ago, when I still had over 500 books related to Calvinism, I had some other titles published by these publishers in addition to Reformed books published by WJK, like The Writings of John Calvin: An Introductory Guide, expanded ed. (2008), by Wulfert de Greef, which I highly recommend.

I used to own an earlier edition of The Letters of Paul: Conversations in Context (6th ed., 2015), by Calvin J. Roetzel. It is an okay book. I own and have read the following recent books published by WJK: The Genesis of Good and Evil: The Fall(out) and Original Sin in the Bible (2019), by Mark S. Smith; Ancient Jewish and Christian Scriptures: New Developments in Canon Controversy (2020), by John J. Collins, Craig A. Evans, and Lee Martin McDonald. I can only recommend the latter book. I own Forgotten Scriptures: The Selection and Rejection of Early Religious Writings (2009), by Lee Martin McDonald, and Paul and Perseverance: Staying in and Falling Away (1991), by Judith M. Gundry Volf, but I have only briefly looked through them. I have the reference book Pauline Parallels: A Comprehensive Guide (2009), by Walter T. Wilson, which I recommend and will mention in a future post. WJK publishes a commentary on the New Testament as part of The New Testament Library. I have the volume on Galatians, for reasons I have already explained. It is one of the better volumes in the series, some of which are written by women. I would like to see the new volume on Matthew by R. Alan Culpepper, but it is not yet available. Nothing in the Interpretation or Belief commentary series is worth reading. For information on baptism and the Lord’s supper from a Reformed perspective, but not a scriptural perspective, I recommend for research two books by John W. Riggs in the Columbia Series in Reformed Theology: Baptism in the Reformed Tradition: An Historical and Practical Theology (2002) and The Lord’s Supper in the Reformed Tradition: An Essay on the Mystical True Presence (2015). One WJK title that I can highly recommend is Was America Founded as a Christian Nation? A Historical Introduction, rev. ed. (2016), by John Fea.

Is there anything else published by WJK that I can recommend? Certainly not the new book God and Guns: The Bible against American Gun Culture, edited by C.L. Crouch and Christopher B. Hays. Certainly not these two pro-abortion books: Abortion and the Christian Tradition: A Pro-choice Theological Ethic (2019), by Margaret D. Kamitsuka; Pro-Choice and Christian: Reconciling Faith, Politics, and Justice (2017), by Kira Schlesinger. Certainly not Unashamed: A Coming-Out Guide for LGBTQ Christians (2019), by Amber Cantorna. Certainly not UnClobber: Rethinking Our Misuse of the Bible on Homosexuality (2016, expanded ed. 2022), by Colby Martin.

If you ever receive an e-mail from WKJ, you can probably delete it. You are not missing anything.

My Favorite Writers

I have often been asked who my favorite Christian writers are. Off the top of my head, without looking through my library, I would say that my favorite living writers are Craig Keener, Ben Witherington, Stanley Porter, and Douglas Moo. My favorite dead writers are F.F. Bruce, John Walvoord, Charles Ryrie, Arthur W. Pink, Leon Morris, and John Murray. Just off the top of my head, my favorite secular writers are Murray Rothbard and H. L. Mencken (both deceased) and Andrew Napolitano and James Bovard (both living, and both of whom I am privileged to know).

It goes without saying that I don’t necessarily agree with everything that these men believe or have written.

The King James Only Debate (part 4)

(Read part 1part 2, part 3). Part 4 will cover chapter 1, “The King James Advantage.” This is one of only three chapters that has the same title as that listed in the table of contents. If “the KJV debate has already been won” and “we have already won the war” (p. 30), then why do new modern versions keep getting published and why are more and more Independent Baptists downplaying or ditching the KJV? Hollner guarantees us in this chapter that “nothing else but the truth is going to be presented in this book!” (p. 31). If this is the case, then everyone who bought a copy of the book should request a refund.

Regarding the King James translators, Hollner remarks: “many of them godly men” (p. 38). Just many of them? This implies that most of them were not godly men. He refers to the 27th edition of the Nestle-Aland text as if it were the last edition (p. 37), even though the 28th edition was published in 2012. He begins a sentence in the third person and then wrongly changes to the second person (p. 38). In his quote from Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, Hollner not only doesn’t give the page number (440), but fails to italicize two words and omits what Gesenius has in parentheses (p. 40). He completely butchers his quote from Dean John Burgon (p. 49), and doesn’t bother to cite the source (The Revision Revised, p. 16). His statement without explanation that “the King James Bible is a Holy Ghost inspired translation!” (p. 44) is troubling. The verse quoted at the bottom of page 34 that begins a new section should be at the top of the next page.

In addition to the misuse of quotation marks, capitalization, and apostrophes; the inconsistency in the use of Lord/LORD; the insertion of extraneous words: “KJV” (p. 33), “quote” (p. 34); and the annoying excessive use of underlining and all caps, I note the following: “mis-lead” for “mislead” (p. 30), “jesus” for “Jesus” (p. 32), “re-taught” for “retaught” (p. 32), “dis-respect” for “disrespect” (p. 33), “differs” for “differ” (p. 39), and “NAS” for “NASB” (pp. 39, 45). Stay tuned for the fifth installment, if I am able to make it through chapter 2 without having a brain aneurysm.

The King James Only Debate (part 3)

(Read part 1, part 2). Part 3 will cover chapter 15, “The Oxford vs. Cambridge Fallacy.” In the table of contents this is just called “Oxford/Cambridge Fallacy.” Hollner throughout confounds the Cambridge/Oxford differences issue with the King James editions issue. He also continually misuses the word “reprint.” He wrongly applies it to King James Bibles published from 1611-1769. He wrongly claims (in a poorly written sentence) that the Oxford/Cambridge issue “is basically only involving 12 verses of Scripture” (p. 434). Likewise, if the word “spirit” has a lower case s in a King James Bible and then an upper case S in another King James Bible, the second Bible cannot be called a “reprint” of the first (p. 434). He wrongly says that “there has been a few reprints due to printing press errors in spelling, archaic word updates, individual letters, or even one word within a verse” (p. 439). Every other use of the word “reprint” in this chapter is wrong.

The Collins King James Bible that the author bought in 1984 is not “a Cambridge edition according to the several insignificant differences” (p. 434). It was and will always be a Collins edition. Hollner misuses and truncates a quote from an 1851 (not 1852) report to the Board of Managers of the American Bible Society (see p. 163 in my book King James, His Bible, and Its Translators). He terms the difference in reading of ye/he in Jeremiah 34:16 in some King James Bibles as an “insignificant textual variation” that is “too small or unimportant to be worth consideration” and “meaningless and not worthy of further discussion” (p. 436). Really? I thought “every word of God is pure” (Pro. 30:5). The list that is supposed to be on page 184 is on page 183 (pgs. 439, 440). It is not true that modern revisions of the Bible “all follow the 1881 corrupted Greek text of Westcott/Hort” (p. 440). And, no surprise, commas and quotation marks are misused in several places. Stay tuned for the fourth installment.