This week on "The 3", an emphasis on the Bible factors in to 2 of the 3 stories relevant to the Christian community, including the finals of the three-year-old National Bible Bee and a British observance of the 400th Anniversary of the King James Bible. And, the top story involves a unique display of 75% of the GOP Presidential candidates as they dealt with social issues and their process of making policy decisions in a forum in Iowa.
3 - National Bible Bee finals give young people change to demonstrate Bible knowledge
This weekend in Nashville, the finals of the third annual National Bible Bee were held, spotlighting Scripture memorization and Bible reading comprehension. Contestants had entered three categories: Senior - ages 15-18, Junior - ages 11-14, and Primary - ages 7-10. Over 5,600 students entered the competition from across the nation, and the final 300 gathered this week in Nashville.
The Bee is sponsored by the Shelby Kennedy Foundation, named after a young lady who died five years ago from cancer, and loved to memorize Bible verses. The Foundation provided some $260,000 in prize money. Winners included: Kari Erickson of South Dakota in the Senior category, Bethany Xiques of Florida in the Junior category, and Olivia Davis of Oregon in the Primary category.
According to The Christian Post, the National Bible Bee seeks “to help families strengthen their personal relationships with the Lord and dynamically impact the world as ambassadors of Jesus Christ.” All of the materials and events of the ministry are designed to be “enjoyable and family-centered as they encourage, recognize, and reward diligence in Bible study, Scripture memorization and prayer.”
The National Bible Bee is yet another effort designed to reinforce memorization and study of the Scriptures, challenging young people to learn God's Word. In this age in which Bible literacy has become an area of particular emphasis, events such as this bring a greater awareness about the importance of the Bible and the truths contained within it.
2 - Queen, British leaders celebrate 400th Anniversary of King James Bible
This entire year has been devoted to celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the King James Bible, commissioned by the British monarch in the early 17th Century, bringing together a group of scholars, translators, and theologians to craft a translation of God's Word that would bring a greater level of accessibility to the sacred text and become a crowning achievement of the reign of King James I.
This week at Westminster Abbey, Queen Elizabeth and other members of the royal family attended a special service featuring the Archbishop of Canterbury and some 2,000 worshippers. A copy of the "People's Bible", handwritten by some 22,000 people throughout the United Kingdom, was presented at the special service. Historic copies of the King James Bible were carried throughout the Abbey at the start of the service. The Christian Institute of Great Britain had this report.
According to the report, in the service the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, described the King James Bible as an “extraordinary text” which remains of “abiding importance”. The translation is notable in the way it communicated the message of the texts, as well as the ability to connect with the common people at large. It presented a mix of eloquence and ease of access, and has been established as the standard of accuracy for Bible translations. It's something worth celebrating, and gives another opportunity for an increased awareness of the power of God's Word.
1 - Thanksgiving Family Forum gives insight into faith, family issues
Numerous Republican Presidential debates, featuring the candidates in a variety of settings dealing with a wide range of issues, have given some, a rather limited, amount of insight into candidates' policy proposals. However, the fast-paced formats designed to accommodate a number of candidates leave little opportunity for someone to really see into the heart of those desiring to be elected to the nation's highest office.
So, with the Iowa caucuses approaching the first week of January, in a state where over a third of likely GOP caucus participants self-identify as born-again Christians, you would think that matters of faith would be important to the voters. A pro-family organization called The Family Leader organized a "forum" (not a debate), in order that candidates could answer questions about their belief systems, their factors in making decisions, and positions on issues important to evangelical voters. Moderated by noted focus group leader Frank Luntz, the event included discussions of a variety of what we might call, "heart", issues. 6 out of the 8 Republican candidates were present, the exceptions being Jon Huntsman, whose poll numbers did not meet the minimum threshold for an invitation, and Mitt Romney, who was campaigning in New Hampshire. Here's a report from Fox News.
CNN had this report on the forum.
Some of the conversations included Herman Cain's tearful recollection of his struggle with cancer, and his regrets about not being home more during his business career. Newt Gingrich, whose failed marriages have produced concern for some social conservatives, talked of going to God to seek reconciliation with Him in the aftermath of mistakes. Rick Santorum recounted the faith struggles he encountered after the birth of his now 3-year-old disabled daughter. Rick Perry mentioned the hole in everyone's heart that can only be filled by Jesus Christ. Michele Bachmann recalled her growing-up years and her parents' divorce. And, Ron Paul talked about his experience in "sharing new life" by delivering babies.
The plethora of Republican debates has been helpful for some, damaging for others, and has yielded plenty of sound-bite opportunities. But, if you want to know how these candidates will actually govern and their heart motivation for policy decisions, perhaps a venue like the Family Forum was satisfactory. You'll be able to watch the whole event at www.citizenlink.com.