"Christians and the Internet" newsletter CATI, Vol. 1, No. 39: September 29, 2000. _______________________________________________________________ TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. GOSPEL COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK: ONLINE CHRISTIAN RESOURCES 2. BIBLE GATEWAY: DOOR TO THE KJV, NASB, NIV, NKJV, AND MORE! 3. FREE NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ON CD-ROM FROM ZONDERVAN! 4. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION FOR THIS NEWSLETTER _______________________________________________________________ 1. GOSPEL COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK: ONLINE CHRISTIAN RESOURCES One of the more important Christian Web sites is "Gospelcom": Gospel Communications Network: Christian Resources http://gospelcom.net/ One of the reasons why Gospelcom is important is that it is made up of a number of important Christian ministries. (In a moment we'll provide 40 specific examples of the more than 180 current members of Gospelcom.) Who is Gospelcom? Here is Gospelcom's own answer: "Gospel Communications Network is an alliance of Christian organizations dedicated to spreading the Gospel over the Internet's World Wide Web as described in our Mission Statement." http://www.gospelcom.net/welcome/who-is-gospelcom/ We'll look at that mission statement in a moment, but before we do, here's a (very) brief history of the background of Gospelcom: "In 1994, conversations between Gospel Films Director of Marketing Duane (Smitty) Smith and Calvin College Communications Professor Quentin (Dr. Q) Schultze gave birth to an idea for spreading the Gospel on the Internet. The idea was presented to Gospel Films President Billy Zeoli, who quickly caught the vision.... Under Zeoli's leadership, the plan now included inviting other Christian ministries to join in an online alliance to 1) promote cooperation among likeminded organizations, 2) minimize duplication of efforts, and 3) maximize online traffic. The...alliance was to be called the Gospel Communications Network...." http://www.gospelcom.net/welcome/who-is-gospelcom/ In 1995 Gospelcom went online with 10 ministry organizations, and now in 2000 has more than 180 member organizations. Here is Gospelcom's mission statement: "Being convinced that the responsibility for evangelizing the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the imperative task of dedicated Christians and that the internet technology offers an effective vehicle in the accomplishment of this task, we propose to operate the Gospel Communications Network (gospelcom.net) as an alliance of on-line Christian ministries." http://www.gospelcom.net/welcome/who-is-gospelcom/ And here is the evangelical statement of faith to which Gospelcom (and its member organizations) subscribe: "We agree to this Statement of Faith: 1. We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible authoritative Word of God. 2. We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 3. We believe in the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory. 4. We believe that regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential for the salvation of lost and sinful men. 5. We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit, by Whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live the Godly life. 6. We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost - those who are saved to the resurrection of life, and those who are lost to the resurrection of condemnation. 7. We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in Christ, and the evidence of that unity being shown by how we love one another." http://www.gospelcom.net/welcome/who-is-gospelcom/ All of the member organizations are evangelical in belief, and some are specifically Reformed in conviction as well (such as Christian Schools International, The Highway, Renewing Your Mind with R.C. Sproul, and Westminster Theological Seminary). Here are 40 examples of Gospelcom members which CATI readers perhaps find to be especially of interest: Alistair Begg (Truth for Life) http://www.gospelcom.net/tfl/ American Tract Society http://www.gospelcom.net/ats/ Apologetics Index http://www.gospelcom.net/apologeticsindex/ Barnabas Financial Ministry (Larry Burkett) http://www.gospelcom.net/barnabas/ Bible League http://www.gospelcom.net/bibleleague/ The Calvinist Cadets http://www.gospelcom.net/cadets/ Christian Computing Magazine http://www.gospelcom.net/ccmag/ Christian Schools International http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/ Christian University GlobalNet http://www.gospelcom.net/cugn/ Council for Christian Colleges & Universities http://www.gospelcom.net/cccu Dynamic Youth Ministries http://www.gospelcom.net/dym/ Evangelical Press Association http://www.gospelcom.net/epa/ Evangelism Online: Guide and Bulletin http://www.gospelcom.net/guide/ E-Word Today http://www.gospelcom.net/eword/ FaithFacts http://www.gospelcom.net/faithfacts/ Fellowship of Christian Athletes http://www.gospelcom.net/fca/ Fellowship of Christian Magicians http://www.gospelcom.net/fcm/ GEMS Girls Clubs http://www.gospelcom.net/gems/ Gospel Communications International http://www.gospelcom.net/gci/ The Highlands Study Center (R.C. Sproul, Jr.) http://www.gospelcom.net/hsc/ The Highway (Jeff Nesbitt) http://www.gospelcom.net/thehighway/ Hollywood Jesus (David Bruce) http://www.hollywoodjesus.com/ Institute of Theological Studies http://www.gospelcom.net/its/ International Bible Society (NIV) http://www.gospelcom.net/ibs/ InterVarsity Christian Fellowship http://www.gospelcom.net/iv/ Key Life Network (Steve Brown) http://www.gospelcom.net/kln/ Larry Crabb (Institute for Biblical Community) http://www.gospelcom.net/ibc/ Latin American Mission http://www.gospelcom.net/lam/ Lockman Foundation (NASB) http://www.gospelcom.net/lockman/ Mission Network News http://www.gospelcom.net/mnn/ The Navigators http://www.gospelcom.net/navs/ NavPress http://www.gospelcom.net/navs/NP Open Doors (Brother Andrew) http://www.gospelcom.net/od/ Peggie's Place http://www.gospelcom.net/peggiesplace/ Presbyterians For Renewal (PCUSA) http://www.gospelcom.net/pfrenewal/ Ravi Zacharias International Ministries http://www.gospelcom.net/rzim/ Renewing Your Mind with R.C. Sproul http://www.gospelcom.net/ligonier/ Westminster Theological Seminary http://www.gospelcom.net/wts Youth for Christ http://www.gospelcom.net/yfc/ Youth Unlimited http://www.gospelcom.net/yu/ Again, not all of the preceding are specifically Presbyterian or Reformed in perspective, but I expect that all evangelical Christians (including members of Presbyterian and Reformed churches) will find many of the Web sites of these Christian ministries at Gospelcom to contain profitable and interesting material of value. Enjoy! _______________________________________________________________ 2. BIBLE GATEWAY: DOOR TO THE KJV, NASB, NIV, NKJV, AND MORE! What is "Bible Gateway"? Following is a description of the Web site as well as some interesting background: "The Bible Gateway is a tool for reading scripture online. Additionally, it provides advanced searching capabilities, allowing readers to find particular passages in scripture, based on keywords. "Originally, the Bible Gateway was...a script that would create HTML versions of Bible chapters. Halfway into its development, developer Nick Hengeveld realized that it could do the same thing on the fly and be much more versatile. Nick developed the Gateway on his own and its initial home was the Calvin College Web server, where Nick worked. "...Nick became the first webmaster at Gospel Communications Network. Here at Gospelcom, the Gateway began running on the main Web server, which provided better performance and reliability. The Gateway also acquired rights to several new versions through the kind cooperation of other Gospelcom members such as International Bible Society [source of the NIV] and The Lockman Foundation [source of the NASB]. The Gateway then moved to its own dedicated Web server at Gospelcom, increasing performance even more." http://bible.gospelcom.net/bg/info.html The site is called "Bible Gateway," because it is indeed a gateway to different Bible translations, including my own four current favorite English translations, the KJV (the King James Version, also known as the Authorized Version), the NASB (the New American Standard Bible), the NIV (the New International Version), and the NKJV (the New King James Version): Bible Gateway http://bible.gospelcom.net/ Here you'll find the complete text for the KJV, NASB, NIV, and NKJV as well as four other English translations (Darby, Young, Worldwide English, and RSV or Revised Standard Version). (The Amplified Bible and the NRSV or New Revised Standard Version are not available at this time, although Bible Gateway hopes to make them available "soon.") If you're after the Bible in French, German, Italian, Latin, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, or Tagalog, you will find the Bible also available in those languages. By the way, here's where you can find some brief background on the eight English translations currently available at Bible Gateway: Bible Gateway Translation Information http://bible.gospelcom.net/bg/translations.html You cannot, of course, show the entire Bible on one Web page at once (that would have to be a rather large Web page!), but you can look up a passage of up to a chapter at a time. Just use "Passage Lookup" on the left side of the screen. Choose your translation (for the NIV NT, you have a choice between regular and formatted), decide if you want footnotes and/or cross-references, type in the box the location of the passage you want, and click on the "Lookup" button. Bible Gateway is fairly (but not entirely) forgiving about how you enter the reference in the box. For example, both of the following are accepted as equivalent by Bible Gateway: Philippians 4:6-9 Phil. 4:6-9 If you try for Canticles rather than Song of Solomon, you may be told, however, "That book does not exist"! If you'd rather avoid the typing and do not mind looking at an entire chapter, look for the "View a list of the books of the Bible" section toward the bottom of the "Passage Lookup" area. Choose your translation from the drop-down box (click on the down arrow after the translation name to choose the translation you want) and then click on the "View" button. After the next Web page loads, click on the chapter you want to read. There's yet a third approach you can use in "Passage Lookup." Click on "Compare translations for one passage" at the bottom of that area. When the next Web page loads, it will look a lot like what you've seen on the previous with one important difference: even though the same list of translations shows, at this point you can choose more than one translation to be displayed! This allows you to compare how different versions render the same passage of Scripture. As I suggested earlier, my own personal recommendations from the list are the King James Version (for both its literary beauty and its historical significance, although it should be supplemented by one or more modern translations to facilitate understanding), the New American Standard Bible (good for a close study of the text from a word-for-word approach), the New International Version (good for understanding based on a more meaning-for-meaning approach), and the New King James Version (for those who want a contemporary version that yet maintains where possible the traditional wording of the King James). Each of these has its particular strengths. My own personal suggestion is to take advantage of them all where appropriate. So that tells you what you can do with "Passage Lookup" on the left side of the Bible Gateway home page. But what about the "Word Search" area on the right side? Well, that's not really a puzzle. It works sort of like an online concordance, if you are looking for a particular word or phrase in the Bible but you're not exactly sure where it is located. In some ways, it's like the index in a book when you want to find something, except that with "Word Search" you are asking Bible Gateway to search for specific words rather than a general topic. Here's where you'll find helpful hints on how to use the "Word Search" area on Bible Gateway's home page: Bible Gateway Help with Searching http://bible.gospelcom.net/bg/searching.html Read it for better searching! It's not long (just six short paragraphs or so) and it's easy reading, but it tells you things you ought to know (e.g., in the "Word Search" area "It is important to use only the 'Restrict search' list or the 'Start' and 'End' lists. If you use all three, the results will not be what you expect."). "You'll find some answers to "Frequently-Asked Questions" on this page: Bible Gateway Frequently-Asked-Questions http://bible.gospelcom.net/bg/bible_faq.html In general, you'll find many brief but helpful comments here. Be aware, however, that you may or may not entirely agree with everything in a particular resource suggested on this page. For example, the "Frequently-Asked-Questions" page suggests the Radio Bible Class site as a place where you'll find some "excellent resources for finding Biblical guidance and help," and much on that site is indeed helpful, but you should be aware that the RBC holds some positions (such a belief that at Pentecost "God temporarily set aside the nation of Israel as His primary means of revealing Himself to the world" or a belief in a "pretribulation rapture" of the church) with which other Christians may not agree. So if you're looking for an online Bible study or an online or email devotional based on the Bible, recognize that there may be different viewpoints represented in the various resources that Bible Gateway may suggest. Although the Bible Gateway site is evangelical in standpoint, not all that you find there will be necessarily, say, Reformed in perspective. If, however, you're looking for the Bible itself -- either to look up a passage to read or to search for a particular word or phrase, you should find this to be a very useful site. And you can bookmark it so that it defaults to your own favorite translation. Just use the links below: Bible Gateway: KJV http://bible.gospelcom.net/bg?language=english&version=KJV Bible Gateway: NASB http://bible.gospelcom.net/bg?language=english&version=NASB Bible Gateway: NIV http://bible.gospelcom.net/bg?language=english&version=NIV Bible Gateway: NIV formatted (NT only) http://bible.gospelcom.net/bg/?language=english&version=NIV-IBS Bible Gateway: NKJV http://bible.gospelcom.net/bg?language=english&version=NKJV Note that the preceding links set both "Passage Lookup" and "Word Search" to the preferred translation. Enjoy! _______________________________________________________________ 3. FREE NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ON CD-ROM FROM ZONDERVAN! A major publisher of evangelical books (including the NIV or New International Version of the Bible) is Zondervan: Zondervan Publishing House http://www.zondervan.com/ We'll say something about the NIV in a moment, but before that, here's a sampling of some authors who are published by Zondervan: Ben Carson, Charles Colson, Walter Kaiser, Jr., John R. Kohlenberger III, Gordon Lewis, John MacArthur, Ronald Nash, Moises Silva, Charles Stanley, Chuck Swindoll, Joni Eareckson Tada, Cal Thomas, Robert Webber, and Philip Yancey. As you can, a variety of styles and perspectives are represented. Zondervan is perhaps best known, however, as the publisher of the New International Version of the Bible, which may or may not be your favorite translation. Even if it is not your own personal choice, the NIV is an important English version with which all Christians (in my not-so-humble opinion?) ought to have some familiarity. On the Zondervan Web site, you'll find brief descriptions of the following English Bible translations (including comments on Reading Level, Readability, Reference Support Material, Number of Translators, Translation Philosophy/Format, and Notes): NIV: New International Version NRSV: New Revised Standard Version NIrV: New International Readers Version Amplified KJV: King James Version NAB: New American Bible NKJV: New King James Version TEV: Today's English Version Living: Living Bible The Message NLT: New Living Translation CEV: Contemporary English Version NASB: New American Standard Bible God's Word And here's where you'll find the comments: Bible Translations http://www.zondervanbibles.com/translations.htm Zondervan, naturally enough, is especially interested in communicating the benefits of the NIV (and NIrV), so if you order their brochure, Zondervan will send you a FREE full version Bible CD-ROM containing both the NIV and the NIrV! Here are the details: "Obtain a copy of this brochure and you will receive with it a free CD-ROM containing the full searchable NIV and NIrV Bible texts. Order by calling 1-800-727-3480. When you order the brochure with CD, mention the ISBN number (0-310-99975-8) and the Source Code (270003)." http://www.zondervanbibles.com/NIVNIrV/cd.html When ordering, do NOT provide a credit card number: there should be no need of that. The CD-ROM should be entirely free. When I was asked for my credit card information, I explained that it was unnecessary for this particular offer from Zondervan. The person taking the order confirmed that fact and then simply took my name and address. By the way, if you do use the NIV, you'll find a number of helpful guides and interesting articles at the Web site of the International Bible Society: Official New International Version (NIV) Resource Center http://www.gospelcom.net/ibs/niv/ Enjoy! _______________________________________________________________ 4. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION FOR THIS NEWSLETTER This is the thirty-ninth issue of a free newsletter devoted to "Christians And The Internet" ("CATI," pronounced "Katy," but spelled with a "C" and an "I" for "Christians" and the "Internet"). To subscribe, write to email@example.com, including "Subscribe to CATI" in the Subject line and including in the body your real name and the email address to which you wish CATI sent. Past issues: you'll find archives of past issues of CATI available online at http://traver.org/cati. "It's not a pretty site," but hopefully it may be a useful one.) ________________________________________________________________ Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is Copyright (C) 2000 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved. For permission to reproduce material from this newsletter, contact Barry Traver at firstname.lastname@example.org. Permission is hereby granted, however, to pass along this issue to others, provided that (1) no changes are made and (2) it is passed along in its entirety.